The Ultimate Guide to Home Offices - 7 rules to live by

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Has your professional life turned upside down due to COVID-19 & you found yourself having to work-from-home? Don't panic.

Hi there & welcome to the one & only guide you'll ever need to get your home office optimized & geared up for your needs. To simplify things, this post will be structured in a distinct set of rules covering every aspect regarding home offices & using as case study [Sharpen Your Space #2] Lockdown Home Office Design:

I- Rule 1: The room & the layout

First off, a proper home office should be in an individual room, for maximum productivity & focus it should never be mixed up with anything that reminds the user of the location he's really in (Home). The home office should be tailored around the user, therefore it should include a work space and (for the chill time) a space made for the user to do whatever he's passionate about (in the image, the office is made for a big time soccer & FC Barcelona fan).

But the one most important home office rule that you should ALWAYS follow is: The desk must ALWAYS be on the window wall for best lighting and one's health. Yes, as you may know, one has to always take a little 5 minutes break every now & then to reduce eye strain & the headache that results from it, with an office facing the window the chances of eye strain are reduced to very low or pretty unlikely to happen (i should know, my desk is right next to my window).

But hey, if you can't have your desk next to the window, a very good substitute is F.lux, an app that plays around with your screen(s) luminosity (among other lighting settings) to help your eyes stay healthy throughout a whole day of work!

II- Rule 2: Ergonomic furniture

1- a proper DESK:

The central piece of all home offices, the desk can make or break a home office setup & to save you some time from the hurdle of searching by yourselves. I have a selection of desks or set of items to build your own.

  • If you're into Sit-Stand desks, we've got you covered:

2- An ergonomic CHAIR:

To quote our own previous article about ergonomic chairs

it's time to get you to steer away from bad "office" chairs (or whatever you're using, because let's face it we all know some of us didn't plan to be working from home & ended up using kitchen stools, dining table chairs or terrace plastic chairs & stuff like that. It is time we all finally experience real comfort thanks to really well made ergonomic office chairs

& here's our list of the perfect ergonomic chairs for your home office:

III- Rule 3: High quality ergonomic tech

As a big time PC user, most of my activities - excluding sports of course haha - were PC based, & as a tech enthusiast, its needless to say that i've always been following the tech world pretty closely & have myself invested in countless peripherals (We'll focus mainly on the important ones: mouse & keyboard, monitor, headset).

1- Mouse:

whether it be for working or gaming, this one peripheral being one of - if not the most - impactful in terms of speed, productivity & precision, I've spent a considerable amount on different models (that amount is a secret only I and my PC peripherals store of choice know about, haha).

But hey, today i'm here to talk about the mouse I have been using for the past 3 years (Sharkoon Shark Force) & take this opportunity to talk about the difference a 1$ generic mouse & a 10-17$ mouse have, features that most casual PC users often overlook although those are essential features to have in a mouse.

Important mouse features:

Whether you're looking for a mouse for work, or want to step up your gaming experience, these are the important features to look for:

  • Ergonomic Shape: Most generic mice's goal is "Staying at the lowest possible cost of production" without any thought on the ergonomics & user experience. An ergonomic mouse on the other hand comes in different shapes to ensure every user can be comfortable using it no matter the type of grip he uses.

  • Essential buttons: Generic mice mostly come with only the 2 main buttons & a low quality clickable wheel. while a mouse should at least offer 6 buttons.

  • DPI switch: With better mouse sensor, comes better tracking & the ability to switch the DPI value to better match the type of workspace the user has (digitally & physically)

  • Materials & coating: to ensure better handling & comfort, ergonomic mice are made with better materials & strategically placed coating to give the user comfort through the longest work sessions.

Now that we have the essentials out of the way, its time to list the best mice for all budgets:

2- Keyboard:

The most common misconception i see most non-tech enthusiasts making about the keyboards topic is that they are all the same and that the 50$+ priced keyboards are just for show & offer no real advantage compared to the normal ones, & that's where you are wrong, in fact the ONLY aspect both types have in common is the shape of their buttons, they are very different in every other aspect. There are 2 types of keyboard: Membrane (the generic ones) & mechanical (the high priced "for show" ones). More in depth talk about this topic in our [Why You Should Switch: Mechanical Keyboards] blog post. As usual, here's a list of carefully picked products for you:

3- Monitors (for under 150$)

Depending on the type of job you have, monitors can make a big difference in both your experience and the real quality of your work (for example, you can't make great video production & photography without a monitor that has accurate color representation).

- Response time of 4ms

- Refresh rate of 75Hz

- Panel: IPS

- Connectors: HDMI (x1), VGA, Audio Jack

- Color accuracy & picture quality: Color accuracy isn't the best but the picture quality is GREAT.

  • Philips 246E9QDSB (available in 22-24-27-32inch displays ranging from 104$ to 130$, with the expensive end being 390$):

- Response time of 4ms

- Refresh rate of 75Hz

- Panel: IPS

- Connectors: HDMI (x1), VGA, DVI, Audio Jack

- Color accuracy & picture quality: Color accuracy isn't the best but the picture quality is GREAT.

- Response time of 4ms

- Refresh rate of 60Hz

- Panel: IPS, 180° perfectly clear viewing angle.

- Connectors: HDMI (x1), VGA, DVI

- Color accuracy & picture quality: One of the greats.

4- A HEADSET with good noise cancelling & high quality audio:

I'm no audio specialist, but i sure as hell bought a fair number of headsets & it started while i was still in high school, so i like to think that i have enough experience to differentiate a good headset from a mediocre one, & for 2020, here's my top 3 selection of best headsets:

IV- Rule 4: Don't forget your passions

Including your passion in your workspace is a VERY important thing to do, we are not robots, we cannot just work while not having anything to look forward to after a long day of work. Plus, this is a HOME office, not a company workspace, you have the freedom to make it the way you want it, make it scream personality & passion. Trust me you will love going into your home office once you implement little things about your passions in there, I would even go as far as telling you to make a whole area of the office dedicated to that passion.

As example as you can see in the project images included at the start of this article, literally 80% of the room is dedicated to the client's passion (soccer & FC Barcelona) & the entire main wall screams it out loud.

V- Rule 5: Go GREEN

No, it's not black magic nor can it be considered shenanigans. To state the facts, a 2010 study conducted in multiple work-spaces has concluded in seeing high drops in percentages of stress & depression among coworkers after including indoor plants. To sum up the benefits of going green:

  • Stress & ambiant noise reduction

  • Productivity increase

  • Natural air filtering

  • Aesthetic boost to the space, making it more pleasant for workers AND job applicants

I can attest that all these bullet points are true, i have a couple plants on my desk & scattered around the room & i'm fully enjoying the effect they have on this space!

VI- Rule 6: Interior Design:

If you ask me, this part should always go along with rule 4, designing your home office by going with your passion as a theme makes for the best home office experience. The most productive workspace is a space that truly represents you, making you feel comfortable, focused, and most importantly confident in your work.

VII- Rule 7: Private internet connection:

One of the most important upgrades to make to your home office. This is especially important if too many family members use your internet while its not the best out there, Having a good internet connection is crucial for remote work, with you having to be online with coworkers during audio & video calls, or for transfering important documents,.. etc. An unstable connection will make for a really bad communication experience not only for you but also for your coworkers.

I believe this is it for the basic 7 rules of a proper home office. If you follow these i'd say you're all set for a great work-from-home experience. And if you want help with the interior design of your home office, i offer my services HERE. Looking forward to helping you!

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