For homebased entrepreneurs, the executive suite can be anything from a fully equipped office to a card table in the corner of the bedroom. And with more than 18.3 million homebased business owners in the United States, home offices come in all sizes--and suit all budgets.
Flexibility is the key to every good home office. Not only is technology changing every day, but your needs will continue to evolve as your business grows. Before you stake your claim in home office territory, ask yourself these questions to help determine what you need:
- Does the space have the electrical outlets and phone jacks you need, and are they conveniently located? If possible, have additional wiring or phone lines installed before you move in so you're prepared for future needs.
- Where are the windows? Do you like to look out the window as you work, or do you find it distracting? Will the glare from the window make the computer screen hard to read? Configure your furniture with these things in mind.
- Will you be seeing clients or holding meetings in your office? If so, do you need a conference area and/or extra seating?
- Will more than one person use the office, even part time? Think about privacy and storage needs.
- What kind of storage space will you need? In addition to paper files, computer disks and CDs, remember that you'll be storing office supplies and business records.
- Is your office part of a room that has other functions? How much of your work will you want to hide at the end of the day?
Liz Seymour writes about design for publications including The New York Times and Southern Accents. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.