There are ups and down to working from a home office. One of the ups is that you have control of your space, from personalizing the walls to avoiding fluorescent lights that make you feel like a nine-to-five zombie. But one of the common drawbacks, especially for the self-employed, is that it’s your responsibility to get the right tech to suit your needs. With hot new technology always emerging like overwhelming pop-ups on your screen, knowing what you actually need to do your job well can be difficult. Here a few ideas for sophisticated tech that will help you get started.
1. Portable Scanner
If you need the option to print, copy, scan, and fax, an all-in-one printer is the only solution for you. But if your paper needs merely involve sending documents back and forth, it never hurts to avoid the hassle of a massive printer/scanner (have you ever set one up without wanting to throw it out the window?). A quality portable scanner can handle high volume without taking up much desk room. For example, several models have 20-sheet automatic document feeds and can scan a variety of paper sizes. They’re also small enough to take on the road when you need to travel, and models like the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i can be charged via a USB cable.
2. Large Monitor
Some would say two monitors will make you twice as productive—after all, you won’t have to toggle back and forth while dealing with spreadsheets or other detail-oriented computing tasks. But one large monitor, such as the 34-inch Dell UltraSharp U3415W, gives you a respectable amount of space and freedom, allowing you to toggle back and forth between programs and windows without losing your place. It won’t be cheap, but if you need a productivity boost and a little more wiggle room, an expansive monitor is worth the investment.
3. Bluetooth Keyboard
The keyboard often feels like an afterthought compared to other glossy tech pieces—until just one key sticks. Then you remember how essential it is to have a high-tech, functioning keyboard that doesn’t slow you down. If you work with more than one computer, look for a wireless model with multiple-device bluetooth capability. Getting those pesky wires out of your work space will bring relief you didn’t know you needed.
4. Universal Docking Station
Our clunky computers of the olden days have become thin and sleek while boasting maximized functionality. But a few bits had to fall by the wayside, and if you have an air-light computer, you’ve probably bemoaned a shortage of ports and connection options. But a universal docking station with multiple USB ports, an Ethernet jack, and DVI and HDMI ports can increase your connectivity possibilities.
5. Web Conferencing Software
Your home office is your own personal retreat, but sometimes you have to invite others inside. And when you do, you want software that allows for clear communication with as many different users as necessary. Depending on your needs, you may want software with desktop sharing, or one that allows several simultaneous video feeds. Or maybe your business is small enough that you could skip some of the bells and whistles and go with a free plan like Cisco WebEx or Fuze—many of them have the collaborative tools you’ll need.
Use your freedom to customize to make sure your workspace is everything you need it to be—it’s amazing what you can get down when tech difficulties aren’t slowing you down.
Bio: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor and writer for Modernize.com with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.
By Bryn Huntpalmer.