8 Tips for Creating an Office at Home

Source: smemon87

Whether you are running a business out of the guest room, working from home in the den, or paying your bills in a corner of the family room, constructing a comfortable, professional space is critical. Use these eight tips for creating an office at home.


1. Design an office that meets your needs

The first step in crafting the perfect home office is to settle on its purpose.

  • Will you have sole access, or will it be shared with family members?
  • Will you always work alone, or will you need seating for vendors and clients?
  • What shelves, baskets, filing cabinets, and desk space will you need for storage and organisation?
  • If you will claim your home office as a tax deduction, make sure you meet the Internal Revenue Service guidelines.


2. Create a floor plan before making purchases

Before you bring new furniture into the space, you must confirm that it will fit. The same principle applies to wall accessories like bulletin boards and dry erase boards.

The simplest method for fashioning a floor plan is to draw your room measurements on a piece of graph paper, cut out coloured paper to match the scaled size of the items you want, and then try different configurations to until you find the best combination. If you prefer a high-tech approach, you can built your floor plan with a spreadsheet, CAD software, or an interior decorating application.

When you are developing your plan, remember to about one foot of extra depth for open file cabinets and desk drawers. More importantly, make sure you have enough electrical outlets and amperage to accommodate all of your equipment. You do not want extension cords wrapping around the room, and you do not want to trip a circuit breaker every time you switch on your desk lamp.


3. Define the space

Separating your office into a professional space will help you stay in a work mindset and remain productive. If you will be using only part of a room, consider designating your space with some type of barrier. Some inexpensive options include a Japanese Shoji screen, painted bookcases, adjustable curtains or fabric panels, or even a row of potted plants or trees.


4. Pay attention to the furniture

You will get little work done sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours. You also risk aggravating back problems. Choose a chair and desk that will maintain your good posture. According to Cleveland Clinic, having a proper sitting position means the following:

  • back straight and shoulders back
  • knees at a right angle, even or slightly higher than your hips, with feet flat on the floor and legs uncrossed
  • elbows and arms resting on your chair or desk with your shoulders relaxed
  • shifting to a different position at least once every half hour.


5. Avoid bad lighting

Poor lighting can cause eye fatigue and headaches. Move your monitor to a position that will prevent glare. Take advantage of natural lighting whenever possible, and use soft, ambient light bulbs to complement the space. Keep in mind the placement of task lighting for reading and manual work and the general level of room light for other activities.


6. Keep the office fun and inspirational

Surround yourself with pleasant colours, motivating artwork, creative toys, and gallery-like accessories. The items in your office should be calming or thought-provoking but never distracting. Live plants, soft tunes, and aromatherapy products can help form a relaxing environment.


7. Keep the office clean and tidy

Do not be tempted to pack items into every nook of your office. Leave some open space, remove unnecessary trinkets and piles, and use creative storage units to keep unattractive cords and clutter out of sight.


8. Reduce the noise

Locate office noises and take steps to quiet them. Add a door to the furnace, install carpet or wall hangings to absorb echoes, seal door frames, close windows during peak traffic periods, and let your family know your office schedule so they will control interruptions.


With a little planning, you can create a perfect environment for your business activities. As you are pulling together your ideal furniture, equipment, and accessories, keep in mind these eight tips for creating an office at home.

6 years ago

Getting Ahead While Getting Your Degree

Landing a respectable job as a web designer has become increasingly difficult as more and more people enter the web design job market. Some people even assert that the web design market is over flooded with designers. Without differentiating yourself from people your age seeking similar jobs, you could easily find yourself in an uncomfortably long transition from college to career.

flood (Image credit motherjones.com)

How can you differentiate yourself?

With determination, sacrifice, and a little guidance, you can easily differentiate yourself from those competing for your prized web designer/developer position.

Educate yourself

School does not teach you all the essential skills you need to become a successful web designer. If you currently major in computer science and hope to obtain a web development position after graduation, know that almost all computer science degrees revolve around C++ and/or Java. Learning PHP, jQuery, .Net, or Coldfusion has to be done on your own time.

Luckily the design community makes the learning process extremely simple and relatively enjoyable.

Subscribe to blogs via RSS that relate to the position you’re pursuing. In addition to SoDevious, here are a couple of blogs by category to get you started:

You MUST read blogs like these in order to stay ahead of your competition. The web design industry is always changing; failure to educate yourself results in the industry leaving you behind.

Forums are another great educational resource. Personally, I prefer forums over blogs, but I recommend utilizing both. Forums have the added benefit of enabling you to interact with the community and get your specific questions answered. You get your mix of industry experts, novices, and average-joe’s, allowing you to see multiple perspectives. Here are a few forums by category I recommend.

Your ability to self-teach will directly correlate with your success in the future. If you want to prove to your future employer that you can contribute more to the company than the next candidate, you better know what he’s talking about when he says “AJAX” or “CMS”. A majority of the skills required to land your web design dream job will not be taught in the classroom.

Build your resume

Your resume can be your best friend or your worst enemy. To some companies, the strength of your resume means more than your GPA. Your resume tells your potential employer what you did with your time while in school: Did you go above and beyond to build your resume? Or did you find frat parties and video games more important than your future career? How your potential employer answers that question determines if you get the job.

So you need to build your resume, but how? Here are 3 easy ways to build your resume as a teenage web designer.

1) Apply for internships

Internships remain the foundation of a strong resume for college students. They let employers know you have at least an idea of how the industry works in “the real world”. Call local web design companies and ask if they have any internships available. Treat this internships as a job, even if you don’t get paid. Paid internships are few and far between. You must treat the internship as an investment: Make less money (or no money) now so you can have a higher salary later. While working at Pizza Hut or Build-a-Bear puts some money in your pocket, it does not contribute to the skill set you plan on using the rest of your life.
Read more about Internships.

2) Donate a site/logo to a charity or church

Working for free does not appeal to anyone. However, donating a website or logo to a local organization not only adds an item to your resume, it gets people talking. Consider making a website for a church. Why a church? Church people talk. Make the site, and when it’s finished, ask the Pastor to announce the launch of the website at a service. People trust their pastors, so his credibility is passed on to you when he announces you made their website: textbook word-of-mouth marketing.

3) Guest post on blogs

Find highly credible blogs to guest post for. Using this search query brings up a multitude of web design blogs that allow guest writing. Contact the site owners and pitch your idea to them. If your article gets published, be sure to tack that on to your resume. This greatly adds to your credibility.

Keep your eye on the prize

Taking on such an extensive workload in addition to your classes may seem too stressful or unfair. I encourage you to push through and keep your eye on the prize: Your dream job. If you ever need any help, ideas, or encouragement, the crew here at SoDevious are here to give you a helping hand.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/143186839/
7 years ago