Jane Shelton

Jane Shelton

Monday, 06 February 2012 14:27

How can I work out how much home office space I’ll need?

I’m looking to slowly transition from the office to my own home-based business this year. But as I’m not doing it all in one go, it’s hard to know what my eventual needs will be. How can I work out how much home office space I’ll need?


Congratulations on making plans to take control of both your home and business life. You are right to do it in stages.


By now you have presumably prepared both your business and marketing plans, have identified the value propositions that are keeping you afloat and you are looking to spend more time at home.


This means that you appreciate the differences between home and family life and want your partners and staff to be aware that you need the space to be yourself as well as the space that the business requires.


Take the time to talk with the small business consultants that your state or territory government provides so that you avoid making expensive purchases and idealistic decisions that are not supported by your cashflow and your bank.


My own experience in tackling your question was to set aside a room in the house for my office, storage space for papers in an outside room and constant access to phones, computers and the living room to escape the constant pressures that are associated with being a homeworker.


Your suggestion that it is hard to know what your eventual needs will be represents an early warning sign.


You must clearly identify the range of products and services that you intend to generate from home.


You will need a minimum of an independent office with a desk, computer and filing cabinet, plus your production space, and then it comes down to being more specific about your plans.


In chapter three of my book There's No Workplace Like Home I point out that the key benefit of staged planning is setting goals for the future, understanding future trends and creating alliances that support your plans.


Prepare a list of the space and resource requirements for each of these alternative preferred and desired futures.


Then compare the amount of space and required separation of home and office with the alternative of setting up in hired offices or manufacturing spaces.


Remember to give yourself both room for working on the business without losing your kitchen table (and your mind).

Dr Jane Shelton is managing director of Marshall Place Associates, Melbourne's independent think tank, and CEO (honorary) for 'Life. Be in it.' International. Jane has written a book called No Workplace Like Home, which seeks to encourage start-up home-based business owners to live more of their lives through running a successful home business.


Ask Jane or any other StartupSmart mentor a question here.

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