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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Renovating Home Offices in Toronto

On Renovating Home Offices for Work from Home Professionals

By Rob C.

This author was there when Laura Bilotta from Single in the City walked a renovator around her Toronto area townhouse and laid down plans for a new perfect home office. “Rip out the wall cabinets and put up vision boards,’ was how she started her fix list. "Bookshelves are so last century."

The contractor agreed, and he nodded his head like he was expecting it. Keith Travers, home renovations expert in Toronto has years of experience and his own ideas about transforming living rooms, basements and guest bedrooms into cost efficient modern home offices. "What Laura asked for is what every work from home professional wants, a clean modern home office."

Clear the walls and ‘desks’

In Laura’s vision for tomorrow there are no desks and no shelves, but rather tables stuck to bare walls with nothing underneath to bang her knees on when swivel-chairing around the room. By having clear walls and desk surfaces she can do three jobs at once in three or more separate work stations in her office, or on busy days, she can bring in support staff and easily scale her operations.

By having white boards and cork boards on the walls instead of shelves, Laura can effectively organize tasks for staff using pins and post-it notes. This makes it easy for interns to pick-up and go forward with initiatives laid out literally right in front of their eyes. Perhaps more important is how it allows Laura to compartmentalize her campaigns in her own mind.

"Shelving is still important." Keith Travers insisted, “But now the shelves go up to the top of the wall. Shelves are necessary for storage, and small things can be put in wood boxes we can make to match the d├ęcor.” And another item that’s now stored high on the shelf – the office printer.

Install Offices Doors that can be Closed

High on Laura’s list for Keith was to amend the walls of her living room to host French doors (double doors with twelve panel glass windows in the center of each) so she could seal off her home office and therein her business from the rest of her life.

Keith told me later that doors and walls are necessary mental as well as physical barriers; the modern work from home professional needs a door for privacy and security of course, but also, they must be able to close a door in their mind at some point everyday too. A physical door that locks helps them mentally encapsulate their work inside their home life.

Office Telephone Wifi Solution

While most work from home professionals function effectively these days without an office telephone, WiFi must be present in their home office. Why not get a business phone? There are still plenty of advantages to using an old-school Nortel Meridian phone with a display fromStandard Telecom because over time it becomes a super handy easy-to- use business rolodex that can store call data for years. Regardless home office professions must have a strong Wifi signal, and so the modem / router connection MUST be in the home office.

The alternative is to embrace walking back and forth, up and down stairs every time there’s a problem. If the residence did not previously have a home office than the cable modem is likely found behind the television – it must be moved into the office and a proper airport Wi-Fi set up high on the shelf, in the room where people are working – not in the room where kids are playing network videos or spouses watch TV.

Put a Safe in the Wall

Somewhere in the home office there should be a wall safe. Its important. It’s a line item on many small business insurance policies. There should also be a filing cabinet ‘solution’ and if you don’t have a safe then you need a good filing cabinet with at least one drawer that locks. Where else can you keep your master business license? Or your lifetime discount deals, exclusive contracts, or your bottle of the good stuff and maybe your handgun? ‘Handgun owners must have a safe’ Keith adds, ‘they’re required by Federal legislation to have and use a secure lock box to store their weapons.’

A Clock above a Calendar

Further to the idea of keeping track of time and resources – the wall clock and calendar combination is critical for keeping small business CEOs and staff on track. The wall clock is different than the wrist watch and cellphone clock and computer monitor time keeper. The wall clock is a powerful judge that knows when you start late, and finish early.

For small business professional who work alone and talk to themselves, the clock & calendar is one character who becomes a mental butler. He or she is a concierge who schedules calls and appointments and becomes an operational framework for the business. The device also serves to answer questions that other visitors to the home office (mostly family members) might have
regarding your time, especially if they can see the business agenda on the home office calendar and plan accordingly.

Leave Room for Visitors

"There needs to be space for visitors", Keith made Laura think about her new office layout from the perspective of a visiting client that might come to her house. Where will he or she sit? And what will they see? How comfortable will they be in here?

Laura’s home office of the future is set to look very Spartan indeed. With hardwood floors under the swivel chairs and wide open surfaces on white walls and wood tables, the blank office chamber is designed to invite creativity and banish clutter.

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