Home Offices: Let the Experts Set You Up for Success

April 1, 1999

4 Ways to Boost Productivity

When it comes to home office organization and equipment, do it once and do it right. Whether you're starting from scratch or upgrading your equipment, Sandy Anderson, a real estate practitioner and author of The Work-at-Home Balancing Act (Avon Books, 1998; $12), believes these investments are must haves:

  1. A cordless headset--about $200--to hook to your belt or clothing so that your hands are free.
  2. A voice mail service to take calls when you're on another call or out of the office.
  3. A phone area where you can stand to make prospecting calls. Standing encourages more projection and better energy in your voice. That makes you more dynamic and a more effective communicator over the phone.
  4. An office set-up that gives you easy access to the things you use most often.

9 Steps to a Happier You at Work

Lisa Kanarek, president of Everything's Organized, has written the book, literally (Organizing a Home Office for Success), on home office organization. Here are her tips for making sure your home office work environment is tribulation free:

  1. Anything that comes out of your home office needs to be top quality. Nobody wants to receive faxed printouts that aren't top quality.
  2. Make sure the room can support all your equipment. Invest in surge protectors and grounded outlets. Make sure you can run multiple phone lines.
  3. Make sure it's in a low-traffic area. "One real estate practitioner I know had an office in the corner of her children's playroom. She had to wait until the kids were in school to work," Kanarek notes.
  4. Is furniture serving a purpose? An old dining table as a desk isn't a good idea. It has no drawers, and it may not be a comfortable height. Better to invest in a computer stand or workstation.
  5. Focus on function. Go to an office superstore to buy an inexpensive desk, but not one made of particleboard--it'll come apart. Spend a little more to get one with drawers and space for keyboard and printer.
  6. Don't skimp on a chair. If you're on your computer a lot, working in dining room chair isn't a good fit.
  7. People assume that the bigger the home office, the more functional it is. But size doesn't correlate to productivity. People with large home offices spread everything out, so they have to leave their desk to print or make a fax. Consolidate.
  8. Treat your home office like a corporate office. It's not a place to read leisure magazines or anything else that doesn't relate to your business.
  9. You'll burn out quicker with poor lighting. Halogen seems to offer the most natural light.
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