A quiet place to answer phone calls, send faxes, and meet with clients.
In the old days, everyone had offices.
That’s changed. Sure, many of today’s professionals work from traditional offices, but many others work from home offices, co-working spaces, coffee shops, and from their cars.
Without an office space carved out for hard work, organization, and face-to-face meetings, how can you be productive and professional?
Have a Place for Your Stuff
You might not have an office, but that doesn’t mean you can be totally loosy-goosy and disorganized. As a business owner, you need to be on top of health insurance, taxes, employees, and other important documents. Make sure you have a safe home for this stuff, complete with a filing system, even if it’s organized under your bed.
In general, everything you use for business should have a home, even if that home is in the trunk of your car. Plus, you don’t want papers poking out of your pockets while you’re at a meeting. A clean, polished appearance will impress clients and give them confidence in your expertise.
Get the Right Tools
A lot of phone systems, marketing tools, and accounting apps are meant for people working from brick-and-mortar offices. Those won’t work for you. You need software tools that are built for someone without an office. Think things like faxes sent by email and contracts that can be signed electronically.
Look for software solutions that have:
Easy-to-use mobile apps.
Ability to log in easily from any device.
Some of our favorites are WaveApps (for accounting), Concur (for expense reports), and Google Hangouts (for chat).
Learn What Makes You Productive
There are so many ideas and strategies on enhancing productivity, but the key to getting work done is figuring out what works for you. Maybe that’s sleeping in and working in the afternoons, or maybe that’s making sure you get exercise every day. Here are a few ideas for how you can increase productivity, with or without an office:
Set a timer for each of your tasks.
Get a web time blocker extension like LeechBlock to prevent you from wasting your day on social media.
Just start. It’s the hardest part.
Take care of every day essentials like groceries and errands on the weekends.
Don’t check email so much. People can wait.
Get a Solid Internet Connection and Invest in a Power Bank
No matter where you work from, you’re going to need a solid internet connection to do your job well, mostly because you’re going to have to communicate. Most cell phone providers sell mobile hotspots so you can remain connected no matter where you are.
You’ll need to keep your smartphone charged, too. Those power banks might look corny, but they can keep your phone charged for 30% longer. My favorite is the mophie juice pack plus, which provides not only power, but also a case.
Invest in Relationships
No office means no office buddies. But don't let that deter and frustrate you. Many are solving this problem with some elbow grease:
Consider a co-working space where you can meet like-minded entrepreneurs.
Video conferencing and phone calls with co-workers and clients can ease some of the loneliness when you don't have an office.
Go to events often, whether it's through a business club or through meetups in your area.
Professional & Productive, No Matter Where You Are
You're an entrepreneur who's embraced life without an office, and you're managing to grow a business in a new and exciting space. If you make good choices as you scale, you'll be able to continue without an office, saving money as you go.
Do you work without an office? What's your experience been like?