Working from home (or a coffee shop) has numerous benefits that we have all heard before: flexibility, ability to work in sweat pants, and no judgment about how many times you refill your water bottle or how loudly you chew your lunch.
The thing is, many large companies are starting to note that there are plenty of advantages to the office atmosphere. For example, in a surprising move, Melissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo has actually recalled many telecommuting employees. The idea is that when employees are remote, the opportunity for spontaneous creativity and collaboration no longer exists.
However, we aren’t talking about you working from home for a large established company. We are talking about you working from home for yourself. This means that there is no office to go back to, and that can have some disadvantages. Other than just creativity and collaboration, there are a few other returns to working within an office that you may find yourself missing once you venture out on your own.
The Copy Room
Almost every office has a copy room. Depending on the specific needs of the business that copy room may have a commercial copy machine, a scanner, fax machine, laminator, and a postage meter. These are all things that you probably took for granted while working in an office.
Need to make 30 copies of a 10-page packet and have them all stapled? Easy. Want to scan a document and send it to a client? Not a big deal. Have a contract to mail out? No problem.
All of a sudden, you realize that you don’t have all of these things in your home basement and as much as you beg, the employees at Starbucks aren’t letting you use their copier in the back.
So, what can you do? Here are some ways to still keep your office running as smooth as possible even without an official copy room.
1. Making up for the Multi-Function Printer (Copier/Printer/Scanner/Fax Machine):
Most commercial businesses have multi-function printers that combine printing, scanning, copying, and faxing all in one. You can get one of these for your home office on a much smaller scale. Think about what you will be using it for before deciding on one; e.g. Do you want color? Is high resolution important? How much ink will you be using?
Are you not quite ready to make this type of investment for your home office? You can still purchase a basic printer and use online programs or phone apps that allow you to send digital images as faxes and receive faxes that are converted into digital images.
You can also scan documents using your Smartphone. Check out some of those options here.
The actual copy part of the copy machine is difficult to emulate with just a computer or smartphone, but you can always scan and print if you only need a few copies of something. If there are times when you need more, simply head on up to a place such as Staples or Office Depot.
2. Doing without a big laminator:
Depending upon the nature of your business, a laminator may not be something that you use on a regular basis. Therefore, if you have items that need to be laminated, a quick trip to an office supply store can help you. Sometimes even just using basic sheet protectors can serve a similar purpose to laminating. If you do find yourself with consistent laminating needs, small home laminators are available.
3. No Mail Room, No Problem:
The postage meter, or office mail room, is sure convenient. Mailing invoices, packages, and other communication can happen easily without much effort on your part. You may find that once you are working out of a home based office, that too much of your precious is time is spent driving to and from, and waiting in line at, the post office. Is it just me, or are post office lines always unbelievably slow?
It’s true that in our digital age that many things can be simply sent via email, but you will undoubtedly find that snail mail is not as much a thing of the past as you may have thought. Therefore, in order to save yourself time, consider joining a site such as Stamps.com. Stamps.com does have a monthly membership fee, but with the membership you are able to print stamps and shipping labels. Your membership even comes with its own postage scale.
Don’t Forget about the Break Room
As you are working from home at the kitchen counter, in the basement, or in a designated home office, you may find that you miss some other aspects of office life, such as the break room. This may hold especially true if you had previously worked for a company with notable employee benefits and great break rooms.
Your home may have a fridge, sink, and microwave found in most break rooms, but you may miss the camaraderie and interaction that comes with it. Remember, amidst your hard work, to take time for breaks. Even if you do have to pay for the yoga class you signed up for instead of it being offered by your company.
Would you like more advice for your small business or start up? Contact Lucid Advisory and Finance for help.