Working From Home: Selecting A Workstation
Working From Home: Selecting A Suitable Workstation
Once you have evaluated your potential workspaces and selected a suitable work area for working from home, one of the first big items you will need to find and install is a suitable workstation.
You need to consider the amount of space available in your planned work area and how much space is likely to be taken up by a workstation. For example, if you will be tucked away under the stairs you will need to consider the height as well as the length and depth of the workstation.
Also, when thinking about the surface area of the workstation (which will benefit from being quite spacey) it may help to make a list of the items you will need to regularly have stored upon it. For example, these may include:
- Your computer screen (and possibly the computer if it is a desktop or laptop)
- A telephone (think about the trailing wires)
- A printer (if it is small otherwise it may be useful on a separate pedestal)
- Your keyboard and mouse
- Keyboard rest and mouse mat (if you type regularly)
- A non slip drinks mat (essential)
- Your mobile phone and PDA
- A charging area for small devices (mobile phone, PDA)
- Desk light (for evening working)
- Desk fan (to keep you cool – you may need to keep it away from the monitor because of interference)
- Notepad or writing pad
You will also need room for other items such as CDs, DVDs, stationery, and a good space with enough room to write notes (and for doodling). Additional items of equipment may include a webcam, speakers, and a paper tray (in, out, pending).
Many workstations are quite compact and can fit a lot into a relatively small space. There should be a specific space for your tower and printer (unless you opt for a separate pedestal), and there is often a sliding shelf for your keyboard which can be rolled back when not in use.
If space is a priority and you do not have a dedicated room for your workstation, you may wish to consider buying one with doors. These close up to keep your work area out of sight when you are not using it. There are also workstations which extend out widthways when you need them.
Consider the finish you want as well. Some modern units are made of glass and silver finished metal (and can be quite cool to touch). Others are either wood effect or made of solid wood. The budget you have available is another factor which can ultimately decide the workstation you opt for.
Think about cables and trailing wires too. Some workstations have built in cable management facilities which can help not only keep your work area tidy but also keep it safe. When you try and install a new piece of equipment or maintain an existing item a tangle of wires can be a real pain.
When looking around online and in shops remember to consider the installation of the workstation – and always double check the dimensions if shopping online. Some things to think about include:
- Can it be delivered?
- Is there sufficient room to locate the workstation (are door openings wide enough?)
- Is it self assembly or will it be assembled for you?
- Are there any special instructions for keeping it clean?
You may be tempted to make use of an existing piece of furniture to meet your needs. But a workstation which has been specifically and ergonomically designed for computer users will make your working day at home far more pleasant, and comfortable, in both the short and the long term.
In summary, these are the major considerations:
- The amount of space available
- How much you have to spend
- The items regularly required on the surface of the desk
- Additional regular used items
- Place to locate your computer unit and printer
- Sliding shelf for keyboard
- Doors to keep everything out of sight when not in use
- Choosing the finish from wood effect, wood, metal like, or glass
- Cable management (and trailing cables)
- How you will get the workstation to where it needs to be
- How it will be installed and maintained
If you have selected a workstation already – what were the important factors that led to choosing your particular workstation?
Previous articles in this series:
- Working From Home: Basic Equipment
- Working From Home: Choosing A Suitable Work Area
- Technology and working from home
This article is from www.jasonslater.co.uk and should not be found anywhere else.