With 3.7 million employees (2.8 percent of the workforce) now working from home at least half of the time, home offices need to be designed to nurture productivity and success. Home office gadgets and technology should play an essential role in home office set ups. If they don’t, your working environment may be hampering your success.
Home Office Gadgets and Technology Upgrades
To ensure your home office makes the grade and helps your business remain competitive, consider these 25 home office gadgets and other technology upgrades.
Whether you work remotely a few times a week or 100% of the time, a simple, powerful and intuitive cloud-based communication solution is essential to effectively communicate with your clients, team and vendors. Choosing an option with an easy-to-use online portal will empower you to manage your communications and configure features that best suit your needs. Products like NextOS enable remote workers to be as efficient as possible, no matter where they are.
Set Up VoIP
Chances are you’ll have more than one phone service in your home — your landline and mobile. Installing a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in a home office can make voice calling simpler, cheaper and more efficient — the result of investing in a solution that comes with a mobile app. Using VoIP along with a mobile app enables you to work from anywhere, as long as you have internet.
As the Computer Shopper notes:
“Internet-based phone service is a great option for businesses of all sizes, as it’s typically less expensive than landline or cell-phone plans.”
Buy a Green Screen
If you shoot corporate videos, be sure to install a green screen in your home office. Green screens create a level of consistency to videos and provide a clean, professional look regardless what other home office gadgets you use for your productions.
Install Sound Buffering Panels
Home offices need to be quiet working environments away from the hustle and bustle of family life. Installing sound buffering panels in home working environments helps dampen sound, consequently giving you peace and quiet to work productively.
Gain Insight with Analytics
Depending on your role, integrating analytics can give you actionable insight to improve in many areas. There are lots of different types of analytics — from web analytics, to voice analytics, and more. Investing in these will empower you with the information you need to improve in many areas, — like marketing campaigns, customer service, and overall business performance.
Upgrade to a High-Quality Mic/Video Camera
When you work from the luxury of your own home, your home office is your meeting room. It is therefore important that you have a high-quality video camera with a decent microphone. Be sure to insure to include these devices on your list of home office gadgets.
Use a Phone Camera Tripod
Enhance the professionalism of your home office by shooting video content or conducting teleconferencing meetings on your phone with a phone camera tripod. A sturdy camera tripod will not only stabilize a shot but will allow you to find the right height and angle.
Install Augmented Reality Apps on Mobile Devices
The Digi-Capital ‘Augmented/Virtual Reality Report Q2 2015’, claims the AR/VR market will grow to $150 billion by 2020.
For professionals operating from a home office, installing AR apps on mobile devices can both facilitate and accelerate certain business processes. For example, project managers can monitor progress in real time with the help of AR markers.
Take Advantage of an Intelligent Personal Assistant
Make your home office more productive by getting an Intelligent Personal Assistant to perform certain tasks and services. Making an Intelligent Personal Assistant part of your home office, which has the ability to organize and maintain data and information, will free up your time to get on with running your business.
Add an Auto Attendant
Whether you’re a one-person show, or you’re part of a bigger organization, an Auto Attendant can give your company the professional image it needs. An Auto Attendant is the recording you hear when you call a business and you have to press 1 for sales, 2 for support, and so on. Adopting this technology — which is super easy and likely comes with your VoIP service — is a nearly-effortless way to control the impression your brand creates. And that’s super powerful.
Buy Video Editing Software
Editing digital video is an important process for any business that uses video content. If you operate from home, make sure you produce quality home productions by installing video editing software in your home office.
Use Graphic Design Software
If you’re involved in graphic design, installing the latest graphic design software in your home office will give your business a professionality boost. Tools such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Affinity Photo, are excellent software for design professionals.
Install a Backup App
If you work from home you need to have off-site backup as well as a local backup on an external hard drive. By spending as little as several dollars a month, you can use a backup app, such as CrashPlan, to ensure your data is safely backed up over the internet.
Download Exercise Apps
According to Olivia Judson, writer for the New York Times:
“Irrespective of whether you exercise vigorously, sitting for long periods is bad for you.”
Home workers have a tendency to sit for long periods of time. To counter the negative consequences of sitting at a desk, download fitness apps onto home office devices.
DeskActive, BreakPal and Office-Fit are three recommended fitness apps designed for sedentary working lifestyles.
Use a Wireless Mouse
Give your thumbs a rest when you’re working from home by investing in a wireless mouse. With clickable scroll wheels, and snappy left to right clicks, a quality wireless mouse can help speed up your workflow. So this is a simple but important addition to your list of home office gadgets.
Invest in a Bluetooth Keyboard
If you spend all day typing at a keyboard, investing in a Bluetooth keyboard that you can easily swap between devices can improve the productivity of your working day in the home office.
Buy an All-In-One Printer/Scanner/Copier
Whatever industry you work in, the chances are you’ll need to print, scan and copy documents. Having an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier in the home office will take care of all your printing requirements from one convenient device.
Use a NAS Device
Treat your home office set-up to additional terabytes of storage without needing to keep an external drive connected. The solution is a NAS device, a small computer with an internet connection.
Take Advantage of a Multiport USB Charger
Home offices can require a multitude of devices to be charged via a USB socket. Ensure you’re not stuck for a USB port by purchasing a multiport USB charger now.
Cancel Out Noise with Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Home offices can be noisy places. Cancel out unwanted background noise by purchasing a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Download Productivity Apps
It’s easy to be distracted when working in a home office. Fortunately, help is at hand, with the many productivity apps on the market.
Downloading apps like Fantastical, for example, will mean you can check and input calendar events and schedules from the convenience of your device.
Download To-Do Apps
Don’t lose track of important tasks ahead in your home office by downloading to-do apps onto devices. Wunderlist is a highly recommended to-do app, helping users keep on track of tasks and deadlines.
Keep on Track of Finances with Financing Apps
With a gazillion and one things to do, it’s easy for businesses operating from home to lose track of finances. By downloading finance apps such as TurboTax, home-run businesses can keep on top of their income and expenses with greater ease and efficiency.
Download Web Meeting Apps
Ensure your remote meetings are conducted with professionalism from your home office by downloading web meeting software.
Zoom is hailed by the Wire Cutter as the “fastest, most painless route” to remote meetings.
Use a Surge Protector
An often-overlooked device, simply plugging into a surge protector to power the devices in your home office can protect your equipment and data from the damage voltage spikes can cause.
Bundle Up Excess Cable Length
Another overlooked yet important technology upgrade for your home office is simple cord and cable wrangling. Bundling up excess cable length will not only make your home office look neater and more professional, but it will make it safer, with less likelihood of people tripping over the chords.
Use Bluetooth Trackers
With papers piled up and documents everywhere, it’s easy to lose things in a home office. Use a Bluetooth tracker to help find vital items, such as your phone, keys or tablet — and save precious time hunting for lost items!
Invest in a Media Streaming Device
Media streaming devices such as an Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast and Apple TV can, as Kayla Matthews, smart technology and future trends writer for Inman Technology writes, be “handy tools for work purposes.”
Do you run your business from a tech-efficient home office? If so, what gadgets, software and devices do you have in your home office? We’d love to hear our readers’ home office tech tips.