Determining How Much Room Your Home Business Needs

Before jumping right into a home business, think about how much available space you have in your home that can be dedicated to the business. Many home businesses can get by with very little in the way of floor space and if you do not expect a lot of foot traffic, essentially performing your work on the internet, then you probably do not need a lot of floor space to provide a good working environment.

On the other hand, you do not want your home office space to be so cluttered with your business equipment and supplies that there is not enough room to change your mind. Working in a confined area can be very frustrating and can quickly take the allure off the notion of working at home. Many people really like to spread out while they work and others are happy with just enough space to hold what they need, but whichever personality you have, the space needs to be neat, clean and organized.

You do not always have to settle for the smallest room in the house if you are planning to isolate your office from the rest of the house, nor should you chase everyone out of the family room so you can have a bigger desk and way more file cabinets than you will ever use. Get out your pencil, paper and measuring tape and make a drawing of what your ideal home office space should look like and then adjust it to fit into the available area of the house. It is never a good idea to use the kitchen table as your home office desk, but if you have to use the kitchen, find another table that fits so you don’t end up with food stains on your work.

As a general rule you will need a desk, typically about four-feet long along with a chair in order to work comfortably in your new home office. A single filing cabinet for your record keeping may also have a top large enough to hold your computer’s printer, fax machine or other type of office equipment, requiring no additional floor space. You will also need a trashcan and a shredder, but finding a shredder that fits on top of the trashcan also saves space and you can find something else to do with all of your empty coffee cups.

Depending on your type of business, you may have a need for a larger table on which to layout larger projects. However, unless it will be used on a daily basis, you can find other accommodations when it is needed. Using the kitchen table once in a while is not forbidden, provided you clean it up before dinnertime.

Realistically, an eight-foot square room may be all you need, but after a few days it may feel more like serving a sentence than going to work. You will want it to be open and airy, but put any windows to the side or behind your chair to minimize distractions. Additionally, never, ever, not ever should you use any additional office space for storage. Once boxes of junk are put in place, they are going to be there for the long haul.

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Venice, May 2014 – 147
office home business
Image by Ed Yourdon
(more details later, as time permits)


I’ve been to Venice once or twice for brief business trips during my life, which had the same characteristics as the business trips I described in a separate Flickr album about Paris — i.e., they basically involve flying into a busy airport at night, taking a taxi to a generic business-traveler’s hotel (a Hilton in Venice looks just like a Hilton in Cairo,except perhaps for the canal outside the main entrance), and then spending several days working in the hotel (if the purpose of the trip was a seminar or computer conference), or at a client’s office (also “generic” in most cases — you can’t even tell what floor you’re on when you get off the elevator, because every floor of “open office” layouts is the same). The trip usually ends in the late afternoon or evening of the final day, with a mad dash back to the airport to catch the last plane home to NYC. Thus, a business trip to Venice is almost indistinguishable from a business trip to Omaha. Or Albany. Or Tokyo.

But Venice is different from almost any other place in the world, and I’ve had a couple of vacation trips to experience that side of the city. But it’s been a long, long time: the first such visit was back in 1976 (which you can see here on Flickr), and the second visit was in 1983 (pictures of which do exist on Flickr, but have been restricted to family-only access, since they consist mostly of boring pictures of drooling babies and kids sticking their collective tongues out at me).

Thirty years is a long time between visits … but for a city like Venice, I doubt that very much has changed. Well, perhaps there wasn’t a McDonald’s outlet in Venice when I first came here (and I did photograph one such outlet on this current visit, which you’ll find in this album), and you can certainly guarantee that people weren’t walking around with cellphones and smartphones the way they are today. And while the tourists typically did have cameras back in the good-old-days, they were typically modest little “Instamatic” film-based gadgets, rather than the big, garish, DSLR cameras that everyone now seems to carry around with them, complete with advertising logos all over the camera-straps and bodies to remind you that they, too, can afford to buy an expensive Canon or Nikon gadget that they really don’t know how to use properly. (Sorry, I got carried away there …)

But the buildings, and the people, and the canals, and the gondolas … all of that is the same. And that’s what I’ve tried to capture in this set of photos. The tourist crowds are now so thick (even in May!) that I didn’t even bother going to the square at San Marco, and I didn’t bother taking any photos from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal; but you will see some photos of tourists in this album, along with photos of the local people who are still here …

I don’t expect to come back to Venice again in the next year or two … but if it turns out to be 20 or 30 years before my next return, I suspect it will all look pretty much exactly the same as it did on this trip, and in 1983, and when I first saw it in 1976.

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A Home Business Needs Office Space

If you have a home business and you work from home you may not have a dedicated office space you can call your own. Even if you do it may not meet up to your ideal requirements. Unless you are lucky enough to have a separate room for your office and enough cash to fit it out just as you want it, you are likely to have to make do to a certain extent.

Take this opportunity to have a look round at the space where you work. Does it satisfy you? Are there things about it that just don’t seem to really work that well? Are you constantly tripping over things cluttered on the floor? Do you struggle to make the most of the space you have?

Wherever you happen to work, the best way to get the most out your home office space is to take some time to arrange it properly. You could do this over a weekend if you have the time. Alternatively block out an afternoon of your work time a couple of weeks from now and don’t book anything else into that time beforehand. Make a list of the things you want to do and keep that list handy so you can jot things on it over time.

One of the most important things in any home office space is the desk. This is where the majority of your business will be done of course, so it needs to feel right for you and fulfil your needs. If it is messy it will not be the most pleasant space to work in.

When you start your office overhaul, clear off your desk and give it a good clean. You might want to buy some filing trays to have on one side in order to keep your business paperwork organised. This makes things easier to find and keeps the clutter down.

Sometimes just giving your office space a good spring clean is enough to make you feel motivated about it again. But if you still feel unhappy about some aspect of it you can often find out where the problem lies by clearing items and rearranging things carefully.

Keeping whatever area you have tidied is the key to feeling better about your workspace. Buy storage cabinets or filing cabinets if you need them. They will look good and keep paperwork off the floor; you won’t have the problem of tripping over files constantly either. Health and safety applies just as much in your own home office as it does everywhere else. A lot of it is common sense though so make sure you take a look round and identify any potential areas where problems could occur. Make sure there are no wires or leads from computers or printers you could trip over for example.

The point is that there are always things you can do to make your office space more pleasant. Add some plants and keep it clean all the time too. You will find it makes the world of difference to how organised your home business feels.

St Catharines Ontario ~ Canada ~ Mansion House ~ Heritage ~ Original Mural 1820
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Image by Onasill ~ Bill Badzo OFF/ON ~ Broken Ankle ~OUCH
Original Mural

The Mansion House is a historical landmark, a restaurant, pub and venue for live music. It was originally constructed in the early 1800s to be a home and store for
William Hamilton Merritt, the main promoter of the original Welland Canal.

In the 1820s the building was turned into a hotel with the addition of a large dining room and office. Life carried on in the hotel, with travelers and sailors boarding in the rooms, and Merritt conducting his business.

In 1859 a fire raged through downtown St. Catharines, and caused significant damage to the Mansion House. During the rebuilding the name changed a number of times, until 1868 when it was re-named The Mansion House.