SOHO

SOHO – Small Office / Home Office

I came across this phrase today whilst having a bit of a surf.  The first thing that springs to mind with SOHO is that infamous part of London – but it apparently stands for Small Office/Home Office. It’s something which has become increasing more important with the shift in culture of working from home and also the fantastic advances in technology too.

My SOHO

It’s quite simple really – a computer desk with a computer and all in 1 printer/scanner.  I’ve got a pot of pens and a white board above the computer screen.  Pretty average really.  I’ve got boxes which have my marketing materials, paperwork,some products and a bookshelf.  That’s it, apart from the cordless phone and my mobile phone.

That’s all I need to run my organisation which has turned over over half a million pounds in less than two years – part time around toddler twins who stay at home.

Creating your Home Office

I would love to aspire to the glossy home magazine version of a home office, but I live in a reality of being a really busy working mum who thrives on chaos.  My husband may not be able to find anything, but I know exactlyish where everything is and why I’ve put it there.  I do make sure that my core items:  pens, stapler and scissors are in plentiful supply for those moments when I am temporarily unsure of their locations.

Here are my 5 top tips:

  1. Decide where you are going to have your “home office” – it doesn’t matter whether it’s the kitchen table, the spare room, garage, shed…..
  2. Work out what equipment you actually need – not what you would like.  If you are starting off and you are on a budget – see if you can borrow or buy 2nd hand. (free-cycle/buy sell swap boards/classifieds etc are great for this)
  3. If space is tight consider using storage boxes with lids on to store any paperwork/products.  You can always then store these out of the way and get them out when you need them.
  4. Try to keep your home office stuff separate from your personal stuff.  Don’t let your household bills get mixed up with business invoices.  Keep all your important documents safe – and shred and recycle the junk mail.
  5. Use your PC where possible to store/organise your data.  Have folder discipline with all your key documents and e-mails.   Also remember to de-clutter your computer just like you would a normal filing cabinet.

My Mobile Office

To be honest, I have learnt to refine my work so that I can do a lot of it “mobile” – whether that be in the back garden with the children or actually out on the road.

My smart phone is an absolute lifesaver – although I do have fat fingers and sometimes texts get spelt funny or I accidently like something on Facebook that I didn’t want to!  I was really against getting one, but as soon as I worked out how to make a call and all the other functions, I was completely sold on it.

The netbook is also quite handy, if I am trying to write or create documents.  I always look for child friendly places which have free wi-fi.  I am encouraged that more and more places are doing free wi-fi, which makes life so much more easier and cheaper when you are trying to work out in the field rather than at home.

My biggest tip: keep your computer/laptop away from young children and cats – as you never quite know what happens when they start pressing keys!

Sarah HenshallSOHO