Whether you work independently from your own home office or a (rental) office space, you must maintain your professional image.
It doesn’t matter what kind of products you sell or services you provide, your clients expect you to be able to make and receive phone calls, to make copies, to send and receive e-mail and so on.
In order to do your work efficiently and maintain your proffesional image at the same time there are essential items you must have.
Each office must have a business phone that is separated from a private phone. ISDN connections have some advantages in so many ways. Use also separate ringtones for both business and private phone. For a few euro’s more you could also add additional telephone services, such as;
- Caller ID: so you can see who’s calling you even before you take the phone call. Advanced caller ID’s provide the ability to show who is trying to call you while you are calling other client.
- Hold: so you can hold a phone call to answer another phone calls.
- Call forwarding: you can forward your phone to another phone number. This is useful if you expect an important phone call or when you need to get out from your (home) office. You can also forward phone calls to your mobile phone so you do not miss any phone call.
- Conference call: This is useful if you want to make phone calls with more than one person at a time regular. Skype provides this conference calls for free but you need to have a Skype-account for it.
- Voicemail or answering machine: If you do not want to use call forwarding, you can let people leave a message on voice mail or answering machnine. You can also purchase a phoneswith a built-in answering machine.
Nowadays, nobody can work and do business without a computer. What kind of computer you need is really depending on the type of work that you do. Think about what you need for your work and your clients before you purchase a work computer. There are two versions of computers: a business version and customer version. The customer version often has nice extras like games and other programs, which you do not need for your business computer.
There are so many softwares available and some of them are unnecessary and irrelevant to your business, work and clients. But there are some sofwares and other programs that are essentials to you as an independent.
- Office software package: a software that contains office documents with a full-featured word processor, spreadsheet, presentations and more.
- Accounting software package: a software that allows you to manage your accountancy, invoicing, work hours, electronic banking etc.
- Project management software: this software is very useful if you do some projects with different deadlines and different tasks. It allows you to keep track of your activities and hours, especially when several clients are involved in this kind of projects.
4. Internet access
Each business must have a internet access. Your clients use the internet, at least, to read your e-mails and newsletters. Internet is also very useful for you to:
- Do online purchasing: to purchase office supplies, books, etc
- Conduct research for projects or seeking information about clients
- Network with other independents and freelancers
- Look for your next projects
5. Printer (with scanner, copy and fax)
A printer is as important as a computer. What kind of printer you must have is also depending on the type of work that you do. There are three important aspects that you should take into consideration before you purchase a printer:
- Laser or inkjet: de prints (copy) of a laser printer is sharper and cheaper by a print, however, a laser printer is often more expensive than an inkjet printer.
- Ink and toner prices: color toner cartridges refills are more expensive than black and white toner cartridges refills.
- Maintenance and repair: if your printer needs maintenance and/or repair, do you have to send it somewhere? If you do, do you have a reverse?
6. Comfortable desk and chair
When you work on some projects with tight deadlines you need a safe workplace with comfortable desk and chair. Choose a good chair with an excellent back support. It is very important to sit comportably when you are working.
7. Office supplies
Purchasing some office supplies can be a dangerous activity to your wallet because you tend to purchase everything you think you need, instead of things that you actually need. Keep in mind to only purchase things that you really need. Use a check list of essential office supplies.
You spend most of your day at your (home) office, therefore, you must ensure that you’re happy with the work that you do and always keep an eye on your health. And the most important thing you must do is keeping your (home) office and its essential items clean so you can do your work appropriately and effeiciently.