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How to Set Up a Workable Home Office

Plan Your Home Office for Greatest Efficiency


Home offices are no longer relegated to a corner of the basement or inside a small closet. With more and more people working from home, the home office has become an important space in the largest home or the smallest apartment.

With the average home office using a computer, fax machine, copier, shipping facilities, and internet connections, a small desk and chair in a corner just don't work. Working at home is routine for many adults.

Whether you use your home office for paying bills or running a company, there are some basic things that are needed. Get some solutions for setting up your home office so that it works just how you need it.

When I started writing this website, my computer sat in a space on a stair landing. It still does. But the space has been adapted to my needs and my comfort. So how do we begin? Read on.

To begin planning, let's look at the top five needs and solutions for a great home office:

  • Identify the Space for Your Home Office

    If your space is limited, you won't have as many choices. By removing the clothes pole and installing electrical connections, you can easily convert a closet of any size into a work space. I installed a working desk at the top of some stairs in my home.

    If you'll be spending a lot of time in your home office, you might prefer a better view and more room. Identify space that is infrequently used, such as a guest room or dining area. Using an armoire for papers, a computer and printer, the entire workspace can be closed behind doors. Your working space will be able to extend into a larger area.

  • Plan Your Work Area

    Think of all the things that you'll need to work comfortably and efficiently in your home office. Start with proper temperature control and lighting. Have a telephone installed in the space or be sure to have a portable phone available. Your desk chair will be moving around in the space, so flooring should be a hard surface, at least near the desk. Select window coverings (if you're fortunate to have a window nearby) that will allow you to control the light in your area.

  • A Place to Write

    Probably the most important piece of furniture you'll have will be your desk or work surface. Whether you select custom-designed cabinets and writing surface or use two file cabinets with a door stretched across them, this is where you'll spend the most time, and it should be large enough and the right height to most comfortably do your work. If your space is limited, draw out a floor plan on graph paper and move the shapes around until you find a workable space.

    To make the most of limited space, have shelving installed behind your desk. Books and supplies will be easy to reach.

  • Sit in Comfort

    Select a chair that is comfortable, the right height, and provides proper back and arm support for the type of work you will be doing. I like to put my feet up, so I have a small footstool (about 10" high) under my desk. Find resources and information about ergonomic office furniture before you go shopping.

    Install a slide-out keyboard holder so that your computer keyboard is the right height for easy and comfortable use. Place your computer mouse in a place that is accessible and provide cushioning for your wrists.

Read on for more home office planning tips.

Find out how to Set Up a Home Office on a Budget.

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