Today we have more and more workers working out of a home office. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 report, the percentage of workers who work exclusively from home has more than doubled since 1990 to a whopping 9.6%. But in order to maximize productivity, you’ll need more than a smartphone and a laptop to get the most out of your home office setup. And most of that setup may be tax deductible to boot!
1. Get Organized with an Erasable Wall Planner
Keeping track of your meetings and conferences all in one place will keep your work days productive. When you’re in a small, new company with just a handful of employees it can be too easy to forget about things. Having this At-A-Glance Erasable Yearly Horizontal Wall Planner by your side with an included wet-erase marker will be large enough at 36” x 24” to fit even your schedule in each calendar square.
2. Stop Sending Your Bucks to Starbucks
Since home-based workers tend to put in even more hours than their office-based contemporaries, a good coffee machine is all the more important. If you don’t already have a high-quality coffee maker that won’t bust the bank, Keurig now has a good excuse for you to get one. Their K130 Brewing System is small, simple, and keeps things clean without a carafe or drip basket to clean out.
3. We Got Your Back
Your office chair is, believe it or not, one of the most overlooked pieces of office equipment. And it’s an area where a lot of people skimp. Similar to a mattress, you’re bound to spend a great deal of time there each day there so it pays to spend it in comfort with an ergonomic design. There are stools, task chairs, mid back and high back chairs to choose from in a variety of materials. Keep an eye out for good lower-back and arm support with easy adjustment settings. Of course preferences will vary, but it’s hard to go wrong with a HON Basyx High-Back Chair. Its vinyl upholstery looks and feels just like leather but will be much more resistant to spills without sacrificing the upscale looks for any executive office.
4. Can You Hear Me Now? Wireless Headsets
You’ll be on the phone a lot when you work from home, and both blasting calls on speakerphone from a distance or holding it by your neck gets old really fast. Here come Plantronics headsets to save the day. It’s a matter of preference, but the noise-cancelling Plantronics Voyager Legend brings a whole lot of value to the table without skimping on some important features. It’s over-the-ear, compact Bluetooth design eliminates the need for wires. But unique to this model is a call button that allows you to interact with Siri, Google Now or Cortana digital assistants. Fancy.
5. Protect Your Data
Cloud storage, such as Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google Drive, is a great way to help protect your data in small to medium-sized amounts. But data storage backup in the cloud as well as locally on an external hard drive is essential for any home worker. Doubling up on your data will offer some immediate peace of mind. External hard drive prices have dropped off sharply in the past 5 years or so and the latest and greatest come with fast-transfer USB 3.0 functionality. Blue Cow recommends the Verbatim Store ‘N’ Save USB 3.0 ($79.99) with 1 TB of storage to protect your Mac or PC data against system crashes.
When there’s a power outage and you have to reset your alarm clock it’s annoying. When it destroys the project you’ve been working on for the past three hours it can be catastrophic. A universal power source is a must-have insurance against Murphy’s Law in this respect. The APC BE550G universal power source can keep your desktop running for nearly 4 minutes in this situation. That’s sufficient time to save your current work and turn off your PC safely if a brown-out hits. It also acts as a surge protector and can reboot your network if it loses its connection.
6. Get Inspired with a Magnetic Dry Erase Board
Regardless of size and shape, having a whiteboard near your office space is an indispensable tool. They’re great for jotting down goals, to do lists, and general brainstorming that can potentially take your business to the next level. Quartet has a 24”x18” magnetic white board with a sleek black aluminum frame and marker stand. Because it’s magnetic, you can also place magnets on it like your refrigerator. Let the creative juices flow.
7. Multi-Function Printer
Every home office, at minimum, needs either a laser printer or a quality inkjet all-in-one. The HP Envy wireless all-in-one series has a mid-range model that includes a 2.7” touchscreen and features print speeds characteristic of more expensive models. But the real draw here is you’ll save a lot on ink compared to other models and with the Envy’s modern styling you’ll look good doing it.
8. Locking Vertical Filing Cabinet
If you have small kids at home, it’s definitely a good idea to have all important files of their grasp and secure in a decent storage setup that’s lockable. Blue Cow recommends a locking vertical filing cabinet simply because a 3 or 4 drawer model will act as a wonderful space saver for all your most important documents. Even if you have a small home office space, it’s worth making some room and invest in these things. It will be your best friend against a cluttered, disorganized desk space. This 3-drawer Lorell Vertical File in particular strikes the right balance of low cost and quality.
9. Work in High Definition
Whether you’re on your laptop or a desktop, there will be times exporting the display to a good-sized HD monitor will be a lifesaver. The Samsung 23” LED monitor here supports a razor-sharp 1080p HD resolution with deep blacks and rich colors. Its wide viewing angle will be readable from all sides of your desk space and its built-in cable management feature will help reduce the chaos in your work environment.
10. Personal Comfort Items
One of the main advantages of working from home is knowing that you’re always near the things that you love dearly. And, you don’t need to walk very far if you need lunch, a snack, a drink, or even a break from the work that you’re doing. But, having said that, it’s still good to add some personal comfort items in the home office. Personalize your office with inspirational quotes, family photos, or scented items. Your at-home work station can be your sanctuary where everything you need for business success is at your fingertips.