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Home office: new ways of working

There’s no getting away from it, more and more people are choosing to work from home. With the revolution of computer technology and the advent of fax machines and internet communication, more and more people are choosing to pursue their careers from home.

Part of the joy of escaping from traditional office life is that it allows you to have more control over your work space. You can decide which room to work in, what type of furniture to have and what kind of lighting and accessories to use.

Which Room?

To begin with, consider where to locate your home office. This will probably mean scrambling around for space previously unused or juggling existing arrangements to create a spare room.

It’s surprising how the smallest of spaces can be stretched to accommodate a working area - the corner of a room, an alcove or even under the stairs can offer quite effective working spaces.

Those of us that do have a spare room, can rarely give the room over entirely to work. It will probably have to fulfil two purposes; a practical working space and a spare bedroom.

In this instance, although the room has two roles to play, there is much more freedom in choosing how to decorate and organise the space. Decorate walls with cool colours such as sky blue or pale green. These colours are not only calming but also make the room feel more spacious.

Don't do your Back in!

Ergonomics is not just for professional offices, yet it’s easy to forget how vital it is to have proper office furniture when working at home.

Above anything else invest in a good chair. It should be adjustable, give plenty of support and be comfortable to sit on.

Next plan your desk space. Your desk should have plenty of storage, be of ample size and be the right height to work on.

If you have a room with a view, position your desk by the window to take advantage of the natural light. However avoid sitting so your back is to the window as sunlight will make it difficult to see what’s on the computer screen and could strain your eyes. Protect your eyes further with good lighting.

Make sure your work space is well lit and for close up work use task lighting.

Planning your office space

There is little point in working at home if it’s not a pleasurable place to be, but with the amount of interesting office accessories on the market, it’s never been so easy to create a functional yet stylish work space.

For an efficient office it’s all about sensible storage and good planning. Make the most of any available space by opting for tall storage units. Curtains take up precious wall space, so hang a Roman blind which can be rolled out of the way easily.

Be super organised with sturdy shelving and cupboards and free up desk space by storing essential equipment such as the printer, fax and answer machine on a separate trolley.

Neatly hide away dangling cables and wires and don’t overfill bookshelves. Pens and pencils should be kept in handy pots while stationery and paperwork should be strictly organised between the letter tray and filing cabinet. Office accessories are available in all sorts of styles and colours, adding a note of cheerfulness to the home office. Sleek office furniture in metal and glass encourages lots of light into the space, while traditional, wooden furniture, whether it’s antique or restored creates a rather warmer atmosphere.

But decorating a home office doesn’t have to break the bank. Many shops stock a multitude of office accessories and then there’s the second-hand office furniture shops to consider. You can find anything in these shops from mouse mats and desks to chairs and filing cabinets - a haven for old furniture just waiting to be given a new lease of life with brightly coloured paint.

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