KEEPING THE OFFICE INVITING
Having a home office to work out of is very convenient. You can get things done, even when you're sick. You can save time and money by never leaving home. You can even work in your pajamas all day if you choose! Unless, you actually have customers, co-workers, or clients visiting you at your home office. That changes things. That means that you need to be ready for someone to come by at any time.
1) Make sure that everything is clean. At the end of each day, straighten up, run the vacuum or broom through, and dust everything that is visible. Close off the area so that family members do not mess things up while you're "off work". Nothing looks more unprofessional than a messy or dirty office, or one that is full of toys and cookie crumbs. So, the first rule of keeping your home office inviting is to keep it clean!
2) The next thing to consider is furniture. Your visitors may occasionally have to wait for you to do some research, answer the phone, print something, or whatever. Providing them with a comfortable, usable area is a very nice gesture. They may also need a coffee table or some sort of space where they can spread out paperwork and other essentials while you do business together. Don't forget to provide yourself a seat across from them. Sitting right next to them on a couch might make them feel uncomfortable.
3) Be a good host. It's not a party, but they are still a guest in your home. Treat them that way. If you know that they are coming, brew some coffee and heat some water in the tea kettle right before they arrive. Offer them hot coffee, tea, a soda or a glass of water as soon as they come in. You can put out a bowl of nuts or crackers in case they are meeting with you on their lunch break or something. If that's the case, let them know that it's fine with you if they want to eat their lunch while you do business.
4) Make sure that your office is prepared for visitors. People may need to plug in their cell phones or computers. Have the plug by their seat available if possible. They may need better lighting, so provide a lamp. Pens and pads of paper are also often appreciated. Have your business card available in case they need it. Provide a place for them to keep their belongings while you work. A hanging rack stocked with good coat hangers is great, as well as a place for them to stash a wet umbrella.
About the Author: Jo Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online resource for quality, well made garment hangers. For more information, please visit www.onlyhangers.com.