These days, more and more homeowners are working from home. But if your home office isn't designed for full-time use, accomplishing your work-related goals can be difficult. By planning wisely and upgrading appropriately, you can make your home office a comfortable and motivating environment.
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Home Offices That Fit Your Lifestyle and Work Habits
Home office needs will differ based on work habits and lifestyle. Many homeowners prefer to locate their offices away from loud living spaces. If you need a quiet space, think about converting your attic or basement into a residential office. Parents who need to work while monitoring children may want a more centralized or scalable space. Hiring an interior designer with experience designing residential office spaces can be invaluable in designing the right space to fit your needs.
Custom Desks, Chairs and Furniture
Think of your home office as an investment. Splurging on a custom-built desk and an ergonomic office chair will maximize your productivity and minimize stress, joint pain and poor posture. A finish carpenter can deliver custom amenities that are perfect for one of the most productive areas of your home.
Design a Home Office Environment for Visitors
Pay special attention to the looks of your home office. If you can, install an outside entrance to your office. Also, try to reserve an area for conferences. If you keep your work area neat and you have the room, you may be able to create your own conference area with the addition of an extra table.
It’s nice to have a dedicated bathroom in your office. If installing a new bathroom isn't affordable, consider designating one of your family bathrooms for office use.
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Wiring and Communication Needs
It usually makes sense to have at least one separate phone line exclusively for your office. If you use the Internet, fax machine or email extensively, additional lines are a good idea. A separate business line allows you to have a professional voicemail or answering machine message. It also gives you the option of using call forwarding if you occasionally work from another location. A designated business line also makes it easier to keep youngsters from intercepting your important business calls. And at the end of the day, you can leave the business line to the answering machine or voicemail without missing calls from friends and family.
Another common issue with home offices is electrical power. Copiers, laser printers, and computers use a lot of electricity. Check with an electrician about adding a couple of circuits so that you don’t have to worry about tripping the circuit breaker every time you make a photocopy. Hire a qualified electrician to make any changes to your home’s wiring. A pro will ensure any upgrades are safe and designed to handle your day-to-day use.
Don’t Forget Home Office Ground Rules
It’s important to establish ground rules for your home office. Set certain work hours, install dedicated phone lines and keep extra clutter out of your office. Also, make sure your work computer isn’t open to family use. Games and other entertainment software can slow your computer and make it difficult to finish projects.