Saturday, November 3, 2007

Turn a spare room into a writer's studio

If you've decided to work from home, it's important to make your work place as pleasant, professional and conducive to working as possible.

Here are some common sense points you can apply:

1. Your work place is sacred

Whatever area you deem to be your office ~ a bedroom or even the corner of a room ~ it should be sacred and off limits to 'unauthorized personnel'. This is your work place, so other members of the family need to respect this space.

2. Stay flexible

Whatever amount of space you have available, chances are you'll need more as your business grows. Invest in a larger desk than you currently need and install extra bookshelves. If required, keep less critical items in a closet or garage, such as extra filing cabinets, supplies and archived records.

3. Wired for work

No doubt your office will contain a plethora of technology which require electrical outlets and/or phone jacks. Make sure that you have an adequate amount of both for your needs now and in the future and that they are located close to equipment.

4. Light up your life

Your office will need to be well lit. It's best for your eyesight (and usually your sanity) to have your desk face a window. When positioning your desk make sure it takes full advantage of natural light without any glare on your computer screen. You can supplement natural light with a desk lamp and suitable ceiling lighting.

5. Protect yourself

Your office is now your livelihood, so safeguard it against 'acts of God'. Install surge protection equipment to protect your equipment from lightning strikes and power surges which can fry electronic components. The equipment you now have in your home is among the most sought- after by burglars, so install a good alarm system.

6. Think ergonomically

Your workplace has to be safe, not only for your equipment, but for your body. If you expect to invest four or more hours a day at your desk, you need a workstation that promotes good posture. Start by investing in a good ergonomic chair that includes an adjustable back support and seat height to suit your body. Ideally, the chair should swivel and have castors for ease of use. Your computer screen should be placed directly in front of you and at eye level and arm's reach. If needed, raise the height by placing the screen on a stand or phone directories.

7. Your office is your haven

The advantage of working from home is that you can put as much personality into your home office as you like. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom cum office, so I've made it into a haven ~ a home for my thoughts as much as my work. Serene pictures decorate the walls, soft instrumental music plays in the background and often essences waft throughout the house all day long. It makes the office more serene and work more pleasant.

8. Make sure the door works

At the end of the business day, close the door on your office. This is also your home, so respect the personal needs of all who live there. Remember, you're working to live, not living to work.

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