Written By: Andy Ogg, Editor and Marketing Director, Travel Professional NEWS®
Whether you are an experienced Travel Professional with a successful book of clients or just getting your Travel Business started, there is one thing you’ll most likely need, and that is a home office. There are thousands of ways for you to work from your home and while there is no wrong way to successfully establish your home office, there are most definitely some tools, tricks and tips that one should consider when working from their home.
Today, more people are working from home than ever before. With outsourcing, freelancing and remote employment at an all time high, you may be surprised to learn that many of the customer service representatives that you speak to for a brand or company, may in fact be working from their home. According to SmallBizTrends.com, 3.9 Million Americans are already working from their home and that number is increasing, rapidly.
10 years ago, there was a “stigma” regarding working from your home. Maybe it was the ill-conceived notion that you worked in your robe all day or that since you worked from home “it wasn’t a real job.” However, both these notions are no longer the norm thankfully. Large corporations have remote employees and more people are operating successful businesses from their home than ever before It is a great time to set up your home office and enjoy the amazing benefits that working from home as a Travel Agent can offer.
As you consider your home office, whether it’s established or in it’s creation, there are 5 Steps one should follow to ensure that you find success, enjoyment and productivity when working from your home.
Not to be taken lightly, consider the location of your home office. Obviously, everyone’s home is different, some have more space and some have less. Some of you may have a home full of kids and some of you may have empty bedrooms. Whatever your situation may be, look at your home with your home office in mind. Where can it go? How big can it be? Do you have enough lighting to work productively? Do you have privacy?
If you don’t have the room for a home office naturally, you should consider the option of a small investment in construction to make your home office. By adding a couple walls or splitting a larger room, you may find the creation of your perfect home office, all without having to actually move into a new house.
Additionally, when finding the location of your new or renewed home office, consider noise and traffic around you. If you aren’t able to focus, your work will sacrifice so think about your home, the people in it and the routines that occur and apply those thoughts to your home office location.
2. The Necessities
After nearly 10 years of working from home in 3 different houses, I have found that each situation is unique. The thought of “one desk fits all” just isn’t applicable when setting up or renovating your home office. Once your location is decided, get some measurements and get to researching the best furniture for that space. If you have a large empty room, invest in your success with a large, yet functional desk that will give you room to grow. If your space is tight, look for a desk that offers space to work, but also offers a flow that will work within your space.
Necessities, excluding technology which we will cover next, are:
– Comfortable Chair
– Storage and Organizational compartments
– Adequate Lighting (Natural or Electrical)
While starting a business is challenging, both mentally and financially, there are some great ways to achieve your home office neccessities while not breaking the bank. Look for used items, online and true gems can always be found at local swap meets or garage sales.
The most costly investment in your home office, whether new or renovated, will be your technology. The costs of technology equipment is more affordable than ever, especially the tools that you’ll need and utilize most in your home based travel business.
There are a lot of options in the area of technology but the most cost efficient with the greatest benefits would to purchase a quality laptop computer and set that computer up to also act as a desktop computer when in your home office. This gives you the benefits of a laptop and a desktop computer, all while only having to purchase, update and maintain one computer. To do this successfully, you’ll obviously need the laptop and then an additional screen/monitor, keyboard, mouse and the necessary cables to connect the items.
There are a lot of extras that can be purchased as your business grows but below is a great place to start:
-Laptop Computer – Updated with the latest technology
-External Display (22” or Larger) – To be used at your desk
-Keyboard and Mouse – To be used when at your desk
-Recommended – External (1 TB or larger) hard drive for back ups and additional storage
Arranging your office in this manner with a laptop serving as a travel-ready laptop and also serving as your desktop is a home run. Not only do you save money in only having to purchase one computer but you also get the best of both worlds. I have personally been running this same setup for over 10 years and would not advise any other way for the budget minded business owner.
4. Phone and Communication
In today’s time, having an updated smartphone is a must and there is just no argument about it. Not only is today’s smartphone able to complete monumental tasks such as graphic design, video editing, and word processing, it also allows for you to communicate and interact with your clients easily. As we’ve learned in this article, communication preferences of the Millennial generation and all generations in general have changed and evolved. Most communication can be done through email, in-app messengers, text messages and lastly, phone calls.
Having an up-to-date smartphone will not only increase your enjoyment of using it but more importantly, it will provide you with a great tool to enjoy the freedom of working from home with flexibility. Most of the tools you will be using in your home based business will be available in both computer and smartphone applications, allowing you total freedom to decide what method you enjoy most.
Lastly, investing in your smartphone not only enables the above, but also gives you a fantastic tool for marketing your travel business to your clients. Using your smartphone as a camera and video content creation device is just an added bonus!
5. The Flow and Getting to Work
Now that the workspace, hardware and technology set-up has been completed, it’s time to get to work! While working from home is different than a traditional workplace environment, with some creative adjustments, scheduling and persistence, your success as a home based Travel Agent can excel. Start your mornings off with a routine, just as you would if you were actually having to leave your home and go to work. Take breaks and enjoy the freedom that working from home can provide. Lunch doesn’t have to be eaten inside of a break room or at your desk so take advantage and eat outside or even take the opportunity to leave your home office for lunch. A break from your office, just like at a traditional job, is always a great way to reset your day and mind.
As you dive into working from your home, you’ll find overwhelming joys and benefits. Whether it’s the ability to have flexibility in your work day or just the convenience of not having to commute, the benefits are measurable and very appealing. On the contrary, after 10 years of working from home, there are some negatives such as the difficulty of “leaving” work. When your office is in your home, it’s very easy to react to an email right away, however, I highly suggest creating and adhering to “office hours.” Those hours can be flexible but provide you the limitations needed to find a successful home/work life balance when your office is indeed, in your home.
In addition to successfully managing yourself and your business, don’t hesitate to let your friends and family know that when you are working, you’re working. You are not available for errands or to help with projects, this is your time to run your business and that it needs to be respected. In any case, it will take some adjustment for you and your family but as long as their is respect and value in what you are doing in your home based business, it will find it’s place and become the new normal for everyone involved.
Lastly, I want to congratulate you on your decision to set up and work from a home based office. As mentioned, it’s been 10 years for me and I wouldn’t want it any other way. There are bad days, stressful days and days where I wished I had a remote office but they are overwhelmingly crushed by the good days. Because of the ability to work from home, i’m able to be a very active father and husband and have adjusted my work schedule and hours to further empower that. I’ve been able to enjoy amazing moments with my family during the week that would be impossible if I had to work at a traditional job.
Now, get to work and dial in your home based office for success! If you have any questions, comments or thoughts on this article, please feel free to email me at info@TravelProfessionalNEWS.com!