A well-conceived home office design is the key to facilitating an efficient work process. It is too easy to be distracted by the luxuries available at home. Here are some useful tips to help transform your ‘home sweet home’ into an effective home office.
1. Pick the correct location within a home. Look for a quiet spot. This may mean modifying a window to create more insulation or even adding insulation or carpeting to a room to make it quieter. You will also want a location with plenty of space to help reduce a cluttered feeling and give you plenty of room for growth.
2. Consider a small remodeling project. A home office can benefit from a separate entrance to keep clients out of your home living area, and to help you mentally separate the office from the home. More electrical outlets can be useful, and installing them above desk level can eliminate a lot of crawling around behind furniture and bookcases. Setting them up on a separate circuit can help protect from electrical outages effect the entire home.
3. Plan your lighting. Use as much natural light as you can, since you aren’t paying for the sun and the light is of better quality than artificial lights provide. Create a mix of light for the room, usually mounted on ceilings, and light for the job, usually mounted on the desk. Fluorescent light is not typically a good choice. Track lighting and recessed lights are also more interesting looking than they are useful. Try to find lighting that is soft yet bright to reduce eyestrain.
4. When arranging your office, consider ergonomics. You’ll spend a lot of time there, and it is worth some thought to prevent pain. A good chair is worth its weight in gold. Carefully plan the location for the desk and computer monitor. Locating the monitor slightly below eye level can save much neck strain. Place the keyboard and mouse to provide the most natural arm movements possible. Minimize bent wrists. You should alternate heavy computer work with other tasks to prevent long periods of typing. Invest in ergonomic keyboards and a mouse to assist this. Get a good monitor to reduce eyestrain.
5. Create room. Force yourself to put everything in its place once a week or as needed. Use a filing system so you can find papers when you need them. Put everything possible on the computer to reduce the need for physical copies, and then back up the computer files to a safe location frequently. This can be stored in a firesafe or some other location outside of your home, such as a bank safe deposit box. Use wall space wisely. Bookshelves should be only as deep as needed to avoid stealing floor space. Place office equipment on top of filing cabinets, bookcases and inside closets to maximize office space.
Setting up a home office can be exciting! Separate it from the rest of the house so you can easily distinguish ‘work time’ from ‘home time’. Enjoy the process and make your home office design comfortable and personal so you can look forward to going to work everyday!