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     The Right Stuff for Your Home Office

Are you trying to run your own business out of your HOME or are you an employee who has the option to work from home? Working at home has many benefits, including more time spent with family and no money spent on office rental. Maybe youíre one of the many people who have embraced the idea of becoming a home-based entrepreneur. But it's important to set up a home OFFICE in a manner that is productive for you to work in, with a minimum of noise and distraction.

Finding a space for your home office will depend on the TYPE of work you want to accomplish. Of course, if you can have your own private room for an office, all the better. But if you must use a shared space, look at your daily work ACTIVITIES. If you need to be on the phone during the day, you can set up a computer desk with file storage in the living or dining room, which are usually quiet during the day. Then plan to vacate your space in the evenings when your family needs that room. If you require more work surfaces -- like getting products ready for shipment or spreading out stacks of papers or marketing materials -- youíll be more comfortable in a larger room like the den or basement. Working in the evenings while the family watches television in the living room? Set up a desk in your bedroom or guest room so you can work quietly without disturbance.

Once you have chosen the best area, consider putting up wall SHELVES to save space on your flat desk surface. See what kind of storage you can come up with under or to the side of your desk as well -- such as file and supply drawers. More space can be created by attaching the house phone to the wall or using your computer to make phone calls, eliminating the need for a PHONE on your desk. Also think about using a laptop or one of the new "miniature" computers with a thin flat screen monitor -- this will leave you more room for your actual work space.

PLAN your home office carefully. According to a recent survey, nearly 75% of home business owners didnít have a designated room for their home office with the right office furniture. This is usually because they either tried to make due with INAPPROPRIATE furniture choices (things they had lying around the house) -- or shopped without thinking about what they needed BEFORE they head out to the store. The right equipment and office furniture will save you time, effort, and money, not to mention back or wrist pain. The most important choices concern the computer desk, an office chair, storage and lighting.

A COMPUTER desk is the keystone of your home office. Nowadays, new computer desks come with many space-saving features and enough built-in storage to transform a small space in your apartment or house into a convenient and productive office area. A corner computer desk can be easily accommodated in almost any room. The STYLE of desk you choose depends on the type of work you do. If you have to work with papers, the right computer desk will give you enough room for your computer and keyboard as well as sufficient flat surface for paperwork. For additional flat surfaces, consider adding an extra wing or curve to your desk. If you often use books, binders or thick heavy manuals, you may choose a computer desk with a hutch for shelving or closed cabinet space for easy access to printed materials and office supplies without losing any of the valuable flat surfaces.

The right office CHAIR does more than give you a way to sit at the computer. It can also save your back, neck, and shoulders, and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by putting you at the right height relative to your keyboard and monitor. If CLIENTS will be coming to your home, make sure you have comfortable seating for them as well.

Where are you going to keep your files, office supplies, and/or product inventory? STORAGE space is vital if you want to keep your work surfaces neat and clean. The choices are endless -- from a file drawer in your desk to full-size file cabinets -- shelving units, bookcases, and storage cabinets and lockers -- drawer systems and rolling carts -- the number of available configurations mean thereís something that will work for you. And itís so much easier to think when you donít have to take boxes off your computer before sitting down to work.

Also, remember to have proper LIGHTING, both in daytime and at night. Donít place a desk so that direct sunlight hits your computer monitor -- you wonít be able to see! Try to locate your computer so that your screen faces away from any windows. And have a good bright lamp on or near the desk to avoid eye strain -- especially if your overhead lights are weak or uncomfortable. If you do close-up work at your desk, a DIRECTIONAL light is a good choice.

To give your home office a professional but ENJOYABLE appearance, get creative. Paint the wall a peaceful color, decorate with artwork or framed photos, and add a touch of green with potted plants or a sunny touch with bright flowers. A small effort will reward you with an enhanced image when a client steps into your home office. The right stuff for your home office means youíll be HAPPIER and more productive there, too.


Parvati Markus is a writer/editor with a Masters in Creative Writing from Antioch. She works with The Kabbalah Centre and freelances on non-fiction books and articles. As a recent arrival in L.A. Parvati is completing her residency requirement by writing a screenplay. Find great home furniture online at www.homeandliving.com. Parvati Markus may be contacted at for reprinting instructions.

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