If you work from home often, you know that a good home office setup can make all the difference. I’ve worked from my home office for over fifteen years, and can tell you a well-crafted working environment will give you a huge boost in productivity. I’ve also worked in other people’s home offices, and know from painful experience that a bad setup can poorly impact your ability to get things done.
The productivity blogs will tell you a designated work space, a chair with good back support, and plenty of natural light are crucial to a pleasant working day. That’s all true — but you still won’t reach maximum productivity levels unless you have the right tools for the job. Here’s a short list of absolute must-haves for building your perfect home office setup.
A Powerful Desktop or Laptop
If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, your most valuable resource is time. That means every moment you spend waiting — whether it be for your computer to boot up or for your programs to load — is money lost. This means a powerful personal computer can make all the difference when it comes to your productivity. When choosing a laptop or desktop computer, you’ll want something with lots of RAM, a powerful processor, and lots of storage space. Spring for a backup drive while you’re at it and subscribe to a cloud backup plan — just to be safe. Losing months of work from a hard drive crash is is not an experience you want to learn from.
A Big Monitor (or Two)
You may also want to consider a computer with multiple monitor support for your home office setup. Dual (or even triple) monitors are a must if you work in any sort of design field, but a big dual-monitor spread is a joy (and extremely helpful) even if you don’t. I’ve worked with dual monitors for years now and don’t know how I ever got along without them. It’s great to be able to shunt that browser window or media player off to the right while you work, where it’s visible and accessible, yet still out of the way.
A Reliable Router
If there’s one thing I would love for you to take away from this post, it’s this: do not scrimp on your router. I’ve tried being frugal with low-end wireless routers before, and it has not served me well. As anyone who works from home can attest, once your wireless goes down, all work grinds to a halt until it’s back. And when your cheap router is to blame, you’re out both time and money as you trek to the box store to replace it. Instead, do some research online and buy a quality router without breaking your budget. Yes — it’s possible! And the reliability, longevity and peace of mind you get from investing in a good router is well worth it.
A Workhorse Printer
Many of us would love to believe that the paperless age is here. For now, that’s far from the truth. Even in the age of digital transactions, I get asked to fax documents, sign paper contracts and get paper checks in the mail all the time. If you work from home, you’ll definitely want a good printer as part of your home office setup — possibly even one with a fax machine. If you’re in the market for a new printer, figuring out whether you want an inkjet or laser version is a good place to start.
A Coffee Machine
When working from home, it’s always nice (and sometimes necessary) to kickstart your day with a cup of joe. A good cup of coffee is also the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up to help you refocus and stay productive. Instead of driving to the nearest coffee shop (which can turn into a costly habit), save money on your caffeine addiction and supply your home office with your very own coffee maker. You’ve earned it!
There’s no doubt that a well thought out home office setup is key to being more productive at home. And with the right home office essentials you’ll be prepared to tackle your to-do list in no time!
What things do you consider vital to your home office setup? Uninterruptible power supply? Whiteboard? Paper shredder? Let me know in the comments!