How Everyone in Your Family Can Successfully Work From Home!
With Covid-19 keeping most people working from home and many schools teaching on-line, it is important to spend the time to prepare our homes for work. There is no single answer to how to set up your work space and you need to be aware that you or your family members may need different things. However, there are some standard items that should be on everyone’s shopping list (and this includes “shopping your house”).
Lighting: there are two important kinds of lighting for work spaces. General and task. General light is most commonly thought of as overhead light or light that illuminates the most of the room from the center. It can be a ceiling fixture or a large fixture that arcs into the center of the room. This is good to brighten the room in general but may create or leave shadows in corners and on desks. That is where the next light source comes in. Task: Task lighting is meant to illuminate specific work surfaces like desks and counters. It can be a table lamp or floor lamp or if there are shelves above your work space it could be attached to the underside of the shelf. The key is that it will provide enough light to easily see your work surface.Natural light from windows and skylights is great but can be unreliable as the sun moves throughout the day or if it is cloudy.
One way to increase the light in your spaces is to use mirrors. They can double the amount of light in a space be reflecting your light sources. Combining mirrors with art that energizes, inspires or relaxes you can help create a work environment that is conducive to productivity.
So, where do you work? Many of us have been using our kitchen tables, dining rooms, sofas or even beds as a makeshift work space. This is the time when you should take a look at your home and find a dedicated spot to create an effective work space. It can be a sunny window where you can place a table, an unused corner that’s full of random stuff, an unused closet or part of a closet, wasted space under your stairs…really any spot where you can place a flat surface big enough for a computer and a lamp can be a work-from-home office. This is especially important if you are in a home where you need to create multiple work stations for multiple workers.
There are many ways to create a desk. It can be an actual desk with drawers and storage or it can be a flat surface with four legs. It can be a computer desk, writing desk, sofa table, console table, slab of wood on top of two file cabinets, a shelf at desk height mounted to the wall, a small dining or kitchen table…really the options are endless and only limited by your imagination. It doesn’t have to be expensive and you can easily dress up a plain or damaged surface with paint and contact paper. There are many benefits to creating dedicated work spaces. One is that you can more easily defined your work day from your personal time. Another is that you won’t need to pack up your office every night to make room for dinner plus your papers and work stuff won’t get ruined when you accidentally knock over the glass of wine you’re drinking to relax from your stressful work day (or your kids can’t create their masterpiece all over an important report).
What you sit on is as important as your work surface. You should choose a seat that offers the kind of support and comfort that will allow you to work for an extended amount of time without causing stress and fatigue on your body. That will be different or everyone but essentially, your feet should easily reach the floor, your back should be supported and the seat should offer enough firmness while still being comfortable. So if your children are using a chair and work surface, it may look different from what you need based on their height and reach plus as we get older, some people require more lumbar support. By choosing the right chair and desk combination you will avoid putting stress on your body that you will feel as lower body aches, limbs and feet that fall asleep, tight shoulders, etc.
If your desk doesn’t have storage or you need to clear your things off the kitchen table every night, consider using a variety of non-office storage solutions. A small bookcase, kitchen Island, kitchen cart, bar cart, changing table.
There are many inexpensive ways to set up your work space. The least expensive is to re-purpose something you already have that is either being user-used or sits in storage. Other options include thrift stores, consignment shops and discounts stores. There are many on-line options like Craigslist, Offerup and Facebook Marketplace. Ikea has some well-priced options and you can also buy items that have been used to stage houses for sale. BackStage has a constantly changing inventory and it includes a variety of tables that can be used as desks was well as lamps and chairs.
Invest some time planning your work areas and you and your family will get to enjoy the benefits of well-planned work spaces.
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