Space…should it be the final frontier. Or the first “small step” toward your home based business? A lot of Internet real estate, in the form of articles and Web sites, is given to Marketing, Web design and products.
Rightfully so. I agree that these are the everyday things that we, as Web based home businesses, should be primarily concerned with. After all this is the life blood of your business and the very things that will bring in customers and put money in the bank.
But what about the “physical area” of the home office. Setting up your work space. In my opinion, your work environment is just as important. Let’s face it if you are not comfortable doing what you do, your less likely to want to do it.
Now that you have decided to open a home based business, with financial guidelines and business plan in hand (you do have a business plan…don’t you?) the challenge is to create comfortable office in your home so you can get to work.
The focus of this article is to identify the furniture, supplies and office space you need to run your business efficiently. This is not that easy, unless, of course, you have a home with large areas of unused space and unlimited funds to get started.
It is a challenge to separate work areas from living areas. In many homes these areas overlap, but if you take time to consider furniture, room environment and work flow you can set up a comfortable, professional home office.
Let’s briefly examine a few of the more important aspects that go into making a home office.
How Much Space Do You Need?
This will be determined by several factors. Of course, what space you have available in your home that you can dedicate for use as an office. Another consideration is what type of business you plan to run out of your home.
Are you strictly going to work on your computer or will you need other equipment? Will you have products that require you to have an on-hand inventory? Will clients come to your office? As your business grows, will you hire employees? These questions all have to be addressed.
What equipment you will need to run your home based business is another factor that will determine the amount of space needed. If you are using a computer and the Internet, a desk, computer, printer and phone line may suffice. Mail order may require additional equipment and space. If you maintain an inventory it has to be stored for shipment. This will require more space, in or out of the house. What supplies do you need to run your business?
One thing to consider when deciding on your office furniture, is whether you will have clients in your home office. An old desk or table may be practical and do the job but does it present a professional image?
When buying a desk or work table, it should be a minimum of 60 inches wide, a writing height of 28 inches (with a typing height or pull out of 26 inches for your keyboard) and a 30 inch deep work surface./pr>
Your work chair will also be an important consideration. Since you will be sitting in it for many hours a day, be sure it is comfortable. Even if you scrounge up all your other office furniture, invest in a good office chair. Your body will thank you.
Have as much storage in your home office as you can fit. Even though this is suppose to be the “paper less” age. You will be amazed at the space you will need for those “hard copies” you have to file away.
Putting It All Together
After you figured out the office space requirements for your home based business, you will have to figure out where to put everything.
The location of your home office is an important decision. Your office should be large enough for your business operations and well lit. It should have adequate potential to accommodate phone lines, electrical outlets, heating and cooling requirements and general ventilation.
Now take a look around the house. If your lucky, there is a whole spare room (that’s bigger than a closet) that lends itself perfectly to general office space. A guest bedroom, finished basement, attic, garage or family room will also due as a home office. Heck, an unused closet can also serve as place to set up your office, if needed.
Over the past 25 years, I have had a home office in virtually every room in the house (except the kitchen and bathroom, although the bathroom did come into consideration due to its conveniences, but not enough outlets).
Finally my diligence has been rewarded, courtesy of my youngest son who has left the nest, I now have a room of my own, with door, for my home office. Ah, the little pleasures of life! (The office, not my son moving out!)
Although you may have to take what you can get for office space in your home, keep an eye to the future. As your business evolves you will surely require more equipment, employees and storage. All of which requires more space. You say: “OK great! If I’m that successful, I’ll get office space downtown. Oops! Then it’s not a home based business anymore? Is it?
One last thing to consider in locating your home office is work environment. By this I mean the noise factor, temperature control, lighting and color.
Everyone reacts differently to noise. One person’s noise is another’s symphony. There will always be noise, kids playing, traffic, the TV, the sounds of your office equipment. Try picking a spot where you can tolerate the noise level with a minimum of distraction.
Temperature is not something you think about as long as your comfortable. However if the temperature fluctuates a few degrees suddenly you can’t sit still, you can’t concentrate and your work is affected. When locating your office take into consideration not only the season when setting up your office but what it will be like in other seasons. Think about the popular and inexpensive ceiling fan when planning your office.
The amount of light needed in a room depends on visual preference and the type of work being done. Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain and headaches. When looking at lighting for your work area, take into consideration your preference for light, what tasks are being performed and the effects of glare and computer use.
You may not give it much thought, but color affects how you think, act and feel. Red may make you feel powerful, while blue soothes and orange makes you furious. Wall color can create moods. Light colors also make an area look larger, brighter and more airy.
What ever your home based business, the work area should look professional and be comfortable, whether or not you work alone, have employees or clients in your home office.