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Chapter 5. Setting Up Your Records and P... > Setting Up Your Office Space

Setting Up Your Office Space

You have your record-keeping functions in order; now you're ready to set up your office space. But before you connect all that shiny, new equipment from the last chapter, make sure that these items are in order:

  • Is your electrical system up to the task? Are the outlets where they need to be? Are the phone jacks near the actual phone base? Is the wiring “iffy”? Then have it inspected and upgraded before proceeding.

  • Is your office space dry and free from water leaks? Leaks can damage costly equipment, so address the problem right now.


    What is your current employer's policy regarding unused vacation and sick leave? If you can, you will want to use up any leave you have earned, especially if you aren't reimbursed for unused leave. You might want to get in one last checkup on your employer's dime before you go.

    As a safeguard, you should also have any personal items ready to go and boxed up. Your work computer should be cleared of any personal files, including resumes and personal emails. Your voicemail should be completely cleaned out. Do all of this prior to giving notice, even if your company does not escort people out the door right away. Your boss' reactions might be hard to predict, and you need to be prepared.

    If your employer supplied you with a computer for home use, be sure that this computer has been cleared of any personal files and emails. Be sure that it is in “ready to return” condition. If you are able to do so, bring the home computer with you on the day you give notice. If you do not want money taken out of your final paychecks for things such as charitable deductions, be sure to ask payroll to stop those deductions about one month before you give notice. (You do not have to explain that you are leaving the company. Just say that you are reviewing your personal budget and making some changes.)

    Check your state's laws regarding employment, notice, and final paychecks. Must you give 14 days notice? Is this specified in your employment contract? Here are some reasons why giving 14 days notice might be a bad idea:

    1. This avoids the potential problem of misbehavior and harassment by your immediate boss. If such behavior seems likely, you might want to avoid the last two weeks of misery.

    2. It allows you to focus fully and completely on your new life rather than having to pretend to be interested in your old life for another two weeks.

    3. While two weeks' notice might be custom, there is no guarantee that your employer will honor this custom. Many employers will say that they expect two weeks notice, but will immediately cut off anyone as soon as they give notice. If you are fairly certain you will be escorted out of the building as soon as you turn in your resignation, many of the advantages of giving 14 days advance notice disappear.

    But giving 14 days notice is not always a bad thing. In fact, it could start your business off on an excellent footing. Here are some reasons why giving 14 days notice might be a good idea:

    1. If you give two weeks notice, and your employer allows you to continue working for those 14 days, you might have an opportunity to market your new services to people within the company. (Just remember to stay within the parameters of your employment contract.) In fact, your current employer might become one of your first clients.

    2. It gives you two weeks to practice your marketing pitch—think of all of your co-workers and colleagues in other departments who will give you a lot of practice as they keep asking you, “Oh, where are you going to work when you leave?”

    3. It will make it easier to use your boss as a reference.

    In short, if your employer will let you continue working the last 14 days, giving notice is a great way to make your transition and let everyone know about your new business.

    Some bosses will become visibly upset when you turn in your resignation. They might even beg you to stay at the company, and make a counteroffer to get you to stay. If you receive a counteroffer, I recommend that you refuse it. In many cases, your boss over time, will come to view you as expensive and disloyal, rather than as someone who stayed on at the request of the company. Meanwhile, the problems you had before you gave your resignation will still be there. And you must consider that if your employer really valued you, he would have made you a satisfied employee before you gave notice. At the time you give notice, you are closing the door on your employment with that company. (That is why it is so important to be well prepared when you do so.)

  • Give your home office that extra coat of paint if needed. Buy a new rug, hang your favorite painting, and make it comfortable. You will be spending a lot of time here. Make it comfortable!

  • Your home office might have been the family junk room before you took it over—end that pattern! Furniture, wall hangings, or knickknacks that just don't fit in other parts of the home are not allowed in your office.



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