Creating a home office?

For those people lucky enough to have escaped the rat race by starting a business working from home, a comfortable home office should be considered a necessity, not an optional extra or a luxury. It is notoriously easy to become distracted when working at home. A home office clearly defines both the business space and encourages the self-discipline needed to work successfully from home.

Basic elements

There are a few requirements universal to every home office. Technology is the one constant – these days businesses simply cannot function without a computer, an internet connection and emails. A dedicated telephone line, either a landline or using a system such as Skype, should also be considered an essential. A fax machine is increasingly becoming redundant, but a printer is usually necessary. These few machines define the furniture that will be needed in a home office – a desk, a comfortable chair and some storage room.

Design ideas

A good-sized desk area will prove an advantage as the home business develops. Make the best use of the space by having a desk that fits into a corner, or sticks out at a right angle from the wall into the centre of the room. If choosing this latter design, keep the rear looking tidy by having a cable channel or tray attached to the underside of the desk.

Small home offices would benefit from the increased storage that fitted cabinets would provide, and they would also help to create an organised space. If fitted cabinets seem a bit too much, install strong and attractive shelving. Not only suitable for printed material, such as books, but they can also provide a home for different sized storage boxes – perfect for holding stationery items. The walls could also be used to hang a pin board or notice boards.

As it is not a good idea to spend all day in front of the computer, install some comfortable seating for those down times. Black sofas present a colour that is neutral enough for most colour schemes.

Of course, not every home has an abundance of space going free, but for those homes that are more spatially challenged, there are still opportunities. Take that space under the stairs, for example, which may otherwise be wasted. Build rather than buy. All that is needed is a worktop, such as those used in kitchens, fitted to the wall to create a desk. Also consider converting the loft space if suitable.

Storage solutions

Organised equals efficient, which leads to greater productivity, so every home office should aim to be as well organised as possible. Shelving and bookcases offer plenty of storage and will help to keep clutter to a minimum.

However, chances are that if the business is a new one, then cash is going to be tight. Finding new purposes for ordinary household items is a good way to save money and the kitchen is a good place to start. For example, rather than buying a generic drawer tidy; why not use a muffin or Yorkshire pudding tin to hold rubber bands, staples and paperclips? Empty glass jars or tins make excellent pen pots, and a breadbin can become a charging station for mobiles and mp3 players.