It’s more common than ever for jobs to allow or even encourage employees to work from home. For some, working from home either part-time or full-time can be a blessing due to the incredibly shortened commute, the ability to make your own hours, and having your choice of coworkers. But many also bump up against unexpected drawbacks: the lack of separation between professional and personal lives, the distracting home environment, and no clear schedule for when you’re on or off the clock. To ease these troubles, it’s best to have a dedicated office space, including a quality office desk and chair that aren’t just leftovers from your last dining room set. Here’s how to create a home office that looks professional – a big key to having an office that feels professional and encourages you to get things done at home.
The modern office is often very space-efficient, whether we want it to be or not. Your office may be in a bedroom, living room, or even the kitchen, and you have to share the space for something other than work. A chair you can push in or under the the table/desk setup you have is going to help immensely in keeping it out of the way. Those big, cushy boss chairs are only nice when they aren’t also occupying the space you need to walk to the bathroom at 3 am; then they are very large obstacles.
To Wheel or Not to Wheel?
Whether you want an office chair with or without wheels largely depends on your temperament: if you’re someone who can’t sit still (like me), a chair with wheels is a better fit so you can move around your seat to frequently re-position yourself. If you’re more still and grounded, wheels will only trip you up when getting in and out of your seat, and you’d do better with an office chair that has legs.
While secondary to how you feel about having a chair stationary or moving, the existing flooring does play a factor. Chairs with wheels don’t roll as well along carpet as they do on hardwood and tile. Chairs without them will scrape and scratch against that hardwood and sink into carpet. The easiest accommodation for either situation would be to have a mat underneath your desk at all times. A plastic mat with spikes to maintain leverage in shaky carpet to wheel easier, and a small rug for hardwood to keep your chair quiet and your floor un-scuffed.
The Comfort Factor
Comfort is key to making your home office a space you want to work in. This is one of those things that you can’t really plan for, but experience and fine tune as you to work. That can mean getting dark blinds to keep the sun from blinding you the same time every day or turning on ambient noise to allow you to concentrate. It also means finding a chair you’re comfortable sitting in for long periods of time. Arm rests can provide nice support while you’re typing, but for some they can be overly confining. If you’re not sure which you prefer, look for chairs with removable or adjustable arm rests for maximum comfort.
As a general rule, you’re going to want padding on your office chair if you plan to sit there every day to crunch numbers and tackle problems. How much padding you need depends on how long you intend to sit for a single working session. For those who work at home part-time, you can get away with a lot less support than someone who is at their home desk all day, but you should err on the side of more padding so you don’t hate sitting at your desk. A lot of office chairs have how many hours a day they’re good for in their product specifications to accommodate everyone’s sitting endurance.
It can be hard to take your job from the busy office to the quietest corner of your home, and how you work may fundamentally change with this change of space. You associate certain tasks with locations (such as sleep and your bedroom), and connecting productivity to your home office may be the key you need to maximizing your workday at home.