Setting up a home office that works

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According to, Alberta is a great place to work; residents of the providence enjoy the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. Still, 2.33% of Calgary’s income-earning residents have ditched the corporate cubicle to work from home.

Certainly, these are the folks who know first hand that working from home with any amount of success requires focus, self-discipline, and, you guessed it, an awesome home office.

What makes a home office great? Well, it depends on the individual. Some find greatness in an amazing desk chair. Others want the whole kit and caboodle, a mirror image of the offices they see in magazines.

Aesthetics aside, one cannot deny that an efficient office is the greatest of them all. But, how do you know if your office is efficient? Well, ask yourself, “Do I have to look for my work before I can do it?”

If you answered yes, then, unfortunately, your office is lacking efficiency. Rather, it’s working against you instead of for you, and that means you’re wasting time.

Keeping efficiency in mind, in addition to the obvious things like desk supplies, proper lighting and such, several other considerations are due.

1. Distractions – Work where you are least likely to encounter distractions. If necessary, put up a sign that clearly tells family members you, and your office space, are off-limits.

If going for a sign, consider having one custom-made to match your home’s décor, much of which you may have found using the Décors directory. You’ll want to specify on your sign specific times during working hours when family members must fend for themselves. Several companies like Turner Signs serve residents of Calgary and  surrounding areas.

2. Noise – You determine what you consider too loud. Some of us do our best work when music plays in the background. If that describes you, then by all means, music, maestro. However, if you vote no for noise, make others aware of it.

What about noise coming from beyond your home’s walls like the barking dog next door?

Page 12 of the City Of Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw states, “The Owner of an Animal shall ensure that such Animal shall not bark, howl, or otherwise makes or causes a noise or noises which disturbs any person.”

Calgary’s Community Services & Protective Services recommends addressing the pet’s owner directly. If the pooch’s barking continues allowed, you have the right to file a complaint. Click here to learn more about the process.

Otherwise, consider sources of white noise to drown the yaps out, such as an electric fan. Earplugs are another option, priced from $5 at Calgary retailers like London Drugs.

3. Clutter – Avoid it. Plain and simple. Still, if tackling existing clutter, consider a desk drawer organizer, storage containers, or, better yet, a bigger garbage can. The last, usually the best choice.

If you’d rather not tackle clutter alone, Interior Designers listed in the directory and Calgary-based professional clutter busters like Work in Order, Inc. can help.

4. Technology – Your computer, printer, and other electronic whatnot absolutely need to work properly if your office is to run efficiently. Does that mean you need to go out and purchase the most expensive, best-rated trendy office equipment out there? Of course not. However, home office technology does need to serve its intended purpose.

Keep existing technology plugging along by installing firmware and/or software updates, downloadable from the service or support page of manufacturer websites. If your equipment needs repair, companies like Tech Squad and XPS, among others, offer home office visits to residents of Central, North and South Calgary.

5. Ergonomics – While ergonomics may sound scientifically complex, it really just boils down to logic. Sure, that mid-century side chair with faux zebra upholstered cushion may look fantastic but it certainly does not have your back’s health in mind. Choose a desk chair that does, as well as a desk that is of proper size for your height.

The chair, the desk, and everything else body-friendly for working efficiently, you’ll find it all while shopping at the various furniture retailers listed in the Furniture section of the directory.

Written by Teri Barth, Freelancer Online Editor for, published September 12, 2014.

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