Why It's Important to Have a Personal Home Office
It is unfortunate that so many people choose to avoid the task of keeping a home office for personal use.
Many don’t want to be bothered, don’t want to spend the money to create one or think that doing so is a waste of their time.
What they don’t realize is that by avoiding this task, they can cause real problems for themselves that sometimes can be life threatening or financially ruinous.
Setting up a home office is not as difficult as you may think, and while it may cost a bit to do so, the amount of money and grief that having one saves is well worth any effort or expense a person might have initially.
Basic Equipment You Need
Most people already own some of the basic pieces of equipment for a home office.
You only need a computer with internet capability and service, a telephone, a scanner, a printer, a flash drive and a copy machine. You also need a program such as Microsoft Office to use for creating word processing papers, databases, spreadsheets and the like.
If you don't already have one, buy an all in one printer, scanner and copier to save space as well as money
These units are relatively inexpensive to buy, but are invaluable aids for people who want to do a good job of record keeping.
You will also need a dedicated area in your home where you can place a desk that can hold the above equipment, a comfortable office chair with good back support, a file cabinet, sets of colored hanging file folders, manila folders, file tabs, pens and pencils.
You use the file cabinet, folders, tabs and writing implements to create a system that allows you to store information you should save.
In addition you will need other small office supplies such as scissors, staples, a staple remover, paper clips and similar items.
The filing system is the heart of your home office because, once set up, it allows you to easily access the information you store there.
You can either do a simple A, B, C system or you can file things alphabetically by name.
For example, you may want to set up a file marked “I” for all of your insurance papers or you might want to set up a series of filed marked “Insurance Home”, “Insurance Car”, etc.
Not everybody sets up a home office the same way, but no matter your choice of setup you need to make sure that you have all of the equipment that is necessary to take care of your business.
What a Home Office Does for You
The main purpose of a home office is to help you organize your important papers.
Thus, instead of having piles of papers thrown into a box (which makes finding anything almost impossible), you have them neatly organized into alphabetical sections that give you easy and fast access to them.
- Want to know what you paid for that sofa you bought last year? Look in the file marked “Furniture”.
- Want to know the phone number of a contractor who did work for you several years ago and how much he charged? Look in the file marked “Contractors”.
Most people don’t think it’s important to save this information, but it can be extremely valuable.
Here are some examples for you to ponder:
Easy Access to Tax Information
People who maintain personal home offices find doing their taxes to be much easier because all of the financial information they need is right at their fingertips.
This is especially true for people who keep important information on spreadsheets and update them regularly throughout the year.
I can tell you to the penny, at the end of each year, how much I paid for health insurance, doctor visitors, prescription medications, operations and other health care costs.
Having this information at hand when figuring deductions on tax forms can save hours of labor intensive work.
Even if you don't do your own taxes, this is important because if you take a box full of receipts to an accountant he's going to charge you much more than if you hand him organized itemized lists!
Medical Billing Errors
I became extremely ill in March of 1999. As part of my testing, I was told to get my lung capacity checked at a local hospital and was told the State would pay for it.
Three years later I got a bill for $450 from that hospital. I looked into my files and recovered the notes I had saved, and then contacted the billing department of the hospital to say that I had proof that the bill had been paid.
Only then did they tell me that they had changed to a new computer program and had lost some of their information so were “testing” to see who had paid and who had not!
Once I told them I had written proof of payment, and that the payment was made by the state, there was no further discussion. I owed them nothing, and I paid them nothing!
Cable Bill Problems
Awhile back I had a big billing problem with my cable company. They wanted to charge me a considerable amount more than I had been paying in the past, and I balked. When I could not get them to lower the bill, I contacted a federal senator who then contacted the FCC who then contacted the cable company.
I got a letter from the President of the cable company apologizing, lowering my costs by about $35 per month and telling me that if I had further problems to contact him directly.
The next year, the same billing problem occurred. I looked up the name of the company President, contacted the cable company, referred to the issue from the previous year and asked them if they would like me to, once again, contact the senator, the FCC and their boss. Once again, the price was reduced.
Hanging onto those papers so that I could refer to them, have the names of the contacts, etc. saved me hundreds of dollars.
My filing system allowed me to get this great benefit.
Money Isn’t the Only Issue
Health issues are just as important as those related to money.
It is extremely important for people to know which medications they are allergic to, they take or have taken, how much they cost and their doses.
When you have a medical emergency, being able to easily access this information could make the difference between life and death, or at the very least between being able to get well as opposed to continuing to be horribly ill.
For example, if you are unconscious and health workers don’t know you’re on blood thinners, they might treat you in a way that would cause a life threatening bleed. However, if someone in your family can easily access your medical files, this type of problem can be completely avoided.
Creating a Home Office Is a Smart Move
People who don’t take the time to organize and retain important information are always the ones who lose money and create all sorts of problems for themselves.
There is nothing like having a solid paper trail to document what you have, what you do and whom you have dealt with.
I use my home office every single day to help me research situation, scan, copy, print and save important information and keep track of my comings and goings.
If you consider running your life the same way as running a business, you’ll be much more likely to be successful.
Creating a home office is a big step in the right direction towards achieving this goal.
Do you keep a home office?
© 2017 Sondra Rochelle