Building a home office? Then you need to think beyond the interior décor. While you may be able to furnish your home office with spare chairs and tables from the house, there are some things, mainly gadgets that you will have to buy anew. Clearly, you know that you can’t use the home desktop for office use. Also, home offices require gadgets with more power than whatever is intended for home use. So your $50 home printer may not be sufficient. In order to ensure optimal productivity at your home office, make sure you invest in the following gadgets:
An Office-Ready Laptop
First of all, you need to buy a separate laptop for office use. It’s a smart idea to keep your work and personal laptops separate mainly for security reasons. Also, you will be less motivated to mix business with pleasure. When buying a laptop for your home office, you will need to look for specific specs. For example, you may need to consider a laptop with a rather powerful processor for demanding office work. It’s highly recommended to buy a programming laptop for home office use. This is not because you are a programmer, but these laptops have specs necessary for working from home. You will need to look for specs such as a 6th gen Intel Core i5 processor, at least 8GB of RAM and 1TB HDD. The screen size and portability matter too. You don’t have to spend a fortune on programming laptops either. For budget options, check out this list.
A Desktop Computer
Although you may already have a separate office laptop, it’s also worth having your own desktop computer at your home office. The office laptop may be easy to transport and be used at home, but it’s best to use it for work purposes only. Having your own desktop computer allows you to continue your work at home in case your office laptop is left at the office. Plus, you can also use your desktop for personal things.
Your desktop computer doesn’t have to be the latest or most advanced computer in the market. As long as it’s able to serve its purpose and allow you to accomplish what you need to do, you’ll be alright. In fact, good quality refurbished monitors and desktop computers work well for home offices. They’re just as efficient as brand new desktop computers but won’t break the bank.
Home offices rarely have printing requirements nowadays. But that doesn’t mean you should not buy a printer. There will be times that you need to print something in a hurry, so you need a color and black and white printer ready for the job. The printer you buy will depend on the needs of your home office. If you expect high volume printing jobs, then you should really invest in an expensive laser jet printer. For low to moderate volume printing needs, you can spend about $100 on a good printer. You can buy wireless printers for that price as well. Before purchasing, look up the prices for the cartridges and make sure you can afford to replace without overspending. It’s worthwhile to look at extra specs certain printers offer, like “air” printing and smartphone sync.
Some printers come with scanners. If you buy a printer with a scanner, you don’t need to bother with buying a separate one. However, if you don’t have a scanner in any other gadget, you should seriously consider buying one. Instead of opting for the classic, bulky scanners, consider buying a standalone scanner. They take up less space and can scan documents of any size like a fax machine. This eliminates the need for the scanning bed. Standalone scanners work independently, meaning that you don’t need to hook one up to a separate PC for use. They can work wireless too, and send files directly to a cloud drive.
Most offices shun USB ports because the managers never want employees to stick unsecure flash drives into office devices. But when you run a home office, you can use your own devices without worry. It’s very likely that you will be plugging in multiple devices to your computer. This creates wire tangles and serious space issues. The standard laptop comes with 2 to 4 USB ports. You can expand this capacity up to 6 or more ports with a USB dock. One of these gadgets can save space on your desk as well. Plus, they don’t cost a lot of money either.
Own a tablet? You may find yourself constantly having to look at it once in a while at the office. For your viewing convenience, invest in a tablet holder. There are various tablet holder devices that can act as stands or clip-on holders that save space on your desk. Put your tablet on a stand and you will have easy access to the screen. In addition, you can remove clutter on your desk and keep everything well organized.
It is unlikely that you will buy a new phone system for your office. Smartphones nowadays can do what massive landlines used to do in the past. Use a speakerphone mount on your desk to hold the smartphone. Now you can talk while you work and keep both hands free. Smartphones do come with internal hands-free speakerphones. But as you may well know already, these do not generate excellent sound. Speakerphone mounts, on the other hand, can amplify audio so you get crisp, clear sound on both ends of the call.
Working at home may not sound as fun as you initially imagine it to be. You will have to expect distractions, even if you lock the door. If the kids are home, there will be noise. To work with peace of mind, buy yourself a quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Expect to pay between $40 and $100 for a pair that works. Keep a separate set of headphones for work so you always know where to find your headphones.
External Hard Drive
Use an external hard drive to backup all your work. You can back up files on a cloud drive as well. However, clouds can be hacked. It’s more difficult to get into an external hard drive without an internet connection that you keep locked in your home office. You can encrypt files within the drive and secure the device. File backup is absolutely essential for security and storage purposes. So, plan on backing up everything every fortnight, or at least once a month. You can start with a 1TB external hard drive, but the storage capacity may increase depending on your needs.
In addition, you should probably also buy a separate coffee maker and a mini fridge for your home office. It will prevent the need for you to run to your kitchen every time you need a snack or a drink. The more you leave your home office, the more time you will waste by getting distracted.
Once you have the above gadgets in your home office, it will be complete. Investing in the above will add benefits to your home office that you can enjoy for a long time to come.