What does “home office” mean to you? How you decorate, equip and where you locate this room depends on what purposes you want it to serve. Here are examples of different ways “home offices” can function. Which one suits your situation best?
– small room off the kitchen equipped with a computer, bookshelves and work counters is a place for you to maintain household accounts and for your children to do their homework. Adding a slide-open pocket door for privacy and noise control will take up a minimum amount of space.
– A third or fourth bedroom occupied by your oldest child can be converted into an office after the child is grown and leaves home. This room can serve as a place to do work brought home occasionally from the corporate office, as well as to undertake projects from volunteer or civic organizations, hobbies and other interests.
– A work-at-home space used daily or several times a week as a functioning office is the most complex and involves the most careful planning for phone lines and electrical outlets, and to insure privacy and minimal distractions.
Here are some features to consider in planning a home office that is used regularly to conduct business:
– If you receive business clients at your home office, consider installing a powder room nearby. By using the powder room, clients will cause the least disruption to the rest of your household and minimal intrusion into your personal privacy. The powder room can be decorated to reflect the business image you’d like to project.
– Situating the office room in the front of the home allows you to see your clients coming so you can prepare to greet them at the door.
– Locate the office away from a baby’s room, media room or family room where children may be playing or watching television to avoid noise and distractions for you and your clients.
Make the room large enough to seat yourself and clients comfortably. How many clients do you anticipate seeing at once? Do you need one or two chairs besides your own? Do you have room for a coffee table or a small conference table and seating in addition to your desk and chair?
– If you are in a situation where one client may be waiting while you are meeting with another, perhaps the office can be opposite a formal living room, separate from the great room or family room, in which clients can wait. Or modify the home plan you choose to include a large foyer where you can place a chair and small table and that also affords some privacy for family members using the rest of the house.
– How do you want your home office to look-like a home or an office? You may want to install easy care surfaces on floors and walls for quick cleaning
– If the office is shared by an assistant, associate or another member of the family, you need to plan furnishings, phone lines and outlets accordingly.
– Will your office computer also serve as the family computer? If so, then perhaps it can be located in a corner of the office, separate from your desk or work counters, to avoid disrupting important business documents and files.
– Plan ahead to include amenities. Do you want a mini-refrigerator or a counter for a coffee-maker in your office for you and your clients’ benefit? Is there a coat rack in your office or a coat closet nearby? Is there an umbrella stand handy?