Office Design and Technology Use For Home Workers-00-7243

. By the second half of 2008 laptop or notebook PC shipments exceeded those of desktop computers??. This astonishing leap to dominance within the computer market reflects the reduction in price and improvements in technology of laptop computers, but also changes in ways of working.

A growing phenomenon in the world of work is the shift towards home-working. About 8% of the workforce are now teleworkers (working from different locations, using the home as a base or working from home full-time). The HSE??s (Health and Safety Executive) 2006 Horizon Scanning paper reports that by 2015, 70-80% of workers could be, at least partially, working away from the office.?? Home office workers are made up of several different groups: self-employed and freelance workers; employees who have the freedom to work from home some or all of the time and teleworkers whose motto is ??work is something you do, not something you travel to??.?? The variety and breadth of homeworkers?? roles is as diverse as the workforce as a whole: from accountant to journalist and musician to software project manager. The one thing that unites pretty much all of them is their need to use technology on a daily basis.

Most home-workers find it necessary to be ??mobile workers?? too, whether driven by client and site meetings or just a desire for a change of scene. For this reason laptops rather than PC??s tend to be the technology tool of choice. Laptops were never really designed for prolonged use and can in some cases result in repetitive strain injury and musculoskeletal disorders.4 However, with the right accessories a laptop can be transformed into an ergonomically correct workstation. A home office laptop stand to adjust the height, (i.e. viewing position of the screen) and a secondary keyboard and mouse (so that hands have space to spread and find their natural position) can adapt a laptop to seriously reduce these health risks.

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When planning your home office design some important considerations should include a desk with sufficient depth to place your laptop on a stand so that the screen is positioned an arm??s length away. If the screen on your laptop is small you might want to consider plugging into a secondary screen with the top of the monitor positioned at your eye level. An adjustable chair to ensure you are sitting at the correct height and distance from your desk is also a must. Lighting is another key factor in your home office design. Consider carefully the location of your laptop or computer to avoid screen glare. Use a task light to provide extra lighting for reading to avoid unnecessary eye strain.

Above all your home office needs to be comfortable and conducive to work. As long as you get the technology, lighting and furniture right to ensure that your home is a healthy workplace you can let your imagination run riot and surround yourself with things that make you happy!

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