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When you work at home, even part-time, you discover that a makeshift desk area on a kitchen benchtop or the dining room table isn’t the best set-up. Having a dedicated home office, even if it’s compact, makes a big difference to your comfort and productivity. Once you’ve chosen a room or area for your home office, here are five must-haves to include in it.
1. A comfortable chair
If sitting at a desk is a big part of your workday, make sure you have the right chair for the job. This is especially important if you work at a computer. Look for an overall fit that supports your back and encourages good seated posture. Features to look for include an adjustable seat, arms and back, as well as legs on rollers and a seat that swivels so you can easily get in and out of the chair and reach for objects without straining.
While some people prefer a minimalist desk chair, others like one with more padding and heft. No matter which type you choose, be sure to take breaks to stretch and move around regularly throughout the day. And if you have room in your office, include a small sofa or club chair for relaxing or reading.
2. A work surface that fits your needs
The size of your desk or work surface will hinge on the size of your office and budget. Consider different types of desks and even creative repurposing of other furniture pieces. Think about how you’ll be working and the items you’ll want to have close at hand. To help keep your work surface neat, invest in attractive desk organisers and plan for at least a few shelves or drawers for equipment you use or books you reference frequently.
A built-in desk allows you to tailor your workspace to your needs. This corner desk efficiently creates two workstations, one for computer use and one for desk work that can be accessed without rising from the chair. The desk also has plenty of surface space for spreading out papers, housing a printer, or storing other items.
3. A place for everything
Most of us haven’t reached the point of having a paperless office yet, but keeping paperwork organised is undoubtedly easier with the right mix of drawers, cupboards and shelving. This home office has both desk storage as well as open and concealed wall storage for maximum flexibility.
If you don’t have a lot of papers to file or objects to display, a simple filing cabinet like this one on wheels might offer enough storage. The movable unit provides a small drawer for office supplies and a larger one for files. A tilted book organiser also keeps desk space clear, allowing room to work.
4. Good task lighting
A standard ceiling light providing overall illumination is just a starting point for a home office. You also want to include task lighting for reading and other close-up work. This home office layers in a desk lamp for task lighting, a floor lamp for task and ambient lighting and natural light from the glass doors and windows. The desk and computer screen are angled so that light filters in from the side, instead of from behind or in front of the computer, helping to prevent eye strain.
A row of high wall-mounted cabinets in this home office provide an opportunity for bright undercabinet lighting over the entire desk surface.
5. Power points for all equipment
If you live in an older home, power points may be limited. Be sure you have enough – and in the right places – for your electrical equipment. Don’t limit yourself to installing power points in walls alone. These days you can install sockets inside drawers and cabinetry or take advantage of concealed or pop-up power points.
Keeping electrical cords and wiring out of sight is easiest with a built-in desk and storage areas that are flush against the wall. But if you’re planning a floating or freestanding desk, you can use floor outlets and cord covers to keep your wiring neat and safe.
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What have you found to be essential in your home office?
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