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4 important considerations for your home office

With so many people joining the "work from home force", it is becoming more and more important that you create a functional home office. You want an office that is not only comfortable and pleasant to work from, but that also allows you to remain productive. Here are four important considerations to help you create a perfect home office.

1. Privacy

Not everyone has a room that can be designated their office. This can prove problematic as a) You will want somewhere that can keep you organized and b) You will want to have down time in a "work free" zone. If this is your challenge, it is time to get creative and look for some ideas to help you find a less conventional spot for your desk. Some ideas include:

  • Under the stairs: That space under the stairs is surprisingly easy to turn into a comfortable work space. It is out of the way, is not a focal point when you are trying to relax and best of all usually not claimed by anyone else. You can look for a small desk to slip in the space, or design a built in desk and shelves. Just make sure you have access to an electrical outlet, or hire someone to add one.

  • In a closet: Whether it is a hall closet, pantry or guest room you can remove the doors from a closet and add a desk top easily. You can even consider keeping the doors on so you can close them to hide the clutter of your desk when not in use.

  • Kitchen counter: Kitchen counter space definitely comes at a premium, but if it is the only game in town, it can be quite useful. By removing just two lower cabinets, you can make room to slide in a chair and have enough space for your computer. If space is truly limited, removing a single cabinet can work as well, especially if you are using a laptop.

  • Hall window: A hall window is a great spot to place a desk and also provides you with much needed natural light.

  • Landings: That stair landing might look small, but with a little ingenuity it might just work. Keep safety in mind as you don't want to position your desk in a manner that allows you to fall down the stairs if you roll your chair back! You also want to leave space to allow people to safely get up and down the stairs, especially in case of emergency.

2. Power

Today's office needs power so it is important to find a spot where an outlet is readily available. Depending on your equipment you will need at least one power outlet. However if you require a printer, lighting and are using a desktop computer, you will need several. Power bars are always your safest bet and they also come with surge protection. If you are using one of the suggested spaces above, you might need to invest in the services of an electrician to place install an outlet for you.

Keep in mind that a great way to keep things neat when it comes to all those wires is to use a wireless set up whenever you can. You will find wireless keyboards, mice and speakers that make for a nice, neat desk. Another consideration is that the location of your office can sometimes effect the wifi. Make sure there are no issues with reception before you commit to a space!

3. Light

Natural light is always the best choice as it is easier on the eyes and also helps save on the energy bills. Placing your desk beneath a window is always nice as you can enjoy the view and also often conserve space when needed. However, if you are facing south, this might prove to be too much light and also be uncomfortably warm even if you have air conditioning.

If natural light is not available, make sure you have a desk lamp for task lighting as it tends to be the most effective when working. If all of your work is on the computer, task lighting is not as important, just make sure you have enough light to see your keyboard!

4. Comfort

Working from home can be a challenge if you do not take your comfort into consideration. Chances are you have had to retrofit your space which can make it difficult to enjoy. Some of the most important points to consider when it comes to comfort include these ergonomically correct tips:

  • Monitor: The top of your screen should be at eye level and should sit about 15" to 30 " away depending on your eye sight. It is also best to have the monitor centered in front of you, as opposed to having to look at it with your neck craned.

  • Keyboard: Ideally your keyboard should be located below the desk so your arms are not required to reach up to type. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle when typing.

  • Mouse: The same applies to your mouse. You should never be stretching too far to use your mouse and ideally it should be placed beside your keyboard at the same level.

  • Desk and chair: A new trend for health points to standing or height adjustable desks that allow you to choose a standing or sitting position. This can tend to be more difficult for a home office. The main thing is that when seated at your desk your feet are planted flat on the ground with your knees straight out. You should not be positioned with your knees too high, or your feet not touching the ground. If needed, you might consider a foot stool if you do not have a chair that is low enough. If you do work from a laptop you can also consider allotting some time to work standing at the kitchen counter for an hour or two.

There is more to comfort than ergonomics. You also want to make sure that your office space is as accessible and easy to maneuver in as possible. Make sure you clear away anything you don't need so you don't feel like you are working in a storage space! Keep things accessible such as shelves for reference books and supplies and make sure your chair can pull out comfortably from the desk without hitting a wall or other furniture.

These often overlooked considerations can help you create a comfortable work station that is productive and space smart. The decorating decisions can be made once you have the space all sussed out!

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