Every year more and more people are working from their homes. They have their own small businesses or are telecommuting for a company.
Figure 1 - Home Office
With individuals working from home, comes the home office - a place where one can concentrate on whatever tasks and projects are to be accomplished.
Placing an office in your home requires some planning (the use of 3D software is well worth the investment) and although each specific situation will have its own challenges, there are some common items that should be considered when planning your home office:
- Ventilation & Heating & Cooling,
- Security & Insurance.
Figure 2 - Desk lamp used in a home office
- Ventilation & Heating & Cooling:
Most room lighting, in a home, is not adequate for an office environment. Consideration must be given to the installation of additional light fixtures and if this is not reasonable due to technical problems then desk lamps, as shown in Figure 2, or free standing lamps should be considered.
Lighting that is controlled by dimmer switches will allow the occupant to adjust the levels of light for different work functions and for the time of the day.
If there is a window in the room you should consider window coverings that completely block out day time direct sun light.
Fluorescent lighting is less expensive to operate than incandescent lighting, but it is harder on the eyes and if your job requires color verification then you should be aware that fluorescent lighting changes colors.
Very few rooms in a home have good ventilation. If you are converting a den, bedroom or basement into a home office proper ventilation is a very important consideration.
The vast majority of home forced air heating and air conditioning systems are installed based on doors to rooms being open the majority of the time. This can be shown by the positioning of the return air ducts. Return air ducts are usually located in hallways and in the case of multi-story homes it is common to have cold air returns only on the main floor.
If you have electric, gas or hot water room heating, then you have little air circulation within the home.
Working in a small room, for a number of hours, without adequate ventilation will lead to headaches and fatigue.
This can be conveniently solved by keeping a window open, however this is not always a rational alternative, especially in colder regions or if the ambient noise outside your home will distract you from the work you have to do.
There are numerous ventilation systems that can be installed to provide the delivery of fresh air into your home office.
Coupled with ventilation is having heating and cooling that allows you to be comfortable while working. If the room is normally to cool, electric baseboard heaters can be used to augment the home heating system. If the room is to hot, consideration should be given to wall or window air conditioning units.
Remember that the computers and other office equipment that you may be placing in the room generate heat that has to be offset with cooling in order for it to work properly and for the occupant to be comfortable.