Choosing the ideal location for your home office is not always as easy as some people may think. As a matter of fact it can be one of the toughest decisions to make in the early stages of your business. Most homes are already quite limited in the amount of space they have. Trying, then, to fit a home office into this limited space can make matters more complicated than you may have ever considered.
What choices do you have? Let's have a look at each.
Converting your attic for use as a home office is a wonderful idea. You've got privacy and a dedicated working area that's away from your friends and family. Although an ideal location a proper attic conversion can cost several thousands dollars to complete properly. It's not just a matter of putting down some flooring and fitting some power points on the walls. It needs to be properly ventilated and insulated to cater for all types of weather. You'll also need some Velux windows fitted to make sure you have natural air and light coming into the new home office in your attic.
Another question worth asking is whether or not your attic is actually capable of being converted – not all are. It depends on how the roofing timbers are arranged and on the overall structure of the house. A local attic conversion specialist will be able to help more with advice on this. Just make sure that if you do decide to go down this route that you have a proper stairs fitted – some attic conversions only come supplied with ladders which simply is not convenient or safe for any real business purpose.
Using your basement as a home office is a great idea normally. As a matter of fact a famous entrepreneur friend of mine runs his entire business from his foundation. It allows him all the space he needs and again the privacy that a business requires to be run properly.
Using your basement as a home office is very similar to the idea of converting your attic except that far less work is required for this room to become a functional home office; in that flooring and other such items are strictly required in a basement. With all the space that a basement provides it can easily become a case of home office clutter so make sure you have a dedicated area of the basement to work from that that as far away from any utility items, such as washing machines, as is possible.
The primary concerns with using a basement as a home office is dampness and any moisture related damage to computer and other electronic equipment. Printers and fax machines in particular hate dampness and this can lead to no end of printing headaches. Make sure your basement is well insulated, damp-proofed and properly air-conditioned also.
Using your garage as a home office is not a bad idea at all. Obviously you do not want to just fit a desk, chair and computer in the middle of existing garage junk so do make sure that you at least convert part of the garage into a proper home office. You could always partition off a section of the garage and owe that strictly to your home office functions? If you have enough space of course.
A major concern with using your garage as a home office is security. The garage is technically "outside" your home so make sure that you have proper security alerts and doors fitted to prevent intrusion. If you're really serious about your business you could always convert the garage into an office by removing the garage door and having a wall built there instead. This may seem extreme but would provide a complete solution to most security concerns.
You'll also need to ensure that the garage is properly heated, air conditioned and insulated. Otherwise you may find yourself in a well equipped office thats cold, uncomfortable to work in and even damp.
This is one of the favorite spots in any house to use as a home office. Why? It comes with the advantage of being indoors, it's already painted and decorated and is, of course, heated and quite comfortable to work (or sleep) in. The vast majority of at-home-workers tend to favor the spacious bedroom as a home office for the reasons of simplicity and convenience. It's just a matter of putting in your furniture and your computer and away you go right? Well kinda.
The problem with using a spare bedroom is this. It was a bedroom first and an office second. It's hard to get people to change how they see it in that regard. If you choose to make a spare bedroom your office then make sure that it's a function as an office comes before anything else. Do you really want guests sleeping near valuable equipment and / or sensitive business documents? Nope. Did not think so. If necessary convert it fully to an office and throw away the "spare bedroom" title altogether. You'll be glad you did.
Family Rooms / Utility Rooms
Unless you have no other choice in where to locate your home office then set it up here. Experience has shown that trying to work productively when your kids / family / friends are running / chatting / eating around you is pretty much impossible. The same can be said of the utility room – they tend to be far too noisy to be of any real use. Use these locations only as a last resort.
A key factor in setting up an office at home is for those in your family and social circle to realize that it is in fact an office and not just someplace for them to call in to for a chat and a coffee. If you're serious about your home business then be serious about your home office also.