Practical tips for setting up a home office

August 12, 2015

With a few small changes you can make your home office a pleasant place to be, as well as a tidy and efficient workplace. Here are a few practical tips to guide you.

Practical tips for setting up a home office

Keep it traditional

The traditional L-shaped work station is efficient for tasks that involve a lot of paperwork.

  • Keep your computer and other desktop equipment on one leg of the "L" and your paperwork, office supplies, and phone on the other.

Separate work from play

An important feature of a good home office is a sense of separation from other household activities.

  • If you have a large, converted closet, that can provide such separation.
  • Fit suitable lighting and electrical outlets inside and install shelving to keep your books, files and equipment within reach.
  • Folding doors will save space and hide your equipment when you're done working.

Set up a barrier

If you don't have the luxury of a separate room in which to set up your office, set up a barrier made from screens or shelving units to create the illusion of a discrete space.

  • Arrange your barrier so that it will shield your office as much as possible from the dominant traffic patterns in the rest of the house.

Use decor to define your space

When creating an office within a room, use a large rug to help define the space, and install lighting that creates a working atmosphere over your work space.

Make a statement with distinctive design

Another way to define an office space is to choose colours, fabrics and textures for the furniture, fittings, wall paint and wallpaper that are different from but harmonious with those in the surrounding room.

  • They should still be suited to the atmosphere of a working office!

Get rid of clutter

Clean up the messy clutter of wires that hang down behind a computer desk with a "cable organizer."

  • This handy accessory will keep your wires neat and off the floor.

Don't avoid colour

To cut glare, avoid painting the walls of your office or work area white.

  • Pale colours are much easier on the eyes. However, white is fine for ceilings as they're usually out of your field of vision while you work.

Install a dimmer

When working on a computer, it's important to keep overhead lighting no brighter than the computer screen to prevent eye strain.

  • Install a dimmer so that you can fine tune your overhead light source.
  • Turn up the dimmer when you're reading or doing paperwork, and lower it when you're working at your computer.

Use a properly positioned desk lamp

Angle a desk lamp so that it lights your work without dazzling you.

  • If you use a lamp near a computer screen, make sure that the light does not reflect off the screen into your eyes.

Get plenty of fresh air

Good air quality is important for staying alert and fresh while you work.

  • To improve the air in your home office or work area, add a few potted plants.
  • Plants release oxygen, which improves air quality. They also emit water vapour, which restores the moisture to dry air.

While you're planning for and setting up your home office, keep these practical tips in mind and you'll be more likely to make a work space that's pleasant and keeps you focused.

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