The American workplace has changed dramatically over the past decade, especially in the tech and marketing sectors. Earlier this year, it was reported 3. 9 million workers, including freelancers, working remotely or from home at least half of the week. Projections suggest this number will continue to rise over the next decade.
It’s clear, now more than ever, an increased number of employees are clocking in remotely. Furthermore, more entrepreneurs are running businesses from their personal laptops. There are a lot of advantages to working from home as a full-time employee, contract worker, business owner, or freelancer. However, when you live in an apartment, there can some hurdles too. One of those includes the proper functionality of your system. As it would be your system that you’d be servicing, out of your pocket, this is one thing to be taken care of. You’ll want to plan for these challenges so they don’t mess up your workday or create ongoing problems.
Many businesses now have large teams of remote workers which is great in many ways but does have its drawbacks. If you’re going to work from home, you’ll have to have your tech needs in place, along with a backup plan in case you lose electricity or internet service. This will be a priority. Here are some concerns and solutions you should be thinking about.
- Bad cell phone reception – Even if you have good WiFi, you’ll still need your phone if you’re working from home. You’ll probably still need to make calls and send texts and, in the event, your internet service goes out, you’ll need that hotspot capability until your service is restored. You also might need to change cellular providers to ensure you have the coverage you’ll need.
- Internet service dependability – Not all service providers are created equal. Carefully do your homework and see what options you have. Once you do this, compare prices, dependability, and talk to your neighbors before making a commitment.
- WiFi security – Be sure your router is modern and meets current security standards. You want to avoid one that has easily hacked security protocols, such as WEP or WPA, go for the most current standard, WPA2. Also, be sure to secure your router with a strong password. It also can’t hurt to give your network an unusual or intimidating name.
- Power outages – Find out public locations nearby where you would be permitted to sit comfortably and work in the event the power in your home is interrupted.
Other solutions you can consider are using WiFi to make and receive calls and/or investing in a WiFi extender or mesh system. By integrating a number of solutions, you should have your bases pretty well covered.
When you work from home, whether you’re freelancing, teleworking, or building your own business, or having someone else build your website, where you work is one of the most important considerations. Things to think about include:
- Office or work zone – You’ll need to be sure your workspace is somewhere you can work without interruption. Or look into Office space for rent, you can get smaller or bigger offices that will fit your budget. You’ll want a home office or, at the very least, a desk area where you can keep your work-related items separated from your personal life. This will help with both distractions and clutter.
- Inventory – Small businesses that sell merchandise need space for their inventory. In an apartment, this can be difficult because there simply might not be enough room. A good solution is to rent a small storage unit to keep goods out of your living room. If you have roommates, they’ll probably appreciate this as well.
- Shipping – If your home business involves shipping merchandise, you’ll want to be sure to have a reliable system in place that doesn’t require you to keep too much packaging material on hand. Alternatives are drop-shipping or outsourcing fulfillment to a third party.
- Scheduling – It’s important to treat your home business hours much like a boss would set work hours. Also, make certain your family, friends, and roommates fully understand you’re off-limits during your workday. Tip: Remember, to power down at the end of your day, you don’t want to get burned out.
- Roommates – Speaking of roommates, you’ll want to discuss your working from home ahead of time to make sure everyone is on board and in agreement. If you have a roommate who also works from home, this might cause conflict. Be sure to establish ground rules and address topics such as space, distractions, and clutter.
If you find it’s hard to concentrate in your apartment, you might want to explore paying a small fee to use a co-working space. Most cities have them now, and many have the open floorplans and amenities that have become increasingly popular with millennials in recent years.
When you own your own business, there are legal concerns you’ll have to address to ensure you aren’t inadvertently breaking any laws. Before opening your virtual (or physical!) doors, be sure all your proverbial ducks are in a row. Be sure to check the following:
- Lease agreement – Review your lease to make sure you don’t violate your rental agreement by operating a business within your walls. Just to be 100 percent certain, ask your landlord if there are any objections and be prepared to present solutions for anything he/she voices concerns about.
- Ordinances – Ascertain if the business you plan to operate out of your apartment complies with local ordinances. Details you’ll need to think about include: hours of operation, noise ordinances, fire/building codes, number of employees, insurance requirements, and parking. If applicable, you’ll want to also check your plans against your homeowner association’s bylaws.
- Zoning laws – Confirm with your local government to see if you can legally operate a business inside your apartment. Zoning laws vary in different cities, counties, and towns. Be sure your type of business is allowed.
- Licenses/permits – Do you need any business licenses or permits before beginning operations? This is something you want to clear before you start making any transactions because if you do business without having the right authority, you could land yourself in hot water.
- Data breaches – You should have this mostly covered when you go through your tech checklist, however, keep in mind you’ll have to ensure you meet government compliance and regulatory requirements when handling data. If not, you could end up paying a steep penalty.
Running your business from home comes with many rewards. You have freedom, flexibility, and can essentially create your own lifestyle while you earn money doing something you love. Before getting started, make sure your apartment is set up in a way where you can run your business. This way, you can then put your primary focus on your core competencies to successfully build your business.