For many companies, brick-and-mortar office complexes have faded into obscurity. Teleconferencing or “telecommuting” has become the standard for a number of industries, and start-ups based out of the home offer a slew of advantages from avoiding horrendous morning commutes to writing off a portion of your rent. Unfortunately, while established firms can throw massive sums of money into creating an attractive workspace, the home entrepreneur or remote employee is often a bit more limited in this regard. Here are some ideas to get your home office up and running on a tighter budget.
Start by Using What You Already Have
If you are on any sort of budget, you’ll definitely want to resist the urge to run off to your local, overpriced office supply retailer for every last item. A thorough search of your home will likely reveal a number of underused items or pieces of furniture that will more than suffice in meeting your workspace needs. That old worktable sitting out in the garage—you know, the one with all the boxes on it that you haven’t looked inside of in five years—think about clearing it off and refinishing it. Some sandpaper and a little stain goes a long way towards creating a beautiful desk that will offer plenty of room to work and to keep necessities close at hand.
What Can You Make?
Use a little imagination. Think of all the ways you might use inexpensive materials to create shelves, filing systems, in-and-out boxes, etc. A funky ceramic flower pot found at a thrift store might look great holding scissors and pens. Multi-level shoe shelves placed atop your desk can hold a printer, paper, books and more.
Hunt Down Used Office Furniture in Your Area
New doesn’t always mean “better.” Scanning the online classifieds in your local area will generally turn up an office or two that is renovating. Hotels tend to redecorate their lobbies and guestrooms every few years. In some cases you’ll find a local store that deals in used commercial furniture exclusively. Most importantly, be willing to do some minor repairs and clean things up a bit.
Where Not to Skimp
Fabricating and repurposing other items for use as organizers and work surfaces has the added benefit up leaving some extra dough left over for the most important item in your home office—your chair. True, a comfortable chair can be more costly, but in this case the cost is justified. An uncomfortable or cheaply made chair can do significant damage to your spine and back muscles while cutting off circulation to your legs, causing additional pain and discomfort. What you spend on your chair you may just earn back by avoiding medical bills from your chiropractor or orthopedic specialist in the years to come.
If you’re working full-time from home, try to include things in your workspace like adequate lighting, music and a few pictures that you find inspiring. Remember, it should be a comfortable space that you enjoy spending time in.
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