A Home Office Design Which Puts Your Clients at Ease
If you work out of a home office which brings clients into your home, you need to be especially conscious of the design of your office. With a little forethought and energy, you can put together a well-equipped, smartly designed home office with can put your clients at ease while still putting forth a professional image. There are several things to consider when first setting up your home office such as budget, amount of time you will be spending in the office, and whether or not your business requires a separate entrance. If you have a larger budget for your home office you might want to consider building a loft, remodeling the garage, or adding another room onto your home, preferably with a separate entrance if you have lots of client traffic. Having a separate room for your home office tends to minimize distractions such as household chores, television noise or family members who demand attention. Additionally, if you use your office space only for work, you can claim it as a tax deduction. A separate entrance is good if you would prefer your clients didn't have to walk through your home to access your office, however you need to ensure there is a bathroom close by.
Furnishing Your Home Office
Aside from your desk and office chair, you will need to have at least two chairs for clients which are placed across the desk so you can speak with clients across your desk. If you have extra room in your office, a small table with a couple of chairs can create a somewhat cozier atmosphere for discussing issues with a client, and a pretty, comfortable couch is a good addition as well should your client bring children along. You will need solid, sturdy bookcases and plenty of space behind your desk for printers and fax machines. You need to have lots of accessible electrical and phone jack outlets in your office to avoid electrical cords stretching out into walkways. Paint your office a calming soft color, and accent with curtains and carpet or throw rugs over hardwood floors. Try to keep your office as neutral as possible when adding pictures on the walls and other accents; although this is your home, it is also your business, and you want to present a professional appearance. Add a few green plants to your home office to create a sense of warmth and to aid in air filtering as well.
Equipping Your Office
While every home office will have unique equipment needs, it is likely you will have a computer, monitor, keyboard, printers, calculator and fax machine at a minimum. It's a good idea to buy an actual computer desk; although antique or roll top desks are really beautiful, they may not be good choices for computer equipment.
Select a large monitor which can reduce eye strain, and a good inkjet or laser printer, depending on your particular needs. An all-in-one printer can function as a copier, fax and printer provided you don't do great quantities of copying. It's important to your overall presentation to your clients that your office equipment looks like it was put together with a purpose rather than just random pieces.
Keep the items you use most frequently close by, as getting up every few minutes to copy or fax can disrupt your workflow and cause disorganization and you definitely want your clients to see an ultra-organized office when they visit. Clients can be uncomfortable coming into your home, so it's important to have separation between your home and your home office to ensure the client is comfortable and at ease.