How to Manage Furniture and Equipment in Your Office


Furniture

You can manage with very little purpose-built furniture to start with, but you should try to keep all your business documentation separate from your general household paperwork, if you are working from home.

You will find that you very soon need, at least:

  • Files in which to keep correspondence, copy invoices, etc.
  • Somewhere to keep the files – probably a two-drawer cabinet will do to start with

Furniture and Equipment Office

  • Somewhere to store your stationery – desk drawers or a small cupboard are better than filing cabinet drawers
  • A table or desk for your PC or laptop – make sure it is big enough to take the PC and the papers you are working from
  • A chair of the right height for writing or keying. It may not be you who does the writing or keying, but whoever does it needs a desk or table and chair of the right height. This is very important, because working for any length of time at the wrong height can cause backache, wristache and all sorts of other aches and pains. It is worth getting an adjustable typing chair with good back support.

There is usually a second-hand office furniture shop not too far away, from which you can get your basic furniture. Sometimes you can be lucky and hear of a large office which is being refurbished and needs to get rid of its out-of-date furniture. This can be quite prestigious furniture, but if you are working from home, make sure it will fit in! If your business requires prestigious looking furniture from the start, remember to include the cost in your business plan.

Equipment

Items of equipment you may need are:

  • Stapler and staples
  • Hole puncher
  • Guillotine
  • Paper clips
  • Metal waste paper bin
  • Franking machine, if your business requires lots of mailshots
  • Desk lamp(s): it is important to have good direct lighting on your papers, particularly if you are working with a PC -light reflecting on the screen can give you eyestrain
  • Fireproof and smokeproof container for very important reference sources, like accounts books, and computer disks
  • A safe to keep money and valuable items, if yours is a retail business

Franking machine

If your postal output is sufficient to warrant it, you could use a franking machine. If you are a franking machine user, you have to:

  • obtain authority from the Post Office before starting to use a machine
  • pay in advance for postage at a specified post office
  • follow the local conditions about how to face and bundle franked mail
  • return a completed control card to the Post Office at the close of business each working week
  • use a machine authorized by the Post Office and have it regularly maintained.

Photocopier

After a telephone and PC, a good photocopier is probably the next important item of equipment. Get as good a one as you can afford. These are some of the features to look out for:

  • Automatic sheet feed
  • Double-sided copying
  • Collator
  • Reduction and enlargement
  • Memory for reduction and enlargement
  • Two-page separation, for copying pages of books or magazines (but watch the copyright laws) and A3 masters as two separate A4 sheets

Large suppliers are always willing to lease you a photocopier, with integrated Maintenance Agreement. This can be advantageous from the accounting point of view (ask your accountant) and very important if your copier is going to get heavy wear – it is the one item of office equipment which always seems to be jamming or breaking down. If you lease, you have to remember that you pay a charge every time you press the button, as well as your quarterly leasing bill.

Furniture and Equipment Office

If you buy a copier outright, you have no leasing charges, but you might spend a lot in maintenance. It is possible to get a Maintenance Agreement for copiers which are owned – ask the manufacturers how to go about this. There is a second-hand market in photocopiers, but you usually do not know how they have been used or misused.

There are plenty of photocopier paper suppliers around, but if you use inferior paper you can find it never stops jamming, or takes through two sheets at a time. It is worth considering using the paper sold, or at least recommended, by the suppliers.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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