If you’re like the millions of people around the world who work from home these days, you probably love having the chance to skip the commute and enjoy peace and quiet where you can focus and get a lot of work done. However, while home offices are incredibly beneficial, unfortunately when you need to be productive outside of a company, you also need to make sure you have all the tech you need, and that it’s set up correctly, too.
If you don’t have an IT background or much experience in the tech side of things, it can be a bit daunting trying to get organized. To help you on your way and ensure your home office is good to go and allows you to be productive, read on for some top tech tips you can follow.
Get Assistance From IT Consultants
Keep in mind that you don’t have to go alone when creating your ideal home office environment. If you’ve always had IT people on hand in the past to help you sort out tech equipment, it can be rather challenging and time-consuming to figure things out for yourself. To save time, energy, and, often in the long run money, too, consult with professionals. IT consultants can advise you on what to buy and on how to set everything up and configure it to your specific requirements.
If you find yourself having issues with products or telecommunications services at any stage, also consider paying a small amount for an IT person to help you sort things out. This is often a better investment than waiting on hold on the phone for hours with manufacturers or telco firms trying to get somewhere. Most IT professionals have such an understanding of equipment and services that they can help you troubleshoot straight away.
Start With Just the Basics
It’s also wise to not go straight out and spend a small fortune on technology products for your home office. It can be tempting, particularly because it can make you feel more like a “real” entrepreneur or freelance professional, but you will often find that you really only need the basics.
Start small, with key tools such as a desktop or laptop computer, modem, and multifunction printer/photocopier/scanner (all-in-one devices also save you room, which is handy). Multifunction printers are convenient for remote workers, because not only do they allow you to print documents, but they also allow you to scan, copy, and fax. This means that you can easily send and receive documents without ever having to leave your home office. Sharp copy machines are good options on the market, as they offer high-quality printing, scanning, and copying features. HP copiers are also very good, but they tend to be a bit more expensive than Sharp machines. However, both brands offer reliable machines that will help you get the job done. You’ll likely need access to some software too, such as cloud-based storage options and email, time management, project management, and graphic design products.
Before you blow your cash on unnecessary items, ask yourself a few key questions. For instance, which hardware will you really use on a regular basis, and at what point do the extra features that come with many expensive products simply turn into bells and whistles that aren’t worth the extra cost?
Protect Your Devices and Data
On a related note, you’ll keep your tech running smoothly if you take steps to protect your devices and data from cybercriminals. These days, hackers have all sorts of means to get into devices remotely and can lock you out of your own computer, hold information for ransom, crash systems, and steal your identity and even money before you realize it.
Make sure you install security software and firewalls then to protect your internet and home network setup. Whenever updates are available for these products, install them straight away, as this ensures any security gaps which have come up will be plugged. You can also protect yourself by backing up your work to the cloud each day. Then, if you do get hacked, you’ll still have all your important files off-site. This kind of strategy will also be of service if you have a disaster happen at your homes, such as flood, fire, break-in, or the like.
Keep Your Office Separate From the Rest of the House
Another tip is to find a way to create your home office in a space separate from the rest of your house. You’ll want a door in your office, so you can close up the room and keep children and pets out. After all, these loved but often mischievous family members have been known to cause many professionals to lose their work over the years!
Try to have a separate computer for all your office work, too. Rather than sharing one with your kids, partner, or other family members, it helps to have your own device. This way, you won’t one day find information or programs that have been deleted or that your systems have been hacked because of bad security decisions made by others (e.g. opening untrustworthy attachments or clicking on fraudulent links).