The Essential Home Office

Working from home, getting the time that you need to yourself or to spend time with your family, is something that many people strive for. Whether you freelance, telecommute, or have your own business, you can have a lot of fun in setting up your home office.

No longer do you get the worst pick of location, take that corner office with the great lighting! Put your knick knacks, snacks, and coffee machine within arms reach. If you are meeting clients within this space, some restraint will need to be shown, but you still have a remarkable amount of freedom in customizing your work space. But after you get done adjusting your kid’s crayon portrait for the 100th time, what do you do about the stuff you need in your office?

The Staples

The equipment that you need in your home office varies from job to job. What a writer needs can be drastically different from what a game developer needs. However, there are certain items that you would be hard pressed not to find in a home office.

A computer: Well this is a no brainer, and with moderately high end computers available at lower costs every day, there’s no reason to not get a good computer now, instead of being forced to upgrade every few months.

Printer/scanner/fax: It’s much more professional to have your own equipment to handle printing materials, sending out faxes, and making handy copies of everything. This also eliminates extra costs such as gas and paying high fees for using a Kinko’s for these services.

Cordless phone: You may or may not have your own phone line, but one of the greatest advantages to working at home is that you can easily multitask. You can talk to your clients while tackling some of those annoyingly frequent household tasks like cleaning out the junk drawers.

Lighting: Hours upon hours of political intrigue are behind the selection of just who managed to get the office that actually let you see the outside world. No more! Natural lighting is much easier on the eyes than artificial, so try and pick a spot that gets plenty of sunlight during your normal working hours.

Dividers: Whether your office is naturally divided off, you want to make sure there is a readily apparent division between your office space and the rest of the house. Not only will this allow you to make a distinction to your children/significant other/nosy neighbors when you are working, this also allows you to deduct a percentage of the rent and utilities as business expenses.

The Quirks and Perks

First, the perks. You have the pure, unadultered benefit of creative freedom in decorating your workspace, so go with whatever suits you. Everything that I need is in easy reach, and no one can tell me to take down my fantasy art prints.
You can get a good brand of coffee as opposed to the swill normally available at most work places, and you don’t have to micromanage the time you take on your breaks.

So what are the quirks? Well, you have to buy all the equipment yourself, so no more ‘borrowing’ of office supplies. You also get to deal with people that don’t believe you actually get any work done at home, so ask you to just ‘do a little favor’ and pile random errands on you. After all, it’s not like you’re actually working or anything. Perish the thought!

Early Adoption

One of the best things is being able to try out the latest and greatest in office technologies as they come out. So what are some of the newest, strangest, and most useful technologies coming out for the home office?

Voice Communication

Voip this and voip that, you can’t seem to turn around without hearing about Voip? But just what is it and why would you want to consider it for your home office?

The acronym stands for voice over ip, and while the technology itself isn’t new, recent innovations and competitive pricing have made it an up and comer for your talking needs. The way voip works is by converting the audio signals transfered over the phone into digital signals that can be transfered over the Internet. This can potentially save you a great deal of money on your long distance charges, and many companies are beginning to recognize the popularity of VoIP, which means a wider variety in service selection for you.

Vonage is one of the most well known VoIP providers, however traditional phone companies such as Verizon and AT&T are also jumping on the bandwagon.

All in one type hardware is also gaining some ground, as the newest gadgets are offering both more features, and improving upon the distinct parts. The days of having to get five different devices to round out your home office are long past, and having to worry about an all in one lacking in certain areas of its use is also waning.

Printer/scanner/fax/copiers are the most common conglomeration found in the home office, with HP and Lexmark being two of the larger companies that produce them.

Another product that’s been around awhile, but is rapidly dropping to a reasonable price are LCD monitors. You know, the spiffy flat screen ones? More than just the convenience of a light weight and low profile monitor, if you’re forced to stare at the computer screen for hours (as many of us are forced to do) then you’ll find the LCD screen much easier on your eyes than a CRT (the big bulky older style monitors). Not only will your eyes thank you, your optometrist will to.

Whether you revel in new gadgets to put in your home office, or are like Bonnie White at Write Angle who says “I am resistant to change and, therefore, do not own so much as a digital camera – though it is getting tempting!” the constant innovation in current technologies, and the penchant of manufacturers to produce new and sometimes off the wall items keeps the pace of progress and efficient home office supplies running smoothly forward.

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