If you’re thinking about working from home, one of the first things you need to think about is where you will work from. Bearing in mind that you will be spending a large part of your day using your computer, you will need a dedicated work station with all the materials you need, good Wi-Fi access, and surroundings that are conducive to being able to concentrate. You need to approach this task with a professional eye, because imagining you can sit at the kitchen table or on the couch with your laptop every day will not make the best working environment.
What you need for your home business
Before you think about where to site your work area, calculate what space you will need. This will depend to a large extent on the type of business you’re running. For a computer-based business, a good-sized desk, ergonomic office chair and storage for your consumables and files will be all you’ll need. If you’re going to be making and/or selling products, you will also need storage space, and for craft businesses a manufacturing area. If you’re only intending to sell rather than make products yourself, then you could adopt a drop-ship model which eliminates the need for you to hold your own stock.
Finding the space
Once you’ve established the amount of space you need, you can then examine your home to see where your work area would best fit in. A spare room is ideal, as it can simply be repurposed for your requirements. If you don’t have a lot of space, you will have to come up with a clever solution, for example:
- Make use of areas that don’t have a specific function, g. alcoves, landings and under the stairs. Even large cupboards can be fitted out as home offices. You might need to have a good clear out to make enough space, but that’s no bad thing in itself.
- Have you got a garage or other outdoor building that could be converted, or do you have the space to build a garden room in the backyard? You do need to check on any planning restrictions on using outdoor buildings before starting your conversion or building project.
- Do you have a basement that doesn’t get used? Often this is because basements can be damp or prone to flooding, but this can be fixed by installing a sump pump to keep the room dry. It’s possible to install a pump yourself if you’re a DIY enthusiast, with a bit of guidance from an expert. You’ll find tutorials online that can help you with the process and give you instructions on dealing with the sump pump weep hole for example, or you can get a plumber to come in and do the job for you.
- Roof-spaces can similarly be converted for home office use, but bear in mind you will need adequate heating and ventilation, as the space will be more vulnerable to outside temperature variations.
Setting up your home work area is an important part of your venture, so make sure you get it right.