More of us than ever are ditching conventional offices and joining the work from home revolution. For employees, the advantages of working from home are obvious. It’s easier to maintain a better work-life balance, while many incidental costs like commuting expenses are eliminated. Employers also benefit from a happier, more productive workforce.
However, a functional space is crucial if you’re looking to achieve maximum productivity. Below, we highlight the most important things to remember when setting up an impromptu office for home working.
Picking the Perfect Spot
Finding a suitable spot to set up shop is the first thing to think about when creating a home office. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, a dedicated room is ideal. However, this isn’t an option for everyone. If you live in an apartment or are short on square footage, you can easily designate a corner of a larger room as a working space.
Try and avoid establishing a home office in a heavily used space. Generally speaking, living rooms are the largest areas of any home, but they’re conducive to productivity. Consider corners of your home with less footfall. Dining rooms are rarely used outside of mealtimes, so think about installing a desk and chair in a spare corner or alcove. Bedrooms aren’t the best option for dual-purpose spaces, but you can certainly make use of an infrequently used guest bedroom if you’re lacking any other options.
The Importance of Ergonomic Seating
Inferior office seating can wreak havoc on posture and spine health. If you’ve had to create an impromptu home office for short-term use, you’ve probably found yourself using dining seating. A stylish dining chair may seem like a practical addition to your home office, but they’re not designed for long-term use and rarely support proper posture.
Premium ergonomic office chairs can be expensive, but this is one area where you shouldn’t be afraid to spend a little more. When choosing an office chair, make sure the chair pick has an adjustable height. A good office chair should also offer additional lumbar support to alleviate back pain. Armrests are also essential if you plan on being at your desk for many hours every day. Finally, always go for office chairs with castor wheels. These are not only practical for when you need to move from A to B, but they also prevent you from adopting poor posture and awkward positions while sitting.
Desk Height and Monitor Placement
Desk height is another vital factor to consider when putting together a home office. As with seating, ensuring you’re working with the correct desk height will allow you to maintain good posture. For the average person, a desk surface height of 28 inches is advisable. If you’re somewhat shorter than this, a lower desk height is advised.
Likewise, if you’re on the tall side, go for a higher surface. You can always invest in an adjustable desk if you want a more flexible solution. If you want to combat the impact of a sedentary lifestyle, think about investing in a standing desk. The health benefits of standing desks are hard to ignore, making them an attractive option for those who can afford the premium price tag.
Monitor placement also needs to be considered. For most home workers, a single laptop screen simply isn’t sufficient. Investing in a larger monitor that you can connect to your laptop will streamline day-to-day operations. Opt for larger sizes whenever possible to improve usability. It’s also worth spending more on screens with higher resolutions, especially if you want to prevent eye strain.
Essential Home Office Storage
Once you’ve secured the most essential home office furniture, you can start thinking about storage. Pretty much every home office will need some degree of storage, but the exact configuration depends on your needs.
If your recordkeeping requirements are light, you may only need to invest in a few document boxes. However, the average home office will also need to have an inventory of stationery supplies in stock. If available space is limited, keep documents stored in a compact filing cabinet that can be wheeled underneath your desktop. Larger items and stationery stock are best inventoried in freestanding storage units or cabinets.
Improve Interior Lighting
Lighting is often underestimated when it comes to interior design. However, quality lighting can transform your home office environment and boost levels of productivity. The main area you’ll need to focus on is your desk or workstation.
Ideally, these spaces should be situated underneath overhead lighting to provide sufficient illumination. However, you can compensate for a lack of overhead lighting by investing in powerful desk lights and table lamps.
You should also utilize existing light sources. Try and position your desk next to a window so you can reap the productivity benefits of natural lighting. Some thoughtful positioning will also minimize the impact of glare on laptop and monitor screens. If large windows are proving problematic and causing considerable glare, blackout blinds or light-diffusing curtains are a must.
With key pieces of furniture in place, you can start thinking about storage and other everyday essentials. Good lighting should also be considered. Make sure you’re setting up your home office in a space with overhead lighting. Positioning your workstation near a window will also allow you to reap the health benefits of exposure to natural light.
If you’re wary about going over budget, don’t be afraid to explore second-hand furniture and refurbished technology. Refurbished hardware often comes with extended guarantees, saving you a small fortune that can be invested in finishing touches.
This article was written by Seamus Dunne of Conversation Piece. Conversation Piece is a leading player in telecommunications, providing VoIP Phone Systems nationwide to large and small-scale businesses.