As of writing right now, the pandemic circumstances around the world are preparing for the reality of a heavy second round of necessary self-isolation and social distancing practices and we expect much of 2021 be like the first half of 2020. This means companies and workers of all sizes and backgrounds will have to adopt more remote working policies and availabilities in order to continue business today.
Mountain Realty Group understands this challenge – both from our personal experience as our realty members have had to relocate work to home and as a company committed to those who choose who make the East Tennessee Smokies their new home and new headquarters for life. Working at home is now a fixture of life in the Smoky Mountains, so we’ve prepared this article as part of our commitment to that goal. Here are some of the things we’ve done to help get an affordable home office going in 2020 and 2021!
1. Choose A Clearly Defined Workspace.
In this regard, we mean “choose a room or environment that is walled off from the rest of your house” to clearly define what IS your home office workspace and what is simply your home. This is to help solidify the psychology that THIS space is where you need to work and be professional. From there, you can take items that are already in the household and repurpose them as office items and cut down on supply expenses. Furthermore, a space in your house that is clearly defined as home office work space can be claimed on your taxes as well as potentially a portion of internet, electricity and/or water utility costs, among others. You’ll need to speak to your tax professional about it, but that can make a surprising difference for your accounts’ bottom lines.
2. Make Video Chat An Essential Function
If you’re not already making use of Zoom, Skype or the many video chatting programs and services available, now is the time to start. Many coworkers, employers, clients and customers still need to see and access your body language in order to fully engage with business and video chat is now the best way to do that remotely. What makes this a way to make working at home affordable, however, is being able to turn around and make video chat the ONLY way you’ll be able to connect most of the time. Even now, many of us are tempted to go out to meet responsibilities socially and professionally away from home when we really should not. Being able to say “Sorry, I’ll only be available remotely. Please Zoom/Skype me.” is more in your power and favor and will cut down on gas costs and impulse eating-out decisions that often come with it.
3. Google “Japanese Organization Hacks”
If you should take tips from anyone, take them from a country that is both highly industrialized and small in size. Many countries are built off of thousands of years of its population having to make the most out of space that make our houses and apartments seem like duplexes by comparisons, but Japan is particularly innovative with making the most out of space and doing it affordably. You can see some ideas here: https://oflifeandlisa.com/japanese-organization-hacks/. Remember, within reason, smaller spaces cost less to operate it.
4. Look For Cheaper or Free Alternatives To Necessary Software
We all know things like Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, etc. We know them because they have become well-known staples of office computer environments and for good reason – they work. However, the companies that make them and sell millions of copies yearly know this and keep their prices at premiums which can be an obstacle during a time when an affordable home office is required to keep business going. The flipside to this is the natural consequence of competition: eventually other talented programmers get tired of the situation and go on to make their own versions of these programs – either cheaper or available for free. Now, as we all know or should know by now, there are definitely downsides to cheaper or free alternatives (which is why those alternatives have not been able to replace the staples) but saving what amounts to $50-$500 a month or more is well worth at least looking around for.
These are just a few ideas that can make great foundations for an affordable home office in 2021! We hope some of these are useful to you as they have been to us!