Equip a Home Office for Success

Tools that boost efficiency, comfort, and pleasure make any work-from-home assignment better. Here are suggestions from Chicago designer Tom Segal of the design firm Kaufman Segal for the optimal home office setup.

  • Decide how much privacy and quiet are needed and whether it’s best to have a room or if a nook would suffice. Good options are a finished basement with a window well for daylight or, for empty nesters, a grown child’s former bedroom. Even a large hallway or walk-in closet can be outfitted.
  • Ensure you have strong Wi-Fi, which might mean getting a signal booster.
  • Select a standard 29- to 30-inch-high desk or table large enough for a laptop or two and a spread of papers. Some prefer a standing or adjustable desk.
  • Pair the desk with an ergonomic chair with adjustable arms, seat height and tilt, and lumbar support. With casters, it will move easily over wood or carpet.
  • Illuminate a work area with several layers of light: an overhead fixture with a halogen bulb to reduce shadows, a task lamp so eyes don’t become strained, and a softer lamp light of incandescent or warm LED bulbs.
  • Have enough electrical outlets to charge laptops and other devices.
  • Don’t forget containers to organize pencils, pens, and markers.
  • Try to control noise. No door? Make a sign that says, “Quiet, please.”
  • For web calls, be sure you have a backdrop, such as a well-organized bookshelf, that looks professional.

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