Working from home can be a dream, or a nightmare. It’s necessary to have the essentials for your home office if you are going to be successful. Whether you are telecommuting to your regular job or managing your blog, you need these basics.
Somewhere to Work
This goes beyond sitting on your couch with a laptop on your knees. You need a dedicated workspace to be productive. One you don’t have to spend a lot of time setting up and tearing down every time you want to work. Starting from the outside in, you need a room, preferably with a door. You can probably get by with a corner, or nook, if space is a serious constraint, but a separate room is better. In that room you need a desk, or some other work surface. Ergonomics are a necessity if you plan on working a lot of hours, so consider options like standing desks or adjustable desks.
To work at that desk, you may need a chair, once again, make it an ergonomic one. Another consideration is space. Find a chair that will fit under the desk neatly when you finish work so you aren’t forced to dodge around it. Now that you have your space, make sure it is a place where you can work. This means adequate lighting, perhaps plants, decorations, calendars, a clock, music, and maybe art. A window is a great feature for providing a pleasant working environment.
Something to Work With
Now that you have a place to work, you need some equipment to get work done. Depending on your mobility needs you could choose a desktop computer or a laptop. Having both gives you even more options. A good monitor will save your eyes, and two will increase your productivity. Ergonomic keyboards and a good mouse will help as well.
If you ever need to work with paper, invest in an All-In-One printer which besides letting you print from your computer, will copy paper documents, fax them, and scan them into your system. Make sure you protect all this electronic equipment with a surge protector, or better yet an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
Somehow to Connect
You have a place and your equipment, now you need to connect to other people and their equipment. Starting with the basics again, you need a broadband internet connection. Fast internet access is just not optional anymore. If you make that a Wi-Fi connection in your home it gives you maximum flexibility for placing your equipment and even allows you to share your connection with others visiting your office.
A mobile hotspot will let you work anywhere you can get cellular data. You’ll need a way to talk to people as well, so a phone system of some type is necessary. You can handle all your calls through a cell phone, or have a traditional phone wired into your office, or even go with Voice over IP (VoIP). Once you’ve got your phone system worked out, and if you do a lot of calls, investing in an appropriate headset will save you from a lot of fumbling with handsets and an aching neck. A Bluetooth headset can be very inexpensive and allow you to talk hands free through most systems.
Somewhere to Store
You’ve got your office, your computer, your phone and internet connection, what’s next? You need somewhere to put all the work you generate. If that’s a lot of paper, you should circle back to your desk and make sure it has a lot of built in storage to take care of your needs. Shelves, file cabinets, and even a fire proof safe might be necessary if you have lots of paper files and some either need to be secured or protected.
The other side of the storage equation is your electronic data. Not only do you need sufficient storage for it, you need a backup system to preserve it in case of failures. Many people invest in multiple backup system, a physical system, a cloud backup, or some other methodology. Find the ones that fit your needs and make sure you can recover if your primary storage system fails.
Somehow to Dispose
You’ve got it all now, right? One more concern is what happens to that paper once you don’t need it anymore. A lot of confidential information could be contained on it, and identity theft through discarded paper is a constant threat. So a good crosscut shredder is a wise investment to make anything you throw out unreadable and unusable.
On a longer-term basis, eventually you will want to replace your computer equipment, storage or backup systems. When you do, you will want to be sure all your data is removed from the system. As this is an infrequent occurrence, you may simply want to consult an expert and have them remove your data when it becomes necessary.
There were quite a few more than five items listed here but covering these five basic areas takes more than just five items. Remember that your setup may be different than others and require some adjustments. If you already have a home office, review your needs and fill in the gaps. If you haven’t set one up yet, take the time to make a list of your needs and get yourself off on the right foot. You’ll appreciate it later when you have just what you need, where you need it.