More people in the workforce are trading in their morning commute and cubicles to work in the comfort of their own homes. Dining room tables are being repurposed as office desks and the office chair is whatever is handy and hopefully tall enough to allow you to type on your laptop comfortably. Stacks of documents may be piled up next to the cereal dishes used for breakfast, and the environment is chaotic at best. As a temporary measure, this is ok, but in the long-term, a home office should be properly equipped with ergonomic furniture and storage space. If you do have an extra room then take it and equip that space with all the necessary items for a proper home office. If you don’t have a room, then find a separate area where you can fit a desk and chair and noise-cancelling headphones. If you spend a lot of your time staring at a computer screen, then it should be at the right height for you with proper arm and wrist rests and proper back support.
Three pieces of office furniture that are essential to any home office are:
- a comfortable office desk
- the right chair
- shelves and storage
Comfortable office desk
You may be used to the standard office desk which sits at approximately waist level, doesn’t move easily and is not usually at a very comfortable level if you need to sit for long periods of time. The desks you find in traditional workplaces are not designed with one specific person in mind, but set up as a ‘one-size’ fits all’ situation where the pieces have been purchased in bulk. When shopping for a desk for your own home office, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration:
The standing desk is becoming more popular as people spend more time in front of their PCs than ever before. A standing desk allows you to sit and stand and move the tools you are using with you easily and comfortably. It is recommended that you use a standing mat to reduce strain on the legs if standing for long periods of time.
The traditional stationary desk should be able to fit all of the tools you use for work while still leaving some room to move the keyboard, mouse and monitor around if need be. Other factors to look for when shopping for this kind of desk are:
- Height – Are your eyes in line with the computer screen or are you tilting your head to view the monitor?
- Mouse and keyboard – Are your hands resting flat on both the keyboard and mouse?
- Elbows – Are your elbows resting at a 90-degree angle while you are typing or are you reaching forward?
The right chair
When chair shopping, look for a chair that allows you to sit at a proper angle with your arms resting comfortably on your keyboard at a 90-degree angle. If you have an old office chair you want to use, then add a foam cushion, backrest and footrest to the chair to make it comfortable enough to sit in for long hours.
Shelves and storage drawers
Proper shelving and storage are crucial for a home office. You want to be able to find the documents you need quickly and have it all at your fingertips. Shelving is also helpful in a home office to keep all of the necessary tools you need like a printer, shredder or other equipment off the floor and within reach.
When it comes to equipping your home office, looking for the right desk, chair and storage is the key to being as comfortable and productive as possible.