The traditional desk is designed with the conventional desktop computer in mind. Now, these desktop machines have come a long way since their bulky beginnings, with some models like the Apple Mac being the perfect example of a totally self-contained, all-in-one marvel. Nevertheless, we are always looking to trade in the desktop equipment for lighter, less bulky technology.
As more and more of us telecommute, we have to incorporate all manner of different devices into our office environment, be that our designated work place or our home office desk.
This new age of telecommuting, combined with an increasingly digital and mobile world, is calling for the iconic corner desk to merge with the innovative tablet and laptop technologies out there. But how exactly do you integrate these modern day working methods with the good old-fashioned home office?
Well, simply put, you adapt.
You need to change the way you look at your home office, seeing it not as a four-walled unit to lock yourself away in eight to ten hours a day, but rather as an option; a fixed alternative to the coffee shop or the train. With telecommuting, your home office becomes a sort of base camp where you can set up, sit down and really get stuck in.
But if we are carrying our working world around in a laptop or tablet, do we really need to pay all that much attention to our home office desk setup?
Well, that all depends if you want to maximise productivity and efficiency when you are there; if so, then take note of the below tips and tricks for optimising your desk as a workspace for laptops and tablets.
Health and Safety at the Workstation
Just like a traditional desktop setup requires proper posture and ergonomic considerations, so does the perfect laptop desk. Now, a laptop can’t be adjusted in the same way as a tower and monitor, but there are certain aids you can use to get the screen to eye level and the keyboard at a comfortable position to avoid strain or injury. Additionally, working in your own home office means you can invest in a good quality desk and an ergonomically appropriate chair to help with your posture and your comfort over extended periods of time. Read more about how to properly set up your workstation for a laptop here.
When you are carrying your entire office around in a 15inch box, you will no doubt take every precaution to ensure you have all the right software and files, tucked away neatly on your hard drive. When it comes to hardware, however, you are likely to panic and assume you need everything including the kitchen sink packed into your laptop case. Unfortunately, this approach is unnecessary and can make working on the move a cumbersome task. Plan ahead and organise things well, both at your desk and on the run. Keep spare cables in your office and only take the bits you absolutely need with you. Also, make sure you have plenty of memory sticks, both on your desk and in your laptop case, to act as a backup and a means of transporting lots of different data without having to overload the laptop itself. It really is worth investing in all the right gadgets and equipment (as well as a selection of backup bits) to ensure that you are prepared both at home and away.
Follow Best Practice
When working on your laptop, tablet or other portable device, it can be difficult to tear yourself away for breaks or to balance work and home life with a “cut off” point (this is especially challenging when you are working on a portable device in a home office). It is vital though that you draw clear boundaries between “work” and “home”, giving yourself plenty of breaks from the screen and making a concerted effort not to use the laptop outside of defined working hours. Just because you are working from a home office with no one watching over you doesn’t mean you can disregard policies about health and safety, workstation behaviours and rest breaks. By taking short but sweet breaks and following the same practices you would in any other office, you can actually create a more work-friendly environment, boosting your efficiency and productivity.
Being able to work on laptops, tablets and an assortment of portable devices has made working life much easier in recent years. We have the world at our fingertips, and our working times and locations are far more flexible. Telecommuting and home office hubs look set to continue transforming the business world and that is no bad thing; it just requires us to be a little more adaptable when it comes to our workspaces. So, embrace the mobile revolution, but don’t feel you have to sacrifice the comfort of your home office to do so.