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Any time, any place: The ability to work whenever and wherever one wants is highly valued by today’s lawyers. Powered by remote access to office networks and high-bandwidth Internet connections, the tech age adage that “your office is wherever you are” has become more of a reality. Today lawyers can give in to the “cocooning effect,” which may be pulling them closer to home and family, without feeling that working from home is somehow compromising their practice. But how should you equip your office without going overboard? Here we take a look at planning a home office with a budget of $5,000. THE SPACE: IS IT TECH-FRIENDLY? The first step is to select the location of your office. A spare bedroom? A remodeled basement? An upstairs loft? There are several issues to consider: Will you work at home during business hours, after hours, weekends or all of the above? If you work while your family putters about, try to identify the location that will minimize noise and possible interruptions. Will clients ever visit your office? CONSIDER ERGONOMICS: IS THE SPACE COMFORTABLE AND CONVENIENTLY LOCATED? Tech-friendliness: Are there grounded (three-prong) electrical outlets? Is the area close to a cable outlet for high-speed Internet access? Is the area well-ventilated? A stuffy attic or basement area might seem attractively isolated, but will prove uncomfortable in the long run. THE PLACEMENT: IT’S ABOUT COMFORT The process of setting up a home office might tempt you to indulge all of your interior design fantasies. But resist the sirens of style and opt instead for physical comfort and practicality. However, if the home office is intended for only occasional use, then by all means, indulge your inner feng shui disciple. At the same time, consider the long-term use and don’t lose sight of sound ergonomic principles. “The most important thing is to create an environment where you’re physically comfortable and as separate as possible from the rest of your household,” says Sheryn Bruehl, a legal research representative from Thomson-West who works from her home full-time. “You need to be able to [mentally] go home from work at night.” Bruehl, who says she can spend as many as 12 to 14 hours a day in her home office, cautions how important it is to pay attention to ergonomics: “People get hurt when they try and use the kitchen table as a workspace.” Things to remember:

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