Sunday, October 29, 2006

Use design to make home office work for you

Tips for setting up a user friendly house ...

"The notion of universal design in the home, or how to make interior spaces more user-friendly and accessible, usually comes up in kitchen and bath designs.

But what about accommodations for ease of use in home offices?

According to the U.S. Census and Transportation Research Board, the number of Americans who work at home grew 23 percent between 1990 and 2000 to more than 4 million at-home workers.

It is routine for large businesses to consider ergonomics, lighting and other factors when creating offices to make work spaces more functional. Even reducing employee fatigue is part of the planning mix.

But not so in home offices. Without the same access to design experts as big business, homebound workers are generally left to their own devices to choose desks, lighting, storage, carpet and chairs. But an odd mix of products may not work cohesively to help workers perform at their best.

According to Dick Duncan of the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, in-home workers tend to pooh-pooh the idea of function in favor of low cost and product appearance.

"Sure, there is an inhumanity in the cubicle world. But people would do well to apply to their home offices at least the ergonomic situations in traditional work places," Duncan says.

In addition to applying good ergonomic principles, workers need to take their age and specific physical needs into consideration."    (Continued via The Clarion-Ledger)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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