If you’re a budding entrepreneur who values sustainability, having a home-based office is essential. However, since COVID-19 is still part of the equation, you need to keep that in mind as you’re getting set up. If you want to create a functional, environmentally conscious, COVID-safe home office, here are five tips from The Mindful Collective that can help.

Go Virtual with Your Invoicing and Payments

If you want to be as safe as possible, virtualizing as many client interactions as possible is wise. Invoicing and payment software eliminate the need for handing over paper bills and receiving physical payments. You can send invoices and receive payments virtually by using those, creating ways to minimise physical contact during meetings – and preventing more wasted paper!

Set Up for Video Conferencing Success

Solutions like video conferencing software allow you to have face-to-face meetings without being in the same room. However, if you want these to go forward without a hitch, it’s wise to set your office up with them in mind.

For your background, focus on camera-friendly colours like soft grey or blue. Additionally, remove clutter that could distract from the conversation. If you prefer to use a virtual background, setting up a portable, collapsible, or retractable green screen could make that easier.

Eliminating extraneous noise is a must. Make sure that you have a door you can close, double pane windows, and good insulation. 

Adjust Your Seating

Before inviting any clients to visit, go ahead and have any fabric furniture professionally cleaned. This ensures removal of allergens and odours, and it can help your furniture look fresh. Survey local furniture cleaning companies to find reputable pros who can make quick work of this task. 

Since social distancing can reduce the spread of COVID-19, make sure that all seating is at least six feet apart. By doing that in advance, you can simply guide your client to their designated chair, ensuring the needed amount of distance remains intact.

A laptop table can be an excellent option if your client needs a usable surface for signing documents or other activities. You can place it near their chair and, since they are easy to move, instruct them on how to get it into position when the need arises. That way, they won’t have to approach your desk.

Improve Your Air Quality

Certain air quality steps can also stem the resurgence of COVID-19. During client visits, make sure your windows are open and require all participants to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, you may want to install UV solutions in HVAC systems, as well as upgrade your filter.

Make Hand Sanitizer Accessible

Placing hand sanitizer in your office near where you and your client will sit can make a difference. That way, when they arrive, you can dispense some for your use, signalling them to consider doing so themselves.

If you’re worried about aesthetics, look for decorative dispensers that match your décor. If possible, get a touchless model as well. That way, they won’t have to handle the dispenser to use it. 

Improve Your Space

Working from home definitely reduces gas emissions and saves energy, but if space is at a premium and you plan to have a home-based business for the near future, it’s wise to consider upsizing. For example, if you live in a smaller apartment or condo, you can find something bigger that accommodates you and your business, and that allows for sufficient space in the event that clients will visit. 

If you need to make some renovations to make your existing home more conducive to focus and hard work – like finishing your basement and turning it into a home office – the good news is that many home improvements have the added benefit of boosting your home’s value, as well.

Protecting Yourself Financially and Legally

While many people go the sole proprietorship route when launching a home-based business, a different business structure could be a better choice. By registering as an LLC, you reduce your liability. Plus, you may receive a variety of tax advantages, as well as reduce your total amount of paperwork.

A COVID-safe home office remains crucial in these uncertain times, and by taking the above measures, you’ll be in a better position to continue to run your growing business from home.

The Mindful Collective is a not-for-profit organisation, that will help your business to become more ethically aware and environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. If you have any questions or would like to collaborate, let us know

(article by Joyce Wilson)