Home Office Design: Everything you need to know.
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
A complete guide to setting up a home office.
Check out our page on everything for home office networks.
The past few months of working from dining tables, couches, and beds have taken their toll on novice telecommuters. Many of us are feeling stiff and sore, no matter how many online yoga classes we do. With many of us settling in for the long haul — told to stay home until at least New Year’s or, like some Facebook and Twitter workers, permanently — the makeshift office of early stay-at-home orders is getting old. Since working from home is less “temporary” than you thought, you might be ready to trade in your metal folding chair for an ergonomic model or treat yourself to a set of noise-canceling headphones. Maybe you want to make the spot where you spend your days more welcoming and video-conference-friendly. Perhaps your employer is even offering a stipend for workers in need of home office improvements.
While comfort is essential in any office, an office that is too casual may seriously impede the ability to get things done. You have to find a way to separate yourself from the rest of the goings-on in the home and limit all other home sounds and interruptions. A dedicated workspace in your home is the easiest way to minimize household distractions so you can focus on work. As best you can, you will want to recreate what you have at the office, with its real desk, chair, keyboard,
The 7 Essentials to Think About When Designing Your Home Office:
Your Tech Equipment
Your Health and Well-Being
1. Home Office Locale
You will likely spend many hours in your home office, so do not short yourself on space; opt for the rarely used guest room over the windowless closet. Consider traffic flow and your ability to withstand distractions. Do you work best in the thick of activity, or should your office be tucked away in a quiet space? Can you work listening to your children in a class? Most people cannot work effectively in a sea of noise or right on top of their loved ones. Attempt a degree of privacy from surrounding activities.
Portable screens can be used to shield the work area from nearby activities. Alternatively, divider walls that double as bookcases will not only divide the area but also can provide superior storage solutions.
2. Your Layout
The old rule, "a place for everything and everything in its place," was coined to relieve stress. If you carefully think through your storage possibilities, you can make smaller nooks feel spacious.
Your desk will likely be the place where you spend the most time. We consider the minimum desk size for serious work to be 30” deep x 60” wide. To promote better health, consider a desk that can rise and become a standing desk. Consider the myriad of options available for the organization of papers on your desk. What is essential for productivity is an organized desk that keeps unfinished work in order and prevents the chaos of disorganized piles. Your desk, shelves, and storage should serve you, not the other way around. Consider your workflow and what items you need at your fingertips before investing in furniture. Look for pieces that are both beautiful and functional.
Home office furniture should complement other rooms in your house instead of screaming "soulless cubicle." If your home has traditional décor, warm wood and soft comfy chairs or a love-seat are ideal if you have space. A contemporary home office can feature artistic pieces or modern metal furniture.
Acoustics. To help create the quiet needed for real concentration and work, a degree of white noise can be helpful. Air filters and low fans will operate at a low speed to muffle other sounds. Quality headphones can also serve to block interruptions. However, you still need to be heard on phone and Zoom calls. Bravo AV has numerous acoustical solutions to help quiet your room and allow you voice to be clearly heard on conference and Zoom calls. You will have a tough time keeping your audience’s attention if you sound like are in an echo chamber. Another benefit of acoustical treatments in your office is that your office can be a quiet place where you can really focus.
Chairs. Treat yourself to a great chair. You are going to be in it for a good part of the day.
CNN Budget chair: Alera Elvison Series
CNN Overall: Steelcase Series 1
Popular: Herman Miller Aeron Chair – mesh makes the chair cool and comfortable
3. Home Office Tech Equipment
Network. Home networks might seem like they are simple, but they are not. Smartphones are simple to use, but the technology behind them is very complicated. The truth is that home networking is a sophisticated technology. It is wrapped up in electronics like routers, modems, switches, and wireless access points (WAPs) that we plug in and give us access to the internet. With everyone working and learning from home, your network has never been more taxed. You need a robust home network to support video conferencing. Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and find out what your data plan is. We recommend a data plan from your ISP of at least 150 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed and 50 Mbps upload. We also recommend hard wiring your computer, as this will give you the best performance and highest security. If that is not possible, make sure your Wi-Fi is up to the task.
Computer. Consider purchasing a large monitor or multiple monitors. We recommend at least a 27” monitor. Laptops are amazingly portable, but hours of looking down can hurt your neck and overall posture. Proper monitor placement can help prevent fatigue, eye strain, and neck and back pain. It can also decrease glare, which will improve posture and reduce muscle fatigue. Adjustable desks and monitors can also convert into standing desks.
Phone. Perhaps you will want a separate phone line to your oﬃce so that business associates or clients do not get a busy signal. Also, look into whether your phone has the capability for messaging, conferencing, and speaker functions.
Insurance. And, do not forget insurance on that equipment. Aﬀordable policies will insure your home oﬃce equipment in the event of a loss or disaster. You will want this peace of mind.
Power. It is not uncommon for the typical home oﬃce desk area to have the following items needing power:
External USB Backup Disk
What we typically see is a cheap surge protector on the ﬂoor by your feet. With a maze of wires. The biggest threat is that you kick a plug loose by accident. Cord management options: Encase cords on the desk in a fabric cord cover, and feed the wires into a desk grommet, which is a plastic or metal cap that helps guide cords through a hole in the desk and hides them underneath. Tame the cord jungle on the ﬂoor by mounting a high-quality surge protector to the wall or desk about 18 inches oﬀ the ﬂoor, and carefully organize all the cables out of your way with cord winders.
If you suﬀer with occasional power
outages, we recommend an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to
protect your data from loss.
Connectivity During Storms. If it is critical that you be able to connect with the outside world during storms that may knock out power and/or your ISP we suggest a generator and a second ISP provider. For instance, if you have Verizon FiOS you would add cable. We would install a switch that receives feeds from both FiOS and the cable company with automatic failover. Failover within a communications network is the process of instantly transferring tasks from a failed component to a similar redundant component to avoid disruption and maintain operations. Because the output of generators can fluctuate more than the electrical grid, we strongly suggest putting the Surgex UPS-2000-0L Battery Backup with Surge & Power management this will protect sensitive gear and computers for voltage irregularities.