Home Offices Tips

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How would one build a home office without spending a fortune?

Cost-Effective Home Office Planning

There are many ways to create a great space for working at home without spending a fortune. You may end up feeling a great sense of accomplishment after turning some wasted space into an efficient home office.

Here are some ideas:

  • Define your space for work keeping work separate from family.
  • Create a plan and take measurements
  • Determine what you can do yourself and what you might need help with. You may be able to paint and decorate the room yourself but could require technical help setting up the computer.
  • Inventory what you already have available and make a list of your office supplies that you need.
  • Shop around for bargains at yard sales and flea markets
  • You may be able to take used furniture as a temporary option
  • Get ideas on line or from decorating shows
    and magazines
You don't have to spend thousands to have an effective home office. Your office can also be a "work-in-progress" while you are becoming established at your home-based business.

How would I make my home office convertable?

Keeping Convertible Home Offices Secure

There are rolling computer carts that are easy to move when necessary and a few carts feature locks to protect your equipment and files. If you are going to move your furniture often, test each piece to make sure that it can be moved without falling apart. If your home office is accessed by your family members for personal use or homework, you may want to consider separating your business work from their files. Windows XP allows you to set up multiple logins on your computer with various access levels so your teenagers can't access your files or other settings on your computer. Another way to make your office convertible is to make it portable with a laptop computer. A laptop allows you functionality and portability.

Is The Furniture Easy To Assemble?

Assembling Home Office Furniture

You don't have to be Bob Villa to assemble office furniture. Make sure that any furniture you buy has clear instructions. Look at the directions before you leave the store and don't be afraid to ask the salesperson for help if you don't understand the instructions. You may consider paying someone to put the furniture together. Sometimes, discount office furniture is missing certain items or hardware for installation. Be sure when buying items on clearance that you're aware of whether or not there are missing pieces as well as the warranty and return policy on the item.

What Are Your Furniture Needs?

Determining Home Office Furniture Needs

When deciding to set up a home office, take a close look at the furniture you already own and determine what's missing. Do you have enough filing space, drawer space, writing surface or room for your computer, printer, modem, fax, and other necessary items? It's perfectly fine to improve the look of your office in order to help improve your productivity.

Is your existing computer suitable for business use or is it time to upgrade? If your budget doesn't currently allow it, work with what you have and plan to slowly add on to your office in a way that will most benefit the business. For example, if your having a faster computer will earn you more business, make that your first investment. If your computer chair is really hurting your back and inhibiting your productivity, make getting a new chair your priority.

What is a good plan for creating a home office?

Working From a Home Office

Whether you use your home office for paying bills or running a company, there are some basic things that are needed. Plan your home office for maximum efficiency. If your space is limited, you won't have as many choices. If you need to share space with another room, identify space that is infrequently used, such as a guest room or dining area. Decide on storage for papers, a computer and printer.

  • Think of all the things that you'll need to work comfortably and efficiently in your home office.
  • Have a telephone installed in the space or be sure to have a portable phone available.
  • Whether you select a custom-designed cabinets and writing surface or use a small desk, this is where you'll spend the most time. Do your best to get yourself a good desk that's large enough and the right height to most comfortably do your work.
  • To make the most of limited space, have shelving installed behind your desk. Books and supplies will be easy to reach.
  • Select a chair that is comfortable, the right height, and provides proper back and arm support for the type of work you will be doing.
  • Install a slide-out keyboard holder so that your computer keyboard is the right height for easy and comfortable use. Place your computer mouse in a place that is accessible and provide cushioning for your wrists.
  • Install adjustable lighting so you can get a feel for what works for you in that space. Choose something adjustable so you can find the right level of comfort.

Do I need to hire a decorator to get a great home office design?

Find Home Office Design Ideas on TV and In Magazines

Several home and garden TV shows offer homeowners with ideas for organizing home offices and tips for home office planning. Doing the planning and organization of your home office can be a fun project.

There are many shows and articles out there to give you ideas of ways you can set up your home office without going to the expense of hiring a professional decorator or designer.

Home and garden magazines as well as television shows can give you many ideas for various budget levels and styles.

How should I organize my home office furniture?

Organizing Home Office Furniture

The amount of organization in your home office is going to directly impact the amount of productivity you have working at home. Here are some tips to organizing your home office furniture:

  • Arrange furniture so there is freedom of movement. Even if you are in a small space, doing so as much as possible increases your ergonomics and equips you with more ability to fight stress.
  • Your chair should be able to move freely and you should have clear paths around your office area.
  • Put everything you regularly use within reach with minimal stretching requirements.
  • Put file cabinets under tables and if you don't need something within your reach, store it in a cabinet or out of your way to minimize clutter.
  • Keep clutter off your desk. Buy stackable bins for "To Do," "To Finish," "To File" and give everything a home.

Is there a way to make a home office more productive?

Home Office Design for Better Productivity

You may not have the time or budget for an office design makeover, but a few simple ideas can go far in boosting your business productivity.

Match Your Brand: An important element of business marketing is the branding and image of your company. Whether you entertain clients or not, your office design should match your brand. Successful branding requires you to look and "feel" the brand. Having glossy business cards and a high-tech image but out-of-date office furniture and equipment,doesn't project consistency .

Turn Down the Volume: Noise in your office environment can have a greater impact on productivity than you may think.

Take the necessary steps to pinpoint office noises. The gentle hum of the furnace next to your office can be dampened by a door or barrier. Move any noisy office equipment away from the walls and add carpeting, office dividers, or curtains to reduce noise.

Bring in Nature: Spending long hours in an unnatural environment can hinder productivity. We are biological creatures and need to experience nature for the best in psychological and physiological functioning. Use as much of nature as you can such as:

Locating your office in a space with windows if possible. Consider nature photos to make your home office a more pleasurable place. Add real plants to have fresh oxygen in your workspace.

Create a Barrier: Home office business owners will understand the difficulty of separating the company from the family. It is vital to build a home office design supportive of your own personal productivity. The temptation of a quick television break or snack can result in lost productivity. It is best to designate a separate room with a door or closed space in the house for your business. If you can not do this, do try to stick to a schedule much as you would in a regular office environment.

Check Ergonomics: The study of ergonomics or human factors looks at the interface between humans and machines, or in our case, small business owners and the office. Improper office ergonomic design can have a huge impact on productivity, injury, stress levels and health. Consider these quick ergonomic checks:

  • eyes 24-36 inches from computer screen and the top of your monitor should be below or at eye-level

  • feet should be on a foot rest or planted firmly on the floor

  • slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce vertebrae pressure and minimize lower back pain
    A cautionary note for start-ups. Many start-ups high on hope and low on cash will be tempted to spend on office design. Look before you leap. Begin with frugality in mind. If you want a more elaborate desk, set a revenue goal and reward yourself when you achieve it. The right home office design can help you reduce stress, improve productivity, and in the end, enhance the profits of your small business.

    What considerations should be accounted for when buying home office furniture?

    Choosing the Right Home Office Furniture

    Unlike a corporate office, when you design a home office you're designing a room that family and friends may have access to. Home office furniture should not only reflect your style and character, but should also be accessible to guests and safe for kids. When choosing home office furniture, consider all the types of people who my eventually have access to this area.

    For example:

    • If your guest room shares space with your office, have lockable drawers or consider an armoire desk or roll top that will allow you to close your office for guests.
    • If your home office shares space with other rooms be sure your desk isn't filled with unsafe contents that can be accessed by children (such as paper shredders, sharp letter openers or staplers and scissors). Keep these items on a high shelf or in locked drawers.
    • If your computer might be used by other members of your family, consider setting up a separate access for their usage so your files and settings aren't jeopardizes by viruses or due to accident.

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    Guru Spotlight
    Patricia Walters-Fischer