How Not to Put Together a Home Office

My home office is still coming together… at a snail’s pace. Peter Cirigliano’s advice could’ve come a bit sooner for me:

Chris – About 8 or 9 months ago, I was looking to improve my home office. I was getting a new computer that had dual monitors and the slap-it-together-yourself hutch that I had would not accommodate that and provide desk space. I started looking at the mass merchandising places such as Staples, Office Depot, or Office Max and was disappointed with their offerings. In addition to the crappy fiberboard kits, they had modular systems that could be bought piece-wise and assembled, but the people selling them split their time selling paper clips, ballpoint pens, and other stuff – so no real competency was found. Moreover, the prices were fairly high when you finally cobbled something together and you had to cart and/or assemble yourself.

Instead, I found a local business that catered mostly to small and medium-sized businesses. The place operated out of what looked like a garage-like roll-up in an industrial part of town. However, office furniture was all they did and they knew their business and their product. They made useful suggestions and things for me to consider. In addition, they brought everything over, charged nothing extra for delivery (if order was over $500), assembled everything on-site drilling cable access holes where I needed them, placing pencils draws and keyboard slide precisely where I wanted them, and removed my old hutch to the garage. In the final analysis, they were cheaper than what I would have paid for– even more so when you consider the value-added service and the higher quality material that comprised the furniture. (Since they sell to businesses and offices, their furniture is more durable.)

While this place is too far from your residence, you may have similar types of businesses in your local area. Their “showroom” is abysmally dreary– mostly piles of assembled and unassembled furniture and chairs in a garage setting– but you probably don’t want to pay for the slick store layout of the mass-merchandising outlets, anyway. Better to use that lower overhead and put it into better quality and individual service. I suggest, if you are still in the market, that you seek out one of these places instead.

No, I’m still licking my open office (not to be confused with OpenOffice) wounds. I’ve got another email into Office Depot corporate, as they recently responded to my earlier request with two wholly incorrect order numbers. Unimpressive.