Is A Family Farm Office Right For You?
As farm families implement more formal business practices and processes, most recognize the need to move their farming operation’s office activities from their dining room table to an office location outside their home. Setting up an office for your farming operation is not one of those things you can or should jump into without proper planning. In working with farm families for more than 7 years, I’ve found that these questions seem to come up again and again as plans are made for establishing a farm office:
1. Can an office help me separate my personal/family life from our business?
2. What about office location—should it be on-farm or off-farm? What office design will help us improve efficiency & productivity?
3. How much space is needed—square footage, number and purpose of rooms, storage area?
4. What layout will work best for our needs?
5. Will this office meet our current and future needs or will we outgrow it in the near future? Is expansion an option as we grow?
6. What technology is needed?
7. What security / surveillance is appropriate?
If you are thinking about establishing an office for your farming operation, begin by considering each of these questions. You’ll probably want to visit some other farm offices to get ideas of what can be done and what works well for others. Once you have identified your specific office needs and have decided whether to build, modify an existing structure or rent, you’ll be ready to begin planning.
Benefits of a Family Farm Office
A well-planned office can add to your efficiency and productivity as well as improving security. Some benefits I have seen and heard include:
- A quieter work environment.
- I don’t have to clear the table, “my desk,” for lunch at noon.
- My kids don’t have the frustration of Mom or Dad being home but working, and not able to focus on them.
- When I am home, I am really “there” for my family; it helps eliminate those blurred lines of work vs. family.
- When I leave the office for the day, I am done. When I am home, I don’t feel I should do more work.
- I can have my office supplies, files, etc. organized and ready for use each day.
- I can have confidential phone conversations in a quiet, private place.
- I have other office staff around to share the workload and share ideas – synergy.
- I keep more regular office hours at an office; people know if they call during work hours their call will be answered.
In addition, for most families, the reduction in stress and turmoil produced by getting your office out of your home is priceless. For additional information, contact FamilyFarms Group through our website: www.familyfarmsgroup.com
Implementation Facilitator, FamilyFarms Group