A productive home workplace needs a few basics in place. Here are some essentials to consider when setting yours up.
Working from home can provide flexibility, comfort and convenience, but it involves more than just sitting in front of a computer in your PJs.
Staying motivated and productive in your home environment can be hard work, but setting yourself up in the right way can get you kicking goals sooner, and you’ll likely find you’re more motivated when your work space is set up to function efficiently.
Choosing your computer
Laptop = mobility. Mobility = different locations. More locations = more distractions. If the benefits of mobility outweigh the drawbacks, then go for it, but it's a question you must consider, and sometimes being grounded by a desktop isn't a bad thing.
I work somewhere in between: I much prefer a mouse to my laptop’s touchpad for sheer ease of use, and I also use an external keyboard and plug in a monitor. I can still work anywhere, but I'm not tempted to kid myself that I'm as productive at the park as I am at home with all that periphery set-up.
Easy network access
If you’re using mobile devices, or like to move around with your laptop, wireless access to your network will be helpful. If you already have a modem, plugging in a wireless router will do the trick. Connecting it is easy, but make sure you follow the instructions to set the wireless password and secure the network.
If wireless isn’t for you and you’re not close enough to your modem/router to plug into it, check out Ethernet over Power devices, which run network signals through your power points. They come in sets of two, so plug one in next to your modem/router and the other next to your computer and get connected.
Find the perfect printer
A printer is a must, and there’s enough to consider when choosing the right one to comprise another whole article. Luckily, here’s one I prepared earlier.
Power surge protection
Now that you’ve got all your equipment, the next step is making sure you’re ready for anything. Power surges can have devastating effects, so at the very least, ensure you are using a surge-protected power board. The next thing to look at is a power conditioning device called an uninterruptable power supply (UPS), which will stop surges more effectively, and also provides battery power in the event of a power failure, giving you a precious couple of minutes to save what you were working on and shut down your computer.
Back-up internet access
Even the best quality internet connection can go down, so if internet is essential to your business, a back-up plan is a must. A pre-paid mobile broadband stick is a perfect back-up for ADSL, and most internet-enabled smartphones can be connected to your computer to get an internet connection. Be sure to test it out before you need it so you can hook it up confidently in an emergency.
It’s been said that you can’t have too many back-ups of your data. If you have none at all, you’ve certainly got too few.
Consider which information you couldn’t do business without. Figure out how much space this takes up, and back it up, preferably somewhere else, whether that’s on a USB drive, an external hard drive, a DVD, or in the cloud.
Also ensure you know how to get it back, and how long it will take to do so. That knowledge will take the pain out of recovery. Once your back-ups are done, keep doing them, determining the frequency based on how much information you can stand to lose. Also, make sure you regularly check the back-ups to make sure they’ve worked.
Is there anything else you consider essential to a home office set-up?
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For more from author, Heather Cox to www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's community for solo and micro business owners.