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Setting up a home office: Computers and software

You'll need storage space but your existing furniture might not do

Now that you are in touch with the outside world, you will need somewhere to keep all this communications equipment – and its associated stationary.

Don’t try to run before you can walk. Investing too heavily in office setups at the very start is not always the best move. Your job might evolve into something very different within just a short space of time.

If you can manage with existing furniture, then do. But there are some pitfalls. If you spend much time at the computer, it is vital that you take care of yourself. Make sure that your table and chair are at the right heights and that your back is protected.

Make sure that you have sufficient light. Daylight is best but in this country you will need good artificial lighting too.

Storage must also be assessed. How much space will you need to keep your office neat and tidy? Will you have to keep archive material? Accounts are a classic example – the taxman requires us to keep records for years after the event. But you may also need to keep source material for your project work for other legal reasons – libel laws, for example.

Filing cabinets may not be the prettiest of things but they do absorb a lot of paper. But, again, do not go out and buy five just because there is a better discount. Build up as the business grows.

There are plenty of places to buy good quality, second hand office furniture. There are dedicated high street stores for new equipment but it is also worth checking the small ads in your local paper. Other businesses will be growing too and will be shedding startup equipment as they go.

Check out the prices of new equipment and, unless the look is all important, consider second hand. As long as a filing cabinet works, will it matter if it is grey metal or orange-brown wooden?

If you can manage with existing furniture, then do.

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