Three Essentials of a Perfect Home Office

You may need a home office for keeping up with family finances, or for telecommuting, or for a small business with regular clients. Whichever it may be, we recommend these three essentials for creating a perfect home office.

1. Allow for Privacy
In years past, a home office often consisted of a desk tucked into a corner of the kitchen. The intention was to help a busy homeowner multi-task: prepare meals, watch kids, and pay bills all at the same time. This concept is no longer so popular, since the kitchen has increasingly become the place in the home where everyone congregates. Homeowners need a quieter location to concentrate on family business without constant interruptions and distractions. Today the home office is usually located in a separate room adjacent to the kitchen. Keeping the office door open provides a sight-line to the kids, but closing the door allows privacy when necessary. If this arrangement is not feasible in your home, another option is to install tall bookcases in the kitchen (or family room) to divide the office area from the rest of room.

2. Include Daylighting
Home offices are sometimes set up quickly with little forethought. They are squeezed into whatever space is easily available, such as a large hall closet or under a staircase. If ample lighting is not provided, these spaces can be disappointingly dark and gloomy. Ideally, a home office should have windows or skylights that allow natural daylight into the area. Some of the benefits of natural daylight include helping energize your body and uplift your mood by increasing serotonin levels. It can also help your immune system by boosting the body’s production of Vitamin D. Plentiful general and task lighting should be installed in addition, utilizing daylight-replicating light sources. It is important, however, to avoid creating a glare on your computer screen from the overhead lights.

3. Select the Right Furnishings & Equipment
Homeowners will often purchase a standard office desk, filing cabinet and bookcase when they outfit a home office. As time goes by, they may discover that this arrangement does not function well for their particular business needs. It is best to plan ahead: make a list of all your various business activities, and start thinking outside the box. Do you need a large, flat surface on which to work? Perhaps a table would suit your needs better than a desk. Would a number of small cubbies serve your purposes better than open bookshelves? Consider ergonomics as you are selecting your office furnishings and deciding where to store equipment and supplies. Heavier items that you may need to lift should be located at waist height to avoid back strain. Invest in the fastest, most reliable office equipment you can afford, from your cell phone to your printer. This will pay you back with time dividends in the final analysis.

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