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Home Office Setup Ideas - Which Ones Work?

Home Office Setup Ideas - Which Ones Work?

Home office setup ideas can be easy to come by. But which of them really work? Read this article to the end and you will find some great tips for your use.

Use of a Separate Room

Having a separate room to use as your home office is the ideal situation. You will not only have your private space, but also a quiet place to work without being disturbed.

Space within the Home

If you do not have the luxury of having a separate room, look for a space within your home to set up your office without having to dismantle it each day. A desk in your den, kitchen, bedroom, etc. would work.

Garage Space

The next idea would be to create a space in your garage. You will need sufficient lighting and electricity and it will be important to keep that in mind.

Be Creative

Home office setup ideas don't have to be conventional. Have you ever thought about making your own out-of-the-way table? All it takes is two piano hinges, two wall clasps, a table top, and one additional plank of wood. With the table top facing up, attach the lower part of the piano hinge to one end of the table. The top portion of the hinge gets attached to the wall. Attach the wall clasp (the hook part) to the wall and the actual clasp to the other end of the table. The plank of wood (or whatever you choose to use) is attached to the bottom of the table using the second piano hinge, creating a leg when the table is down. When the table is raised, the leg can be hooked to the bottom of the table with the other wall clasp. You will be able to raise the table completely out of the way when not in use. Short on funds? Garage sales have wonderful finds for old damaged desks. You can use the top only or a top and one side to create your table. Once finished, when the table is up, you can use the outward facing "leg" to hang a painting or photograph. Be sure to attach whatever you hang securely so it won't fall or rattle when the table is lowered. Your new "desk" can be attached to any wall in your home where there is sufficient space.

Environment

There are 3 key factors to having a suitable home working environment. Noise, Light and Heat.
Noise - excessive noise (above say 45 decibels or a really loud office fan) is counter productive to your work. You'll have trouble focusing on anything or thinking clearly for more than a few minutes. Your home office space needs to be as quiet as you need it to be. So avoid using laundry rooms or other areas with excessively noisy equipment.
Light - the light in your home office needs to be controlled. Too bright and it will produce glare on computer screens and documents. Too dim and it will cause eyestrain. Natural light is ideal because it gives diffuse (soft) light. To achieve diffuse lighting at nighttime set up your desk lamp off to one side of your desk. Adjust it until you have enough light to read conformtably.
Heat - this is simple. Your work space should be neither too hot nor too cold. Any extremes of temperature in your home office will lead to decreased work performance. Room temperature is 37 degrees celsius so aim for something in that region.

Decoration

There's no need for your home office to be sterile and boring. Plants are one healthy addition. The colour green has a positive affect on our way of thinking and the fact that plants will filter out the toxins in the air around you is another plus.
Also consider using some motivational posters in your home office. This might seem a bit cheesy but if you choose a message that inspires you personally it can be very effective.
Last but not least consider having your mission statement printed out, framed and on your desk in front of you. Your mission statement is the reason you started your home business - make sure you are reminded of this every single day.

Desk

Those newspaper ads always prompted you to "start a business from your kitchen table". While this works well in newspaper adverts it's not nearly as practical in real life. A good home office desk is a basic requirement and should be quite basic. Avoid desks with keyboard trays and nooks and crannies spread all over it - this just gives you more places to lose things. The ideal home office desk will have a large, flat working area, at least one deep drawer for files and preferably be L-shaped to allow for a more ergonomic home working environment.

Chairs

The one thing you'll want to invest in is a decent chair. You don't want to find yourself with back pain as a result of sitting any length of time in an uncomfortable chair. You will also want a second chair available for another person to sit at when visiting your "office." It doesn't have to be as comfortable as it will be less used. In fact, if you don't want company sticking around, make sure the chair is uncomfortable. That's an old trick for getting sales people out of the office instead of sitting at their desks.
Anybody running an online or other business from home is going to spend a considerable amount of time sitting down. It's absolutely critical that you have a good office chair. Many people make the mistake of using a kitchen or spare household chair as the chair for their home office. This is a bad idea because using an insufficient chair can and will lead to lower back and shoulder pain and also looks unprofessional. The ideal home office chair has the following features:
  • Adjustable backrest
  • Swivel base
  • Adjustable armrest
  • Deep cushioned seat
A great home office chair can be purchased for as little as $60 brand new. The moral of the story is - don't skimp on your home office chair.

Computer

If you have a desk in place, a desktop computer is fine. However, if your desk is mobile, a lap top is a must. When you start a business, you want to have a computer with sufficient memory available so that you won't have to switch computers within a short time.

Printer

In the world of online business, the need for printers is very important. In many cases, you will need to print papers off different websites or resources at hand, in order to review content, save certain credentials, or simply just read a digital book that you just downloaded at your own leisure when you're not in front of your computer. My advice with printers is that you hold a balance between performance and price. You do not need a top of the line printer with endless number of features that would cost you hundreds of dollars, but you could also benefit from a compact printer/scanner/fax with a good quality print and economic use of toner.

Other equipment

Depending on your business line, you will probably need a printer and a scanner at minimum. I recommend a four-in-one printer/fax/copier/scanner. They are $100 or less these days and serve all your potential needs. Keep it compact, especially if you are in a portable situation. If you already have a stand-alone printer, a scanner is a must. I no longer keep ANY paperwork in my home. I scan everything and then shred it. This is possible only if you keep a back-up of all your computer work. This has saved me so much space. I used to have two four-drawer filing cabinets for all my things. No more!

Office Supplies

I'm sure by now you are wondering how you can run a business on the kitchen table. Your "must haves" are a pen and pad of paper. The remainder depends on your type of business. Obviously, if you are dealing with inventory, you will need a place to store all of your products. For an in-between size business with no inventory, but perhaps you are making phone sales, then bins of some sort will work fine. Stacking bins on wheels are wonderful. You can put order forms in one bin, letterhead and envelopes in another, a pencil box or cigar box in yet another and so forth. You can then easily move it out of the way, hide it away in a closet, and keep everything together nice and neat. Be creative. Home office setup ideas are not that hard to think of.
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