Take control of your work – set up a home office

More and more people are now cutting back on the time they spend in the office in favour of working from home.Take control of your worklife Whether this is an attempt to redress the work-life balance, or forms part of an environmental drive to cut back on carbon emissions, an increasing number of us are becoming more flexible in our working practices.

Whether you?re an occasional home worker, or it?s your permanent office, it?s vital that your working environment is productive, efficient and comfortable. Lexmark has put together a guide to help individuals set up their own home office?

1. Location, location, location
Choose your spot. Rather than using the kitchen table as a makeshift desk, it?s vital that you have a dedicated workspace. As your working day is going to be confined to a single room, it?s important that your space is both functional and inspirational – but ultimately productive and conducive to efficient working. It needs to be well-lit and away from noise or the risk of interruption.

2. Power it up
Once you?ve selected where to house your office, it?s important to establish the area as a professional environment. The first step will be to install the appropriate equipment.

While dedicated phone and Internet lines are crucial for a home office, a good computer and a quality printer are a must. When buying these devices remember that your work may also require you to fax, copy or scan, so an all-in-one device would be a more productive and space-saving option than single function machines.

3. Optimise your space
Set out the space logically ? the aim is to create a layout that maximises efficiency and work flow. If you will be making a lot of phone calls, it is a good idea to keep the phone close to your desk or primary work-area. Similarly, keep important documents close to hand. If space is an issue, try to find furniture and equipment that can perform different purposes, or a storage cabinet that also provides a work surface.

4. Sitting comfortably
Most people who work in front of a computer all day will know that, unless the monitor?s at the right height and angle, you end up with a sore neck. Over time, these problems can escalate and backache can become a major problem. Working in a comfortable environment is essential.
Ensure your screen is at eye level your chair is at the right height. Consider investing in a wrist or foot rest for extra comfort, and build regular breaks into your working day so that you don?t spend too long in front of your screen.

5. The finishing touches?
To help project a professional image to visitors, design your work area to prevent clutter from building up on your desk. Keep a rubbish and recycling bin close at hand and make sure you?re equipped with plenty of storage and filing options.

Don?t forget to make the home office your own – add some pot plants, pictures, and the all-important kettle. After all, you wouldn?t want it looking to much like the office you?re seeking refuge from!

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