Are you tired of having to pick up all of your work because the table has to be set for dinner? Is accommodating art projects and homework affecting your productivity? Maybe now is the time to get serious with your business and set up your official home office.
When you start a home office project, you first need to choose a location. Find something that you can isolate from the traffic – behind a door is best, but even a side alcove of your living room cut off by furniture and defined by strategic placement of area rugs works. By defining the area, you may even also be able to write it off of your taxes in some cases, so be very deliberate with this step.
Once you have a place set aside for your office, you need to consider the following features: equipment, furniture, office supplies and accessories. These give the area functionality and definition. Properly done, they can also give your area style and that air of professionalism you want when clients come over.
includes all of the tools of your trade – computer, phone, fax, printer, copier, shredder etc. In a regular office, they will be very prominent. In a home office, they need to be less so – after all, you have a limit to the area you are using. Often a good computer desk can discretely contain and organize the majority of this equipment, so check around for your options (more on this later). Consider also multifunctional equipment. An all-in-one printer/copier/scanner/fax machine can take the place of four pieces of equipment and is often compact enough to tuck inside a desk cabinet.
Desktop or Laptop ?
Another consideration is whether you want to use a laptop or desktop computer. Each offers options – convenience and mobility in the former, economy and ease of use in the latter. One way to have the best of both worlds is to put a docking station for your laptop on your desk. This will give you the full size keyboard, mouse and screen of a desktop while still allowing you the mobility of your laptop all in one convenient package. This option even beats having two computers because you never need to worry about keeping them in synch with each other.
Furniture of course includes the computer desk. For your home office, you will WANT desk space and storage, so consider a corner desk with overhead bins in a material that goes well with the image you want to project. This will give you more than enough space to store office supplies and even keep your equipment discretely gathered up and together. Get a comfortable ergonomic chair for yourself and extra seats for clients. If you have the space, a coffee table would be ideal to lay out presentations, but if this is impractical, consider at least a side table or two.
Finally, consider accessories – pictures and wall coverings that are conservative and stylish, an oval area rug to establish a walkway and perhaps something strong like a bamboo area rug under the desk on top of the tile flooring, perhaps a plant or two. You should NOT be putting too much here – your office should feel clean and uncluttered and too many frills will run counter to this goal. Once your decorations are in place, you should have an elegant and stylish place to conduct business at home.
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