The telecommuting trend has been around for a couple of decades now, but today's home office is better than ever. With the development of sophisticated electronic gadgets like smartphones and multifunction printers, you can put together a super-efficient workstation in a relatively small space. New health knowledge will guide you in creating a more physically comfortable work setup as well. Here's the equipment you'll need to organize a thoroughly modern office in your home.
Work Surface -- Although a desk is traditional, you may opt for a different type of office work surface such as a large table. This could be due to personal preference or simple practicality -- for example, if the size of your home office means your electronics need to share space with your production area.
Chair -- Should you choose a conventional desk chair, keep ergonomics in mind. Make sure it is high enough that your elbows bend at a 90-degree angle and your back is fully supported. Keep an open mind, though, and you may find you're more comfortable seated on a yoga ball. Of course, savvy businesspeople know that standing at their workstation for part of the day is healthier than sitting for a solid eight hours. But have you heard of the latest trend -- lying down at the desk?
Smartphone -- As well as calling clients and suppliers phone-to-phone or via Skype, your smartphone will let you text, access vital business documents, and surf the web, whether you're at your desk or in an airport.
Headset -- Gone are the days of propping an oversized landline receiver between your shoulder and your ear. Scrunching up your neck to hold a slim smartphone is not a viable alternative, however. Get yourself a good headset for hands-free telephone conversations.
PC -- Years ago some mobile-device-loving tech geeks began loudly proclaiming the death of the PC. That may be true for the average internet user, but when you are running a business, you'll want the capability to run proprietary software and store essential documents that a laptop or even (gasp!) a desktop provides. And if your business involves a great deal of work with graphics or content, a high quality, large screen and keyboard will make life a whole lot easier. In fact, a monitor that can display several windows at once or multiple screens would probably suit you best.
All-In-One Printer -- A compact modern multifunction machine that handles all your printing, copying, scanning, and faxing needs is a home office essential. Purchase a wireless model so you can print from your mobile device. Prediction: You'll use the fax feature less and less but it will be handy to have for those occasional times when you do need it.
Surge Protector -- Your electronic tools are the backbone of successful functioning. Protect your tablet docking station, laptop, and printer against unexpected surges in power (resulting from such diverse causes as a sudden spike in electrical demand in your home or a lightning strike during a storm) that may damage them. Hire a licensed electrician to install professional quality surge protection.
Lighting -- When you remodel a room in your home into an office, your lighting needs will change. Install lights that will help keep you on task while reducing eyestrain and avoiding glare on your screen.
Paper -- The move in the second decade of the 21st century is toward a paperless office. Still, there may be a few paper items that you find you can't live without. Envelopes and stamps are necessary if you need to send out original receipts. A wall calendar and sticky notes can serve as visual reminders of must-dos and important events in a way that no digitized scheduling system can match. A plain old notepad can be a handy tool for jotting down scraps of ideas or doodling as you wait for inspiration to strike. If you handle sensitive paper documents, a good, fast shredder is a must. Don't forget to go green and recycle the results.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.