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How to Plan a Functional Home Office

Aug 17, 2007
Having the ability to work productively is extremely important when you work at home. How your home office is laid out is a major part of this. You need to consider the working conditions you need and your work style as you lay out your home office.

The working conditions you need should be your first consideration. This will help to determine where you set up your home office. If you have to be on the phone a lot, for example, you won't want your home office to just be a corner of the living room. A spare bedroom, on the other hand, could be perfect.

On the other hand, if you need the ability to see what your children are up to more than you need uninterrupted work time, having your home office in the main part of the house is probably exactly what you need.

The amount of space you will need is also a consideration. Do you have a lot of reference books or paperwork? Or are you almost entirely electronic, with everything stored on the computer? Maybe you have a lot of supplies you need at hand. This will determine the number of bookshelves and filing cabinets you might need, as well as the size of your computer desk

You want to have enough space that you don't feel too cramped as you work. Feeling cramped into a space is not the best thing for productivity.

The amount of space you need is defined not only by the items you need, but how you use them. Are you well organized? You might be able to get away with less space than someone who has a half dozen books spread out on the desk at a time.

I strongly recommend that you do try to remain at least a little bit organized in your home office. A good filing cabinet can save you quite a bit of time when hunting for that important piece of paperwork. Maybe you'll organize your papers daily, or maybe monthly, but regular organization will greatly help your productivity.

While it probably won't stop you from using a given space, you will want to look at how easily you can get telephone and internet service in your home office. It's easy enough to get these installed in most rooms of the house, but it will add to the expense of creating a home office.

I like my home office to have a good view of the backyard, so I can let the kids outside to play without having to wonder where they are. This can be a big help, as I can work without keeping the kids cooped up in the house.

Another item you might consider placing in your home office is some toys for the kids that they only get when you need a little extra quiet work time. These should not be toys they play with all the time. Make them special ones so that when you really need that bit of quiet to get something done, you can get it with relatively little trouble.

The ability to plan out your home office to your preferences, so long as it stays within your budget, is one of the great benefits of working at home. Don't limit yourself by what you had when you worked in someone else's office. Think about what you need. You aren't in a corporate environment anymore.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster offers advice on stay at home jobs and has been a work at home mom for nearly five years now. Learn more and subscribe to her work at home newsletter at http://www.homewiththekids.com/newsletter/subscribe .
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