In an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, many companies all around the world switched to home working. Working from home has certain perks including no dress code and no long commute, but it can also present some problems. If you are one of these homeworkers, one of your biggest challenges is finding a space where you can work. If you don’t create a dedicated space to work from home, you can’t be as efficient or productive as you would like.
Here are some suggestions as to how to find a space and how to furnish it so that you can work effectively.
Select the Right Place
The first step is to find a space you can use. If you don’t already have an office in your home, find a quiet place where you can create a distinct working zone, a place you can refer to when you say, “Honey, I’m going to work now!” If you live alone, just about any space will work but if you have family or roommates, you might have some difficulty finding a spot that’s quiet with no distractions.
Separate Your Work Time
Just as you told your family you were going to work, tell yourself when you’re going to work but more importantly, when it’s time to go “home”. Try to separate your work life from your time off and resist the temptation to work more hours than usual. Just because you have an office at home doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be at work 24 hours a day, 7 days each week.
Finding the Right Home Office Furniture
As you formulate the plan for your home office design, think about the amount of space you’ll need and where you’ll feel the most productive. Measure the space before you go shopping for furniture so you’ll be sure that the furniture you select will fit. If you’re converting a spare room into your office, you’ll have much more leeway as to the type, size, and amount of furniture you can get.
Your office desk needs to be more than just a place for you to use your laptop. Take into account your everyday needs for desktop space as well as storage. Do you need space for more than one screen, tabletop lighting, and an external keyboard? If you lack space for a filing cabinet, bookshelf, or printer, you’ll have to incorporate them on top or below your desk. Determine the approximate surface area you’ll need and use that as a guideline for choosing a desk.
Ergonomics are very important when selecting a desk. Find one that aligns with your height and make sure you have room to move around your desk. If you’re using an external keyboard, position the keyboard at elbow height to keep your arms from protruding too much and to keep your shoulders from getting into an uncomfortable position while you’re typing.
If you’re using a laptop, you might want to use a pull out external keyboard and a laptop stand so you won’t be leaning over your desk or looking downward at your screen. Your screen should be about 20 inches away, and at a slightly downward angle from your line of sight.
Types of Home Office Desks
When shopping for a home office desk you’ll likely find the following types:
- Traditional desk-This desk is similar to a table but may also include shelves or drawers for storage.
- Corner desk-As the name implies, this desk fits nicely into the corner of a room to make the most of the available space.
- Floating desk-This would be a desk that’s attached to the wall to free up valuable floor space. They usually have a fold down feature that allows you to put the desk away by folding it back up when you’re not using it.
- Credenza desk-This desk resembles a regular credenza but with a space carved out for your legs. These desks are often used as computer desks and they offer tons of storage space around, above, and below the desk surface area.
- Folding desk-This is essentially a collapsible table that you can easily fold and put away.
- Ladder desk-This modular system comes with integrated shelves above the desktop and fits just about any space. They’re very effective for those who can only carve out a space in an existing room for their home office.
- Standing desk-This is a desk that features a waist high desk surface so you can stand while you work. Some of these are adjustable so that you can use them sitting or standing. Some of these come equipped with an electric motor that operates the height adjusting mechanisms.
All of these desk types are available in different materials and finishes. Some are all metal, some all wood, and others a combination of materials, and they come in a variety of colours and finishes to match your style or your existing home décor.
Choosing Your Desk Chair
As important as ergonomics are for your desk, they are perhaps even more important in choosing a desk chair. This is one item you should never scrimp on, because you’ll be sitting in it for hours at a time, and the wrong chair can cause you to develop back aches and neck strains.
Here are the important items to look for in an office chair:
- Adjustable features-Your preferences for seat height or support can change throughout the day, so look for a chair that has an adjustable height, backrest, and armrests.
- Seat depth-A chair that can accommodate your preferred width and depth is very important. When seated at your desk, your knees should be at least two inches away from the edge of the chair.
- Material-Look for a fabric that promotes breathability and airflow, and one that has enough padding to suit you.
- Lumbar support-This is probably the most important feature of an ergonomic chair. The lumbar support mimics the curve of your spine and provides structural support to keep it properly aligned.
- Reclining seat back-Sitting at a reclined angle of 135° puts the least strain on your back. Your backrest should leave a little room for slouching back in your chair.
- Wheels or casters-These allow you to move without getting out of your chair. This is very important if you are using a desk with a lot of surface area.
For a product that meets all of these requirements, take a look at this chair from the Stressless Furniture Company.
To effectively work from home you’ll likely need storage options in addition to your desk. To get the storage you need, look at bookcases, shelving units, or cabinetry. These pieces of furniture are available in different heights and depths to meet your individual needs, so you should be able to find something that works for you.
To do your best work you need to have good lighting. Natural light is the most beneficial, so if your home office is in a window, take advantage of the sunlight. Natural lighting helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythms and daily hormone cycles. If you spend most of your day in artificial light, you only get a tiny percentage of the amount of light generated by the sun. The benefits of natural light are so many, you might think you need to move your office outside, but only 20 minutes of sunlight per day can allow you to experience the benefits of natural light.
If you must use artificial lighting, you might want to invest in a SAD lamp for your office. These use a special kind of light bulb that emits light across the whole color spectrum, as opposed to simply mimicking the look of daylight.
This is something most of us don’t ever think about. Most homes today are tightly sealed, meaning that very little fresh air gets in, and air pollutants can linger. To combat this, open your doors or windows regularly to let the air circulate throughout the house and your office.
Plants not only add a bit of colour to your office, but they also breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, which will help to improve the air quality in your office. It’s best to choose hearty varieties that do well with neglect! That way you can focus on your work and not on plant care.
To make your office space more colourful and interesting, place some artwork in your office. This will not only brighten up the area but will make coming to work more enjoyable. In addition to artwork, you might have some favourite photos you want to keep nearby.
Working from home has its rewards but also presents one with certain challenges. You have to find the right space, then shop for ergonomic furniture that will fit the space and allow you to stay productive and healthy. In addition, working from home can present problems with your work/life balance, so you need to keep healthy boundaries between your work and your personal life.
If you are in the process of setting up a home office and need help choosing the right furniture, you can find help at Carters Furniture. We have a large showroom where you can try different combinations of desks, chairs, and storage to find the best fit for your particular needs, and we have trained furniture experts who will be happy to advise you.
Here at Carters Furniture , we pride ourselves on the vast selection of furniture that we offer, along with our outstanding customer service. Our highly trained staff can provide you with the right advice and information so that you can make the most of your furniture purchase. Because of the special relationships we have with our suppliers, we are able to source furniture from all over the globe, as well as products that are manufactured locally, and we can offer the lowest prices on all of the products we sell. In fact, we have a low price guarantee that states that we will match or beat any competitors price on identical products. We have 2 large showrooms full of the most stylish, practical, and high quality furniture and bedding, and our stores are open seven days a week to serve you.
If you’d like more information about the products and services we offer, visit our website or call us at 01562 540862 (Carters Furniture Store) or 01562 66396 (Carters Bed City). Even better, stop by either of our locations to see for yourself. We look forward to serving you!