Working from home is hardly a new phenomenon, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it an unplanned requirement for many office and knowledge workers. Even as the coronavirus crisis eventually recedes, many employers will have discovered that they don’t need large office buildings, and many employees will have discovered that they don’t need to be in the office every day or spend hours commuting.
However, sitting on your sofa with your computer propped in your lap just doesn’t cut it. When it comes to really getting work done, there’s nothing like an actual, dedicated workspace.
A well-equipped, organized desk can help establish focus and enhance productivity when transitioning to working from home or completing studies. Yes, a home office is a little luxury, but one can be afforded even in a small space. If you don't have a dedicated room, you can still squeeze one into your home.
The Ideal Home Office Setup
A long-term home office should ideally be a separate space in your home that is properly outfitted for work. Do as much of the following as you can to create an effective, safe workspace for the long term.
1. Proper Work Height
Your space needs a desk or table that is at work height. The industry standard is 74 cm from the floor to the top of the work surface. Tall people do better with a higher height, and short people do better with a lower height. Many desks and tables have adjustable height, usually through their feet.
You know your work surface is at the correct height if, when you sit up straight, your forearms are parallel to the ground and your wrist is not bent up or down when you type or mouse. The top surface of your wrist should essentially be on the same plane as the top of your forearm, with your fingers dangling slightly down to the keyboard. Bending the wrists for prolonged periods is an easy way to cause injury.
2. A Good Chair
Select a chair that is comfortable, the right height, and provides proper back and arm support for the type of work you will be doing. There are a lot of bad chairs out there that can injure you over prolonged computer use. You’ll need to test any chair dedicated to this mission out in person if at all possible since you can’t tell fit from a picture on a website.
3. Good lighting
It’s very easy to underestimate the effects of your work environment on your ability to work. Lighting is often an area people don’t think about. Ideally, you have sufficient indirect light to illuminate your workspace, so you can easily read papers and see physical objects. Overhead lighting is usually best, such as from a ceiling lamp.
Indirect lighting means lights, not in your direct field of view, or reflecting off your monitor. For example, an outside window behind or to the side of your desk can create glare on your monitor screen when the sun is shining. Natural light is quite pleasant, but diffuse it with shades or curtains so it doesn’t create glare.
Don’t place a lamp right next to a monitor, where you end up with competing light sources and possible glare. You may need lamps for additional lighting, but if possible, place them in a way that they don’t create glare on the monitor screen and are not in your direct field of vision when you’re working on the computer.
Likewise, make sure your monitor’s brightness is not too dim or too bright, both of which can cause eyestrain. “Too dim” and “too bright” are subjective, of course, but a good rule of thumb is that the monitor’s lighting intensity should be just a little brighter than your ambient lighting and that ambient lighting should be sufficient to read paper documents without additional light.
4. Keep Everything Organized
Of course, you want everything you'll need at hand, but you'd be surprised what you can live without. Clutter is very distracting and reduces efficiency, so sort through your supplies and get rid of anything extra. Get your schedule, your routine, and your workspace organized, and you'll work better.
5. Add Color
Add personal touches and colors to make the space more inviting. By planning your home office space, getting it organized, and decorating it to express who you are, you'll enjoy it more. Your work will be better, you'll appreciate being at home, and you'll have the perfect place to work: your home.
Do You need your home to do more than ever? You can still meet one-on-one with one of our designers to create beautiful and intentional multipurpose spaces in your home.
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