With telecommuting and home based businesses now the norm rather than an exception, much interest centers on how to work productively and efficiently from home. Setting up a high tech home with the latest technology is a critical step in this direction.
State of the Art Equipment
Installing the latest state of the art equipment is indispensable for working efficiently out of a home office. One indispensable requirement is a powerful computer configured for optimal performance and dedicated to the exclusive use of the business or work, without the kids using the same to play games or chat with friends. Other relevant equipment and supplies include the:
- Dedicated telephone line
- Fax machine and an accessory to integrate the fax machine with the computer to receive and send paperless fax
- Display board to write down important reminders and paste memos
- Basic office supplies such as an automatic stapler, colored office clips and other supplies as relevant
- Desk calculator for easy computing without having to open up an online calculator or MS Excel
- Scribbling pads, color pencils, and markers
The ultimate success of a home office depends on how well it connects to the main office or to clients. A good office requires a dedicated telephone line and high-speed internet modem to facilitate 24x7 connectivity. Make sure to have a backup computer, which may be a laptop, modem, headphone with mike, and telephone serve to keeping operations up in the eventuality of unexpected crashes or breakdown. Similarly, a back up internet connection, even if dial up serves to keep the office running and performing essential services if the main broadband connection face disruption.
Seamless connectivity depends not just on the availability of the infrastructure, but also on the availability of good applications for collaboration to make the optimal use of the infrastructure. The latest and updated version of Skype, instant messenger, and other communication applications, the internet and browser settings in the computer configured for optimal experience, antivirus and malware protection, and general computer settings set for optimal performance all contribute to maintaining seamless connectivity.
Design influences the productivity of the home worker in a big way. A fully functional set up with neatly organized workstations and storage spaces facilitates sooth workflow at maximum productivity. The following are some pointers in this direction:
Install or build ergonomically designed workstations, allowing for positioning the top of the monitor below or at-eye level and ensuring a gap of 24-36 inches between the monitor and eyes
- Use a slightly reclining chair
- Allow the user to place the feet firmly on the floor, or on a foot rest
- Arrange work equipment so that the most used equipment finds place at the most accessible spot
- Design storage spaces to allow easy retrieval without putting strain on body
- Use a ergonomically designed keyboard and mouse
- Paint the home office with a light and soothing color to reduce stress
- Ensure adequate lighting to prevent stress
- Maintain optimal temperature settings depending on the climate
- Eliminate glare from computer monitor
Besides such ergonomic considerations, an aesthetic appearance adds to the functionality of the home office. Finally, make sure that the home office remains exclusive without sharing space with any other domestic distractions.
The layout and ergonomic considerations apart, make sure to organize the home office well. The following are some pointers in this direction:
- Adopt a minimalist approach by removing anything not required. This clears not just the clutter but also the mind, boosting productivity.
- Place motivational posters, indoor plants, and other items of décor. Depending on the individual preferences, this soothes the mind and motivates the home worker
- Strive for a paperless office. Reducing paper does away with the need to maintain paper files that costs money, wastes space, and increases clutter, and is an environmentally friendly option.
Go green. Use energy efficient equipment and lighting, install power strips to turn off power when not needed, recycle paper, and eliminate e-waste through judicious planning when purchasing equipment and by scheduling regular maintenance and service of equipment.
A high tech home office has many advantages. The increased productivity and efficiency that comes with such improvements contributes to the further success of the home based business or telecommuter.