A Home Office for Two

As more professionals choose to freelance, own small businesses or even telecommute, the phrase “working from home” is more prevalent than ever. Whether spouses are involved in a joint business venture, or roommates need a shared area to do separate work, creating a home office for two individuals can be a daunting task, especially in a small space.

Don’t forget to address these important issues to prevent headaches and tension down the road:

  • What does each person’s projected schedule look like? If one person starts the day at 8 am, it might be disruptive if the other person rolls in and noisily boots up their computer at 11 am.
  • How will you deal with phone calls and other possible disruptions? Putting earbuds in while your officemate teleconferences might solve this issue — or hitting the coffee shop when there’s a day full of meetings.
  • What annoying habits (gum smacking, coffee-cup hoarding, neat freakiness) will clash? If one person is messy and one is compulsively tidy, it may not be a wise choice to split an office.
  • Do the two of you have compatible communication skills? Constant communication is key to any relationship, working or otherwise, so feeling comfortable with expressing concerns, complaints or scheduling conflicts is a must.

Once you’ve decided that a 2-person setup is a viable option, be realistic about the physical space. Separate desks, positioned side by side or back to back, allow for easy interaction and maximize square footage. Keep your communal space clean and clutter free to avoid arguments or mixed-up documents.

It’s also important to maintain different filing systems if you and your officemate are not in the same business or have distinct roles in a shared venture. Consider using space-saving filing tools, like Pendaflex® Divide It Up™ File Folders with separate sections so you can keep multiple files or project elements in one folder. If you have a file cabinet with a hanging file system, choose Pendaflex® SureHook® hanging File Folders. Easily maneuverable with built-in tension springs that stay securely on the rails, these folders also come in assorted colors so you can effortlessly differentiate your files from those of your officemate.

Use wall-mounted systems and over-the-door organizers to get the most storage bang for your buck. If you’re set up in a guest room, keep your archives or filing system tucked away in the closet. Choosing transparent organization whenever possible helps reduce visual clutter and will help you quickly identify items stored inside.

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