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6 Essential Tips for Home-Based Business Meetings During the Pandemic, by Guest Contributor Brittany Fisher

The picture shows a person working in a home office

Today I bring you another business related post from my special guest contributor, Brittany Fisher!

Working from home has become the new normal for many people, with the end of COVID nowhere in sight. But especially for entrepreneurs, figuring out how to create a safe, professional environment for business meetings has been frustrating. Whether your home office is too small to accommodate social distancing or your living room needs some design changes, it’s important to think about how to make meaningful changes to your space and prepare for both in-person and virtual meetings so that you can run your business while staying as safe as possible.

When you’re ready to create a safe meeting area in your home, follow these tips brought to you below by Ann Writes Inspiration.

Double-check the basics

Before you start planning your next meeting, now is a great time to take a quick step back and make sure you’ve taken care of all of the basics for your business. For example, if you’ve just recently started your small business, make sure you’ve reserved your business’s name through the office of the Secretary of State, formed an LLC so that you can set up a business bank account and protect your personal assets, and applied for an Employer Identification Number. Taking these steps will ensure your business is legit and allow you to fully focus on setting up and prepping for important meetings for your business.

Spruce things up

It can be difficult to truly see your furniture because you live with it every day, but our couches and chairs take a lot of wear and tear in a given year. If your furnishings are worn out or damaged by pets, it’s time for a change. You don’t have to give up a favorite piece, however; simply look for an upholstery service that can help you revive the frame with new fabric. Search online for local upholstery shops to see your options, and read reviews to help with your decision. As for the cost, it will vary according to the size of the piece you want changed and whether or not you have a custom job. This is a fast, easy way to refresh your furniture and give the space an update.

Make it safe

Fresh furniture will make an impact for both in-person and virtual meetings, but there are some other considerations you’ll need to make if you’re going to have a client in your home. While safety guidelines vary by state, there are some universal suggestions to keep in mind, such as wearing masks and social distancing. Seniors, in particular, may want to require anyone who’s meeting in-person show their vaccination record or a recent negative COVID test.

If your home office doesn’t have the space to allow for six feet of distance between you and your client, move the meeting to the living room. Open windows to keep the air circulating, and consider investing in an air purifier. You might even think about adding UV light to your HVAC system, which has been shown in studies to kill certain types of bacteria and has other advantages when it comes to airflow.

Keep in mind that if you make any changes to your home, they could make the home more attractive to buyers should you decide to sell. Always make notes of the changes you’ve made, and keep receipts as well. Doing so could help increase your property’s appraisal value.

Stage the area

Whether you’re going to hold meetings in a home office or in the living room, online or in-person, it’s essential to think about how you’ll set up the area. In-person meetings will benefit from a clean, uncluttered space with access to hand sanitizer and snacks or beverages that are in sealed containers. For virtual meetings, set up a small work area with great lighting and make sure the space that’s visible on-screen is simple and tastefully decorated to avoid distractions. You’ll also want to ensure that your family members and pets won’t interrupt during this time. And especially if you’re meeting in-person, certain upgrades and improvements are sure to impress, such as a freshly painted front door and walls, polished hardwoods, and well-manicured landscaping. Even better, by making these improvements for your home-based meetings, you can actually also potentially increase your home’s appraisal value.

Keep contact to a minimum

The beauty of online meetings is that everyone can remain separated and contact-free, but in-person appointments sometimes require things like signatures and payment arrangements. Look for an accounting service that handles invoicing and payments to make the process touch-free, and set up an account with a service such as DocuSign, which allows for digital signatures on important documents.

Set up an online space for your business

If you don’t already have a business website, now is a great time to set one up. Doing so will not only allow you to market your business, but it also gives your clients and potential clients an easy point of contact for setting up meetings, asking questions about products/services, making payments to you, and so on.

Making business arrangements can be tricky these days, but the good news is, there are several simple things you can do to ensure safety. Be sure to consult with your client before any in-person meeting to find out whether they have special health considerations that might necessitate a virtual encounter instead.

Remember, you can find more incredible content just like this by exploring the many different blog posts available on Ann Writes Inspiration!

Brittany Fisher has spent more than 20 years as a CPA. She runs her own site, Financiallywell.info where she shares her knowledge about taxes, personal finance and general financial literacy hoping to help anyone who may benefit from it

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