Monday, October 06, 2008

Is That An Office Behind Your Door?

I love the looks of this set-up. Compact, functional, and a great use of space. (The desk is sold at West Elm.)

As much as I absolutely love my new desk and new monitor, there is a part of me that also yearns for being able to make do with a more compact working space. With all the case books I have to read for law school and the academic articles for my PhD program, having a large desk area is the right solution for me right now. But at other times in my life, this has been less true and every now and then I miss the simplicity of those former days.

Below are a few thoughts if you're looking for a compact office solution:
  • Get a high-quality office chair without arm rests. If you're like me, you rarely use the arm rests on your office chair, but they can make it more difficult to find desks the chair will fit under. (I like West Elm's T-Chair and Scoop Back among others.)
  • Use a laptop or an iMac to keep cable clutter to a minimum. [One thing I love about the iMac relative to my current set-up is that you only have one cable for power. Right now, I have two power cables (one for the monitor, another for my laptop), a VGA cable, an audio cable (my monitor has built-in speakers), and a USB cable (it also has four USB ports). With an iMac four out of these five cables would go away. Fortunately, my laptop has an expansion base that I can leave all of these cords connected to permanently, but if it didn't I'd have to connect and disconnect four of these each time I head out for the day.]
  • Use a laptop or an iMac to give yourself maximum versatility in what type of desk you use. [One thing I've learned from my current set-up is that it requires quite a bit of desk space to house my 24-inch monitor with my laptop next to it. iMacs seem to have a shallower depth than most large monitors and require only a small footprint on the surface of a desk.]
  • One advantage laptops have over iMacs is that you can turn them off and get them off of your desk. This frees up valuable desk space for other uses when you need it and (if you're like me) removes a dangerous temptation for distraction.
  • Get a wireless printer so you don't have to keep the printer next to the computer and get rid of one more wire. It's also a great solution if you want to use more than one computer to print off of it.
  • If you use a laptop as your only computer, consider getting something like an Apple Wireless Keyboard to help out with ergonomics. (Like shown in the photo above.) I've certainly noticed my back can get sore when I'm hunched over a laptop for hours at a time for days on end. The Apple keyboard is compact and easily to stow when it's not in use. The one downside is that it requires your computer to have Bluetooth (you can always get a USB Bluetooth adaptor) and I've heard it has problems synching to some PCs. Another ergonomic option would be to supplement a wireless keyboard with some kind of laptop stand.
A great many of the best home office set-ups I've seen use iMacs for their computers. Something about them makes both the form and the function of the computer simply superb. Given my current budget-constraints and debt-aversion, getting a large monitor was the right choice for me rather than buying an iMac, but I do hope to get one someday.

1 comment:

Carlina said...

So stylish!! Well.... Quill is also one of my favorite for Office furniture.