03 Apr Setting up your office space
Having a poor office space will affect you
I remember having to go to a Luton office once a week at my previous job. I had to get up at 5.00am to get the 6.30am train from St Pancras to Luton, then order a taxi from the station through an industrial site and into a morbid 1950’s building. The strange thing is, that part of my journey never bothered me, it was the office space that did. The office was dark, unloved, grey and someone had kindly drawn a penis on the back of the toilet door. It was within this luxury I decided that setting up your office space properly is important.
Arguably there is nothing more important than setting up your office space properly when you are going to be working from home. You will be spending 40-60 hours plus in that space per week, you need to make sure it works for you. It is not as though you can make jokes about it either, as you don’t have any work colleagues next to you to share the misery with!
Considering that after a week of moving into my new home and trying to live and work without a table in the house. I thought it would be an ideal time to speak about my office how I chose to set up my work space.
Ever set in a chair for hours and felt that ache on your back afterwards? This probably because your something in your work set up was not set up properly for your posture causing strain. Lot’s of businesses don’t worry about this area, but having a poorly set up desk can lead to a lot of strain.
Ergonomics is the discipline of trying to understand how people interact with the objects around them, then designing those objects to improve the overall performance between the different elements as part of a system.
In other words, building a chair that fits you properly, a table that is at the right height etc. Put simply, if you are aching after a day’s work, that isn’t efficient. Having ergonomic items is the attempt to solve that problem. If your office set up is causing you less pain and you can work for longer periods, you workspace is therefore more efficient.
Picture of chair with cat at the top of it
I decided to set up my office space in this way as I wanted to try and be as comfortable as possible as it was going to be where I spend most of my time.
Picking a mouse
Before moving house, I worked off a laptop so I didn’t need a mouse. As I am now going to be spending so much time at home and leaning to design and code, having a mouse is suddenly very useful.
After a little research, I found that this article by Macworld (http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/mac/best-mac-mouse-review-test-mice-3610923/ ) had a good review. I have a Mac, but if you don’t, the review on PCmag is just as good. (http://uk.pcmag.com/computer-mice-products/8096/guide/the-10-best-computer-mice)
I chose the Evoluent VerticalMouse. Seemed like a wild choice as I have always had standard shapes, but now I am used to it it works great.
Picking a keyboard
When choosing a keyboard, this article is pretty good http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/mac/10-best-keyboards-for-mac-upgrade-3590365/
I moved to the Apple Keyboard with numeric keypad as I always liked it when I have worked off it before. I would always advise having a keypad on your keyboard, as you would be amazed how useful it can be at times.
Again if you don’t have a mac, I think this is a great article by PC advisor http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/test-centre/pc-peripheral/10-best-keyboards-of-2015-2016-uk-3265226/ to help you make that choice.
Choosing a desk
When you are setting up your office space, your desk is really the key piece, personally, I think IKEA is the best place for this. You can easily choose the top and legs to the style you want and get a really nice look to it all at a low cost. Plus, they have lots of styles and sizes which made the process even easier.
If you want some inspiration as to what your deck could look like then click here (https://www.pinterest.com/explore/ikea-home-office/) to see some great images on Pinterest.
Choosing a chair
Chairs are important, as it looks after your back. According to the Express, http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/583948/back-pain-experts 10 Million days are lost to back pain every year. So make sure you look after it as much as you can.
The best article I found about which chair to get was by the independent http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/gadgets-tech/best-ergonomic-office-chairs-9779862.html . It just so happened that the cheapest chair they recommended was also from IKEA called the Markus.
I went for the light grey as it was easily the nicest colour by miles and look the least cheap. It works really well and has support for my head also which is nice.
Ensuring that your laptop is at the right height
Being slumped over your laptop screen is just as bad as having a poor chair as it means you are constantly leaning, putting a strain on your back. I would argue that is is the most common piece of setting up your office that people forget.
It is recommended that you have your screen at eye-level, so therefore not looking down in anyway. I have two screens, one is my laptop and one extra one.
I bought the Twelve South HiRise Stand for MacBook, available from Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009SKN5DC/ref=pe_385721_37986871_TE_item). The flexible height means I can mount and raise my laptop easily to be on the same level as my other screen, which I just placed on a set of books to increase its height.
If you would like some more information how best to setup your monitor, look at this article by Lifehacker (http://lifehacker.com/5755870/how-to-ergonomically-optimize-your-workspace). I found it very useful for both my screens and my chair
When you put all of these items together you get your office, add some extras and it looks great.
Spending some time to set up your office space might sound a bit tedious, but by putting a little effort here, you can really come away with space which is both ergonomic and visually pleasing.
That way it will seem less tedious when you realise you may have to spend two years working on the same project, never leaving your house! If I can make it work, then I will slowly upgrade my stuff, but it’s perfect for me for the foreseeable future.