Create a Child Friendly YES Environment
Eliminating sharp corners and cables will make the home office safer for your child, but that's not the end of your job. The single most important thing to do in setting up your home office is creating an area in the office where children don't have to hear the word NO. It's best to be able to work your schedule around kids, but we all know that doesn't always work. There will be times when work requires your full attention and the kids need to entertain themselves. When that happens, a YES environment in the office area will make things much easier for you to finish the task at hand before returning to the kids, while keeping the kids entertained at the same time.
Earlier, I mentioned having a VCR or DVD player on hand. As much as I hate using the TV to baby sit, there are times when Baby Einstein is the only thing capable of keeping my son smiling. There's also the recently collection of Electric Company shows for older kids. With some clever planning, the VCR and DVD player can be turned into a learning opportunity for school aged children. I found some great animated Spanish lessons which give me the opportunity to brush up on a second language, while entertaining (and possibly educating) children at the same time. While having a movie on in the background isn't ideal, having the kids nearby when work is an absolute must makes everyone more comfortable.
A small table with some blank paper and washable markers goes a long way toward creating a home working environment everyone can live with. My son is still too young for unsupervised coloring, but older children will find this an acceptable way to share your work space, without getting in the way. As a school aged child, I remember trips to my dad's office when he worked overtime on weekends. His office was outside the home, but my brother and I would draw on paper scraps while he got real work done. Something as simple as paper and several pen colors turned an otherwise boring trip to dad's office into something we looked forward to.
The one thing all the suggestions in this guide have in common is creating an environment where NO isn't required. Putting important papers out of reach means not having to say, 'No, don't touch that.' Eliminating extra computer cables means fewer opportunities requiring the phrase, 'No, don't pull on that.' Covering outlets and power strips means never having to react in fear as your child plays with a live power cable. Providing entertainment for kids lets them keep being kids, allowing them the security of being close to the action, while keeping them safe and making working at home the joy it should be.