How to Design a Productive and Profitable Home Office

Home Offices: Invariably the first thought that comes to mind is “do I want to work from home or in an office?’ Most entrepreneurs have this flexibility and more companies are providing flex time allowing employees the opportunity to choose this option.

I now have an office away from home. I find myself to be far more productive perhaps being away from the siren’s cry of dishes in the sink and laundry to be folded not to mention the countless interruptions by delivery men or the home phone was what led me to take a space. Primarily, I made the move because it’s hard to explain how I design corporate offices and not have one of my own. That being said, there are many who love working from home.

So how does one do this and make it work effectively?

Avery Design Interiors

1. Carefully choose your space. A computer in your bedroom is not a great option. Bedrooms are for sleeping. Either you are going to be falling asleep at the computer or awake late at night thinking about that screen beckoning you for one last email.

I have placed offices in under-utilized dining rooms, kitchens, spare bedrooms, shared guest rooms, basements and even reconfigured closets.

At our Silvermine (Fairfield County, CT) house, we had a large shared office in the spare bedroom (see above). In our current home, we have used the shared guest room technique – small desk, small daybed. My husband has a sizeable home office space in the lower level family room with a large project desk that any of us can use for drawing, fabric layouts or arts and crafts for our youngest office user. In a New York City apartment I created a desk area from a closet.

2. The family balance. Is there really work life balance? That’s a different post. But I know from personal experience that short of a padlock, it’s unrealistic for work at home moms (and dads) to keep their littlest ones out of their home offices.

Source: tipjunkie.com via Avery on Pinterest

Create a small area (if you have enough space) with a mini desk or table and chairs designated just for the kinder set. I love the little seat/nook shown above for a child to curl up in and read a book. This home office was tucked into a closet. Provide them with their own “office supplies” crayons, pencils, etc. so they can “work” too. Children love to help. Have some envelopes you need stuffed and stamped? You might just have an able assistant at your side. Can’t hurt to ask. And after a little while, they just might decide playing with trucks or Barbies is a whole lot more fun.

3. Be sure to invest in a proper chair and lighting. Balancing the laptop on your lap while you sit curled on the sofa all day is asking for hours at the chiropractor. As much as your local chiropractor would love the work, they value your spine and want you to value it too.

Source: houzz.com via Avery on Pinterest

Ideally, you want a sunny spot where the light does not reflect on your computer screen. In the absence of or in addition to natural light, Nikken makes a wonderful full spectrum light called the Kenko II, if you don’t want to bring in an electrician for an overhead electrical overhaul.

Want to learn more about setting up the furnishings in your home office? Click on Office Ergonomics for more details.

(From top: cartoon from Brad Shorr’s guest post on Spark Plug CEO, photo Avery Design Interiors, all other photos from Pinterest)

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How to Wake up Your Office – a New Desk

Last week, I gave several pointers for keeping your desk clean. This week, now that your desk is clean how about some great new desk ideas for your office?

This floating desk from Rotsen is one of my all time favorites – both modern and masculine with a bit of a rustic edge.

Whenever I see this desk from The New Traditionalists, I think of a sunset. It seems perfect for a beach office to me.

I was in the New York Design Center last week and fell in love with the Ceniza desk from Dennis Miller. With leather on the front and reclaimed wood on the back, it marries two gorgeous textures.

Irwin Feld Design does not disappoint when it comes to wonderful mid-century modern. Imagine this showstopper of a desk in your office. Aptly named the Cosmopolitan, I imagine drinking a Cosmo or two, after hours, in this office –  my Mad Men meets modern moment. Of course I only ask that you please don’t set your drink on my new desk!

Whenever I see the Soho Desk at Profiles I am reminded of my client who wanted a grey office with a bright white desk and orange accents. And yes her office looked great! I would love to warm her space up with the wood in this desk and of course, the big sell would be those orange lacquer drawers.

Which is your favorite? I love to hear from you – please feel free to post a comment below!

Have a productive week!

Three Tips to a More Comfortable Day at Work – aka Desk and Computer Ergonomics

Workplace ergonomics. Sounds like this big heavy complicated concept doesn’t it? And yet nothing could be more important when you are sitting in front of a computer eight hours a day. Whether you are working in corporate America or running the latest and great entrepreneurial venture from home, it’s well worth it to consider the effect of your office setup on your health and wellbeing. Why? Because the economic costs of occupation related injuries are greater than the cost of providing an ergonomically correct workplace. Workplace injury costs can include lost wages, medical bills, insurance administrative costs and the cost to the other employees who have to pick up the slack.

Is this you?

What is ergonomics? According to Medword.com, “ergonomics is a science that addresses human performance and well-being in relation to various types of jobs, equipment, tools, and environment.”

1. Buy a comfortable chair. I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. It must have the proper support, be height adjustable and have a tilting mechanism. If you are in a home office, a great ergonomic chair is the first investment I would ask you to make.

Here’s how to find the right one: Go to a local store and sit in many. Ensure that you can sit all the way to the back of the chair so that the back rest supports your lower back. Make sure your chair fits so that your knees are just a bit forward of the seat. Follow the 90-90-90 rule – that means that your hips, elbows and knees are each positioned at a 90 degree angle.

Other tips: Keeping your wrists straight when positioned over the keyboard will help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive wrist injuries. Keep your feet flat on the floor. This will minimize pressure on your back. If you are a little bit height challenged (I am) a foot rest works wonders.

2. Prevent eye and neck strain by positioning your computer screen at eye level. The center should be 15% below your line of sight and no more than 20″ from your eyes, just about an arm’s length distance. The eyes lead the body – if you position the monitor so that you are comfortable you will have better body posture. Using a document holder is far better than looking down at paperwork on your desk. Every thirty minutes take a break from staring at the computer screen. Blink your eyes to prevent dry eye. Focus on something not in your immediate vicinity – look out the window or at the art across the room.

3. Get up and move around every thirty minutes. Need an excuse to get up? Place your trash can out of reach. Make sure to stretch. When you are shifting tasks, do neck and shoulder rolls or wiggle your fingers. This can help prevent repetitive task injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Finding workplace ergonomics all too overwhelming? Contact us for a stress-free workplace consultation at info@averydesigninteriors.com.

Have a productive week!

First in a series of three on health and wellbeing in the workplace

(Photo credits: pinterest.com, ehow.com, wikipedia.com, thecollaredsheep.com)

Graphic and Exotic – Design from the AD Home Show

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Loving this coffee table from Fairtlough in the Made section at the AD Home Show. Handcrafted and enhanced with exotic skins, it’s got such great graphic lines – perfect for a Manhattan bachelor pad.

Still Sofa Shopping

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Another sofa option at Lillian August.

Sofa Shopping at Lillian August

Office Spaces, ‘Re-humanized’ Places…

I had hoped to write a long post today all about great furniture design for corporate offices, but then I spent the better part of the day combating a virus in my website. I just checked and it’s still not up, though I know it’s being fixed as we speak.

I would love to understand the mind of a hacker, wouldn’t you? Excuse me hacker, we never know who you are, so where is the joy in messing up a whole bunch of people’s websites? You’re not the guy (or gal) fixing them, to the best of my knowledge, so you’re not even making money on this. I just don’t get it – perplexed at my desk.

Well, forging on…

I came across this amazing furniture company and had to share even one piece from their collection with you. Stay tuned for a more lengthy post on Izzy Design at a later date.

Izzy is all about people, about sustainable practices and about “re-humanizing the workplace”. Isn’t that what great office furniture design should be all about?

file cabinet, office, Izzy, interior design, corporate, color, storage, function

Audrey Storaqe

Did I mention it’s not only good-looking, modular and moveable (function, function, function), but also reasonably priced?

If you need help re-humanizing your office space, please contact me at catherine@averydesigninteriors.com, at least until the website is back up!

Wishing you a happy day at your office,

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