Thinking about Your Home Office The concept of working and studying at home has evolved greatly over the last couple of decades. In the 20th century a home office was something that executives had, while everyone else had a typewriter in a closet or a hutch that came out to write letters, and ledgers that came out of drawers to reconcile household finances. Now, most every house has laptops and printers. Students need spaces that are comfortable and efficient. They no longer exclusively read books and “write” papers. Our world is digital requiring monitors, keyboards, cables and plenty of other now basic accessories. Unfortunately, many people are still using furniture passed to them within their family, or they take over the dining room table. With COVID changing the need, opportunity and amount of time spent working at home, let’s take a quick tour of this evolving new space. Desks The desk is more than a writing surface. Most important is human ergonomics. Start with the height. Most dining room and writing tables are 29” to 31”. That is too high for a keyboard, and will quickly cause pain to your neck, shoulders, and back. A comfortable typing height is an inch or two above your knees where your elbows can be near your side. That typically becomes 26”. Whether it’s spreadsheets or email, these few inches make a huge difference. If you’ve typed for an extended period on a laptop on a dining room table, you know the problem. Desks today can be adjusted to suit the need. They can have mechanisms to raise and lower them into preset positions for standing, or for varying seat or stool heights. The “monitor” or display is best viewed when put just below eye level, which is nowhere near where your hands want to be to type. Elevating it from the keyboard height is critical for comfort. Desks that accommodate these proper positions along with the keyboard or mouse accessories that make it comfortable and functional are part of the design awareness you’ll want to have even before you select your size and style. Of course, we can help you with all of that AND find the desk style that integrates with the rest of a room. Chairs Just as with desks, the chair needs to fit the user and provide support in all the right places. Lumbar support, arms, head supports and height from the floor are all considerations. No one sits in the same position all the time, so finding a chair that can meet all your positions as well as your shape is critical to keep you productive. You may also need to consider a mat for your chair. Your comfy carpet can easily make rolling around in your new chair difficult by clogging up the wheelworks. Bookcasees You may wonder why we are even addressing bookcases in the 2020s! Your bookcase will store frequently used items on a flat shelf and off of the active desk space. Bins can store a few file folders or paperwork. Baskets can hold cables or accessories. Your favorite books may find their way onto different shelves for different reasons. The bookcase may even serve as display space. Addressing the amount of horizontal, easy-to-access height and width is just the beginning. The most fun part is choosing among many styles. Storage Credenzas and cabinets are still the most common way to store things out of sight. Often this furniture does double duty as a printer location or a display area on top. Whether your credenza is built into your desk, or next to it, or across the room, there are an unlimited number of ways to Thinking about comfort, the active workspace (the desk and chair) and the storage to find things easier or faster will bring great dividends in your search. Your body and your family will thank you for keeping your Home Office area comfortable and organized.