Crowded House

A Space Odyssey

If two's company and three's a crowd, what's eight? To Jivesh Sharma, it's a thriving homebased business that specializes in designing customized, state-of-the-art Web sites, intranets and educational products. As the president of Health Integration Technologies (Health IT) in Dallas, and publisher of HealthIT Today magazine, Sharma and his five full-time and two part-time employees rely on technology to maintain and grow the business.

The challenge: Because his office measures only 250 square feet, Sharma needed to create a working environment where he could host staff meetings, client meetings and demonstrations, yet still have room to store and access the extensive technology needed to operate his business. Not only did he have to create a work area for two full-time, in-office employees and himself, he had to make room for three off-site staff members who work in his home office two days a week and in their respective home offices the rest of the time.

The solution: Sharma invested in a desk big enough for two, which he shares with his business manager (they usually work different hours). At a 90-degree angle to his desk is a large, computer workstation with a hutch to store stationery, reference materials and the entire staff's physical mailbox. (Almost all communication is electronic.) Additional reference materials are stored along one wall of built-in bookcases. Another computer workstation across from Sharma's shared desk is for the telecommuting employees to use when they're visiting.

The layout of Sharma's home is conducive to running a homebased business and greeting clients. His living room serves as a waiting room. His nearby kitchen makes it easy to offer clients food and drinks. Health IT staff meetings are held in Sharma's den, where he connects his notebook computer to his TV for PowerPoint presentations and reviewing Web sites.

Health IT's growth, combined with its ability to communicate effectively with staff and clients, proves company size doesn't necessarily correlate with the square footage of your home office.

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