Your Home Office
by Rachel Goldstein owner of Allfreelancework.com
- 1000s of freelance jobs
you have finally decided to work from home and set up
your home office? Setting up your home office is one
of the best parts of working from home. For the first
time in your life, YOU get to choose your desk and where
it goes. YOU get to choose the equipment and the supplies.
YOU get to choose the chairs and the lamps. This is
going to be fun for you. This article will explore the
essentials of designing your home office … everything
from finding the space to buying the right supplies.
You will be spending a lot of time in your office, lets
make sure that you design it right.
Sometimes it is hard to find the right room to place
your home office. After all, when you bought your house
you probably didn't know that you would be working from
home. Look for a room in your house that has the following
Separate from household members and distractions
2. Enough room for a desk, chair, equipment, office
supplies, and space to think and move around.
3. Enough electrical outlets and power for all of your
4. Phone line (s) available
5. Enough heating and cooling
6. (opt) Windows for sunlight and fresh air
7. (opt) An air vent for good ventilation
an ideal situation, all of the above elements will be
If you choose a room completely separate from other
rooms, "defined work space used exclusively for your
business" (IRS Tax Code), you can deduct your home office.
So it would be better for your pockets to choose an
enclosed space of your house that isn't used for family
find an open space for your house? Try to use your imagination
before you call an architect to renovate or add on to
your house. Are there any walk-in closets in your house?
How about your basement? You can clean up your garage
and park cars on the street. Maybe separating another
room with bookshelves might do the trick. If you still
can't figure out a way to make space for your home office,
maybe you should consider hiring an architect or general
contractor to add on to your house or to build an office
in your basement or other room. This might be an easy
job … just adding a wall to make one room into two.
Or you might land up spending quite a bit of money.
I recommend not getting carried away until your business
is running smoothly for at least 6 months.
It isn't time to go shopping yet; rather it is time
to get out the graph paper, rulers, and pencils. Before
we buy furniture and equipment we will need to map out
our office, in other words make a layout plans. Have
a family member help you measure the length and width
of the room and the height and width of the doorway.
On your piece of graph paper draw the room in the right
proportion. Then consider all of the equipment and supplies
that you will need to run your business. Here are my
3. Filing Cabinet
7. Fax Machine / Copier / Scanner
8. Storage Bins
9. Pens / Pencils
13. Staples, Binder Clips, Paper Clips
15. Media Storage Devices (Zip Disks, Floppy Discs,
ahead, is there anything else that you might need? Now,
map out on the graph paper where you want to place each
of these items … design away! Remember, you will be
spending much of your time in your office, try to make
it a place that you will enjoy visiting or you might
dread working. For this reason, the way that you design
your home office can make or break your freelance business.
Keep the following in mind when designing your home
Only paint with neutral colors, or the paint will overpower
your furniture and you will become distracted
2. Don't jam tons of furniture and equipment into your
office unless totally necessary. Having too much clutter
is one reason you might not want to visit your office.
3. If you are easily distracted, don't put your desk
in front of a window.
4. Place your bookshelf, filing cabinet, and telephone
at arms reach
5. Place your desk near the electrical supply and phone
6. Get personal and add your personal touch to everything.
This will create a more inviting atmosphere for you.
7. If there is enough room, add a love seat or reading
chair for you when you need a change of scene.
the fun part … shopping! Whether you decide to shop
online or in a conventional store, don't forget your
items list and layout plan. As you shop for items, take
their measurements and draw them on your plan to make
sure that they fit. A few online stores that you can
look at are:
TO LOOK FOR IN EACH ITEM
Desk / Workstation - Since the invent of the
computer, one small desk is no longer enough. A workstation
is a more appropriate term now. Depending on what your
profession is, you will need desk space for your computer,
and then more desk space for administrative work. Think
about what type of equipment you will need are where
it will go. How much room do you have for a desk? Usually
your best option is to get an "L" desk. What I mean
by this is choose your favorite desk, and then choose
a smaller desk that can be placed perpendicular to the
main desk. The big desk is perfect for your computer
equipment, and the smaller desk can be kept clear for
your writing surface.
sure that you choose a sturdy desk that you can keep
for a long time. It is better to dish out a few more
bucks now then to have to replace your desk in a year.
Also, find a desk that is at a height that is comfortable
you don't have enough money to buy a new desk, try visiting
the Salvation Army or a used furniture store to save
money. You might also try building a desk from items
you already have or need. You can use a door on top
of filing cabinets, bookcases, milk crates, or another
Chair - You chair is one of the most important
items in your office. If you purchase a cheap chair,
you could hurt yourself or hate working in your office.
Choosing a good chair reduces fatigue and other pains
that occur when posture is bad for long periods of time.
Buy an adjustable chair (height, armrests, back angle,
and lumbar support) so you can enjoy your office and
avoid pain and injuries.
Bookshelf - How big your bookshelf needs to be
depends on how much room you have left in your office
after your workstation and chair are in place. My suggestion
is to install your bookshelf right behind and above
your desk. This way books are always at arms reach and
you saved yourself a lot of room. Purchase as big of
a bookshelf as you can. You will be surprised how fast
it fills up.
Filing Cabinets - You will want to purchase at
least a four-drawer filing cabinet. It is crucial that
your filing system is organized and easily available
Telephone - It is important to get a telephone
that has a hold and speaker button. It is a good idea
to get a separate line for the telephone and fax / modem.
Computer - The computer will most often be the
most expensive piece of equipment you purchase for your
office. Because of the large amount of variables involved
we have devoted a whole separate articles just on this
topic. Briefly, however, here are a few suggestions.
These are broad strokes, read the full article for specifics.
first decision is going to be the operating system for
the computer. Unless you have a reason to choose otherwise,
you are going to be looking at a Mac or a Windows machine.
If you have experience on one platform you should stick
with it. When you are working on your own without any
kind of system support you want to use a computer you
are comfortable with. All things being equal, if you
are a graphic designer or desktop publisher use a Mac,
anything else get a PC.
second decision is who to buy the machine from. Keywords
here are reliable, reliable, reliable. If you are buying
a Mac purchase straight from Apple. If you are buying
a PC make your purchase from Dell. You may be tempted
to buy from a no-name or even somewhere with a good
reputation because the price is mouth watering. It's
your eyes that will be watering when your computer stops
working at one A.M. with a looming deadline. You want
good support; Dell is rated as the best over and over
by all the publications that count.
we are on the topic of support … buy the service contract.
If you are buying a Mac, that support is three years
of "Applecare". If you don't buy straight from Apple
your reseller may try to convince you their private
support is as good, or even better. To keep it short,
THEY ARE WRONG! I am yet to find third party support
that beats Apple's. I have always found it to be worth
the money. As for Dell, purchase the three years of
onsite support. If you can afford to be without your
computer for a few days you can save a bit by using
their mail in service, but who can afford to lose those
we are left with the computer's configuration. This
was probably your first question, but for most of you
it is probably the least important. For the most part
computer power is far superior to the software that
can run on it right now. Since new systems are constantly
brought to the fore we can't give specific numbers.
The best buy for the money is usually going to be a
based on the company's mid-level offering. The cheapest
way to increase power in your system is by adding RAM,
make sure the computer you purchase has at least 128
mb. If you are a designer that minimum is 256 mb.
hope this article has helped you plan out and design
your office. Once you have purchased all necessary items,
move them on in and start your freelance business. Good
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