Tips on Planning and Setting Up a Computer Workspace

Before you shop, measure the space earmarked for the computer area and draw a floor plan, noting the location of windows, doors, electric outlets and phone outlets. Also measure any home office equipment you already have and plan to use. Figure the number of linear feet you will need to accommodate materials you need to store, then add a bit more for future needs.

Testing the chair — Is it easy to adjust the seat so that everyone’s feet touch the floor? (You may need a footstool for shorter family members.) Can you alter the height of the back and arms? Does the chair tilt? If the chair has arms, do they allow you to get close to your work surface? Does the pedestal base have five prongs for maximum stability? Do casters glide in all directions?

The computer desk — Choose one with an adequate work surface. A normal working surface is as wide as your fully outstretched arms. If you need more space, buy an L-shaped desk or a second computer table. Remember that the keyboard should sit about 3 inches below standard desk height. If you want files handy, choose a desk with an attached file cabinet or a rolling file pedestal. A hutch top is handy for storing paper and other supplies like computer manuals and diskettes. A separate printer stand with space for paper and other supplies frees desk space.

For flexibility — Conserve desktop space by adding wall-mounted accessories such as pencil cups, diskette holders and a bulletin board. Consider purchasing modular storage furniture so that you can add to it in the future.

Let there be light — Make sure the desktop for reading and writing is well-lit.

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