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Determining the right size for your home office

Whether you already work from home, or are thinking about creating your first home office, the first step in determining the right size for your home office is determining your office requirements. Each job requires a different style of office. What works for your neighbor who is an engineer may not work for you, the doctor, or artist, or real estate agent. The following questions may help you to determine what kind of office you need.

What kind of work will you be doing? Make a list of the activities you do on a daily basis for your type of work. Make note of how much time you spend on each task. Then rank all of your listed activities from most important to least important activity. This will help you decide the size of your office, what kinds of furniture to buy, how much work area you need, how your office should be laid out, etc, based on the importance of each task.

What kinds of furniture do you need? This will depend on the type of work you do. If you spend most of your day at a desk on the computer, you will most likely need a large desk with a comfortable chair. The other furniture in your office may be of little importance to you. But if you spend little time at your desk and most of the time working on architectural drawings, for example, you may want a nice drafting table and good lamp but a smaller desk.

How much work area do you need? Consider how much time you spend on each activity each day at work. If you spend your entire day working on a computer at your desk, you probably do not need an office the size of your living room. If, however, you work at a desk, sift through files in an oversized filing cabinet, and spread out your drawings on a drafting table, you may need a larger work area. Determine how much space your furniture or work tools might take. Then adjust the size of your room accordingly. Large amount of furniture require a larger room. Smaller amounts of furniture require a smaller room.

How much storage space do you need? Make a list of how much storage you need. Do you have many files that must be kept on hand at all times? Do you regularly acquire more files that need to be accessible? Do you need to store specialized equipment, etc?

How should your work area be laid out? Consider where you spend most of your time during the average day. Do you usually sit at a desk all day? Or are you constantly moving from your desk to your shelves and back again? Arrange your office according to the types of furniture you need, as well as how often you move around your room.

Where should your desk be located in your office? This question may refer to your desk (if that is the center of your office) or your table or easel or whatever your main piece of furniture may be. You should consider the following things when deciding where to put your desk:
Is this room big enough for my desk?
Will light from a window or lamp (either inside or outside of your office) create an irritating glare on my computer?
Are there enough phone jacks or power outlets and cords within reach of my desk?
Is my desk too close to the heater or air conditioning vents?
Will I enjoy spending a large portion of my time in this office?

You may want to sketch out your desired office layout. Doing this may help you avoid headaches and hassle when you move all of your supplies into your office and give you the a good idea of the perfect size for your home office.

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