Anyone can build a home-office, it just gets more complicated the bigger you need it to be. You can build a home-office under the stairs, in a spare bedroom or in a study or dining room off your hallway.
There are three aspects to building a home-office that you need to consider before you start:
Do you plan to use your home-office for paid employees?
There are regulations about minimum lighting levels and types of lighting where employees are using computer equipment. There are also minimum ventilation and specified temperature ranges for employees' offices. These will vary and you will need to check out these locally to be 100% compliant with local laws and statutes.
- How many people will use it?
If the office is for one person then there can be less floor space than if two or more people are to work there. Even if you and your partner are to use the office at different times you will need to set up two separate work areas, if you are not to come to blows.
What is your budget for your home-office project?
Your budget decides whether you will buy new or used office desks. Office desks are available in all shapes and sizes and in different materials. Modern glass and chrome desks tend to be a lot more expensive.
Will your budget stretch to putting in extra electric outlets, or will you use extension leads? Computer equipment needs lots of power outlets for computer, monitor, printers, scanners, etc, etc. It is worth getting an electrician in to install extra sockets if you can. Decide where the computers will go and put in six socket outlets in each location. You also need other sockets spaced around the room.
Build a home-office - Step #1Tidy Up
Clear out everything in your chosen space. Remove all shelving, all light shades and drapes, so that you have a totally empty space to plan and decorate.
Build a home-office - Step #2 Electrics
Decide where your computers will go. Monitors should not be placed against windows, or you will not be able to see the picture properly because of the glare. Install extra power outlets.
home-office - Step #3 Decorate
Redecorate while the room is empty. You will NOT want to dismantle your office to paint the walls and ceilings. Replace floor covering if needed. Carpet is quieter than laminate or timber flooring and more conducive to thinking. It is important to have some sound absorbing surfaces in your home-office to prevent echoes. Without drapes on the window having carpet on the floor becomes more important.
Think about window blinds rather than drapes. Drapes get in the way with computer equipment. Blinds can also be used to control the amount of sunlight on a bright day much more easily than drapes can.
home-office - Step #4 Furnish
Buy your home-office desks. Remember to leave room for a filing cabinet or storage cupboard. Plan where your desks are to go and have the room measurements drawn out on a piece of paperbefore you go shopping for office desks.
If you are buying new then check that the range you are buying from has all the desks you need to fill your office and make maximum use of the space. Your desks need to be at least 30 inches deep to accommodate keyboards and monitors comfortably. Corner space is usually wasted, so the extra for a corner desk is usually worth it. Computer monitors make very effective use of corner spaces; as long as you can sit at a corner desk, square on to the monitor.
Most people have a used office furniture supplier less than a 60 minute drive away. Before you invest $2000 in corner desks, link desks, filing cabinets and office chairs, pay your local used office furniture supplier a visit. You will almost certainly be amazed at the range of good-as-new modern office desks that are available for about 25% of the price of new furniture.
Office desks do not come as self-assembly flat-packs. Large office supply companies will deliver, but be prepared to pick up your furniture if you are buying used desks from a small supplier. You will need a trailer about 6ft square, or a pick-up truck for most desks. A larger truck will mean you can make fewer journeys.
Build a home-office - Step #5 Putting Your Office Together
Your desks will need two strong people to handle them, so make sure you have plenty of help on hand.
Put the desks where they are to go. There is no need to fix them to the walls, but sometimes they will benefit by being fixed together. Just screw them together using concealed battens of 2in x1in timber.
Put low cupboards underneath some of the desks to accommodate scanners and printers, or put the printers on the desks, but your usable desk space will quickly disappear with printers on it.
Put your computers in place and join everything up with the appropriate cables.
home-office - Step #6 Final Steps
Buy wall-mounted shelves to put on walls above your desks. These will reduce desk clutter and help you work more efficiently. Printer paper can be stored on the shelves.
home-office - Step #7 Office Rules
Fit a lock to the office door. You need to KNOW that nobody has trashed your work files by downloading a virus-ridden game from the Internet.
Make it clear that your home-office is a workspace and not another family room.
Have a clear desk rule, and a box that everything left on the desk is swept into.
Home accounts need to be keep separate from business accounts. Consider keeping them in separate locations, on different computers.
Have a No Drinks rule. Thousands of computers every year are destroyed by spilt tea and coffee. Keep liquids away from computers, especially laptops.
You might allow your teenaged son and daughter to use your computer after explaining rules about its use but it is a good idea to totally ban all friends from the home-office and its computers.