Starting a home-based business can be both challenging and rewarding. As your business takes off, you’ll face several challenges, including how to create an effective workspace. Although your new, home-based office may have little space for anything more than a desk, credenza, bookcase, and file cabinet, remember that it’s not about how much space you have; it’s about how you use that space.
Set up your home office using the arrangement that’s best for your space. Choose among the L-shape, parallel, U-shape, corner, or reverse-corner arrangements. The one you select depends primarily on the size of your office, the type of furniture you have, and how much work surface you’ll need.
Save space within your home office by using all-in-one equipment that faxes, prints, copies, and scans documents in color. The smaller footprint of these machines makes them ideal for most space-challenged home offices.
Make each piece of furniture serve two purposes. For example, a lateral file cabinet can contain important documents while supporting your equipment, along with a desktop file holder on top. A storage stool can hold files or supplies inside, as well as provide extra seating.
Add shelves above or next to your desk to gain more storage space and reduce desktop clutter. A tall bookcase with adjustable shelves can serve as a room divider in a family room or guest room, if necessary. Adjustable shelves make more sense than fixed shelves because they eliminate wasted space above and below the shelves.
Set up your home office in a way that fits your working style. If you follow "out of sight, out of mind" thinking, use a desktop file holder for your active files. Keep track of supplies by storing them in decorative containers on your bookshelves.
Reduce piles of magazines in your office by keeping only a year’s worth and storing them in magazine holders by type of publication. When a new issue arrives, recycle the year-old issue. Consider eliminating magazines altogether by subscribing to online versions.
Author and Blogger
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.