About the author: Michael Kwan is a professional freelance writer based out of Vancouver, Canada. He can be found blogging at http://btr.michaelkwan.com Beyond the Rhetoric.
There is a definite appeal to working from home. It means that you don’t have to fight rush hour traffic or put on your fancy three-piece suit, since the commute to the home office is a short and casual one. However, working at home is not without its shortcomings. For instance, it means that you’ll need to invest in the right infrastructure to have a functional home office.
Naturally, the infrastructure required for your home office will depend on your chosen industry, your specific role, and your own personal preferences and needs. There are a few items that are common for most work-from-home professionals and their costs must be considered before taking the leap into having a full home office.
At the very least, you need a reliable computer that is not shared with anyone else in the home. Whether you opt for a laptop or a desktop, a PC or a Mac, is completely up to you, but this computer must not be shared with other family members. The last thing you want is to be contacted by a client only to see your significant other playing World of Warcraft on your sole computer. It may be worthwhile to visit a coworking space at times to avoid these situations and distractions.
To go along with your computer, you will also need a reliable Internet connection. If the nature of your business requires greater bandwidth and faster speeds, investing in a faster Internet connection is a worthwhile expense. This not only includes the price of the service, but also the suitable modem and router to accommodate the added speed.
Other equipment may include a suitable printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine. This can be best achieved with a multifunction printer of some kind. Depending on your business, you may or may not need a dedicated landline telephone. Some home-based businesses rely solely on mobile phones or VoIP (like Skype). All of these needs can be met with shared office space, since the organization providing the coworking space will maintain this equipment for everyone.
The infrastructure can easily extend well beyond basic hardware too. Entrepreneurs are well-advised to invest in software for accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), tax reporting, and more. Don’t forget about the design and printing of business cards, company letterhead, and other related stationery products too, as well as accounts with shipping companies and other specialized services. Investing in a mail and fax service can be worthwhile, since someone else can receive deliveries on your behalf if you are absent.
There’s more to a home office than throwing an old desk in a spare bedroom. The infrastructure can be just as complex and robust as a conventional downtown office.