If you're starting a brand new business, the likelihood is you
won't have enough employees (or funds) to warrant getting premises,
so working from
home will be your best option. Make sure your home office is
well kitted out - remember, as your business builds up, so will the
mass of bits of paper, gadgets and general detritus on your desk.
If you can at least start off organised, you'll stand a much better
chance of carrying on that way.
While the idea workspace is a large, airy room with heavy
curtains and a leather-topped desk, the reality is that most new
entrepreneurs don't have the space to have a separate study. Your
workspace can be anywhere, from the space under the stairs to a
cubby hole in the kitchen. Some entrepreneurs even take the clothes
rail out of a wardrobe and work from there.
It may be tempting to sit in bed with a laptop balanced
on your knees, but most experts agree it's best not to work in a
space where you're used to relaxing. If you set up a space
specifically to work, you'll start to associate it with
concentration and be able to separate your relaxation space.
Plan your space so everything you need will be within easy
reach. If you'll need to access books or files, install bookshelves
behind the desk, and leave space for a filing cabinet if you think
you'll need one. Use a resource such as MyDeco's
room planner tool to plan your space.
The most important - and space consuming - piece of furniture
in your home office will inevitably be the desk. When you're buying
the desk, try it out - is it the right height for you? Can it be
adjusted to suit your height or sitting position?
Remember to measure your space before you go
shopping: there's nothing more frustrating than having a desk which
is too big.
You will spend hours sitting in your desk chair, so make sure
you get a comfortable one. Considering the amount of time you are
likely to spend sitting down, it's not an aspect of your office
worth scrimping on.
Your chair should be fully adjustable: there
should be options to alter the height and angle of both the seat
back and seat pan, as well as both the arm rests.
Look for a chair which an adjustable lumbar support as well -
one you can inflate and deflate by hand will make a huge
Most businesses build up an enormous amount of paper over the
first few months, so consider investing in a filing cabinet
to keep yourself organised. Although we hear they're now
available in red, filing cabinets haven't come a particularly long
way since the echoey grey towers of the 1950s, but if you're
strapped for space, start off with one which can be stowed neatly
under your desk.
Your computer is an essential piece of kit and
there's an age-old battle between laptop advocates and those who
favour desktops. If you do opt for a laptop, though, consider
investing in a monitor and keyboard which you can plug it into when
you're at home, which will help you keep back problems at bay.
Make sure you have a phone within easy reach - you won't want
to have to get up every five minutes when it rings.
Remember, you'll be making a lot of business calls, so
relying on your mobile phone might mean large bills.
If you're expecting to receive calls during evenings and
weekends (and if you're under any illusion, it's best to deal with
that now: you will be), get a second line installed. That big
business deal might have less impact if the caller needs to ask 'is
mummy there?' when your three-year-old answers the phone.
While email has cut down on the need for most postages,
even the most paperless of offices has a printer.
Unless you are planning to do big mailshots, don't bother paying
through the nose for an expensive laser printer - you'll probably
only need an inkjet which can be picked up for around £30.
While they're not as common as they used to be, it's still
worth getting a fax machine for the odd time you need to fax signed
documents or invoices through.
To save on space, get a combined fax machine and
printer - although be aware that if one breaks, you lose use
of the other as well.
You can fit an office into almost any space you have
Plan your space to get the most out of it
Don't work in spaces where there are distractions - you won't
be able to concentrate
Make sure your desk is the right size
Choose a fully adjustable chair
Consider investing in a filing cabinet
Buy a monitor and keyboard if you choose a laptop
Have a phone nearby and consider installing a second line