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Having a home office for client meetings has many advantages: it’s cost-effective, gives you plenty of freedom and flexibility and you’re always close to home in case a crisis occurs.
However, the only way you can reap all the benefits of working from home is if you provide your clients with a professional and comfortable place.
Here’s how to make your home office client-friendly.
First things first, ensuring you have a separate room in your home for visits is very important. Conducting business with clients from your living room or kitchen is very unprofessional and can make many people feel uncomfortable.
Minimizing distractions in your home office is also an important step. Make sure your home office is properly insulated and as far away from the noise as possible.
When your clients arrive, turn off the TV, lower the music levels and ensure additional privacy with elegant window treatments.
Create a good layout
While not many of us can afford to completely isolate their workspace from their homes, your clients shouldn’t have to roam around your house in search of your office.
So, make sure to place your office somewhere near the entrance and clearly mark the path your visitors should take to reach your meeting area.
A sign outside as well as on your door and hallway are all you need to provide your clients with a stress-free visit.
Your home office might be small, but you simply have to carve out a cosy space for your clients to sit.
Your safest bet is designing a traditional office layout as you see in most workplaces: desk with comfortable seating. This allows face-to-face interaction while offering plenty of comfort and practicality.
Everything you need will be at your arm’s reach and you will be able to dedicate your full attention to your client.
Pay attention to décor
While appropriate décor greatly depends on what you do and the services you provide, there are a few things that are universal.
You want to invest in tasteful, inoffensive and politically correct decoration. Anything that’s too distracting or offensive has no place in your meeting area.
The idea is to get your clients to focus on your service or product, not on the things around them.
Add some greenery
Indoor plants have the ability to transform any space into an oasis of relaxation, which is exactly what you want for your home office meeting area. A few potted plants are all you need to both boost your space aesthetically and provide it with fresh oxygen.
There are plants that require minimal maintenance—only occasional watering and some regular sunlight. However, if you have a notorious black thumb, you can decorate your office by using rent plants that stay in perfect condition thanks to dedicated people who take care of them.
Any design and any type of plant are at your disposal and you’ll have a green environment perfect for doing business.
Remove personal items
In order to appear completely professional and keep your client meetings on track, make sure to keep your personal items away from your workspace.
Your safest approach is to keep your professional and private life as separate as possible, which means keeping it clutter-free and devoid of too many family photos and memorabilia.
A few personal items will give your space a pleasant and relaxed vibe, but too many can make your clients feel like they are invading on your private space.
Ensure practical parking
Your clients have to feel welcome both in and outside your space. So, providing them with practical parking is very important if you’re planning on seeing clients regularly.
If you own a house, your driveway is more than suitable, just make sure to keep it free by putting your vehicles in the garage or somewhere else. You don’t want your clients to park on someone else’s property on a regular basis if you want to avoid neighbourly feuds.
In order to leave a great first impression, ensure your home’s exterior is well-maintained. Keep your curb appeal attractive and pleasant with neatly mowed lawn and some flowers for colour.
Some of these things might not seem important to you, but a favourable first impression is key to a successful business. Your private life and your professional life can coexist as long as you stick to these tips.
As a senior business strategist, Lillian Connors believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for a much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.