These are just some of the suggestions people have sent to us and we've canvassed with the features they think are the most important to incorporate into a design/build of a home office.
Remember, the thoughtful design of your home office could quite dramatically increase the value of your home, especially when you think about the fact that one out of six South Africans are self-employed and work from home.
Things to think about are:-
Parking: you should provide safe and shaded parking. If you can go as far as having a separate entrance from the road with its own little parking area just for the office/s then that would be perfect. For a really unique and aesthetically pleasing option for creating the coolest shade, you can read about Shade Plus here.
Always have a separate entrance for your office so that the client doesn't have to navigate family space and noise from the main house doesn't interfere. Have a completely separate entrance for clients.
It should be possible, without going outdoors, to move between the office/s and your house. The purpose of this is solely to allow you to easily and safely get between the office and your home whenever you want to, especially after hours and/or in rainy weather etc.
An office should ideally contain it's own kitchen/galley and toilet - which should be "hidden" from the main reception area, nothing worse than wanting to go to the loo in front of everyone.
Your business should have a dedicated phone line, fax line and internet connection. When you're away from you home office, you want to be away. At times when you actually want to be in your home but not miss an important work call you can take the office cordless phone with you or forward your office line to your cellphone temporarily.
Make sure your alarm system is extended to the office area. If some miscreant starts liberating you of your precious office equipment and data you want to know about it right away and not only the next morning.
If you have (watch) dogs outside or inside your home, that's also an important issue as you don't want your clients to get intimidated or even bitten. If it is not easy and welcoming for the clients to come to your house, they will not return.
Underfoor heating. See the article on underfloor heating here.
On the alarm system: Try to have it partitioned to a separate unit that is controlled from the main house as well as a unit in the office for the staff to deactivate the office space only, so that if you are away they don’t have to go to the main house to deactivate the alarm system
Shelving: Make sure you have enough and plenty of storage space - especially for those things reps drop off, magazines, books, stationery, etc.
Lighting: Your office needs to be well lit and your outside area is especially important if you receive clients in the evening.
Signage: Super-important. Nothing worse than having a client drive around for ages looking for your office.
Air-conditioning - make your office as comfortable for you, your staff and your clients as possible.
Safe: Look at installing a safe for those important documents, backups and items that might need extra safe-keeping. Make sure it is a fire-proof safe.
A bar fridge for the kitchen. For those late afternoon appointments, the bar is really useful to seal business relationships.
All glazing should be double for noise reduction and insulation.
The entrance to the property should be monitored with cameras which can be displayed either on permanent surveillance monitors or the computers.
Direct intercom communication is a must.
Little thought is ever given to the safety aspect. A small smoke detection system for the offices and heat detection for the kitchen which should be connected to an integrated alarm system.
Extinguishers, (hand fire appliances), are important for an office. If you lose the contents of the office, you lose a critical part of your business even though insurance for this may be carried.
The absolute most fundamental aspect is: Is your power supply up to the job? Make sure you have enough power supply, plug points and that you have overload protection and surge protectors.