The benefits of a home office go far beyond the proverbial 15-foot commute. Depending on your setup and routine, your office could improve your work-life balance, increase face time with the rest of your family, and even reduce your income tax bill. (Check with your accountant on that last one.)
Your home office won’t magically materialize the moment you conclude that you’d like to work from home, of course. Here’s what you need to make it work for you.
1. An Orderly Filing System
Chaos is the enemy of productivity. That’s why your home office needs an orderly filing system for paper records and business documents. Look for a sturdy, multi-drawer filing cabinet with at least one drawer dedicated to a folder rack.
2. A Robust Home (and Office) Security System
Your home office makes your home a whole lot more attractive to burglars and grudge-holders, especially if you’re known to keep pricey equipment, sensitive records or valuable intellectual property there. Before you outfit the rest of your home office, review the best home security systems for at-home workers and settle on a system that fits your budget and needs.
3. Extra Shelf Space
Unless you keep most of your records in the cloud, a single filing cabinet probably won’t be enough to organize all your professional papers. Look for sturdy wall-mounted shelves that won’t damage your walls. If you need to hold heavy books or bulky items, consider a standing bookcase or secretary.
4. An Adjustable Standing Desk
We’ll leave it to the medical professionals to weigh in on the real dangers of sitting for long periods, but it’s hard to deny that the flexibility to stand at work is a net positive. That’s where an adjustable standing desk comes in: a versatile office furnishing that allows you to stand when you want to get the blood pumping and sit when you’re tired.
5. A 3-in-1 Printer
Even if the fax machine has (mostly) gone the way of the 8-track player, home office drones still very much prize the ability to print, scan, and copy documents at will. If you don’t need to print professional-grade materials, a basic 3-in-1 printer will set you back less than $100. If you plan to print, scan, and/or copy at volume, look for bulk ink and paper deals to reduce your ongoing costs.
6. Reliable Communications
If you don’t already have a landline running to your home office, don’t bother getting one. You can use your cell phone as a reliable office communications hub — provided you have good service in that particular corner of your home or annex of your property. If the remote location or poor coverage hamper cell service in your area, consider a cloud-based phone system that uses voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology.
Your Home Office Is a Work in Progress
Nevermind that the end result is a space that helps you pay your bills. Outfitting a home office is, fundamentally, a home improvement project.
Like any home improvement project, a new home office is a work in progress. Your space simply won’t be what you imagine from day one, and that’s okay. As you get more comfortable in your new on-premises office, you’ll surely identify new opportunities to enhance its productive capacity and turn it into a place where you can actually get work done.
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