- Avoid the urge to drag Grandma’s lucky Canasta chair into the picture. Rather than bringing any old relic down from the attic, in from the garage or over from the kitchen table, invest in a chair that offers comfort and adjustability, even if it costs a few dollars more. It’ll be worth it.
- That goes for Grandma’s card table as well. A stable desk will provide a better work surface and more of that “office” feeling than a temporary solution like a card table, kitchen table, desk or bar.
- Don’t put your work in the heart of the house. You need dedicated space to allow you to concentrate on your work. If space allows, set up the office in a separate room or in an environment that can be closed off from the rest of the home.
- Save the mood lighting for after work. To work effectively, you need sufficient light to illuminate your workspace. Also watch out for glare from windows and position your computer monitor accordingly.
- Don’t go overboard in your attempt to limit the impact of having an office inside your house. Tiny workstations and desks might look less conspicuous but before you set up shop on one, be sure you have enough room to comfortably accomplish tasks.
- Quell the urge to work non-stop. Remember to take breaks, even if there’s not a water cooler to visit. Stand up, walk around, clear your head and relax for a few minutes every couple of hours.
- Don’t make concessions just because you’re at home. If you were in an office, you would expect certain ergonomic accommodations from your employer or whoever is responsible for setting up your office. At home, YOU are responsible for setting up the office and the office environment.
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2003-06-01.