Read these 25 Home Office Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Office tips and hundreds of other topics.
When organizing a home office on a budget, consider using discarded school lockers, which work great for coats and boots. A slightly battered metal cabinet with lots of drawers can hold bills, cheques, invoices, stamps, office tools, etc.
Caution: if you will be seeing clients in your office, err on the side of professional.
A decorative flowerpot can act as a perfect pen-and-pencil holder. Personalize your tissue box (which usually sits above or on your desk) with photocopies of family pictures. Glue fancy paper on plain wooden boxes and screw on small casters to the bottom for easy rolling about.
When planning a home office, consider how much time you will spend in it. If you'll be working full-time, you're obviously going to be spending a great deal more time in the office than someone who uses a home office to pay the monthly household bills. Consequently, the more time you spend in the office, the more attention you should give to comfort and function.
Does your work require you to spread out a lot of paperwork? Or is your work primarily making phone calls? Do you have a lot of samples or catalogs you frequently refer to? Or is your largest reference tool the Internet? Answering these questions will help you decide how much desktop and counter space you need. If your work involves a lot of paper and spreading out, invest in an expansive conference table. If all you need is a phone and a laptop, look into office armoires. Best bet: keep your personal work habits in mind as you design your workspace.
Because self-employed workers wear so many hats, they may start to feel that they are slaves to their jobs. How can this problem be avoided? One way is to delegate some of the workload. Hiring a part time assistant (or outsourcing the work to a virtual assistant) will help lighten the burden of administrative tasks.
When a direct access entrance is absolutely out of the question, strive for credibility and professional ambience in planning how you will receive visitors. Be sure that your main entry is tidy and presentable and don't forget to make sure the house and office are clean and orderly, too.
Taking the time to bolt bookcases, armoires, and other heavy office furniture to the wall is especially important in a home office where children are sometimes present. Kids sometimes use lower shelves or drawers to climb up and see what's in a higher area. Unsecured furniture could easily present a dangerous toppling hazard. Strapping furniture is also a smart preventative measure in the event of an earthquake.
Make sure you hide computer wires for safety reasons. Hooks from the hardware store screwed to the underside of your desk can hold computer wires safely enclosed in plastic tubing, available at most electrical supply stores. This is very important especially if you have small children visiting your office.
When planning a home office invest in the best chair you can. This should be one of your first purchase. Don't be afraid of spending money for comfort —you will be sitting in this chair for many hours every day. Expect to pay between $300-$1200 for a good quality chair with lumbar support and several adjustable settings.
If you are converting an attic or basement space into an office, give the area its own heating source (such as an electric baseboard heater). If the office is to be connected to the central heating, put it on a separate zone so the heat can be shut off at night or when you are out.
If you do not have a separate room for setting up a home office, create the illusion of distinct space by setting off the working area with a barrier made from screens, drapery/curtains, shelving units or cabinetry. Arrange the barrier so that it will shield the office as much as possible from the dominant traffic pattern in the rest of the house.
As you plan your home office, think about what equipment you need to run your particular business. For example, a freelance writer would probably need a computer with a modem or a good fax machine to keep in touch with editors. Caution: try not to confuse wants with actual needs.
If your home office is the kitchen table or bedroom nightstand, you might consider remodelling your home to include office space. According to Remodeling Magazine, an average home office remodeling project can result in about a 55% return on your investment. Home offices placed sixth in a list of the top ten projects with a return at resale.