home office http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8575/all en-US 12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Office Look Awesome http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-businessman-78812509-small.jpg" alt="office businessman" title="office businessman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether at work or home, our offices have a way of becoming the catch-all areas of our busy lives. Littered with old projects, out-of-date electronics, and boxes of last year's Girl Scout cookies, it's easy for an office to end up looking less like a professional workspace and more like an oversized hall closet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit">10 Cheap Ways to Make Your Apartment Look Awesome</a>)</p> <p>But if you want to dial in little more style, here are 12 ways to make your office look awesome.</p> <h2>1. Ditch the Corporate Art</h2> <p>Queue the collective eye-roll. Prepackaged corporate art (you know the stuff &mdash; three people rowing a canoe at sunrise with the &quot;teamwork&quot; caption) probably works against the very morale you're trying to build. Awesome offices are authentic offices, not motivational billboards.</p> <h2>2. Add a Few Surprises</h2> <p>Your office should reflect your personality. Mix in some vintage touches, a kitschy accessory, an antique, or something handmade. When well done, blending these accents into your office décor can take your space out of the mundane, add a bit of humor, and communicate who you are and what you love.</p> <h2>3. Tidy Up</h2> <p>It's not the sexiest option, but cleaning and organizing your workspace is the most basic way to improve its aesthetics and &mdash; even better &mdash; it's free. Clear the clutter and then clean primary surfaces like the floors, windows, and your desk. It'll set the stage for more refinements later.</p> <h2>4. Flick Off the Fluorescents</h2> <p>Is there anything worse than overhead fluorescent lighting? It saps our color, exhausts our eyes, and can even reduce our productivity. Shop around for a table lamp or two (even if you use compact fluorescent bulbs, the effect will be softer and more welcoming) and add window treatments that maximize natural light. While you're at it, explore other ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-rules-of-creating-a-powerfully-productive-workspace">create a more productive workspace</a>.</p> <h2>5. Blow Up a Close Up</h2> <p>Need some tasteful but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-or-cheap-wall-art">inexpensive art ideas</a> for your office? Why not photograph the detail of a flower, the emblem of a vintage car, or the subtle pattern of a leaf? If you're not talented behind the lens, search online and download a digital photo with the appropriate <a href="http://search.creativecommons.org/">Creative Commons</a> license. Make it your own by cropping, zooming, or adding custom effects.</p> <h2>6. Add Texture</h2> <p>Texture is the unsung component of good interior design. Even in offices, it can add visual interest and dimension. Accent pillows, upholstery, window treatments, and rugs are all great ways to work rich and varied textures into your workspace.</p> <h2>7. Untangle and Wrangle Cords</h2> <p>Is your computer area turning into a dusty and tangled nest of cables, cords, wires, and plugs? If so, it's time to get organized. Label each with plastic bread bag tags, wrap with Velcro strips, and run cords along the backside of a desk using eye hooks or clips. Or, <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/302229/get-organized-clean-up-your-wires-cables-and-cords">explore other methods</a> to control the web of wires.</p> <h2>8. Live in Color</h2> <p>Aren't we all tired of Office Beige and Daily Grind Gray? There's no rule that dictates your workspace can't be colorful. Mix in vibrant greens, oranges, yellow, or blues &mdash; just be sure to keep colors <a href="http://www.belightsoft.com/products/resources/using-the-color-wheel.php">complementary</a> to avoid overload.</p> <h2>9. Get Dramatic</h2> <p>Displaying art can be a bit tricky; most people don't go big enough. Grounding your space with a single large statement piece can be more attractive than dotting the walls with several smaller prints, photos, or paintings. Go for something grand that fits the scale of your office and reflects your personality and taste. Complement with one or two smaller pieces, but err on the minimalist side.</p> <h2>10. Embrace the Printed Word</h2> <p>There's more than one way to create compelling art. Enlarge and print a favorite poem, quote, or excerpt from a book. Matted and framed, it can become an unexpected and unique art piece. Choose a subject matter that relates to your business; a childcare enterprise might have a page from The Little Prince, or a landscape design service might feature a quote from the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted.</p> <h2>11. Chalk It Up</h2> <p>We've all seen chalkboard spray paint used in kitchens and kids' rooms, but what about your office? A chalkboard is a quick way to take a note while you're on the phone and it's more stylish than a startlingly white whiteboard.</p> <h2>12. Get Shady</h2> <p>Our offices are often furnished with cast-offs from other rooms. But when it comes to letting the light shine in, you need to be a bit more intentional. We spend long hours at our desks, so it helps to choose window treatments that take full advantage of good views, maximize natural light, and minimize glare. Explore honeycomb shades, plantation shutters, sheers, or Roman shades; these options allow you to adjust lighting as-needed and won't weigh your room down like heavy drapery can. If you're handy with a needle and thread, you can even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">make your own custom curtains</a>.</p> <p>Remember, the key to an awesome office isn't a mystery: just avoid clichés, spice it up (elegantly) with your own personality, add a surprise or two, and minimize the clutter. With a few simple steps, you can change not only your workspace, but the quality of work you do in it.</p> <p><em>Do you have an awesome office? What advice do you have for those stuck in drab digs?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Office Look Awesome" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-totally-change-a-room-for-under-50">5 Ways to Totally Change a Room for Under $50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-office-decorations-your-co-workers-hate">5 Office Decorations Your Co-Workers Hate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do">30 Awesome Decorating Hacks Anyone Can Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Home Style cheap design cubicle decor home office interior design Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1239949 at http://www.wisebread.com Laser vs. Inkjet: Choosing the Wrong Printer Could Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/laser-vs-inkjet-choosing-the-wrong-printer-could-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/laser-vs-inkjet-choosing-the-wrong-printer-could-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/printer-494236371-small.jpg" alt="printer" title="printer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Costing more than luxury perfumes and high-end alcohol, printer ink is probably the most expensive liquid per volume that you buy. Consumers deride the high cost of printer ink yet accept it as a necessary evil. It seems as though we have no other choice but to plunk down big bucks on cartridges that seem to evaporate overnight, right? However, you'll be happy to know that with a little bit of research and some basic math skills, you can substantially decrease your printing costs by choosing the right printer for your needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-small-ways-to-save-big-on-ink?ref=seealso">11 Ways to Save Big on Ink</a>)</p> <p>First and foremost, there are two types of printers available to the average consumer &mdash; inkjet and laser. By recognizing and understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each type, you will be able to determine which printer will best suit you. Traditionally, inkjet printers have dominated the home printer market, while laser machines were associated with offices and businesses. The differences between the two are complex, however for the layperson they can be summarised in a few key points.</p> <h2>Functionality</h2> <p>Inkjets take the lead in versatility, as they are often &quot;multi-function&quot; machines that can copy, scan, and fax in addition to delivering quality color printing. Many inkjet printers on the market today have the entire kitchen sink thrown in them, offering wireless networking, document feeders, automatic double-sided printing, and mobile printing capabilities with <a href="http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4356">Apple AirPrint</a> and <a href="http://www.google.com/cloudprint/learn/printers.html#setup-hp%23setup-kodak%23setup-epson">Google Cloud</a> compatibility. In addition, inkjet printers are more likely to be compatible with various types of media including iron-on transfers, adhesive labels, and thicker paper.</p> <p>While laser printers are also available with a wide variety of features, inkjet machines are offered at a cheaper, more attractive price than comparable laser printers. However the initial high cost of lasers is usually offset by a cheaper running costs, detailed later in this article.</p> <h2>Color</h2> <p>Inkjet color printing is superior because of the viscous liquid ink used in image production. Not only are the colors more vibrant, but the Dots Per Inch (DPI) or resolution is much higher when compared to a laser printer. Because of this, inkjets are able to produce images with superior color blending. One caveat is that black text can be fuzzy due to the ink &quot;bleeding&quot; into the paper.</p> <p>Laser printers are known for crisp, perfect text production, which is why they are normally associated with monochrome (black &amp; white) printing. However, laser printers can be found with color printing capabilities. While satisfactory for text and basic graphics, laser color printing is grainy due to a lower DPI.</p> <h2>Running Costs</h2> <p>Since printers themselves are relatively affordable, the true cost of home printing comes from the operating cost. On average, laser printers have a lower cost per page than inkjet printers. The consumables in laser printers, called toners, have a much higher page yield than inkjet cartridges. These high yield toners, coupled with the lower DPI of laser printers, often equates to lower operating costs. Because of their efficiency, printer manufacturers know they will generate less profit from their consumables, and as a result the price of laser machines often increases significantly based on their available features.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that all inkjet printers are inefficient, in fact many &quot;office&quot; inkjet printers are quickly bridging the page yield gap, however they tend to be fewer and farther between. Unfortunately, the running cost of lasers and inkjets is not as cut and dry as it once was. This is why it is imperative to&hellip;</p> <h2>Do the Math</h2> <p>When shopping for a printer, most folks make the mistake of comparing the face value of ink cartridges, and many base their decisions on the perceived value of the ink. The old assumption that laser printers are cheaper to run than inkjets isn't always true, with some bargain basement lasers using toners that are just as expensive as the much maligned inkjets.</p> <p>With so many different printer models and cartridges it is nearly impossible to say what the &quot;average&quot; cost of printing with an inkjet or laser machine will be. Luckily, with some basic math skills you can get a pretty good estimate of the overall running cost of a machine. Not all printer cartridges have the same page yield, nor do they have the same price. In order to figure out the running cost of a printer one has to divide the cost of the cartridge by the estimated page yield. Most printer manufacturers like <a href="http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/us/en/PSD7200/index.html">HP</a> and <a href="http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/dlp/dynamicLanding.do?dlpId=n_1101_ink-yield-disclaimer&amp;ref=van_cartrdige-info_2012-04-001">Epson</a> make these estimates available to consumers, however many people who deride their choice in printer often <a href="http://www.computershopper.com/small-business-tech/printers/features/how-to-calculate-cost-per-page-and-save-money-printing">fail to do the math</a> that is necessary to determine the printing per page cost.</p> <p>While determining the cost per page of your printer will certainly give you a better idea of the ongoing expenses you will incur over the lifespan of your printer, it is still <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2183959,00.asp">oversimplifying the method of determining the true cost</a>.</p> <h2>Don't Rule Out Buying Both</h2> <p>So you've figured out what your printing needs entail and you've made a shortlist. You've consulted the estimated page yields of the consumables and you're still on the fence. Unfortunately it is a scenario that many people face, making everything even more frustrating than it already is. While it may not seem entirely practical, investing in both an inkjet and a laser printer might actually make the most sense.</p> <p>If you need to produce high quality photos but you also need to print high volumes of text, no one machine is going to cut it. In order to get the best of both worlds without compromise, you should consider making space on your desk for both machines.</p> <p>Otherwise, decide what your primary use will be, and choose based on that.</p> <p>Having a printer in the home can be both a blessing and curse. You don't have to choose between the convenience of printing at home versus the potential cost of ink. Instead, take the time to ask yourself what the printer will be used for. There are numerous <a href="http://www.cnet.com/au/topics/printers/buying-guide/">websites</a> and <a href="http://www.howtogeek.com/102092/buying-guide-printers/">guides</a> that can help you navigate the staggering number of printer models available. By weighing the pros and cons of both inkjet and laser printers and doing a little number crunching, you can determine the balance of features and running cost that makes financial sense to you.</p> <p><em>Have you purchased a printer for your home or business lately? How did you choose?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laser-vs-inkjet-choosing-the-wrong-printer-could-cost-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Laser vs. Inkjet: Choosing the Wrong Printer Could Cost You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ryan-lynch">Ryan Lynch</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laser-vs-inkjet-choosing-the-wrong-printer-could-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass">Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-great-things-to-do-with-50">50 Great Things to Do With $50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Budgeting Shopping computers home office inkjet laser printers Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:00:04 +0000 Ryan Lynch 1145229 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-86544982.jpg" alt="home office" title="home office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you work from home, you spend a great deal of time inside your home office. It is the place where all your brilliant thoughts, amazing connections, and money-making ideas are nurtured.</p> <p>That same home office could be making you sick. At the very least, it could be inhibiting your health. From back tension to eye strain to lethargy, your home office could be causing some of the ailments you suffer from. However, simple changes to the layout, accessories, and decor of your office could improve your health. Here are 10 ways you can do just that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-rules-of-creating-a-powerfully-productive-workspace?ref=seealso">6 Rules of Creating a Powerfully Productive Workspace</a>)</p> <h2>Let There Be Light</h2> <p>Poor lighting induces eye-strain and can put a damper on your mood. Be sure to brighten up &mdash; with the right light.</p> <h3>1. Sit Near the Window</h3> <p>Placing your desk near a window allows you to be exposed to as much natural light as possible. The vitamin D your body receives from the sun is also a benefit, especially if you spend a great deal of time indoors. Sitting near a window will help your body maintain a positive work attitude throughout the day.</p> <p>If your home office must be in a room without a window, it is easy to create natural lighting with the addition of compact fluorescent (CF) light bulbs. These light bulbs mimic light from the sun and can give you the same benefits.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-lights-making-you-tired?ref=seealso">Are Your Lights Making You Tired?</a>)</p> <h3>2. Use Task Lighting</h3> <p>Incorrect lighting in a room can cause increased strain on your eyes. This can lead to fatigue, headaches, and poor vision. Add task lighting to your work areas to decrease the amount of strain on your eyes.</p> <h2>Breathe Easy</h2> <p>Many of us find space for a home office anywhere we can. This can mean a basement, a small room without windows, or even a large closet. Often, these spaces have poor air circulation.</p> <h3>3. Install an Air Purifier</h3> <p>Improve the quality of the air you breathe by adding an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=home%20office%20air%20purifier&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=LQTXOPK6LKMQNC2P">air purifier</a> to the space. Breathing in cleaner air will improve your overall health, reduce fatigue, and decrease your chances of illness &mdash; such as the common cold or flu.</p> <h3>4. Add Houseplants</h3> <p>If adding in an air purifier isn't possible (and even if it is), a houseplant or two can improve the quality of the air you are breathing as well. There are many plants you can buy that will <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">filter out pollutants</a> and clean the air of smells.</p> <h2>Sit Comfortably</h2> <p>You spend a great deal of time sitting in your home office; the chair you use should be providing you with adequate support, enhancing your posture and comfort</p> <h3>5. Check Chair Position</h3> <p>Check for the proper placement of your chair and work space. If not placed properly, you could be causing excessive strain on your back. The chair you use should put you level with the top of your workspace so that your arms create a 90 degree angle when working.</p> <h3>6. Rest Your Feet</h3> <p>Place a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=foot%20rest%20under%20desk&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=K3I47JDCKEE52NRU">foot rest</a> beneath your desk. Adding in a small place for your feet to rest while you are sitting reduces the strain on your lower back and encourages proper blood circulation.</p> <h3>7. Stand in the Place Where You Are</h3> <p>Consider a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-standing-desks">standing desk</a>. When you are sitting, your body is more prone to going into a relaxed state. Your heart rate decreases, your body slumps, and as you become more tired, you are more likely to lay back (or forward) and take a little nap. A standing desk prohibits your body from doing that. Your body will remain alert longer as you are more likely to move around slightly. This keeps the blood flowing through all parts of your body and your productivity may be less stagnant as the day wears on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford?ref=seealso">11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford</a>)</p> <h2>Improve Your Mood</h2> <p>Boost your spirits &mdash; and your productivity &mdash; with some simple decor decisions.</p> <h3>8. Choose Cheerful Colors</h3> <p>Create a pleasant workspace with cheerful decor and warm colors. These decorating choices that you make from the paint on the walls, to the nick-knacks on the shelves will keep your mood stable and your health optimal. There is some research that suggests colors can enhance your mental health and productivity. Red, for example is a color that energizes; blue has a calming effect. The colors you place in your home office should be colors you feel good around, those that will best benefit your health.</p> <h3>9. Consider Aromatherapy</h3> <p>Consider adding in aromatherapy. Using essential oils to change the scents in your room can help to increase focus, decrease fatigue, and promote general good health. Infusing oils such as orange after a stressful conference call can help you to relax and refocus your mind. While lemon oil is said to calm anxiety, rosemary can stimulate your brain and improve memory. The use of essential oils may improve your health as well as your productivity while working.</p> <h3>10. Get Out!</h3> <p>Although this isn't a change to your home office, it is important to plan breaks throughout the day. Your body needs a few minutes of rest from being in the same position. Your eyes need a break from the constant focus on a screen, and your mood will benefit from the break you take outside in the sun. Whether it's a few minutes walking around your neighborhood or an hour laying outside to read, plan a few breaks throughout the day to keep you healthy while working in your home office.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your home office from making you sick? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget">7 Pitfalls That Can Bloat a Home Office Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses">Outsourcing Your Life, and Creating New Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client">11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Entrepreneurship Productivity home office Office Tue, 27 May 2014 08:00:28 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1140445 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 of the Most Innovative, Useful, and Insane Desks http://www.wisebread.com/7-of-the-most-innovative-useful-and-insane-desks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-of-the-most-innovative-useful-and-insane-desks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pet-455302141.jpg" alt="cat" title="cat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While you may not think about how your desk and workspace affects your productivity, recent studies show that there are definite <a href="http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/04/19/how-office-space-affects-company-productivity">links between office space and output</a>. From standing desks to a giant desk shared by everyone in the office, here are seven of the most innovative and functional desks that improve your workspace and the quality of your work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford?ref=seealso">11 Affordable and DIY Standing Desks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Multi-User Desk for Humans and Cats</h2> <p><img width="605" height="371" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/catable-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <p>Whether you work from home or in a cat-friendly office, this multi-user desk &mdash; designed for <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/eco-friendly-furniture/multifunction-and-multi-user-desk-shared-people-and-cats.html">humans and cats</a> &mdash; is perfect for the cat person. With holes and passageways to explore and plenty of hiding places, this desk is functional and will satisfy your cat's curiosity. Designer Ruan Hao of <a href="http://lycs-arc.com/">LYCS Architecture</a> says, &quot;It is a table for us, and a paradise for cats.&quot; Perhaps because research shows that <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/30/149684409/take-your-dog-to-the-office-and-stress-less">bringing pets to work</a> can reduce stress in the workplace, it looks like &quot;Catitecture&quot; (architecture designed for cats) for the office is here to stay.</p> <h2>2. The UpWrite Whiteboard Standing Desk</h2> <p><img width="605" height="325" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/upwrite-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <p>Do you sit at a desk for eight hours a day, but also go to the gym before or after work? You would be what Australian researcher Genevieve Healy, Ph.D. calls an &quot;active couch potato.&quot; In fact, sitting all day has been dubbed as <a href="http://www.runnersworld.com/health/sitting-is-the-new-smoking-even-for-runners">the &quot;new smoking</a>.&quot;. Perhaps because of the increasing research on the negative effects of sitting all day, treadmill and standing desks are certainly becoming more popular.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.gizmag.com/upwrite-whiteboard-standing-sitting-desk/28502/">whiteboard standing desk</a> features a whiteboard top, which works with both wet and dry erase markers, for people who are constantly jotting down notes. It's adjustable so that you have the option of sitting down, and its cable management channel works with a treadmill. It can also hold up to 300 pounds. It's a little pricey, but worth it if you want to improve your health and the environment by eliminating all those sticky notes.</p> <p>You can also turn a regular desk into a standing desk with adjustable desks designed to place on top of your desk, such as the <a href="http://www.varidesk.com/height-adjustable-desks">Varidesk</a>.</p> <h2>3. The Ninja Standing Desk</h2> <p><img width="468" height="441" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/ninja-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <p>If you are looking for a more affordable standing desk that is a space-saver and easy to install, the <a href="http://ninjastandingdesk.com/standing-desk-gallery.html">Ninja Standing Desk</a> is an excellent option. They have several models to choose from, and you can install them in a matter of minutes with the easy wall mounts, or you can put it on the back of a door if you have an extra tight space. The website also includes a video that shows you step by step how to install the desk and how to adjust the height.</p> <h2>4. Stair/Storage Desk</h2> <p><img width="388" height="605" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/stairdesk-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <p>If you are looking for a home office desk that is extremely functional, this <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/stair-week-combines-desk-storage-and-alternating-treads-one-dramatic-sculptural-form.html">stair/storage/desk</a> combo offers an innovative space-saving design. It's perfect for a studio space with a loft; the three parts connect two floors and provide a storage space and a place to work. It was designed by Studio Mieke Meijer for his residence in Wassenaar. If you are just looking for extra storage in a desk with a sleek design, the <a href="http://www.process.cz/3-solitaire/18-treasury-table.html">Treasury Table</a> desk has a clear top so that you can quickly and easily find what you need.</p> <h2>5. Also_Chair</h2> <p><img width="600" height="300" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/alsochair-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <p>This desk is exactly what the name indicates. It is also a chair. The <a href="https://www.behance.net/Gallery/also_chair/187122">Also armchair</a> is designed for small spaces and rooms. It's a reading chair, and when you flip it 90 degrees, it's also a single desk or work table. It also has storage for books, and it is made with materials that make it affordable.</p> <h2>6. The Workbed</h2> <p><img width="605" height="337" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/workbed-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <p>Another multifunctional, space-saving desk is the <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/another-way-hide-bed-turn-it-desk-literally.html">Workbed</a>, which, with the click of a button turns a spacious workspace into a bed. While you have to clear the desk or strap in the mattress every time you flip it, the Workbed offers a lot of storage space and lots of room to work.</p> <h2>7. Superdesk</h2> <p><img width="605" height="328" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/superdesk-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <p>Perhaps the most insane desk on this list is the giant <a href="http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/barbarian-group-just-built-superdesk-you-have-see-believe-155788">Superdesk</a> designed for the Barbarian Group to encourage collaboration with a single surface of a continuous resin desktop. Everyone in the company sits at one insanely large desk that dips and snakes its way around the open loft space. It also features archways, cubbies, and couches to provide personal storage and the option of working on a laptop in a more personal space. This 4,400 sq ft, creative desk was designed by architect Clive Wilkinson with TBG's philosophy in mind. The New York-based company calls it &quot;a desk that we could all share&hellip;to keep people and ideas flowing.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you seen or used any insane desks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-of-the-most-innovative-useful-and-insane-desks" class="sharethis-link" title="7 of the Most Innovative, Useful, and Insane Desks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-of-the-most-innovative-useful-and-insane-desks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford">11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-tools-for-getting-work-done-anywhere">7 Essential Tools for Getting Work Done -- Anywhere!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-complete-idiots-guide-to-speed-reading-a-book-review">The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading: A Book Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-one-touch-approach-to-managing-household-finances">A One Touch Approach To Managing Household Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fifteen-minutes-of">Fifteen Minutes of ...</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Life Hacks desks home office productivity standing desks work space Wed, 07 May 2014 08:24:20 +0000 Ashley Watson 1138260 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8518418075_97337d97d2_b.jpg" alt="standing desk" title="standing desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ernest Hemingway wrote at <a href="http://www.davidpaulkirkpatrick.com/2013/01/02/the-paris-review-app-writers-at-work-series/">a standing desk</a> (<a href="http://kottke.org/12/05/ernest-hemingways-standing-desk">sometimes a very frugal DIY one</a>). Charles Dickens wrote at one, too, and generations of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Architect.png">architects</a>, <a href="http://www.designboom.com/architecture/architecture-in-uniform-designing-and-building-for-the-second-world-war/">engineers</a>, and <a href="http://peabody.yale.edu/sites/default/files/images/exhibits/james-perry-wilson/bgg_studio.jpg">draftsmen</a> did their work at standing desks and tables. The writers claimed standing helped them find inspiration and maybe that is also true for the artists and designers. Most folks agreed that sitting was for slackers. Standing at their work was also much better for their health. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-standing-desks">The Top 5 Standing Desks</a>)</p> <p>Unfortunately, these days many of us spend our working hours planted firmly in our chairs, and we&#39;re suffering because of it. In the past few years, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/business/stand-up-desks-gaining-favor-in-the-workplace.html">health researchers have determined</a> that <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sitting/AN02082">sitting all day is killing us</a>. It&#39;s bad for our backs. It&#39;s bad for our postures. It&#39;s bad for our muscles and our hearts and our metabolism. It&#39;s bad for weight loss. Worse? Sitting&#39;s ill effects cannot be undone by a few hours a week at the gym. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-reasons-to-get-out-of-your-office-chair">25 Reasons to Get Out of Your Chair</a>)</p> <p>Those alarming studies were followed soon by an Internet mini-boom in standing desk chatter and design ideas and sales pitches. You can spend a lot of money for <a href="http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-standing-desks/">a custom, automatic desk</a> that switches from sitting to standing at the touch of a button. Or you can spend nothing at all for the kludgiest, DIY standing desk imaginable &mdash; <a href="http://scrivel.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/standing-desk-prototype-2/">a folding chair on a desk</a>.</p> <p>What follows is a collection of 11 standing desk designs that fall somewhere in between touch-of-a-button and chair-on-a-desk. Stuff that won&#39;t embarrass you if your spouse or neighbor or co-worker catches you working at it. Some are high design and some are DIY hacks. All are probably better for you than the desk you&#39;re using now.</p> <h2>1. Steel Pipe</h2> <p>The only thing blowing up bigger than standing desks in the lifehack DIY corners of the Internet is stuff you can make with black or steel pipe. Of course you can make <a href="http://www.brianhirschy.com/tag/pipe-standing-desk/">standing desks</a> with pipe, too. This <a href="http://spacekat.me/blog/2012/07/31/steel-pipe-standing-desk/">one is a little cleaner</a> and simpler.</p> <p>I really like this high design (and unfortunately high dollar) <a href="http://ohiodesign.com/product/adler-table/">riff on on the steel pipe standing desk</a>. The Adler Table adjusts from sitting to standing with an old timey <em>hand crank</em>.</p> <h2>2. Steel Pipe Kits</h2> <p>If you don&#39;t want to bother with cutting the pipe yourself, you can order <a href="http://www.simplifiedbuilding.com/blog/adjustable-height-sitting-and-standing-desk/">a pre-cut kit with some clever pipe-unions</a> from Simplified Building. The height is adjustable although you probably ought to move everything off your desk before you start fussing with it. In addition to the $200 for parts, you&#39;ll need to source a desktop.</p> <h2>3. Wall Desk</h2> <p><a href="http://www.swiss-miss.com/2013/07/wall-standing-desk.html">Wall desks</a> have been around for a while and <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/less-is-more-fold-away-wall-desks.html">they&#39;re great if you work from a laptop</a> and want make the switch to a standing desk part-time. Just mount at standing desk height rather than sitting, and you&#39;re ready for few hours on your feet.</p> <h2>4. Sawhorses</h2> <p>I haven&#39;t priced this out in detail, but <a href="http://designsbystudioc.com/build-sawhorse-table-brackets/">a hundred bucks should get this done</a>. And probably with enough cash to spare for snacks and beverages after. You&#39;ll need some steel sawhorse brackets, several lengths of 2x4 lumber (check the bracket package for a chart that explains how long to cut your lumber for a given table height, otherwise <a href="http://www.basiccarpentrytechniques.com/Sawhorse%207.html">the math is here</a>), a hollow core door for the desktop, and a quart of paint if you <a href="http://www.mintdesignblog.com/2012/08/diy-standing-desk/">want to get crafty</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repaint-your-old-furniture-for-a-budget-d-cor-update">How to Repaint Old Furniture</a>)</p> <p>Too rough and tumble? Try this elegant, <a href="http://www.absolutebodo.com/?p=3783">adjustable tall sawhorse design</a>.</p> <h2>5. Box on a Desk</h2> <p>Dangerously close to folding chair on a desk, <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5642232/the-improvised-standing-desk-+-gallery">the box on a desk</a> offers a little more stability than the chair and almost as much frugality. I&#39;ve got a soft spot for boxes (and milk crates), and this is a good cheap solution for folks who want to experiment with standing.</p> <h2>6. Modular Shelving</h2> <p>You can find all sorts of modular shelving systems &mdash; <a href="http://www.containerstore.com/shop/elfa/bestSellingSolutions/officeSpaces?productId=10024656&amp;N=77773">Elfa from the Container Store</a>, for example &mdash; that include parts for desks. When you&#39;re setting up your home office work space, just configure the desk at standing height.</p> <p>Modified <a href="http://toolmonger.com/2012/03/28/hungarian-shelves-ftw-or-why-tm-readers-rock/">Hungarian Shelves</a> would <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/qwnu/4549401462/">work well</a>, too.</p> <h2>7. IKEA Hack</h2> <p>Ikea products are inexpensive, and durable enough for most of us, and really well-suited to hacking, including into <a href="http://www.howtogeek.com/102604/diy-ikea-standing-desk-offers-space-storage-and-style-inexpensively/">standing desks</a> in a <a href="http://mycrankygut.com/2012/09/10/its-not-always-about-cranky-guts-and-fancy-diets/">variety</a> of <a href="http://shortbluesky.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-diy-standing-desk-with-ikea-parts.html">designs</a>.</p> <p>Or you can get a kit that turns some inexpensive IKEA parts into <a href="http://www.diystandingdeskkit.com/kit-details/">an adjustable height standing desk</a>.</p> <h2>8. High Shelf</h2> <p>Few DIY jobs are simpler than <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80091713/">mounting a shelf on a wall</a>.</p> <p>For a long time I sweated over the details of a DIY version of this <a href="http://www.2modern.com/modern-furniture/Desks/mash-wall-mounted-desk">pricey wall-mounted, floating desk</a> that I wanted to build and install in my home office. Alas, I need more tools (and money) to make it happen.</p> <h2>9. Laptop Stand</h2> <p>Back toward the chair on the desk end of the spectrum is the simple and elegant <a href="http://betanews.com/2011/05/13/turn-your-normal-desk-into-a-standing-workspace-in-3-steps/">desktop laptop stand</a>.</p> <h2>10. Home Built</h2> <p>If you don&#39;t mind your workspace looking like a tall workbench or potting table, <a href="http://www.barrettmorgandesignllc.com/blogs/2010/09/standing-desk-drafting-table-all-one">you can put one together yourself</a> with a few basic power tools (just a drill and a circular saw, which I do have). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-own-furniture-9-helpful-tips-for-non-carpenters">Build Your Own Furniture: 9 Tips for Non-Carpenters</a>)</p> <h2>11. Recycled Drafting Table</h2> <p>And here we are right back where we started &mdash; the drafting table. An <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HF4RAM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HF4RAM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">adjustable drafting table</a> is the solution I have decided to try in my own home office &mdash; soon. Durable, sturdy, spacious, adjustable, and affordable (under $250 new, less if I can find a used one in good condition). It&#39;s not the most attractive of the bunch, but it&#39;s got the right mix of features and price, and it&#39;s a form I trust and recognize from high school drafting class.</p> <p><em>What about you? Have you switched, or are you planning to switch, to a standing desk? What&#39;s your affordable solution?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-of-the-most-innovative-useful-and-insane-desks">7 of the Most Innovative, Useful, and Insane Desks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make for Pennies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-2000-uses-for-a-can-of-wd-40-1">Almost 2000 uses for a can of WD-40</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Life Hacks DIY desks home office office furniture standing desks Mon, 28 Oct 2013 09:36:04 +0000 Lars Peterson 967796 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Essential Tools for Telecommuting http://www.wisebread.com/5-essential-tools-for-telecommuting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-essential-tools-for-telecommuting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007042793Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This technology article is sponsored by </em><em><a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?r=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fclk%3B259014441%3B82275395%3Bk&amp;k4=4472&amp;k5={banner_id}">Comcast Business Class</a>, the nation's leading communication services provider.</em></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re one of the 2.9 million teleworkers cited in a <a href="http://www.workshifting.com/downloads/downloads/Telework-Trends-US.pdf">recent workshifting.com report</a> (PDF), you likely already understand how having the right tools for the job can increase productivity and make you appear like a rock star to your boss. These solutions &mdash; handpicked by actual workers in the teleshift trenches &mdash; are ideal for keeping your days productive and your spirits high.</p> <h2>Email-Enabled All-in-One Printer</h2> <p>Your home inkjet printer/copier/scanner is likely already one of your favorite tools, but can it handle impromptu printing jobs from the office 30 miles away? By upgrading to a printer that has ePrint technology, employees can access data from the cloud and save several steps in the process of printing a document that&rsquo;s stuck at the home office.&nbsp;The <a href="http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/18972-18972-238444-12019-3328086-4322914.html?dnr=1&amp;jumpid=se_r1002_FP_USEN_SMB">HP OfficeJet 8600 e-All-in-One printer</a> can receive print jobs from any smart-enabled device; it&rsquo;s essentially as simple as your project manager sending an email. Since it&rsquo;s connected to your wireless router, any PC, phone, or tablet can send it print jobs (no dusty cables required!). <em>ePrint enabled HP devices start at under $80.</em></p> <h2>Shoeboxed</h2> <p>If you can convince your boss to let you work from home, it&rsquo;s likely you can finesse your way into using an expense- and document-tracking service that actually caters to the telecommute crowd. <a href="http://www.shoeboxed.com">Shoeboxed.com</a> is just that tool, giving remote employees the ability to stuff a prepaid envelope with all their paper clutter and drop it in the mailbox. Documents are then scanned and sent to a secure location on the web (where Accounting can easily access them). For those who aren&rsquo;t home to mess with the postal service, Shoeboxed also offers mobile scanning and email options. <em>Basic service is free, and business plans max out at $49.95 a month.</em></p> <h2>Google+ Hangout</h2> <p>Do you miss the chatter around the water cooler? Are you hungering for the occasional overheard convo in the cubicle next to you? <a href="https://plus.google.com/hangouts">Google+ Hangout</a> is a work-around to not being around, and several telecommuters have used it to team up with other remote workers to create that &ldquo;we&rsquo;re in the same room&rdquo; feel. Productive employees have also used the tool to get more work done; time wasted sending emails can be eliminated with a virtual &ldquo;Pssst. What&rsquo;s the number for our Dallas office?&rdquo; Up to nine people can chat using Hangout; video imaging is optional. <em>Google+ Hangout is free!</em></p> <h2>Web-Based Presentations</h2> <p>This type of tool has been around for years, but the offerings just keep expanding. Originally designed to replace the expensive face-to-face sales meeting, web-based meeting software solutions can easily be adapted to hold internal meetings between in-house workers and their home-based teammates. Popular companies that offer web-enabled meetings include <a href="http://www.webex.com/">Webex</a>, <a href="http://www.gotomeeting.com">GoToMeeting</a>, and <a href="http://www.easymeeting.net/">EasyMeeting.net</a>.&nbsp;Ask your boss if they have a corporate account with a web-based host; chances are good that they do, and you can use it to keep connected to other workers in the company &mdash; and save time by not coming into the office for yet <em>another</em> meeting. <em>Service plans start at less than $24 for teams of eight or more, with video compatibility.</em></p> <h2>Mini-Mailroom</h2> <p>When working from home, you may miss having access to the mailroom downstairs. If you send out lots of business proposals or are responsible for shipping physical reports to corporate, a mini shipping station can save you time and your company money. Most companies will have an account number for the major shippers that you can use to bill costs directly to your boss, but you&rsquo;ll still need the following supplies in your mini mailing room: postage stamps, envelopes, bubble mailers, and a postal scale. If you print your own postage, don&rsquo;t forget to stock up on sticky labels and ink, too!&nbsp;<i>Services like </i><a href="http://www.endicia.com/Products/Compare/"><em>Endicia.com</em></a><em> start their plans at just $9.95 a month, plus the cost of postage.</em></p> <h2>Conference Phone</h2> <p>Finally, to appear that you are in the office (even when you&rsquo;re not &ldquo;in&rdquo; the office), clients and coworkers will need to transfer calls and contact you as easily as if you&rsquo;re down the hall.&nbsp;If your company hasn&rsquo;t set you up with a compatible phone system, there are several options you can use on your own.&nbsp;Companies like <a href="http://www.skype.com">Skype</a> do offer some impressive features for getting group calls together quickly, but if you want a seamless look to your communication process, a dedicated VOIP provider (which lets you make calls via the internet rather than phone lines) may fit the bill. Functionality will depend entirely on the speed and availability of a broadband internet connection; rural areas or those with spotty service may have to rely on a second &ldquo;land line&rdquo; to stay in the game when working from home. <em>Prices vary for VOIP services; contact your preferred provider for price quotes.</em></p> <p>Whether you have an actual choice in what tool you use will depend entirely on corporate policy; many telecommuters have found that, if they are among the first to take the leap, they will have more say in what products and services are available to them.</p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essential-tools-for-telecommuting" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Essential Tools for Telecommuting" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essential-tools-for-telecommuting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-technology-to-upgrade-your-career">6 Ways to Use Technology to Upgrade Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-the-most-out-of-salary-comparison-sites">Getting the Most Out of Salary Comparison Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-help-you-land-a-job">5 Online Tools to Help You Land a Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/convince-the-boss-to-let-you-work-from-home">How to Get Your Boss to Let You Work From Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-career-advice-sites-you-should-know-about">15 Career Advice Sites You Should Know About</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Career Building Technology business tools home office telecommuting Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Linsey Knerl 947052 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6829327061_495cb4753d_z_0.jpg" alt="woman working in kitchen" title="woman working in kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's estimated that <a href="http://www.teleworkresearchnetwork.com/research/people-telecommute">10 to 15 million Americans work from home</a>. Many people, including a great percentage of moms and dads, find the work-from-home opportunity the perfect fit for their lifestyle.</p> <p>But working from home is hard work, especially with kids in the picture. Whether you're contemplating a work-from-home opportunity or already heading to your in-house office each day, here are 10 tips to help make the business adventure a success. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sources-for-freelance-work-at-home-jobs">3 Sources for Freelance Work at Home Jobs</a>)</p> <h3>1. Get everyone in the house on board</h3> <p>Without family support, your at-home business won't survive. The kids must understand the times when mommy or daddy might be home but can't be disturbed. Your spouse must step up to duties you might otherwise assume but can't because of work. Share the household workload.</p> <h3>2. Create an office or work space</h3> <p>Even if you can do your job sitting on the couch with laptop in hand, creating work space is important. Whether it's an actual office with doors and a desk or a corner of the bedroom partitioned by a <a href="http://shop.roomdividers.com/search/index?query=&amp;sort=sort+asc&amp;gclid=CMatitCK-K0CFQyc7Qod-xFytQ">room divider</a>, you need an area that's off limits to the kids. Another bonus: Office space for an at-home business is <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2007-10-12/living/home.office.taxes_1_tax-deductions-home-office-tax-work?_s=PM:LIVING">tax deductible</a>.</p> <h3>3. Establish a schedule &mdash; but work when you can</h3> <p>Establish a base schedule: A set chunk of hours, certain days of the week, etc. where you perform the bulk of your duties. This is especially important if you have clients working traditional business hours at an office.</p> <p>But embrace the flexibility working from home allows. Are you an early riser or night owl? What tasks can you complete late at night when the family's asleep, or in the morning before everyone wakes up? Do quick tasks when the baby's napping.</p> <h3>4. Take breaks</h3> <p>Just because you're already home doesn't mean you don't deserve a break. Take a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break, long enough to stretch your muscles, do some breathing exercises, or make a quick personal call. Schedule a lunch hour and step away from the computer.</p> <h3>5. Don't do laundry during office hours</h3> <p>It's so tempting to fold those clothes or unload that dishwasher, but you couldn't do any of that if you were at an office building. Treat your at-home job as you would any other job, avoiding the temptation to do house chores during business hours.</p> <h3>6. Write a job description and keep track of goals and achievements</h3> <p>Write a job description that highlights your duties and responsibilities, and track your goals. Doing so <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-hacks-from-a-work-at-home-mom">keeps you on target</a>. Additionally, having an updated resume is essential when you're working from home. Writing a job description makes the task simpler.</p> <h3>7. Multi-task wisely and organize</h3> <p>If juggling multiple duties at once doesn't come naturally, figure out a way to learn this all-important skill. Working from home affords flexibility, but with flexibility comes the need to do multiple duties. Organize your day. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=white+board&amp;sprefix=white+%2Caps%2C194">White boards</a> and <a href="https://www.google.com/calendar/render?pli=1&amp;gsessionid=8LXDDmNhoZqYOenr7w8Q8A">calendars</a> become your new best friends. Also, check out <a href="http://www.zoho.com/">Zoho.com,</a> <a href="http://www.thebalancingact.com/newsletters/Newsletter_page_2010.php?nid=2426&amp;d=2012-01-04">recently featured on Lifetime Television's <em>The Balancing Act</em></a><em>.</em> Zoho has organizational solutions, paperwork, productivity apps, and much more for professionals who work from home.</p> <h3>8. Utilize pre-school, child care, or sitters</h3> <p>Ah, the joys of taking business calls with a tired toddler at your feet! Don't confuse working from home with being at home. If your budget permits, consider preschool, child care, or other options during daytime hours. You'd do so if your office was downtown instead of downstairs, right?</p> <h3>9. Establish connections within the profession</h3> <p>Join a professional association, attend conferences and seminars, and participate in online forum discussions. Networking and staying in tune with current topics within your industry are critical for your professional development.</p> <h3>10. Get out of the office</h3> <p>Remember the idea of taking a break that was mentioned earlier? Make one break long enough to allow you time out of the house. Meet a friend for lunch, go to the gym, walk the dog. Yes, it's your office, but it's also your home. You'll burn out and go stir crazy if you don't find a change of scenery.</p> <p>Working from home is a great alternative for many women wanting to balance their personal and professional life, as long as family support and the right mindset and tools are in place.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Working from home is hard work, especially if you have kids in the picture. Here are 10 tips to help make the business adventure a success. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This post is by Kelli Robinson from our sister blog, Parenting Squad. Visit <a title="Parenting Squad" href="http://parentingsquad.com/">Parenting Squad</a> for more parenting tips and news:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/eat-your-veggies-6-tips-for-getting-your-fill">Eat Your Veggies! 6 Tips for Getting Your Fill</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-ways-to-take-the-scare-out-of-the-dental-chair-0">7 Ways to Take the Scare Out of the Dental Chair</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-reasons-to-feed-your-family-organicswholesome-foods">7 Reasons to Feed Your Family Organic, Wholesome Foods</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-manage-the-family-shopping">Tips for Managing the Family Shopping Chore</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/seven-tips-to-help-improve-your-childs-handwriting">7 Tips to Help Improve Your Child's Handwriting</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/parenting-squad">Parenting Squad</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-alternatives-to-nagging">15 Alternatives to Nagging</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-planet-work-at-home">Save the Planet: Work at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Career and Income Productivity home office work at home work from home Thu, 16 Feb 2012 10:48:16 +0000 Parenting Squad 898269 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Office Habits to Keep When Working From Home http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-office-habits-to-take-home-with-you" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-office-habits-to-take-home-with-you</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007129515Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Office Habits to Keep When Working From Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Whether you've set out on your own or have convinced your boss to let you telecommute, it may feel like a huge relief to finally lose the commute and be able to work from home. So it may come as a surprise when you find yourself struggling to maintain productivity and a stable work-life balance, when you've never struggled with either before.</p> <p>What happened?</p> <p>You left your at-work attitude back at the office.The structure and formality of an office setting offers unconscious cues that allow you to get in &quot;work mode&quot; that a home office may not provide. However, you can replicate the benefits of an office setting but still have the flexibility and comfort of working from home.</p> <h3>A Physical Boundary</h3> <p>The most obvious difference between commuting to an office and stepping out of your bedroom is the physical boundary. When you're at the office, you can't access your couch, your bed, your Tivo. Your neighbor can't knock on the door to borrow some tools. All the stuff you have at home &ndash; a leaky faucet, laundry, DVD set of <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i> &ndash; is literally out of your reach until you get home. It sets your mind at the tasks that are in front of you.</p> <p>Consider using a coffee shop or a library as your &quot;office&quot; to avoid distractions at home. Sometimes doing this just once or twice a week can make a big difference in your ability to focus on tough tasks or when working on a deadline. At home, create a designated work space. If you can't have a whole room for an office, use something physical to block off the space and make sure both you and others in the household respect that space. Get noise reduction headphones and turn off the house phone so you can't be disturbed, just as if you were in an office elsewhere.</p> <h3>Watercooler Chats</h3> <p>Among the most valuable aspects of a traditional office are daily social interaction and camaraderie. It's not just nice to have social relationships, but it's an opportunity to network and establish bonds with other people in the industry.</p> <p>Remember to make time for professional engagements that allow you to connect with colleagues. This might be joining a local meetup group or just keeping in touch with old coworkers by meeting them for lunch. If you are telecommuting while fellow coworkers are at an office, it's all the more reason for you to maintain regular contact (in person) to stay properly integrated into the team.</p> <h3>Role Models</h3> <p>Not having a boss down the hall who can easily look over your shoulder may be liberating, but on the flip side, not having someone you can quickly reach out to for advice and direction limits your productivity. Further, one of the best ways to grow professionally is to have a mentor. If you're working from home, you may need to reach out to people you look up to and see if they'd be open to mentoring you.</p> <h3>Respectable Clothes</h3> <p>One of the best things about working from home is that you can be on important conference call in your bunny slippers. However, being in your PJs all day isn't conducive to training your mind to be in work mode. After all, PJs equal bedtime; our bodies respond to routine. If you go through a &quot;getting ready for work&quot; process, it will help your mind and body gear up for it. This doesn't mean you have to wear a tie at home, but it does mean getting out of your PJs and brushing your hair.</p> <h3>Office Hours</h3> <p>Increasingly, employees are breaking out of the usual &quot;office hours&quot; anyway by checking and sending emails during non-office hours, but it's still important to establish your work hours regardless. Working from home allows you a lot of flexibility in setting those work hours. For example, you can work 4 hours in the morning, break for 4 hours, and then work 4 hours in the evening. Whatever works best for you is what you should go with, and then make sure the people in your life are aware of that.</p> <p>One of the problems about working from home is that friends and family think that you're available for them at any time. You'll get requests for airport pickups, impromptu visits, and other tasks and events that you're expected to do or participate in because you can work &quot;any time.&quot; While it's true that you are able to adjust your work time, it's just as important to maintain a regular schedule so that your colleagues can reach you, your work is done promptly and efficiently, and you don't lose your professional edge.</p> <p>It's easy to take for granted some of the ways that a &quot;real office&quot; contributes to your professional growth and productivity. But a home office can give you the best of both worlds. All you have to do is step out of your bunny slippers and keep yourself actively engaged.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART ONE</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget">7 Pitfalls That Can Bloat a Home Office Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity Small Business Resource Center home office self employment small business telecommute work habits Tue, 28 Jun 2011 09:30:00 +0000 Lynn Truong 559429 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Pitfalls That Can Bloat a Home Office Budget http://www.wisebread.com/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_office_photos.jpg" alt="Home office" title="Home office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working from home.</p> <p>It's an almost magical phrase that inspires jealousy among the cubicled masses who trudge into an office park five days a week. But the grass can certainly be greener when it comes to operating a business or doing the bulk of your work from your home.</p> <p>Distractions abound. So do hidden expenses.</p> <p>For a startup company, a sole practitioner, or a freelance specialist, a dedicated home office is often the most economical option when it comes to carving out work space. However, it may be trickier than you think to budget for your awesome corner office next to the laundry room.</p> <p>Consumers may be tempted to outfit their sparkling new home offices with new furniture and hardware, but that&rsquo;s a surefire way to quickly blow through a budget. Here's a look at seven pitfalls that can ensnare the home-office builder. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Setting Up a Home Office on the&nbsp;Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>1. Failing to Draw a Floor Plan</h2> <p>Sketch one that&rsquo;s to scale so you have a realistic idea of what will and will not fit in your workspace. You&rsquo;ll save money by not buying excess furniture or decor that would otherwise bog down your space. Plus, if you figure out where your outlets and Internet connection are, you won&rsquo;t need to do any expensive, time-consuming electrical work.</p> <h2>2. Dissing the DIY</h2> <p>Try consolidating space by making your own desk. A traditional DIY desk uses two filing cabinets that keep a door or wood slab level. To add some class, varnish the door. If your office space looks too white and boring, jazz it up by painting the walls yourself or framing photos by you or friends. Better yet, build a stand-up desk, which saves you the cost of a chair and is actually <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/most-dangerous-thing-youll-do-all-day">better for your health</a>.</p> <h2>3. Buying New</h2> <p>Buying new furniture wastes loads of money. Check your local Goodwill stores or Craigslist for office chairs, coffee tables, and desks. The market for these furnishings is quite saturated, so there&rsquo;s no reason to buy new ones. You might even find gently used printers, wireless Internet routers, and computer monitors.</p> <h2>4. Skipping the Sales</h2> <p>Office supply stores have predictably timed sales, especially when school starts. Also keep on the lookout for clearance items and promising yard sales. Plenty of pens, notepads, and printer paper can be found in sale bins. Think about buying bulk, too. You might be able to get more bang for your buck.</p> <h2>5. Ignoring In-House Inventory</h2> <p>Dig around in your basement or attic for any art, throw rugs, furniture, or supplies that can still be put to use. Don&rsquo;t bother upgrading your computer or other hardware as long as it works efficiently. Resist the temptation to splurge. It's easy to make a list of what you want when you don&rsquo;t actually need that much. Take serious stock of what you need and base your first purchases off of that list.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting You're Still at Home</h2> <p>Carving out some truly separate space is paramount. Not doing so may result in several distractions. Devote one room or space as your office to cut down on nuisances and save time. After all, time is valuable, and you&rsquo;ll need to make sure that you work as if you&rsquo;re on an office schedule. Creating a work-life barrier can be difficult when it all happens in the same general area.</p> <h2>7. Missing Out on the Tax Benefits</h2> <p>Consumers can claim direct and indirect expenses using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">home office tax deduction</a>. Direct expenses are things like repairs or maintenance that are localized to the business space in your home. Indirect expenses, like utility bills or homeowners' insurance, can be deducted based on how much of your total square footage is considered office space.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Pitfalls That Can Bloat a Home Office Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-bed-for-cheap-and-look-good-doing-it">Build a Bed for Cheap (and Look Good Doing It)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-crappy-couch-awesome-again">How to Make a Crappy Couch Awesome Again</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Entrepreneurship Home Productivity furniture home office reuse Wed, 20 Apr 2011 09:48:46 +0000 Chris Birk 524111 at http://www.wisebread.com Is An Office Necessary? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-an-office-necessary <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/is-an-office-necessary-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/is-an-office-necessar...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/is-an-office-necessary" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007198789Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="176" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-an-office-necessary" class="sharethis-link" title="Is An Office Necessary?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>It seems like the first thing most people do when considering opening a small business is shop around for office space. The cost of renting or buying space has a fairly standard place in the business plan and it simply makes sense that your business needs a home, just like you do. But is an office truly necessary for your business?</p> <p><b>Office Alternatives</b></p> <p>An office simply isn't the only option, especially with today's technology. It's becoming rarer that you'll need to meet with every client in person or even that you'll need much more than a laptop computer to run the majority of your business. When you combine that fact with the cost of office space, it makes sense to consider alternatives. If you can entirely avoid renting office space, you'll have more money &ndash; perhaps hundreds more each month &ndash; to spend on other things your business needs.</p> <p>The alternatives are as varied as the types of business you may run. It's easy for some firms to work remotely, from their homes or coffee shops. It is equally easy to rent a share of space &ndash; at a <a href="http://www.deskmag.com/" target="_blank">co-working</a> space or a <a href="http://www.obcai.com/findanoffice.php" target="_blank">business center</a> &ndash; as you need it. There are even people who simply work wherever they are, traveling regularly with their laptops &ndash; these digital nomads, as they are sometimes known, may not even have a <i>home</i>, let alone an office.</p> <p><b>Deciding What You Need</b></p> <p>As you're developing a new business, or evaluating an old one, it's worth considering exactly what you need in terms of work space.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Do you need storage space?</strong> If you have paper files or inventory that you need to maintain, storage space may be a consideration. Office spaces often provide a limited amount of storage useful for a small business, but there are alternatives with lower costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>D</strong><strong>o you need to hold face-to-face meetings?</strong> Whether you're meeting with clients or employees, an office often represents an easy meeting place. There are alternatives, of course, but it's worth considering how often you plan to hold meetings, as well.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Do you need to be able to directly supervise workers? </strong>There are certain jobs where you need to be able to see exactly what a worker is doing &mdash; and asking them to come to your home to work can be a little uncomfortable.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Do you expect clients or customers to drop in unannounced</strong>? In retail situations, for instance, you need a space your customers can expect to find you during working hours.</li> </ul> <p>There are plenty of situations in which an office is necessary to the health of your business, but there are also plenty where an office is just another expense. Of course, you can also use combinations if that's the best fit for your business. Perhaps you need a small office you can work from, while the rest of your team works remotely.</p> <p><b>What an Office Represents</b></p> <p>Some of your clients may view an office as a symbol of professionalism. While it may not be worth it to get an office just for appearance's sake, it may be worth considering an alternative that helps you with that issue. It's important to do some research into what your clients will expect and how they feel about different scenarios. If you're in an industry where you can expect to never meet your clients face-to-face, a professional-sounding mailing address could easily be enough.</p> <p>By working out of a business center or a co-working space that provides you access to a conference room, you can appear more professional to those clients who may have concerns. Alternatively, you may want to play up the fact that your organization doesn't need an office. There are plenty of clients who appreciate flexibility and a lower bottom line. It comes down to a question of how you want your business to appear.</p> <p><b>If You Need an Office Space, Get It</b></p> <p>There are some businesses that absolutely need office space, or perhaps even more commercial space &ndash; like a warehouse or a retail space. If that's what you need for your business to succeed, go for it. Find the best possible space and rent or buy it. Build it into your business plan and your cost estimates.</p> <p>You aren't tied forever to one office, even if you buy the space. You can always change up where you and your staff work later one. Make the decision that is right for your business today. Evaluate what you need at regular intervals and you'll come up with not only the most cost-effective approach to office space, but you'll have the space you actually need to grow your business.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-an-office-necessary">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford">11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-of-the-most-innovative-useful-and-insane-desks">7 of the Most Innovative, Useful, and Insane Desks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Small Business Resource Center business center business nomads co-working home office shared office small business telecommute Thu, 10 Mar 2011 22:48:56 +0000 Thursday Bram 495895 at http://www.wisebread.com Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_office_3.jpg" alt="Home Office" title="Home Office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you go into an office furniture store and start browsing around, you can quickly wind up with sticker shock. But you don't have to let that stop you from creating a home office &mdash; it can be done surprisingly inexpensively. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-unusual-ways-to-cut-costs-in-the-office">10 Unusual Ways to Cut Costs in the Office</a>.)</p> <h3>The Reason for Your Office</h3> <p>Before you dive into designing your home office, think about why you're setting it up. If you're running a business of your own out of your home, your requirements &mdash; and what the IRS expects of your home &mdash; are different than what you may need if you want a place to attend to household matters.</p> <p>With a home office that you plan to write off on your taxes, you need to be able to separate your workspace from the rest of the space. That can mean emptying out a room or adding a screen to an open area. For tax purposes, though, you do have to clearly separate your office &mdash; I've heard of some people just marking off where their home offices end with masking tape on the floor successfully.</p> <h3>Thinking Through the Furniture</h3> <p>Before you get stuck on the desk/chair combo, check out options like standing or walking desks &mdash; they can take some getting used to, but they're better ergonomically (and they save the cost of a chair). Get imaginative with your space.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are also a lot of options for picking up office furniture inexpensively. Many businesses will sell off old furniture when they upgrade their offices or go out of business. They may also send it to a liquidator. Both options can help you pick up furniture in pretty good shape for a fraction of what it cost new.</p> <h3>Paperless from the Start</h3> <p>The cost of office supplies can be a significant portion of what you spend on a home office. But by going <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-entirely-paperless-at-home">paperless</a> from the very beginning, you can cut costs dramatically. In theory, you may even be able to avoid the cost of a printer and filing cabinets (although, in even the most paperless offices, there's typically some hard copy still floating around), or at least buy a significantly smaller filing cabinet and less robust printer.</p> <p>In a paperless office, it does make sense to invest in a scanner (so that you can turn incoming paper documents into electronic files), but with the availability of inexpensive combination printer/scanners, that's not going to add a lot to your total cost.</p> <h3>Think Green&nbsp;</h3> <p>While your home office may not include huge appliances like a refrigerator, it can be a significant power draw. Simple tricks, like unplugging equipment when it's not in use, can keep your utilities bill down.</p> <h3>Planning Your Home Office</h3> <p>At the end of the day, your home office needs to be a place where you can get work done. If that means getting your initial set-up in place and then tweaking it &mdash; maybe adding that fancy ergonomic chair or a mini-fridge for snacks &mdash; then go for it. Even a basic office will be enough to work in for the short-term, letting you really figure out where it's worthwhile to spend money and what you don't need for your business.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap" class="sharethis-link" title="Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget">7 Pitfalls That Can Bloat a Home Office Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Office Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-things-to-have-on-hand-for-power-outages">20 Things to Have on Hand for Power Outages</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Entrepreneurship Home cheap furnishing home office paperless Wed, 22 Dec 2010 15:00:09 +0000 Thursday Bram 395840 at http://www.wisebread.com Claiming the Home Office Deduction Without Getting into Trouble http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/claiming-the-home-office-deduction-without-getting-into-trouble <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/claiming-the-home-office-deduction-without-getting-into-trouble-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/claiming-the-home-office-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/claiming-the-home-office-deduction-without-getting-into-trouble" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007491435XSmall.jpg" alt="Working from home" title="Working from home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/claiming-the-home-office-deduction-without-getting-into-trouble" class="sharethis-link" title="Claiming the Home Office Deduction Without Getting into Trouble" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>For many small business owners, there's a sense that claiming the home office deduction on your taxes is asking for trouble. Maybe it's a red flag to the IRS or maybe it's just a complicated procedure, but most small business owners simply worry about taking the deduction even when they're entitled to it. But the truth of the matter is that claiming the home office deduction has become a relatively simple matter, and it doesn't trigger an automatic audit. Rather, it's simply an opportunity for small business owners who work out of their homes to legitimately claim the expenses used to maintain that home office. Assuming you do the paperwork correctly, claiming the home office deduction shouldn't cause trouble &mdash; just as writing off a new printer or a company vehicle doesn't create problems.</p> <h3>Pass the Exclusivity Test</h3> <p>The biggest problem that small business owners tend to face is making sure that a home office passes the exclusivity test. In order to be claimed as a home office, the space you work in must be used exclusively for your business &mdash; other family members can't use the area for anything else and neither can you. There are several potential pitfalls, like having your children in your office while you work. <a href="http://www.JanZtax.com">Jan Zobel</a>, the author of <em>Minding Her Own Business: the Self-Employed Woman's Guide to Taxes and Recordkeeping</em>, points out a crucial problem. &quot;The biggest issue these days is computer use. If a computer is in the home office and either the kids or the partner use it also, that effectively makes the home office ineligible because requirements state that the space must be used exclusively for the business.&quot;</p> <p>Jamie Ciocco runs his business, <a href="http://www.trendy.com">Trendy.com</a>, from one of the bedrooms in his two-bedroom condo: &quot;My office is already a separate room, so I didn't need to put up any partitions to separate it from the rest of the house. It even has a separate entrance door I can use, which is great for when a client stops by, since I can let them in to my office directly and don't need to clean up the rest of my house...I use my home office only for business. I also work from my sofa sometimes, but I can't deduct my living room as a home office since it's not used exclusively for business.&quot;</p> <h3>Decide If the Home Office Deduction Worth the Effort</h3> <p>Although claiming the home office deduction can save you a significant amount of money on your taxes, claiming it is not always worthwhile. If, for instance, setting up an area that is exclusively used for your business would require you to rent a larger home, all the expenses that go along with such a move would likely outweigh what you would be able to deduct on your taxes. It's worth your while to run the numbers before you start changing your home office set-up in order to claim the deduction. You may be surprised at what you'll be able to claim; a variety of expenses at your home can be deducted. &quot;Homeowners are already able to claim the mortgage interest and real estate tax they pay, but when a portion of these expenses are deducted for an office-in-home, not only is income tax reduced, but there is a reduction of self-employment (social security) tax as well. Additionally, claiming a home office means that a portion of such expenses as rent, utilities, insurance, and depreciation, which could not otherwise be deducted, can now be claimed as business expenses,&quot; says Zobel.</p> <p>With an eligible home office, you can also claim more transportation expenses and other business expenses as deductions. Zobel continues, &quot;Another benefit of claiming a home office is that a greater percentage of car expenses become deductible. Without an office-in-home, most taxpayers cannot claim the miles driven from home to the first business stop of the day and from the last stop of the day back home as this is considered non-deductible commuting mileage. With a deductible home office, every trip from home to another place of business is considered a trip between two business locations and is fully deductible. For those reasons even, for example, a 3' x 5' desk exclusively used for business may be worthwhile to claim as an office-in-home.&quot;</p> <h3>Track the Numbers Carefully</h3> <p>There are more than a few numbers that go along with claiming the home office deduction, from the actual size of your office to the expenses you can associate with maintaining it. You do need to keep careful track of those numbers &mdash; they aren't something that you want to be scrambling to recreate as tax season rolls around. Ciocco describes his process: &quot;I track expenses related to the home as a whole separately from expenses exclusively related to the home office. At tax time, I deduct the full amount of expenses that are just for my home office, such as office furniture. I also deduct a fraction of my expenses for my whole home (overall maintenance, electricity, etc.) based on my home office's square footage as a fraction of the home's total square footage...At one point when my office was actually clean, I took photos of the space and saved them with my tax information so that I could easily document my home office to the IRS if needed. I don't fudge the numbers. Being scrupulous about calculating the exact costs and square footage of my home office puts me on solid ground if I ever do have an audit.&quot;</p> <h3>Don't Let the Process Scare You</h3> <p>It's easy to get thrown by any tax situation, including the home office deduction. There's a lot to consider, but that doesn't mean that you're going to face trouble for claiming it on your tax return. Zobel notes, &quot;Many people incorrectly believe that claiming the home office deduction on a tax return means an automatic audit or, at the least, a red flag. I have about 350 tax clients, about half of whom claim an office-in-home on their tax return. I've been in business for more than 30 years and have had about 25 clients audited during that time. Only about three of those audits were of people who had claimed a home office and none of those audits were focused on that deduction.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/claiming-the-home-office-deduction-without-getting-into-trouble">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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