Are you considering working from home — convincing your manager to let you telecommute, leaving your cubicle job behind, or re-entering the workforce after a time away? You might rule out home-based work if you lack a separate dedicated office, but Work From Home Momma Deborah […]

Are you considering working from home — convincing your manager to let you telecommute, leaving your cubicle job behind, or re-entering the workforce after a time away? You might rule out home-based work if you lack a separate dedicated office, but Work From Home Momma Deborah Ng says you don’t need one:

I don’t have an office either. In fact, my desk is the kitchen table. I remove my laptop for meals and return it again when the dishes are done. Yes, it would be nice to have a place I could spread out. It’s a pain having to take the printer out of the closet whenever I need to use it, and the scanner is just collecting dust right now. We have a lot of work to do on the house though, and a home office is the last of our priorities.

Eventually I found myself needing a file cabinet to file away contracts and pay stubs, but for the most part all I need is my laptop. I work 8 hours each day and earn an ok salary. I don’t need lots of trays and bulletin boards to be productive. In fact, I found myself more productive once I cut out all of the sorting and filing. Don’t let the lack of space or equipment keeping your from working out of your home. I’m here to tell you it’s all unnecessary clutter anyway.

With a laptop, Internet connection, and means of making money, you’ll have most everything you need to work from home.

Of course, for some of us, working out of the home whether at the kitchen table or in a separate home office leads to distraction and an unhealthy blend of work and home life. In that case, explore options like leasing office space, joining a coworking cooperative, or working out of a WiFi café.

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  1. For sure the kitchen table/laptop thing isn’t for everyone, but as a full time professional blogger it’s all I need!

  2. I totally agree that a job can be done well from the kitchen table. However, many customer service & call center companies who actually hire people require a quiet place to work without distractions. They don’t want the bird chirping in the background or the kids demanding attention while you are dealing with a client on the phone.

    Of course if you have a laptop and a wireless network at home you can find an appropriate workplace.

    Bob Zwick

  3. Addressing what Bob said. I’d rather have a bird chirping. I work in an office most of the time, and have a cube with a huge window. I hear nothing but traffic all day. You should be hear if a fire truck goes by. Even my clients on the phone can hear it and that is with all the windows closed.

    At home I have my version of an office, a room that was suppose to be a dining room but is now an office. It is open to the rest of my house so I can watch what is going on but has my desk, printer, files etc.

  4. No way. Sounds nice in theory, but I don’t buy it.

    If you are going to work at home full-time you really need your own space, something that let’s you and other people know that you are working. You don’t need a whole separate room, but you definitely need a desk and some drawers. This is going to vary based on what you are doing, if you are just blogging about your day or something then you don’t need much, but if you are taking your office job home or something like that you definitely need to get in a work mindset. I think the kitchen table would be the worst possible place for this, except maybe lying in bed…

  5. Serge Lescouarnec Monday, May 7, 2007

    I have to disagree with Deborah.
    Separate space makes a difference.
    Even though I work from home, I now have my own office.
    I can even close the door if I need quiet time.
    It is on the back of the house towards the garden so I can also hear the birds chirping.

    Have a good day


  6. rick gregory Monday, May 7, 2007


    Depends on the situation. If you’re single or if kids and spouse are at work/school while you work there’s no one else to let know that you’re working.

    Do you NEED a separate office? No. A dedicated desk? No. But are you as productive and comfortable without them? If the kitchen table works, fine… but if the chair and table are a bit off in height and you’re making do, but your back hurts and … you need to look at at least getting a setup which acknowledges that your work is important.

    Of course I code from my couch so…

  7. Working from home right now (at the kitchen table, no less), and I know I’ll have to go elsewhere when the boy wakes up from his nap.

    I completely agree with Sal. If there’s anyone else in the house while I’m working from home, I won’t get anything done unless I can shut myself off from the rest of the world and pretend I’m at the office.

    Off to Starbucks in a bit I guess :-/

  8. I use to live in a very small place. My office was at one end of the living room. In the middle of the living room, my boyfriend built a foot-powered lathe, then used it to make bagpipes. So I sat at my computer while, three feet away, a home-built lathe spun and thunked, wood shavings flew, and out-of-tune bagpipes squawked. I am not joking. I have the bagpipe to prove it.

  9. I have a separate office, but I have another way of handling the danger of getting obsessed with work. I share my home office with my husband. I work from home during the day while he is out on client sites. In the evening, he writes on his blog and spends more time on the computer than me. This keeps me away from the office in my off hours.

  10. This is fine for Ng because it’s just telecommuting. But should she (or you) ever become self-employed (ex: contract work for your boss) it could get very problematic when it comes time to file your income tax and want to deduct your work space, since it isn’t a dedicated space. Just a thought.

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