Setting up office

However and wherever you work, there are a few basics to cover that ensure you are working efficiently and comfortably.

Whether office based, home-worker or mobile-worker, there are common elements to the working environment, like location, furniture, comfort, IT set-up, etc. that we all need to think about.

Location

If you need an office, should it be near clients, prospects, competition, transport hubs? Do you need city centre, or out of town?

Maybe you are mobile, so have you a few places set-up that you are know are easy and comfortable to work in? It might be your home office, perhaps, or a co-working space when you need, or a client site. Somewhere, at any rate, you can walk in instantly and work.

When you work at home, do you find this isolating at times, is it easy to get out and meet people. Is it somewhere you are happy to meet clients and prospects?

ICT

In an office environment, you basically need a phone and phone line, computer and broadband. Though you may only need broadband if you use a VOIP phone. But what happens when you are out of the office – at meetings and out of hours, for example? Can you still respond to email, phone calls, work on your data, access information?

If you are an agile worker or working from home you are perhaps more likely to be aware of these issues and have a more flexible, cloud set-up. Obviously if all your data is in the cloud, you can get to it anywhere you have a mobile device and a connection.

But with more than one person, how do you ensure communication to deliver a consistent business service and image, especially if all working from different locations?

At home, one issue might be broadband – domestic services are often not reliable or fast enough for work purposes.

Environment

Space – is there enough, can you spread out or are you stuck under the stairs like Harry Potter? Is there room for you and for storage without having to bend over backwards to retrieve files or step over/around things? Is there room to meet clients, prospects, suppliers?

Ambience – have you enough light, preferably natural, a window for a sense of space? Is it too noisy or even too quiet? Does it feel good to work here, are you happy and motivated? Is the décor up to scratch?

Furniture – think about ergonomics, a comfortable environment for your body and your mind. Is everything at a suitable height without strain to reach or get to?

Working practices

This is more relevant if there is more than one of you. How do you work – open plan, bull pen, offices, etc?

How do you communicate, control noise, make sensitive calls, have confidential meetings, collaborate with colleagues, integrate with mobile staff?

What hours does everyone work – set or flexible? How does this work with clients and operations?

Is your data all digital or physical? Do you need a printer/fax/scanner to work?

What is your reporting/process structure and how does this work in the environment you have choasen to work in?

This is fairly rudimentary summary, but it shows that wherever and whatever your place of work, there are a number of issues that will affect how you work.

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