With the emergence of the internet, technology, and efficient communication tools, many companies see how useful, productive and cost effective it is for employees to work remotely. Today, many income earning opportunities allow individuals to work from home. However, there are some things that professionals need to consider to be successful. These are some of the tools and equipment that are essential to be effective working remotely.
A Dedicated Office Space
No matter what type of work you are doing, you need a place to do it. While it may seem nice just to be able to lay in bed or on the couch when you are working, it can kill your productivity, and it is not very healthy. Even if you don’t have an extra room that you can use to setup a home office, you need to figure out a space that you only use for work. This situation may require you to get creative. Closets can be great mini offices, and most people have several of them in their home and can easily turn just one of them into a home office. If you don’t have a closet available, find a place in your living room where you can put a small desk or table as well as your work equipment. To make it feel more like a work-space, consider getting a room divider that you can put up while you are working. You might consider ergonomic options for your office setup. I have experience working from my home office since 2011 and can tell you that you have to spend even more time in your home office than you did in your traditional office setup. If you think about it: you will no longer have to take a long walk to a break room, rest room, co-worker’s desk, etc. We also have the option to have our lunch at home instead of out of the office.
A Suitable Computer or Laptop
For most jobs that allow you to work at home, you will probably need a computer or Laptop. Whether it be to do your job or just to correspond with your boss, you don’t want to have to use something that’s old or slow. When trying to figure out what type of computer you should purchase, you should think about what you will be doing. Will you need a lot of memory because you will have numerous files to download? Will you have to install many programs on it for your job? It’s important to buy a decent computer as it’s an investment. You don’t want to buy a cheap computer that isn’t able to handle your workload. The wrong computer can make it difficult to do your job and may leave you frustrated. For me, I believe gaming laptops make the best work tools. I prefer laptops because I often like to work in different locations. I am currently using this MSI gaming laptop for the past year. It has been ideal for teaching, designing, producing, editing video and audio. I also connect the laptop to two external monitors at my desk if needed. If you just aren’t sure what type of computer, laptop or monitors to purchase, ask your boss what they recommend.
Most people forget about this item for their home office until they need it. You will need to print and scan documents from time to time. I suggest looking for an inexpensive small printer that can meet these requirements. I have to print out contracts to be signed and sent back. Sometimes I print out relevant documents to help me with my work. This Epson All-in-One Wireless Color Printer with Scanner, Copier & Fax has saved me many trips to a print shop.
Reliable Internet Service
As a remote professional it is imperative that you have access to reliable internet services to complete your work each day. Cheap services from local internet companies are often slow and generally, have weak upload speeds and no guarantees of service quality. If you are serious about working from a home office, you might consider obtaining a business account with a quality internet service provider in your area. It will be more expensive. However, it will be more reliable and predictable for you.
Office Phone Line
Some believe that an office phone is not needed any longer because of cell phones. I encourage you to think about this more. Sure, cell phones are great business tools. However, when it comes to quality and reliability, nothing can replace an office phone. If you are on the phone often, call quality is critical. I currently use Vonage for my office phone. You might even consider getting a headset if your work requires you to be on the phone most of the work day.
I know we just went over how important the office phone line is. The smartphone has its role for a remote worker as well. Since I work remotely, there is a perception that I am always available. The smartphone helps me be available in the times I am out of the office. Therefore, I can keep in touch with clients, students, and co-workers during emergency situations.
When you work from home, you will often need to set boundaries with others. It’s all too easy for others to see you working from home and think that they can just pop in for a visit or get you to run errands on their behalf. All too often what they don’t realize is that you are working and aren’t just hanging around your house. It’s necessary to set some boundaries when working from home. If you find that people like to just stop by your house, put a sign on the door that says you aren’t available between certain hours. To keep from getting unwanted calls, change your voicemail on your phone to state that if you don’t answer the phone you are working or with a client and that you will call them back. Don’t be afraid to tell others no. You have to set the tone and if they feel as if they can disturb you, they will.
There are other things to take into consideration as you setup your home office such as power protection, lighting, gym membership, productivity tools, etc. However, this will give you some ideas that you will need when you start to work from home. As you work from home, you will discover other tools that can help you improve your environment. You will see that the proper home environment can lead to much success in your home office. Let us know what helps you conquer the day with your remote work. For a list of time management tools to help you be productive take a look at this article called The Best Time Management Apps for 2017 by Time Doctor.
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