A small office home office (SOHO) is a home business or a work from home situation. The person working from a small, home-based office may be an entrepreneur with his or her own business serving clients. Alternatively, a small office home office environment may be used by a person employed by, or who provides outsourced work for, one company.
The business category that a SOHO fits into is either one having one to four workers or a company that has one to ten employees, depending on the country doing the defining. The popularity of the small office home office is connected to the mid-1990s' introduction of more efficient computers as well as increased telephone services. This new technology enabled many small, home-based businesses to compete with larger companies for the first time.
Since the SOHO phenomenon became such a competitive success and growing commercial segment, business equipment companies began targeting small office home office owners and workers in their marketing plans. People who do office work from home require not only a computer and a separate business phone line, but stationery and furniture as well. To meet this demand, office furniture companies make items designed for offices within homes rather than only pieces for commercial buildings.
A SOHO may be used by many different types of business people in a wide range of occupations. Freelancers such as writers and graphic designers often work in a small office home office. Consultants such as insurance salespeople, marketing experts, real estate agents and many other types also may work from home. Entrepreneurs with a business concept to develop may start with a home office before growing the company into commercial warehouses and offices.
Telecommuting employees of a company are also likely to have an office set up in their homes. Some employees may telecommute from a small office home office several days a week and work in the company's location the rest of the time. People who work for outsourcing companies that provide virtual data entry, answering service or another business-related product may also work from a SOHO.
The size and exact configuration of a SOHO can vary widely. A small office home office may be closet-sized with only a computer, telephone and a few stationery supplies. In other situations, a SOHO may take up a large room or even a whole floor of a home and feature many work stations to accommodate several employees.