Eight technologies you need to set up a home office
From productivity software to efficient hardware to the right lighting and ambiance – everything counts when you're setting up to work from home.
Whether it’s out of choice or compulsion, working from home is increasingly gaining traction among today’s workforce.
From cutting the commute, to avoiding office distractions and politics, to achieving a better work-life balance, the motivations behind working from home vary.
But whether you’re new to this arrangement or a veteran remote worker, the one thing that’ll determine your productivity is your home-office.
It’s a space that should be not only be aesthetically inspiring but also equipped with technology best suited to your needs.
Productivity software, efficient hardware, right lighting, ventilation - everything adds up to making a work-from-home experience the best one for you.
Here’s a handy list of everything you need if you've decided to set up a home-office:
1. Internet and modem-router
This is the first step towards ensuring a smooth run in your new home-office. A reliable internet connection and hardware that enables its delivery will be critical to your - and your business’s – efficiency.
Make sure you’ve factored in specific work needs like video conferencing, streaming, big data storage or any other form of online collaboration before you find an internet plan (or customise your existing one).
And if you’re still not getting the best speed out of your broadband connection, the answer may be right under your nose. A modem-router is perhaps one of the most overlooked pieces of technology at home and yet it’s absolutely critical to how efficiently you work and play from your new home-office.
There’s a wide variety of modem-routers available in the market to suit every kind of data need, so flesh out those requirements before you go shopping.
Chances are you’re using more than one screen at work. In addition to the traditional laptop/PC, most office work now requires the use of auxiliary monitors, tablets and smartphones.
Ensure you’ve got all the right-sized screens to do your job well (eg: UX designers usually need large LCD screens for crystal-clear detail, website builders and product managers require multiple screens to test their product on, etc).
And remember to invest in good quality screen protectors and anti-glare films.
3. Smart chargers
Multiple mobile devices, an array of chargers, a tangle of wires – if this sounds like your work area, help is at hand.
Smart charging is the name of the game and the options available are both fascinating and mind boggling.
While some devices do away with wired charging completely, others incorporate charging abilities into utility goods like laptop bags, purses or sporting gear like shoes. Take a look at 30 unique smartphone chargers.
The idea of a printer might sound antiquated to those in the “digital workforce” but this piece of hardware is critical if you regularly present offline to clients/stakeholders.
The good news is that printers are becoming smarter than ever before. So if you decide to go for one, you might want to consider a model that combines functionalities such as standard and wireless printing, scanning and copying.
5. Coffee machine/Tea-making facilities
Let’s be honest: No office is complete without a coffee machine or a tea station. For your daily mojo, invest in a good quality machine. Check out a few options here.
6. Lights and ventilation
This is an often overlooked aspect of a home office. Invest in good quality, energy-saving lighting and position your furniture in a way that cuts off glare and makes your workspace warm and inviting.
If you’re keen to invest in a bigger solution, smart lighting might be the way to go. Smart lighting systems use wired or wireless networking setups and offer users control over functions such as brightness and colour of the bulbs to setting on/off timers.
Make sure your home-office is well ventilated and if you can find a room with a view, even better!
Ergonomically designed chairs are the way to go for those who spend a majority of time sitting. The best way to select furniture suited to your needs is to visit a store and try it on for size.
If you prefer a standing desk, a variety of ergonomic and height-adjustable gear is available in stories and online.
A proper standing desk, however, involves a bit more investment – your footwear needs to be comfortable and supportive (thongs won’t do, sorry!), you’d probably need an anti-fatigue mat or a foam roller to stand on as well as a chair, in case all the standing gets a bit much!
Choose between a range of options based on your usage requirement and nature of work.
Video: Meet Stephen Edridge, a technology manager, who occassionally works from home and finds the experience very rewarding.