Setting Up the Home Office After Vision Loss

To some degree, the basics of a functioning home office couldn't be simpler. If you've got a desk, a chair, a personal computer you're comfortable with, and an empty corner to put them all, well then, you've got yourself a home office. If you want to get the most out of your work space, however, you're going to have to put some thought into each of these elements.

For example, if you have at least some usable vision, you'll want to choose a space with ample lighting sources—and you'll want to position your furniture and equipment to minimize glare. Equipping your monitor with an anti-glare screen is another good idea.

And what about furniture? For many with vision loss, an L-shaped desk with a credenza provides a comfortable working surface with easy access to files and office equipment. However, if you only have a small area, like a nook in your kitchen, to work with, you can still set up an efficient, comfortable office area.

man sitting at an l-shaped desk reading a file with a guide dog at his feet
An L-shaped desk can provide a roomy and convenient work area.

When choosing office tools, be aware that there are many commercially available clocks, calculators, telephones, fax machines, calendars, file holders, label makers, and other items to choose from that are specially adapted for people with vision loss. Don't buy before doing some research and experimenting.

And of course, you'll have to choose the best PC for your needs; the AFB article, Buying a Computer, will give you an idea of what to look for. A computer is a central feature of most home offices. A large monitor, screen magnification software with speech, and a good set of external computer speakers can make this tool accessible to you. For more tips on adapting your computer, see the Using a Computer article.

In addition to a computer, magnification tools can make many of your tasks easier. A video magnifier (also known as a CCTV) can be very helpful for correspondence, paying bills, looking up phone numbers and addresses, or even viewing family photos. A combination of magnifiers—including handheld, stand, illuminated, and spectacle-mounted—will complete the arsenal you need to access visual material. For more information on magnifiers, see the Low Vision Optical Devices article.

flat screen monitor mounted on an adjustable arm

Mounting your computer screen to an adjustable monitor arm allows you to easily move the screen to the perfect height and position.

Ultimately, the success of any home office set up has to do with knowing your needs and abilities, so feel free to experiment with your office until it works for you.

For More Information:

  • AFB Senior Site. Taking Care of Business: Managing Your Finances. A home office is where many people pay their bills or file their bank records; find out more information on tips and tools that can make it easier for you to keep up with your finances.

video   Getting Organized: Setting Up Your Ideal Home Office Video

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