If you’ve recently started working from home or plan to, then you will need start setting up a home office checklist. If you think that just having a laptop and a strong internet connection will suffice, then think again my friend! All too often, I see stories and photos of people working from their kitchen table while being hunched over their laptop.
While you may get away with this for a few hours, over time, it will only wreak havoc on your back and posture; trust me, nobody wants to suffer from uncomfortable, and often irreversible back pain!
Furthermore, a poor work area setup can ultimately lead to an unproductive, uncomfortable working from home environment. If this sounds familiar, then let me help you in organizing your home office so that you can identify all the working from home accessories, equipment and home office furniture you’ll need to be setup for success.
Trust me, if you’re going to spend 8 hours + working from home, then without a doubt, it is absolutely essential that you follow the tips and guidance that are laid out in a simple and easy to follow manner in this post.
Additionally, and probably most importantly, I promise to equip you with bonus information to guide you in creating a design that attends to your ergonomic needs. After all, what good is having an office to work from if you’ll spend most of your time with doctor and physiotherapy visits due to poor posture?
The size of your home, the room you plan to use as a home office and the space available will all be factors to be considered. This is particularly important for people who have small homes or rooms where they do not have much space available.
On the other hand, you may be someone who has plenty of space and perhaps you want to kit out a whole room dedicated to your office at home.
Either way this post will provide you with all the information that you could possibly need to help inspire you to designing your dream haven for working from home. Forget hiring an architecture or an interior designer!
By the end of this blog, you’ll be as good as qualified as a semi-professional designer. You’ll develop essential skills that will help with organising and furnishing a productive and stylish working from home space that you can feel comfortable, safe and happier in.
If you think you’re ready to take on this challenge and you desire to learn more about how to design a home office space, then read on to find out the best of the information there is available on the web. Ready for it? Let’s go!
Choosing a location for your home office
Space isn’t something that everyone has freely in their home and particularly not to dedicate to a home office, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, it’s certainly something that can easily be incorporated into any home regardless of the size of the area.
Some questions that you should consider when choosing where to establish your home office include:
- What room do you intend to use as your home office?
- What rooms are busiest in the house?
- What area will be quietest during your work hours? Consider factors such as people in the house and traffic outside.
- Will people need to use that room during your work hours? E.g. kitchens are often one of the most used rooms in a house, especially at peak feeding times, such as breakfast lunch and dinner times. If you are planning to use your bedroom as your home office and you share your bedroom, could this impact on the sleeping hours of the person especially if you are planning to work early or late?
- Are there any distractions in the room that could interrupt your productivity? E.g. windows which are looking onto high-traffic areas, TVs etc.
- Where is there space to fit a desk and a chair?
- What rooms do you enjoy being in?
- What rooms do you not enjoy being in?
- How long do you plan to spend in the home office every day?
- Do you plan to work in the same room and from the same desk every time?
- Would you be comfortable with using this area in an online video call?
- Do you plan to move locations?
- Will you have to share your home office?
- Does a desk and chair exist in a room already?
- Does the area have sufficient plugs at a suitable location?
Choosing a home office chair
- Do you own an adjustable chair?
- Does it offer lumbar support and support for your legs and thighs?
- Does it have adjustable arm rests?
- Is the chair comfortable to sit in?
- Have you space to fit a chair?
Choosing a home office desk
- Do you own a desk?
- What do you need to store on the desk? Consider monitors, laptops, sit-stand adjustable desk units, keyboard and mouse.
- Will the desk be large enough to fit paperwork, computer accessories etc?
- Will the area have enough space to fit a desk?
- Does the desk have space to fit a keyboard and mouse?
- Is ergonomics and changing posture important or a necessity for you? Do you want an adjustable desk, e.g. sit-stand desk?
Home office storage
- Do you require space for a printer and printer accessories?
- Will storage be required for documents or work at home accessories and stationery supplies?
- Will storage be required in the area?
Home office heating and ventilation
- Is there heating or ventilation in the room?
- Has the room access to natural ventilation?
- Are there any draughts in the room?
- Does the room have a window and curtains or blinds?
Home office lighting
- What are the lighting levels in the section of the room that you plan to work in?
- Does the sun shine in the window during your work hours?
- Could this affect your visibility to see the screen?
Tip: Choosing a room which has access to natural light has shown to be beneficial in promoting a positive and productive work environment. That’s because natural lighting is instrumental in regulating the circadian rhythm of the body, the internal process responsible for regulating sleeping and waking cycles.
4. Is there adequate lighting available in the room?
5. What colour walls are in the room?
Tip: Bright and vibrant colours, such as orange, yellow and even red, can induce energetic feelings, whereas dull or dark colours can make a room feel cold, uninviting and lethargic.
Ok, I’m sure after pondering all those questions, you are probably wondering why choosing a work area based on these questions is so important to creating a successful home office.
For fun, have a look at this photo and identify what features in this photo could cause issues if you were working at this type of workstation for long periods of time.
Pay attention to factors such as the design of the work space, how the person will be sitting, the lighting in the area and if you think this person would be able to adjust their posture based on the setup of the equipment and furniture available.
How did you get on with this photo? If this is how you look when you sit at home and work at the moment, you’re certainly not alone. For many people, they don’t really have anywhere else to work in their home other than at their kitchen table.
This is probably fine for people who are working for short periods of time at a go; however, if you are working from home for an extended, or for hours on end at a go, then it is advisable that you would try and make it as ergonomically designed as possible.
Let’s take a look at the chair as starting point. In this portal, the person is working off a standard kitchen chair. As you can see, the chair is not adjustable in terms of height and the back cannot be adjusted either. Did this come across your mind when you were scanning the picture?
For people who are too short for the chair, this would not be suitable, especially for long periods. As you can see from the photo, her feet are not flat on the floor. This could be possibly due to the fact that she has her feet crossed, but more than likely, she is simply not able to reach the floor.
You can also see from the photo that she does not have her back supported by the back of the chair; it should be supported by a backrest and she should be sitting fully into the chair. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to be slouching much, which is more than can be said for a lot of us, particularly towards the end of the day or when we are tired.
In terms of the table itself, the height of this is not adjustable either obviously. This wouldn’t be the primary issue as typically many people who work even in an office do not have height adjustable desks, at least not up until recently.
To tackle this, people typically will adjust the height of their chair so that their body is at an appropriate angle with the desk itself. Issues that can occur if your desk is too low or if your chair is too high include elevation of the shoulders due to the wrists being too low or at an elevated height.
The height of the laptop or monitor that an office worker is utilising may also be affected by the desk or chair height. However, this can also be addressed by adjusting the height of the monitor or putting the laptop on an adjustable stand (or even a stack of books).
Judging by this photo, this person has to position their neck in a downward position to see their screen, and consequently they are deviating from their natural posture. An ideal ergonomic workstation would have the height of the monitor or laptop adjusted so that the person can look straight ahead without having to tilt their head to look at the screen.
Tip: The key is to achieve a neutral posture as much as possible while seated on a desk and not to cause any strain, overreaching or overstretching while in this position.
The lighting in the room seems adequate; there looks to be natural lighting and the room itself is a bright colour.
Now that you’re equipped with a checklist to help you choose the best environment, desk, chair and accessories for your role, it’s time for you to put the list to the test.
If reducing bodily wear and tear along with maintaining a good posture is important to you (I’m sure you don’t want to risk putting your posture or back at risk of pain!), then you may need to seriously consider alternating between sitting and standing positions.
Fortunately, that’s a very simple solution to help you achieve this, and it comes in the form of an ingenious product: Sit stand height adjustable desk – Newoer Ultra Large Adjustable Laptop Table Desk. This article delivers an honest review of the product and I also describe the struggles that I encountered as a result of having a poor desk setup until I bought one of these. If I can’t live without this standing desk converter, I’m guessing you can’t either!
What is your current home office setup? Where are you thinking of locating your home office? Do you have the necessary equipment and furniture already or do you plan to use existing items that you already own? I’d love to hear your comments and feedback, so please leave a comment with any suggestions or queries that you may have in the box below.
I look forward to hearing how you get on!