Get out the graph paper. Your assignment: Create a home office that works. Don't worry, a seasoned workplace architect is here to tutor you.
When you first set up your home office - er, desk in the corner of the guest room - you thought, what the heck. You'd only be working at home on weekends, and maybe one day a week, if you could persuade the boss.

Now, you're one of the millions working at home two days a week or more. That makeshift workstation got old a long time ago. And you've seen some really cool setups in magazines and on television.

If you can afford to dedicate the space and the money to create a dream office like the ones in design publications, that's terrific. But you don't have to spend a king's ransom to create an aesthetically pleasing and perfectly functional workplace at home. , AIA, has planned dozens of home workplaces over the years, and he's carefully studied hundreds more. Here, he'll show you how the best of them - no matter what the budget or other constraints - share three basic features.

Good home workplaces help balance home and work life. When you work at home, regardless of your family situation, you'll mix your personal and family life with your business life. To balance this mix successfully, you'll have to create separations between home and work. In some cases, the boundaries may be physical. In others, the boundaries may have to be negotiated. If you don't have a spare room available, you may have to set up in a shared space, such as a family room or den. In this case, I recommend that you establish working hours that everybody - including you - agrees to respect. Even if you live alone, separation between work and living space is important - for personal visitors and for your own psychological well-being.