Some home offices are set up in a dedicated area just for the business, but most people need to have a family room, bedroom, or guest room to do double duty.
Getting focused on what you need your home office to do for you will help you buy the most efficient equipment and have the most effective layout to help you get more things accomplished.
1. What do you want this space to be able to accommodate? Are you planning on using this space to just get household bills paid in and maybe keep a few records, or are you starting up a small business and looking to run all of your office operations out of this space? Make a list of all of the things you will need to do from your office space.
2. Develop a floor plan: Once you have made your list of all the things you will need to be able to do from your new home office space develop a floor plan and begin to draw where all of your equipment will go.
3. Don’t estimate the space: Get out that measuring tape and measure where everything will go. Refer to your floor plan and using small pieces of masking tape mark out where you want everything to go. Then you can see if things fit in the actual room as well as they did on your floor plan.
4. Don’t forget to plug in: Check your office layout; are the existing electrical plugs near the space where you are going to put your desk? Are the phone jacks in a good location on the plan or are they buried behind those file cabinets? Review the floor plan, the actual layout of the room, and where the windows, electrical outlets, and phone jacks are, and revise the plan accordingly. Now is a good time to have a few more outlets wired in or add that second phone line.
5. Who will be using this office space? Are you sharing it with your kids? Are you sharing it with your partner? Answering these questions will help you decide what furniture to buy. Does it need to be sturdy and serviceable to hold up to the kid’s use, or can it be a little more upscale for just the use of you or your partner?
6. Get organized with the right home office furniture: A lot of the home office furniture today is designed to store your computer and other electronic equipment. Measure the computer hardware that you have to make sure it will fit into the unit you are considering. Be careful to make sure your CPU tower and printer will fit in the allocated spaces in the unit.
7. Don’t forget miscellaneous storage space: Make sure you have a place to store printer paper, envelopes, light bulbs, and other bulky supplies.
8. How much paper will you need to file: The idea of a paperless office is a good one but in reality, it just doesn’t happen. You will need to decide how much filing cabinet space you will need. How much room will you need to store CD’s, books, software manuals, magazines, etc? Will you need a bookcase as well as a filing cabinet or will a hutch on the top of the desk give you enough room.
9. Don’t forget about flat workspaces: How much area will you need to work on for a desk space? Will one desk that holds the computer be enough or do you need some kind of drafting table for works in progress to be kept laid out. What about a table that can be folded up when you don’t need it for a large project, having enough storage space will ensure that clutter doesn’t eat up your flat spaces.
10. How to carve out space in a room that will need to do double duty: Look at each room in your house with a fresh eye. Make sure the room you choose is the best solution for your home office space needs. Measure the room you choose and draw a layout plan that incorporates the existing use plus gives you room for the new office portion. You may want to reorganize the existing layout for more efficient use of space. Think about getting a self-contained home office center. They are a wonderful compact way to hide your computer and other office equipment, and they will blend in with your other room uses.