If you’re thinking of setting up a home business, then designing your small business home office is one of the first things you need to do. Just because you’re working from home does not mean that you should think of your workplace as a mom and pop outfit. A home office can and must be as professional a setup as any other. How you design yours will depend on a whole lot of things.
Location: The first thing to figure out is where you will set up your small business home office. Of course, available space may be the deciding factor, but if you can’t make up your mind between a couple of options, consider this. A spare bedroom might be ideal, especially if it has a separate entrance for visitors, so that they don’t intrude into your home. Attics and basements are great options for businesses that don’t have client walk-ins, and can provide much needed privacy at work. However, mildew, poor lighting and inadequate ventilation are issues that need to be dealt with before you move in.
Desk: Once you’ve zeroed in on the location, it’s time to design your small business home office. If your work is desk based, it’s likely that your computer will be the centre of your universe. Place your desk in a way that you can see visitors enter. If you have the luxury of space, create a small discussion area in a corner – this could also double up as a reading area. Make sure that your desk is large enough to accommodate the computer as well as other tools, like folders, writing instruments, calculators, handheld devices and whatever.
Chair: The chair is perhaps the most crucial element in your home office, after you, of course! Don’t skimp on this one – choose comfortable, yet functional chairs. Ensure that they have an adjustable seat and backrest, so that you can maintain a natural sitting posture. Swivel chairs are a good idea but might damage the flooring. And don’t forget storage! A cluttered office will do nothing for your professional image and efficiency – put in an adequate number of shelves and filing cabinets.
Electrical: Once you’ve dealt with the basic furniture, it’s time to move onto lighting. A well lit home office not only makes a pleasant workplace, but also does wonders in limiting fatigue. While natural lighting is great, it’s highly unlikely that you won’t need other sources. Get the office fitted out with sufficient lighting for all your needs. Halogen bulbs are energy efficient light sources, while warm fluorescents on the ceiling might be a good idea. Very important – make sure the light sources are placed above or behind your computer, and are not reflected off the screen. If you can’t, better stock up your medicine cabinet with Aspirin. While we’re on the subject of electricity, let us also remind you to fit out your home office with a number of electrical outlets. Power surges can kill your equipment, so the decision to invest in a multi outlet surge suppressor is a no-brainer. If you’re not a born handyman, talk to your local electrician on what and how.
Equipment: That leaves you with one final decision – what equipment to use. Home office owners might find it hard to resist the temptation to use the family computer for their business. Before you do that, think of the risks involved – virus attack caused by an email attachment your sister sent you, “accidental” deletion of your files to make space for your teenage son’s favorite music…. We don’t know of any client who can see the funny side of data loss! Given that the computer is going to be your business’ lifeline, it’s wise to invest in a good one. Your PC is probably becoming outdated as we speak, so when you buy a new one, choose a model that will remain in fashion a couple of years down the line. You’ll also need to invest in peripherals – a multi-purpose machine that print, scan, fax and copy should do the trick.
Furniture vendors like www.everythingofficefurniture.com can cater to all types of small business home office needs and might even be able to give you some useful tips. Remember, however, that setting up a home office is your decision. Be sure to get it right!