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homeoffice.1Web working is turning out to be a very popular idea these days.  Many people are turning to the Internet for their main source of income, making the physical place they work in a bit less important (I’m beginning the journey to web working myself).   Those who make their living using the Internet don’t necessarily need to be tied down to some office cubicle on the tenth floor of some huge office building anymore. For many folks, in order to accomplish the task of working from home (or some other place) the work space becomes very important.

In this article I would like to share some home office design ideas that every web worker needs to know when setting up their home office.  I have scoured the Internet and have found some blogs and links that I think will help us immensely in our journey to equipping the home office.  Some tips will refer to the work atmosphere, while others will refer to actual work equipment.

In my web search for home office design ideas, tips and tools, I came across the blog of Connie Bensen.

homeoffice.conniebensen

She works as a community strategist and in a post back in 2007 she shared a bit about her home office.  If you watch the photo presentation linked to in the post, you’ll find out that her home office has these attributes:

  1. Location is downstairs, out of her main living area – there could be a few reasons for this, one of which being that there are less distractions and more control over the work environment.
  2. Multiple computer desktops, including personal laptop, employer issued laptop and a flat panel monitor – she’s keeping her social networking feeds separate from her “work.”  I wrote an article about using multiple monitors to be productive 6 Ways to Set Up Dual Monitors to Be More Productive 6 Ways to Set Up Dual Monitors to Be More Productive Read More .
  3. A 3-in1 printer.
  4. A large screen television for playing the Food Network – some people may find this type of thing a distraction but it could also offer a much needed reprieve.
  5. A seating area for doing email.
  6. Cats – having pets and petting them can offer great relaxation when needed.  Be careful they don’t become a distraction, such as walking across keyboards!
  7. Atmosphere addons, such as a fireplace and a great view.

homeoffice.wwdWeb Worker Daily is an awesome one-stop place to find many tips for web workers but let’s take a look at just a few articles about the (home) office.  First of all, check out 7 simple ways to improve your home office.

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I won’t spoil the whole article for you, but a few tools shared in the article are:

  1. A houseplant – it can be a healthy addition to your surroundings to see some green plants when all you’re used to looking at are the walls and a computer screen.
  2. whiteboard – whether it’ll be for a daily task list, messages or presenting, I think I’ll be needing one of these!  Check out online whiteboard-type tools!
  3. Healthy snacks and drinks – as much as I love to eat, I haven’t set up a snack area yet.  I like the idea of making HEALTHY snacks more accessible so they’re the first I reach for.  I was also considering adding a small fridge to my office space but I’m not sure how much it would add to my electric bill.

They also did an article about ergonomics in the home office.  Like the author, I have found myself with discomfort because of working at a desk (my problem was lower back pain).  He added a better chair with better back support, external mouse and keyboard (I couldn’t live without my external peripherals!) and regular breaks including exercise.  The post also offers a list of ergonomic tips for on the go times and a list of links to help you with your office situation.

Also via Web Worker Daily, add a pen and paper to the tool list for the home office!

homeoffice.undress4successThe folks over at Undress For Success have a few suggested office tools to add to your home office arsenal that I hadn’t thought of.

Although they are pretty heavy on the Apple thing, they have some good points by suggesting these tools:

  1. A webcam – great idea, especially if you intend to interact with humans at some point!  Sometimes the written word or phone conversations just won’t cut it.
  2. Mobile phone – the writer went directly into an Apple pitch without talking about the specifics of why a mobile phone is so important, but some of the perks are obvious.  Being able to be contacted anywhere is a plus.  Being able to text yourself notes to remember when you return to your office is another.  The list could go on.
  3. Tech support – have a plan WHEN something goes wrong that you can’t fix!  Notice I said WHEN not IF!  Have some kind of contact that you can immediately turn to when things go whackadoodle!

OK, let’s summarize when we’ve found in these articles.  I’ll break it down into two categories, location and equipment.

Location

1.  Out of the way – A good location is one with the least amount of distractions possible and the main living area does not fall into this category!

2.  Comfortable atmosphere – Choose colors, views, lighting, etc. that is conducive not only to relaxing but also focusing.

3.  Houseplants – These can add color and give you something other than electronics to look at.  I suppose they can add oxygen to the air too, right?

4.  Animals – I have several cats and they provide much needed breaks when they mosey into my space looking for some lovin’.  Obviously if you are allergic or you really dislike animals, this can add a distraction.

5.  Snacks – I put snacks in this category because the idea is that HEALTHY snacks should be located someplace that they are easy to get to.  Otherwise I’d head to the fridge for something unhealthy, and that’s not good!

Equipment

1.  Desk – Think ergonomically!

2.  Computer – I use a laptop but have it set a level so as to not strain my neck and have an external flat panel hooked to it.

3.  Multiple monitors – For some tips on using multiple monitors 6 Ways to Set Up Dual Monitors to Be More Productive 6 Ways to Set Up Dual Monitors to Be More Productive Read More , read my other post.

4.  External keyboard and mouse – This can work to reduce strain but I also make use of it to add speed and accuracy.

5.  3-in-1 printer – Being able to print and copy is necessary for any home office.  A scanner is also good to reduce paper clutter if you prefer to stay organized on your computer.

6.  Note paper and pen – Jot thoughts down you want to come back to this way!  I also write down reminders I need to remember first thing in the morning.

7. A whiteboard (and pegboard) – There are many uses for these which is why I still need to get one (or both).

I know there is more that I can add to this list of the web worker’s home office design ideas.  What can you add?

Image credits: MorgueFile.com

  1. Marijewel
    December 25, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Thanks for these tips. I'm glad you have presented the important information effectively.

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