The dedicated home office must have some compelling features in order for people to find it useful. Photo courtesy of Aspenhome
As the concept of the home office changes, so do the home furnishings geared toward the modern worker.
If you have a mobile home office, you'll want a convenient table in which to store your electronic devices. Photo courtesy of Aspenhome
Laptops and smartphones mean you're no longer tied to one room in the house. Photo courtesy of Aspenhome
Keeping it Healthy
A few tips to make working at home a healthy experience:
• Be sure your desk or work surface has enough room to keep what you need within easy reach, without constantly bending or twisting.
• Choose a comfortable chair with adjustable height, good lumbar support, padded armrests and five wheels.
• Have ample light to avoid eyestrain, but not so bright as to cause glare.
• Keep your computer monitor clean, slightly below eye level and centered in front of you. You should sit 20” to 24” inches away from it.
• Sit in your chair with both feet on the floor, shoulders relaxed, head and neck straight, and back against your chair’s lumbar support. Keep your elbows and upper arms close to your body, and at a right angle when typing.
Home Office 101
Creating a space that’s fun—and functional.
- by Jason Schneider
Creating a home office these days is more than just having a desk and a computer. The definition of the home office, as well as what it’s used for, is evolving, says Ken Levi, Aspenhome’s home office designer.
By knowing what activities you’ll be using your home office for, you can find the right configuration to meet your needs.
The Place to Be
When thinking about the best space for your home office, consider what you’ll be doing there. For example:
• Will you see clients or conduct meetings?
• Do you need to be away from other distractions while working?
• Will others in your household use the space as well?
For privacy and solitude, a dedicated space is the best choice. “The room that is dedicated for a home office work area may serve other functions as well,” Levi says. These can include:
“The dedicated home office must have some compelling features in order for people to find it useful,” says Levi. “[It’s] now competing with sofas, bedrooms and recliners for the user to perform their office activities.”
If you prefer mobility, your entire house can be considered a home office. “It used to be that people were tied to a specific location to perform office functions; this is no longer the case with the rise of laptops and smartphones,” Levi says. “This means that you will see home office function built into furnishings in all areas of the home.”
And Speaking of Furnishings …
Once your office space is established, what kind of furniture will you need? Choose furniture that:
• Complements your style and personality
• Fits your space
• Provides ample work area for your needs
• Is conducive to productivity
If space is an issue:
• Computer carts provide workspace and can be stored away when not in use.
• Computer armoires not only provide a place for your computer, but offer storage space as well. And their doors can be closed when not in use, giving your office a neater appearance.
If you have more space to devote to your home office:
• Computer desks come in a wide variety of styles and sizes, and offer convenient placement for your computer and accessories.
• Modular wall units are still a popular choice for the dedicated home office, Levi says. Not only are they customizable, they offer:
• Shared workspace
• Lots of storage space
• The ability to handle a variety of electronics
For mobile home offices, Levi says occasional tables for laptop storage are popular. “These tables provide important ergonomic, storage and ease-of-use features for the laptop and smartphone in the family or great room,” he says. Nightstands are available that offer the same features, but for the bedroom.
Let There be Light
Lighting is also important in your home office. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
• Use draperies or blinds to reduce glare if your office has a window.
• To avoid glare on your monitor, don’t put it near a window or under a skylight.
• Use recessed, fluorescent or incandescent lights to illuminate the room.
• Use lower-wattage task lights, with light directed toward your workspace, not your eyes.
Don’t Forget Storage
As with any office, you’ll need room to store supplies and stay organized. Look for:
• Bookcases, which provide easy, open access to often-used items.
• Filing cabinets, for organization and storage of important documents.
• Home office cabinets, to store computer paper and other bulky items.
Form Follows Function
Your choice of space and furnishings will also depend upon what you’ll be doing in your home office. Do you work at home? Or do you just need a quiet place to use the computer?
Levi says that “work” is not just what you do for a living; you might also use your computer to pay bills, create and watch videos, play games or interact with others. Consider, he suggests, other items you might want to include in your home office:
• Educational materials
• Gaming accessories
• Photo albums
• Important documents
“All of these other items will require storage, work surface and specialized areas to accommodate their use,” he says, “so the home office can be described as an area that serves a variety of activities where working at your computer is only one.”