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Comfortably at work...

Ruth Dsouza Prabhu, Aug 5, 2016 23:58 IST
Conducive: To be able to give your best when working from home, you need to have the right environment.

Tweak a few things around you to set up a workspace at home that enables you to remain motivated and productive, writes Ruth Dsouza Prabhu

Innumerable coffee mugs, a stack of files, half-eaten cookies on a tissue, your phone, ID card...are all these commonplace objects found at your work desk? And if you work from home, chances are, there are also dirty clothes lying around, along with laptop bags, water bottles etc. Today, the workplace has become a flexible concept. Thanks to technology, telecommuting is an option that a number of people are taking up.

The benefits are plenty — from increased productivity, thanks to the time saved from not commuting, to getting to spend more time with family and gaining an advantage in balancing home and work and much more. However, to be able to give your best when working from home, you need to have the right environment to set up your workspace.

Here are some practical suggestions and tips on how you can get your home to be a work-friendly space:

Mark your spot

“It is not at all advisable to create a workspace in the living or dining area of an apartment. It’s the most interfered-in space by children, house help and even visitors,” says Alok Duggal, founder and COO, Homestudio.com.

“It would be ideal if one has a three-bedroom apartment to create a study room with a single bed in one of the smaller bedrooms,” he adds.

Privacy may be hard to get when trying to use limited space, but this can be arranged by using a room partition which can provide a bit of a reprieve from your family when they get noisy, suggests Arvind Kadam, founder, ABEsquare.com.

“Make your space more personal with knick-knacks, an inspirational post or a potted plant. The space should be fuss-free and easy to clean to prevent clutter. Compact need not mean discomfort. Choose colours, textures and furniture that makes you comfortable. A home office should be an escape from the traditional workspace not a reflection or an echo of it,” he maintains.

The home office serves a variety of purposes for different families. It is different for those who work completely from home and for those who do so occasionally. For a few people, it is just a place to store important documents, handle the family’s finances or a place to read and write and perhaps, even to take that occasional nap. Though the uses may differ, the principles for the design and creation of the space remain the same.

“Investing in a good chair is the first thing one must do when one gets down to creating a home office,” says Arvind. “High back, lumbar support, armrests, adjustability, ergonomics are all key words when one searches for the perfect work chair. Your chair must be comfortable, light and easy on the eyes. The defining principle of the home office is that it is personal. The chair must make you feel good to be working.”

Space matters

Storage is also an important factor to consider in a home office. Desks are the champions of storage (after cabinets); they keep your documents safe, dry and within easy reach. Alok suggests the use of space-saving desks and corner desks so that one can utilise maximum space without compromising on storage, especially in bedrooms.

“Open and closed shelving units offer hassle-free storage along with the desks. Open shelves could be used for files and books; and closed shelves and drawers for other items to be stored in a room. Moreover, use of integrated or folded desks or table concept along with an ergonomic minimalist study chair are ideal to make one’s space ready to work-from-home.”

Your desk must have ample storage space to keep your space clutter-free. Yet, it must be able to keep things within your reach so as to not disturb your momentum. The desk should have ample space on its surface for the most used electronic devices as well objects such as a table lamp, telephone and computer.

“I have a separate room/study where I have a large desk dedicated to my workspace. It’s actually a very old desk, nearly 80 years old or so, handed down from my husband’s great-grandfather. It’s made from sturdy rosewood and has five drawers and a tiny cupboard built into it,” says Shailaja Vishwanath, a senior editor with an online parenting portal.

“It’s roomy enough to stock all my work files plus large enough on the surface to hold my laptop, printer, telephone, a couple of pen stands and a shelf for knick-knacks. The biggest advantage is that I have everything within arm’s reach just as I would if I had my own cubicle in a professional work station.” Shailaja also loves to write things down by hand, especially reminders and to-do lists and so always has a diary handy to jot down ideas.

Close at hand

“As a programmer working with international clients, I have to remain connected to the Internet at all times and therefore ensure that no matter where in the house I am placed, I am not too far from good Wi-Fi strength,” says Rohan Lobo, a freelance IT programmer. “I have one dedicated space in the hall where I have my entire computer and its related paraphernalia set up. But I have ensured that I have plug points to charge all my personal technology in the bedroom and the kitchen
as well,” he adds.

When you work out of home, you are essentially working from a personal space. Since the workspace will have some dedicated areas in your home, it would be a great idea to personalise your work table with potted plants, picture frames and
little knick-knacks that your family may have presented you with, or that you have bought during your travels. Working from home has several advantages. These can be further enhanced by creating a great space for you work out of and be inspired out of as well.

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