Home Office Pitfalls

Designing your home office space is fraught with many pitfalls. It’s easy to make extra work for yourself. Below are three of the top challenges that many people have encountered. I hope that the experiences listed below will help you.

WARNING: These ideas are only for you if you have a clearly defined business path. You don’t want to join the ranks of “cloudy thinkers” and end up relocating their offices a couple of times looking for the right place. What a waste of energy and time?

(And believe me — I’ve wasted the time and energy a few times myself, and so have a few others as you’ll see below.)

Example #1 — Think and then rethink your first idea
Here’s one example of why choosing the very first place that comes to mind may not be in your best interest.

Take the example of G.E. He decided to start a stained-glass factory from his home. He picked his den as his place of business. He ended up in a RV parked beside his house.

Why?

Because he hadn’t taken into account how interested his young children would be in handling his tools and the pretty glass pieces.

Example #2 — How about that spare bedroom?
Well, depending on the location, this could be a great (or horrible) place to put your office. I read an example of a woman who was an empty-nester who decided to become buiild her business as a technical writer.

Since she had a spare bedroom she converted that into her office. Sound like a no-brainer, right?

The problem that she encountered was that her husband would constantly interrupt her, despite her requests to be left alone until lunch. She got so frustrated that she planned on moving her office to a rental location!

After discussing the matter with her husband she realized that the spare bedroom that she picked (right at the top of the stairs) was a magnet for her husband. He literally walked by her everytime he had to get something from upstairs and couldn’t resist chatting with her.

The solution? She switched bedrooms. She took one of the rooms that was out of his walking pattern. So when her husband took his daily walks upstairs, he didn’t see her. Out of sight was truly out of mind for him. Her production increased as her stress level decreased.

Example #3 — The many home offices of CHK
So, what about me? Well, I started my typing business when we were in a tiny, teeny tiny, apartment, so my “office” was a small desk with a computer in my bedroom. That worked okay because my daughter was an infant and didn’t crave access to the computer … yet.

We later moved to a house and I thought my office would be in a little alcove in my livingroom. The lighting was great. I could see the great outdoors, keep track of my kids and get work done. Hah!

My spot was great in the summertime for the reasons I mentioned above. However, when winter rolls around, the sun spent several hours on my computer screen, making it impossible to see anything that I was working on.

Then there were the problems of getting beaned in the head when my kids threw their toys around. Oh, and did I mention that having a direct sight to the refrigerator isn’t the best way to lose weight?

So, I finally gave up and moved upstairs to the spare bedroom. And for me that worked. Although I’m in the first room that the kids have to pass to get to their toys and room, if my door is closed they (for the most part) don’t bother me. I think they like the idea that I can’t see what they’re up to. (Little do they understand that mothers always know when mischief is afoot! (n_n)

And best of all, I had to do exercise to go to the refrigerator, so my new location cut down on a lot of unnecessary snacking and distractions (such as the home telephone).

I had my business telephone upstairs (I used Vonage at the time; now I use Skype) which stopped me from having unneccessary conversations with my family and friends who just can’t seem to get the idea that “I’m Working Here!” (Another hazard of working from home, but more on that later.)

As demonstrated by the examples above, picking a home office space is a critical component of success. If you’re interested in learning more about the basic requirements for a home office, ways to create a space if space is limited and a bunch of other things, just click the links below for more details.