Work & Money

How To Streamline Your Business Operations At Your Kitchen Table

If you’re a wealthy individual with storage closets the size of bungalows and a fleet of priceless antique clocks distributed evenly throughout your mansion, this post isn’t for you. Why are you here? Just to see how regular folk live? Your voyeurism isn’t appreciated, and you are cordially invited to go elsewhere and read a post entitled “Why You Need a Diamond-Encrusted Bin”.

Alright, now we’ve shed the upper crust, we can get back to reality. Home space was valuable enough before this infuriating pandemic, and it’s since been reclassified as priceless. The average family house might now need to fulfil three distinct (and often contradictory) roles: safe haven, school, and office. That’s fairly challenging for a large house, let alone a small one.

Plenty of people don’t have kids, however, so let’s disregard that part and focus on the key issue of running a business from a home that lacks the space for a dedicated home office. If you’re currently in that position, tapping away at a laptop on your kitchen table, you might be stuck on one core question: how can you make the setup work better?

Even small improvements to that arrangement could make your working life markedly easier (and allow you to enjoy your free time more). To help you out, we’re going to cover some vital tips for streamlining your home business operation. Let’s get started, shall we?

Switch to paperless operation

When you’re trying to work on a kitchen table, you’re up against some serious obstacles: most notably, you’re competing for space with spatulas, and using an area that needs to be vacated on a regular basis (so it can actually be used as a kitchen table, of course). 

Accordingly, the first thing you should do to keep your business moving along at a snappy rate is ensure that you’re running a completely paperless operation. Digital is the way to go.

That means clearing away physical receipts, canceling paper bank statements, and keeping digital notes instead of scribbling on notepads (yes, the lady in the featured image needs to move with the times as well). The absence of big piles of paper around your laptop will help you concentrate and make it easier to avoid getting in the way of regular kitchen activity.

Invest in a high-performance laptop

This suggestion is extremely straightforward. The faster your business laptop is, the less time you’ll spend waiting for it to load or process things, and the more efficiently you’ll be able to work. Having a high-end machine could be the difference between finishing a task in an hour and finishing it in 45 minutes — not everything will be faster, but enough things will be.

A business-centric laptop will also have other useful features, such as fingerprint recognition (great for speedy security) and comfortable keys (poorly-designed laptop keyboards will lead to typing discomfort). After all, it isn’t practical to have a range of peripherals on a kitchen table.

Clearly delineate business hours

If you’re still staring at your screen while your partner or housemate is chopping lettuce, you’ve made a significant scheduling mistake. 

The simple act of preparing food can be a huge distraction, after all: even if you’re wearing noise-canceling headphones, you’ll be aware of what’s happening around you, preventing you from working effectively.

The solution here is simply to set clearly-defined business hours. During those hours, the area is your de facto office and should be treated as such by anyone you live with. But once those hours are up, the onus is on you to clear the space and once again view it as a regular kitchen area. It’s a simple action, but one that’s extremely important.

Make good use of voice recognition

The other tips we’ve looked at here are fairly conventional, so let’s go with a curveball in the form of voice recognition. Hunching over your kitchen table while you type is never going to be particularly comfortable, so why not take advantage of modern voice recognition technology?

It’s actually relatively easy to use voice recognition at this point. Google Docs, for instance, supports it natively; you just need to go into Tools and then Voice typing and that’s it.

And yes, if you’re curious, I am using it right now. It isn’t going to be perfect, obviously, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. You can simply talk however you normally would and edit it afterwards. So whenever you’re feeling uncomfortable at your kitchen table, try talking instead. It might be exactly what you need to get things done more quickly.

Running a business from a kitchen table is never going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done effectively, because it can. You just need to take a few small steps to make your operation a little bit easier to handle. Good luck!

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