It’s a known fact that if your computer corner is not properly set up to provide the best ergonomic workspace, you can look forward to nursing a sore back and wrists downstream. And if lighting is poor to non-existent, you’ll be straining your eye sight too.
We tend to get annoyed and vocal at work when these common essentials are not provided, yet when it comes to the home, we let everyone fend for themselves and compute when and where they can find the space.
You don’t have to work from home to benefit from a designated space. It can actually save you money in the long run. With a more comfortable home workspace, you’ll be more likely to want to take the time to sit down, make payments and better manage the household budget.
We understand the importance of a special spot for the kids to do their homework – it usually makes them more productive. Well, it’s the same for the one managing the home’s finances. Gathering the bills or mail all in one spot makes you more productive when it comes to reviewing and paying them. There’s less chance of losing a bill or missing the payment due deadline.
Setting up a computing or bill-paying workspace doesn’t require a large investment, a separate room or renovating your home, though that would be nice. Over the years I’ve set up a workspace in a bedroom corner, living room or guest room. Find a special spot and then assemble your work area accordingly to fit the space.
When setting up, keep in mind that the optimum keyboard height should be about 27″ high with the chair height adjusted so you can compute at a level that minimizes wrist bend. Your monitor screen should ideally be directly at eye level or slightly lower. You should not have to raise your head, nor turn it to the side to view the screen. And if you spend hours computing, your chair should be an adjustable desk chair that is comfortable for your back.
Below I’ve listed some must-haves for the home office, as well as products that make managing your bills and papers much easier, so you can easily find them when needed. Good lighting is extremely important and keep in mind that what works well for one, may not for someone else. It really depends how much lighting you already have in the space, but at the very least, every workspace should have a small desk light.
A good desk chair is a must. It will serve you well for years and reduce the back stress of sitting for long periods. I prefer something like this Flash Furniture chair, but some prefer one with no arms, like the old steno chairs. Some executive-style office chairs have more of a reclining back, something that may appeal to some, but would not be my choice. Chose one that’s best for you and your budget. You’ll love the swivel and wheeled features. A desk chair also doubles for another seat at the table or when entertaining. Check Prices at Amazon
Chose a computer desk suited to the space. The keyboard shelf should be wide enough to accommodate the mouse. The style of desk should be suited for your laptop or computer system – not all work well for laptops. Consider space for other equipment you may have such as a printer, light and that there’s enough storage for your needs. Check Prices at Amazon
If you just want a space for managing the budget or for your laptop, a desk like the Bush Furniture Salinas Mission Desk with Hutch would be a good choice. There’s lots of storage and writing space. Another choice could be a flat surface writing desk. Keep in mind that desks usually require assembly. Check Prices at Amazon
A lap desk is very handy when you need to move away from your regular workspace and just want to relax while you write or browse. I’ve used this particular model when I was laid up for a few days. It’s comfortable, well made and can be used with a tablet, net book, small laptop or just for writing notes. Check Prices at Amazon
A good desk light is essential and it should illuminate your immediate work area. This Softtech Natural Light is a popular choice, but there is a lots to chose from when it comes to desk lights. I prefer a natural or full-spectrum light because it’s easier on the eyes.
An adjustable neck is a great feature. LCD bulbs will save energy, so that’s a good choice too. Desk lights come with different style bases – swivel, clamp-style or solid table base. A lamp that directs light upward is not good for task lighting, nor is a decorative table lamp with a shade. Check Prices at Amazon
Having a place to keep your important papers, copies of tax filings, receipts and product warranty manuals is a must. File cabinets vary in terms of drawers and style, but there’s a good variety to suit every need.
I tend to use a three-drawer unit similar to this model, but it really depends on your needs and the space for it. Keep in mind that some cabinets require file folder hanging hardware, so plan for that. And decide whether you’ll use letter or legal size folders. Alternatively, you can also set up a filing system in a specially designed cardboard containers. Check Prices at Amazon
If you don’t have a file cabinet, an expandable folder can be very handy to keep product warranty and repair parts lists in one place for quick retrieval. You can also use such a folder to track your household budget and expenses, or to gather tax receipts during the year. Check Prices at Amazon
A paper shredder is a must. Identity theft is on the rise and unless you are able to burn papers in a wood heat stove or fireplace, a shredder is the next best way to protect your personal information. There are many different types and various sizes. You’ll want one that can shred at least 10 pages at the same time. Those that take less can be very frustrating. There are also models that can sit on a waste receptacle for easier storage. Check Prices at Amazon
A desk organizer can keep your workspace organized and those little things easily accessible. Check Prices at Amazon
A small humidifier can make your workspace more comfortable, especially during the heating season. I find it difficult to work at my desk without one. This Crane Humidifier is a very popular choice. It’s a cool mist ultrasonic model. Always direct the humidifier mist away from your electronics and place it at the opposite end of your desk. Check Prices at Amazon
Likewise, a personal heater can keep your work corner warm and comfortable on cool days. This economical Lasko heater is a good choice for small spaces. Check Prices at Amazon
When it’s hot, a small desk fan is ideal. It should have a small footprint and provide a gentle breeze so it doesn’t blow papers around. There are lots of affordable small desk fans with table bases or clamp features. Check Prices at Amazon
A stapler is an essential accessory to keep related papers together or attach product receipts to the warranty or parts list. You’ll find one very convenient at home. Check Prices at Amazon
Though there’s no guarantee, a surge protector might protect your electronics from harmful power fluctuations. I prefer one with several plug-in receptacles so you plug everything at your desk into the power bar. That enables you to turn the power off completely, after you have powered down your equipment. Phantom power results in energy wasted when computers and printing equipment are in hibernate mode. You can stop that flow of energy by powering down everything plugged into the surge protector power bar.Check Prices at Amazon