Who would have thought back in March that come the end of summer the home office set-up you thought was very time-limited might be open-ended?
But with the half-year mark of remote working looming, now may be the time to evaluate whether you have a home office space that provides functionality and comfort.
Let’s go under the assumption that you’re working from a desktop or laptop computer, naturally with Internet connection. If so, security against data breaches is necessary by firewall, anti-virus software, VPN (virtual private network), or encryption.
Other equipment needed for most home offices include a printer, scanner and fax machine – or better yet, a multi-purpose system – a webcam, designated land line or cell phone and answering machine. And don’t forget a heavy-duty power strip so you can plug in everything you need.
A cloud-based backup service is the gold standard for automatic file backup, but also consider having an in-house backup of external drives and personal servers.
And don’t forget an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). It will give you enough backup power to save your work and safely shut down if you lose electricity.
An inexpensive home office shredder is a no-brainer if your job entails printing out confidential data. And look into purchasing a fire-safe box to hold important documents.
So, those are the must have’s that you probably already have! But do you have an adequate desk or workstation space, a comfortable and supportive chair, good lighting, enough storage space and sufficient electrical outlets?
On the subject of furniture – the kitchen table and kitchen chair with the nice back cushion might work fine, but there are benefits to buying dedicated furniture for your home office. Having a proper office chair and table helps you focus and separates your home life from your work life, helping to give you the right mindset at the start of the workday.
How about a waterproof desk pad that can double as a mouse pad and a coaster – important if you’re working from an expensive dining room table!
A memory foam seat cushion can be worth its weight in gold, as can a mesh desk organizer to help keep your work area clutter-free. A few extras might include a desktop document holder with an adjustable clip to keep those “where did I put it” documents in place and a cell phone stand so your phone is just a reach away should a call or text come in.
And don’t forget to add a bit of personality to your workspace. A framed photo, favorite mug, small plant, picturesque calendar…you get the drift.
While many uncertainties remain, having a designated home office area that is properly outfitted can provide a semblance of normality in these anything-but- normal-days that we are all navigating.
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