How to design a home office

Working from home seems so easy. You simply put a desk in a spare bedroom, in a corner of the family room or in your kitchen and you’re ready to get to work, right? Not so fast. There are a few factors to consider when setting up a home office including whether you’re using the right desk and chair, whether you have enough filing space and whether you have room for equipment and supplies nearby. So pull up a chair and get started on the road to a more efficient home office!

Woman working from homeStep 1: Pick your desk

A good arrangement (if you have the space) is an L-shape with your main work surface and a second work surface connected at a right angle. The best use for the dead space between the two surfaces is to plant your printer in the corner. That will keep your printer out of the way, but still within reach. An all-in-one is a good bet for saving space in your home office, and eliminating the need for four separate machines because one can print, scan, copy and fax.

Step 2: Organize

Your desk doesn’t have to be perfectly clear (and whose is?), but a cluttered desk makes it easy to get distracted and can keep you from focusing on the tasks that need your immediate attention.

When you set up your desk, limit the items you keep on your desk to the ones you use daily or weekly, including a tape dispenser, scissors, a stocked pen and pencil holder, desk lamp and your phone. Ideally, your computer should be on a surface to the left or right of your desk or parallel to it.

step 3: Shelving

Keep the items you use less frequently on shelves above or next to your desk to increase your storage space and to reduce desktop clutter. Other options include a desktop hutch to store items within arm’s reach and a tall, four-shelf bookcase (ideally with adjustable shelves) to hold dozens of books and reference materials. Adjustable shelves make more sense than fixed shelves because they eliminate wasted space above and below the shelves.

step 4: comfort supplies

Storage and organization are important, yet there’s another factor to consider when you set up your home office: ergonomics. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other repetitive injuries are the side effects of computers, but you can eliminate them or at least minimize them by using the right products. A wide range of ergonomic products — including wrist rests, mouse rests, and elevated footrests — can keep your productivity level high and your level of pain low.

step 5: Pick the right chair

Use an ergonomically-correct chair to minimize the wear and tear on your back, neck and shoulders. If you sit in front of your computer for long periods of time, your body will let you know whether you’re using the wrong chair. A kitchen table chair or a chair from your dining room aren’t made for sitting in front of a computer for hours. Chairs with adjustable seats, armrests, swivel features and padding, among other features, are a better option and more affordable than before.

the finished product

Consider your new home office as a clean slate. You can completely furnish it with a functional desk, comfortable desk chair and plenty of storage space (a reading chair too) or keep it simple with a desk, laptop and printer. Best of all, you can design your home office to fit your tastes and needs, and it won’t resemble anything close to your old corporate office!


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