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Designing an Effective Home Office 

As we enter the new century, many of us are exploring new and different opportunities to adjust or redefine the way we work. For the small business owner working from your home, either through a full time home office or just after hours, this is nothing new. However, in todays climate of virtual office structures, internet access and limited task consulting contracts, the number of individuals from companies of all sizes working out of their homes is expected to increase dramatically. 

According to Builder Magazine: 

  • In 1999, 46 million Americans worked at home at least part-time.
  • 54 percent of households say they have home offices.
  • 70 percent of households with home offices have personal computers.
Here is a list of guidelines to help design an effective home office. 

Home Office1. Identify the Office Equipment that you will need. This can include: Personal Computers, Printers, Fax Machines, Answering Machines, Telephones and Copiers. 

2. If you will need a conference table or sitting area to meet with clients or coworkers add those items to the list of typical furniture of desk, chairs and bookshelves. 

3. Lay out your basic office design in a 10' to 12' by 14' long room, taking into consideration the importance of glass and natural light throughout any living space. 

4. Remember that when it becomes time to resell the home, the office can be presented as a guest bedroom to potential buyers. Therefore, include a full bath in an adjacent location that can be used by clients. 

5. If the office is on ground level a seperate client entry can be designed to provide privacy. Conversly, with a second floor location client interaction is detered. 

6. A perimeter location can help insulate the office from noise and also reduce the impact of any visual clutter from inside the home. 

7. Adequate lighting is critically important in establishing a healthy if not serious work environment. If using flourescent fixtures, opt for parabolic grilles to reduce glare. 

8. Provide a dedicated separate circuit with 15 to 20 amps of service. A seperate ground is another precaution that will isolate your office equipment from home appliances. 

9. Install adequate telephone and data lines. Include cable into the office area as it might one day serve as your primary conduit to the internet. 

10. Design large workspace surfaces and adjacent areas to allow for maximum flexibilty and comfort. 

11. Allow for ample cabinet and file storage space. The typical rule of thumb is a four drawer file cabinet per person per year. 

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