Thanks to modern technology and widespread connectivity, you no longer need a traditional office to build a successful business. But you do need the right tech and equipment to stay competitive and keep your home office operations running smoothly.
When it comes to tech products, the at-home worker and entrepreneur has more choices than ever before. That means you need to be smart when choosing tools to make a positive impact on your busy, day-to-day business life. Here are 10 must-have gadgets and gear that will take your home office game to the next level.
Every office needs an assistant. Today you can have a voice activated digital assistant at a very low cost in your home office. Whether Cortana, Siri, Alexa or another, a digital assistant can save time and effort with a variety of tasks, like reordering supplies, making calls, getting notifications, setting reminders, booking business travel, and more – just ask! These assistants are activated through computer operating systems, mobile phones, or special hardware devices – but they all add productivity and efficiency.
Even in today’s mobile, digital world, an efficient and reliable printer is essential. Whether printing legal contracts, presentation decks, or marketing collateral, printers are synonymous with running a business. And, if you run into issues in this department, it can hinder your productivity and flow.
Take Wicked Good Cupcakes, the pastime turned multi-million dollar national sensation known for its cupcakes in a jar and successful investment on ABC’s Shark Tank. Even as a majority ecommerce business, mother-daughter duo Tracey Noonan and Dani Vilagie rely heavily on their printer for processing orders, printing packing slips and staying organized.
“We print out all of our orders daily to ensure proper fulfillment. On our busiest days around holidays, we need a printer that can withstand a large volume of orders without issues like paper jams and errors,” said Noonan.
Go for Canon’s MAXIFY line of printers, designed specifically with small business, at-home professionals and entrepreneurs in mind. All models enable printing over WiFi directly from your smartphone and have heating panels to keep ink from drying up, saving more money on ink and increasing your bottom line.
Voice Activated Light Adapter
Today, you don’t need to get up and flip a switch to turn the lights on in your home office. There are numerous voice-activated switches, hubs and adapters that turn lights on and off with a simple audible command. So while you’re busy creating new marketing campaigns or pouring over your website analytics as the sun sets, you don’t need to interrupt your grind to flip the switch.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Working in a home office can sometimes mean noise and distractions. Get in the zone with a pair of noise cancelling headphones. You’ll be surprised how well the technology reduces ambient noises. Up the ante with a wireless pair so you can multitask and roam freely while you work.
Part of the joy of a home office is the freedom to create a welcoming and comforting work environment. Lucky for you, you don’t need to fight over the thermostat with coworkers. Consider investing in a smart thermostat, which connects to your mobile device letting you control your home office temperature with a few touches — even if you’re away. A smart thermostat is convenient and can provide significant energy savings.
Social media is the cornerstone of many business marketing efforts and an authentic channel to connect with your audience. Your digital presence is a representation of you and your business, so quality is important here. Whether livestreaming on Facebook or Instagram, snag a ring light to clip on your phone to make mobile video content look sharp and professional.
Mobile devices have become an essential part of just about everything we do, especially in business. And keeping them charged at all times is a feat of its own. Lose the cords and make device charging an unconscious habit by placing your phone on a wireless charging pad. Find one compatible with the type of mobile phone you use. Once you try it, you may never go back to plug-in chargers.
These days we’re doing 10 things at once and working on tight deadlines. Dual monitor setups make it easy to work with several programs simultaneously, reference information, and effectively collaborate across projects. It’s a simple fix to increase work quality, speed and convenience.
Sitting at a desk all day can put a lot of strain on your body. While it’s recommended that you get up and walk or stand periodically throughout the day, you should also consider an adjustable desk. Adjustable desks can be stand alone, or placed on top of your existing desk, giving you the freedom to sit or stand while still getting work done and protecting your overall health and well-being.
Mobile Phone System
Noonan says, “A good phone system is really key. Even though we’re largely an ecommerce company, we found that our customers still wanted a way to be in touch with us if they have questions. Customer service is critical in our business, so we need a way to speak with customers no matter where we are.”
For more functionality, add a virtual software-based phone system to get an automated attendant, connect your business number to your mobile phone, and manage your communications online.
Man in Home Office Photo via Shutterstock