If you’re going to work from home your office needs to help, not hinder.
Here’s a home office assessment, adapted from one created by the Oregon Department of Energy, that will help give you some thought starters so you set up your home office right. Some may seem obvious, but until you buckle down and really try to get some work done you may not realize how these kinds of things interfere with day-to-day tasks.
We poo-pooed using this assessment for home office problems until Kate’s arm started to spasm, and my shoulder on the arm I use to control my mouse kept me awake at night. We also lost several hours of work when I kicked a loose wire and unplugged the computers in our home office – both of them.
Assess the adequacy and safety of the workspace in your home office:
• Is your space quiet and free of distractions?
• Is there enough light in your home office for reading?
• Is your home office space crowded with furniture?
• Are file cabinets and storage closets arranged so drawers and doors do
not open into walkways?
• Are aisles and doorways free of obstructions?
• Are floor surfaces clean, dry, level, and free of worn or frayed seams?
• Are carpets well secured to the floor and free of worn or frayed seams?
• Is the home office space neat, clean, and free of combustibles?
• Is your home office space well ventilated?
• Do chairs have working wheels and sturdy rungs and legs?
• Are sensitive electrical devices such as computers connected to a surge
• Are all circuit breakers or fuses in your home’s electrical panel labeled?
• Do circuit breakers clearly indicate if they are in open or closed position?
• Is all electrical equipment free of hazards (e.g. frayed wires, loose wires,
exposed wires, too many wires)?
• Are phone lines, electrical cords, and extension wires used in your home office secured under a
desk or alongside a baseboard?
• Are electrical outlets 3 pronged (grounded)?
• Are all stairways with 4 or more steps equipped with handrails?
• Are the electrical cords and phone lines secured under a desk or
alongside a baseboard?
• Is there a working smoke detector detectable from your home office workspace?
• Is there a fire extinguisher in the home easily accessible from the home office
Assess your home office workspace ergonomics:
• Is your chair adjusted to best suit your position at your desk?
• Is your chair’s backrest adequately adjusted to support your back?