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Presenting Your Home as an Office to Customers

By: Garry Pierrepont - Updated: 5 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Home Office Home Professional Customers

If you work from home, the first thing you will need of course is a home office. While you may start off with your laptop or sit at the kitchen table, you will need a designated space for your home office.

The ideal space for your home office is a room that is not used by the family, but this is not always possible. The ideal size for your home office is 10 by 10 feet; this can be a room on the outside of the house, which has the advantage of being easily extendable.

However, the room that is more often available to the home entrepreneur is a spare bedroom upstairs. Here you can bring your clients, and you can give it that important professional feel, while retaining the comfort and family atmosphere of your home environment.

Whatever you do, avoid being restricted to a corner of the room for your home office. If you operate in such a claustrophobic manner you will end up having a very messy and disorganised room which will look very unprofessional to your clients. It is important to stress the importance of organisation and efficiency as it is exactly these attributes that will impress and retain your customers.

Balancing family and business in your home office

Your clients will not be happy if toys are left around your office for them to trip over so if you have young children remember to keep their possessions out of your office when clients are visiting. However, the advantage of having an office based at your home is that it does not present a cold or clinical atmosphere and in this way your family and homeliness can be a plus, contributing to a warm, but professional, environment.

Be sure to have letters of recommendations from past clients as well as relevant academic or professional certificates on your walls, as these attest to your professionalism and competence. Have a nice, spacious desk, practical but attractive office equipment and, above all, keep clutter to a minimum, especially on your desk which should be tidy and organised, with everything you need ready to hand and appropriately stored. Make sure you have a paper tray to store your papers but remember to keep that clutter-free too.

Office furniture and equipment

There is no need for top-of-the-range office equipment; when setting up your home office; make a list of the essentials you need both to run your business efficiently and to create a professional image. Good, smart inexpensive office furniture can be purchased at outlets such as Ikea which stock light, modern items, which you can build up gradually.

You can add to the professionalism of your home office by having a telephone on your desk, complete with voicemail, call waiting or even multiple lines, which will ensure that you have minimal chance of missing an important call from a client. Make sure that you have a professional message on your voicemail, and then when the customer visits you in your home office they will not be disappointed by your continuing professionalism.

Advantages of your home office

Your clients will be impressed when they visit you in your home office to see a room that is uncluttered, professional and yet homely. Even if your home office is located in an upstairs bedroom the important thing is to retain your business confidence and professionalism as they are the keys to your success. With all your confidence intact you can still offer great customer experiences.

For your clients the important thing is not where you are based geographically, as increasingly, 21st century businesses are running as virtual offices. What matters is the efficiency of the services that you offer and the quality of your product.

Where to have those important meetings

However, a line must be drawn when it comes to meetings with clients and colleagues. It is often not a good idea to hold a business meeting at your home; however professional and organised you have made your home office, there is always the noise of children playing, the dog barking or the washing machine spinning. Instead, be honest and tell the client that you work from home and it is likely not to be conducive to a business meeting. Arrange to have your meeting at a coffee shop or some other neutral location.

And finally

The main thing to bear in mind when running your business from a spare room or upstairs bedroom in your home is that you must proceed exactly as you would from office premises, with the same level of professionalism and expertise. You will then be able to provide your customers with a friendly and efficient service, which is after all what they require.

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