The age of the internet has redefined what is known as the home office. What used to be a space for paying bills or writing letters is now the center of home operations. And it is a far cry from the barebones desk with a few pens and tablets of paper. Whether you run a home business or not, it is likely that your home office contains a lot of equipment. Just about everything needs to be plugged in - computers, monitors, printers, shredders, phones, modems, fax machines, you name it. And more often than not, you will find children in the home office. School projects now require internet access and research. Word processing has long since taken the place of typewriters.
I know a family that converted their formal dining room to the family work station. Given the increased demands on the home office, it is so important to set up this space effectively or productivity will suffer. If your space does not meet and exceed your needs life will become chaotic and disorganized. First, you must choose an ideal space for your home office. If it is to be the entire family's home office then the more space the better. The guest bedroom or a big section of a dry basement are good options. My neighbors used their formal dining room. Likewise, an unused formal living room would also provide ample space. If you must go smaller, find a corner of a room that is conveniently located but with enough separation from main traffic areas to minimize distractions. The next step is to furnish this area. I prefer large open tables to small decorative desks.
Portable drawers and file cabinets on rollers are convenient and are easily moved around. If you spend many hours at the computer, make sure you choose ergonomically designed tables and chairs for good health. And if many family members will use the office at once allow for enough seating and workspace. You may also need to call in an electrician to add some more wall outlets for all of the office equipment that needs to be plugged in. Overloading existing outlets is never a good idea. In a home office, work space is very important. Allowing table space for a computer is one thing, but if that computer consumes all available desk space then that is a problem. You need to have space for writing, file work, and projects.
If there is no open desk space, then you will feel cramped. Finally, consider the layout of your home office. Think about how you work. For example, I am right handed, so I keep my file cabinet to the right of my desk within a "chair rolls" distance. This way, it is easy for me to file away my paperwork and it doesn't sit around in piles cluttering up my desk space. Similarly, frequently used supplies should be kept in accessible drawers - not on top of the desk. A little strategic planning will go a long way when it comes to setting up a home office. It may just become your favorite spot in the house!