Weekend Warrior: 7 ways to upgrade your home office
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Whether you’re telecommuting, self-employed or just need a quiet place to catch up on paperwork, there’s no place like home for an office. Here are seven ideas for making yours more functional and attractive:
Clear the clutter
The focus of any home office is the desk. And one of the keys to working effectively is keeping it clutter free. If the clutter is already out of hand, try this tried and true method: Stuff everything into a box, tuck it away, and start with a clean slate. If you need something later, it probably belongs on or in your desk. After awhile, you can probably get rid of anything still left in the box.
Give your desk a standing O
Sitting at a desk all day is as bad for the human body as smoking, according to health experts. Increasingly, the response is to replace your old desk with one that adjusts for sitting or standing. The most appealing versions are raised and lowered electrically and are as wide as a standard desk.
Choose the right chair
Standing desk or not, you’ll still spend hours a day sitting. And doing so is bad news for your back, neck and heart. Choose a chair that has adjustments for height, seat depth, arm rests, recline, tilt tension and lumbar support. Other necessities include a five-point base and casters that will roll easily over your flooring. Even with a comfortable chair, be sure to get up and stretch occasionally.
Watch the clock
Smartphones haven’t eliminated the need for other time-keepers. (How many times have you clicked on your phone to check the time and spent the next 40 minutes deleting emails, reading the news and playing puzzles?) Instead, hang a wall clock that will allow you to keep track of the hours with just the flick of an eye.
Lighting is a home office essential. When floor lamps aren’t the answer and you want to cut down on desktop clutter, try a clamp-on light. Move it around to avoid glare or shadows. And if you’re working for the long haul, remember that LED bulbs will last about 30 years compared with about one year for halogen.
Play printer peekaboo
Whether you’ve got an entire room devoted to a home office or it’s tucked into an alcove under the stairs, a piece of equipment that always looks clunky is the printer. So why not tuck it away? Almost any cabinet will work as a hiding place as long as the inside space is tall enough to accommodate top-loading features and there’s a hole in the back for a power cord. Best bet: cabinets specifically designed for printers with a slide-out tray for access.
Manage your cables
Fortunately, more and more computer-related devices are becoming wireless. So the rat’s nest of cables beneath many home office desks isn’t as obtrusive as it once was. Still, enough cables remain to annoy the neat freak in all of us. The solution: cable management sleeves, a split, flexible tubing that a bundle of cables can slip into.
Think location: You’ll spend many hours here, so consider traffic flow. Do you work best in the thick of activity or tucked away in a quiet place?
Capture views and light: Interaction with changing daylight and the outside environment improves productivity.
Forego the corporate furnishings: Office furniture should be functional but also complement other rooms in your house. Custom casework can incorporate file storage, printer areas and workspace without feeling sterile. You also can integrate plugs and outlets at desk level to help curb unwanted clutter.
Don’t belittle the lights: Use decorative and task lighting to add character and functional light for everyday tasks. Make sure you’re getting the right amount of light from the right direction to cut down on glare. Indirect light coves are a great way to achieve this.
Source: Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien, of Steamboat’s Vertical Arts
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