Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Create a great Home Office

Ideas from the Ascentive team.

A home office can be as small as the corner of your bedroom or as large as your unused attic or basement. Regardless of the size of your home office, you should maximize the space to your advantage and exploit any resource available to get the most out of it. Here are ten tips for creating a great home office.

1) Draw Up a Floorplan
Draw up a Floorplan before you outfit your home office. Use a 1-inch scale, and draw in windows and doors. Then plot various design arrangements for your desk and computer. Plan your work space so you have room to keep items such as the phone within reach while still retaining space to jot notes, and make sure you allow room for your file cabinets to open.

2) Buy Cheap
Don’t hit the chain office stores for your supplies. Shop at Wal-Mart and the 99cent Store for pens, paper and other disposable supplies. For filing cabinets and bulletin boards, be sure to hit up thrift stores, flea markets, and Craigslist.

3) Lighting
Lighting is important no matter where you work. Place your work desk near a window for natural light. And if you work in the evening, make sure you have enough lighting so you can see what you are working on.

4) Go Green
Besides buying smaller computers, electrical outlets, and phone chargers that save energy, be sure to turn off lights and unplug chargers when you are not using them, and recycle paper. And get a plant. Plants are not only aesthetically pleasing, they create Oxygen.

5) Say No to Landlines
A landline in your home office can be costly and unnecessary. Use a cell phone for all correspondence, and instead of having a fax machine, buy a printer that scans documents.

6) Build it Yourself
Instead of hiring painters, electricians, and furniture assemblers, do everything yourself. Not only will be a fun way to learn new skills, but you will also save a lot on these costly services. 

7) Computer Care
If you’re using a computer in a carpeted room, buy an antistatic mat or use an antistatic spray to reduce buildup on the carpet. And be sure to occasionally wipe your keyboard with a clean, lint-free cloth. You can use an antistatic cleaning fluid if necessary, but spray it on the cloth, not on the keyboard.  Cover the keyboard, printer, and peripherals when not in use.
8) Create a Barrier
Home office business owners will understand the difficulty of separating the business from the family. It's vital to build a home office design supportive of your personal productivity. If possible, designate a separate room with a door or closed space in the house for your business.

9) Check Ergonomics:
Remember these quick ergonomic checks: 1. Eyes 24-36 inches from computer screen (the top of your monitor should be below or at eye-level), 2. Feet should be on a footrest or planted firmly on the floor, and 3. A slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce vertebrae pressure and minimize lower back pain.

10) No Distractions
This one’s the hardest, as it’s difficult to work with family, food, and the television in the room next to you. Get food and water if you catch yourself leaving your chair for a snack every ten minutes, and if looking out the window preoccupies you, draw your curtains or blinds. If you find yourself spending a lot of time in the office but not much time working, it may be because your distractions are out in the open where you’re tempted to easily. Hide them until you have the self-discipline to keep these things out in the open.

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