Planning your Home Office1
With wireless internet turning the world into a 24-hour virtual office, the chances are you will be taking some work home. Creating a dedicated home office will help keep you focused and on task. Even if you cannot devote a whole room of your house to a study, there are plenty of solutions allowing you to fit a usable workspace into almost any nook or cranny.
More design ideas
- When decorating your home office think stylish design consultancy not seedy estate agency.
- A large garden shed can be converted into an ideal study with good heating and insulation and carpeted floors.
- A well-lit walk-in wardrobe can double as a mini office, but take the clothes out first!
- If you are self-employed you do not have to pay tax on expenses connected with your work such as home office equipment, but don't forget to keep a detailed log.
A good working environment
Cast your mind back to that dreadful human resources presentation on good posture and design your workstation according to the same principles. Choose an ergonomic chair that you can adjust so that your arms are perpendicular to the keyboard. In a small room, consider whether a laptop would be more convenient. Flat screens take up very little desk space, so even if you cannot afford to replace an old desktop computer, consider buying a new monitor.
A large desk surface is fantastic if your work requires you to spread out lots of reference materials, but if not then invest in a good filing cabinet rather than letting your papers pile up. If you only have a corner of a room to devote to your home office, look for a fold-out desk or wall-mounted workstation.
Make sure there is plenty of light as squinting in a dim room will make your eyes tire more quickly. If there is natural light fit a blind so that you can adjust it to keep the sun out of your eyes at various times of the day and use an angle poise lamp at your desk to avoid reflections on your computer screen.
Make sure the room is warm enough but not stuffy. You should set the temperature to at least 16 degrees celsius just as employers are required to do, and then adjust to suit your needs.
Reflect on how colour affects your mood before choosing a scheme for your home office. Green is said to be soothing and harmonious, while grey is thought to be uninspiring and inhibits creativity. Wallpaper can be over-stimulating and distracting in a work place, so may be best restricted it to a feature wall.
If you do not have a whole room to devote to your office, demarcate the zone with a change in colour. A fold-out screen is another way to separate off an office area from a living space or bedroom so that you do not have to be staring at a pile of papers when you are trying to relax.
Customise your desktop by laying piece of wallpaper under a glass or Perspex work surface. You can even change the paper when you get bored. A decorative wall clock will help you keep track of time and if you are going for the traditional bureau look add a touch of gravitas to your scheme with some paperweights and an old fashioned telephone. Vintage book covers displayed facing outwards on the shelves are another great way to add interest.
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.
Install a slide-out keyboard holder so that your computer keyboard is the right height for easy and comfortable use. Place your computer mouse in a place that is accessible and provide cushioning for your wrists.