Upgrade Your Home Office for Optimal Productivity
Nearly 4 million employees now spend 50% or more of their work time at home, constituting almost 3% of the US workforce. That makes the design and outfitting of home offices more important than ever before — and for business purposes, these kinds of upgrades must be focused on boosting productivity (as well as employee satisfaction!)
But of course, many of the same pieces of advice on how to improve a home office work environment and outfit it with the most productive computer accessories will apply equally as well to those who don’t work from home but who still want to create a productive, pleasant home office space.
Below, we’ll first look briefly at some basic principles of setting up your workspace at home, and then focus on which PC and laptop accessories are most beneficial to productivity — and yet still reasonably affordable.
Designing a Home Office for Success
Your first concern with a home office is its size, dimensions, and location. It needs to be spacious enough that you don’t feel cramped, and it should not be located on a wall facing a noisy street or other noise sources (and installation of sound buffering panels and/or soundproof insulation can also be worthwhile.)
Carpet is preferable as it is quiet and easy on the feet, but only carpet short enough for a swivel chair to easily roll over. You want a good, sturdy desk with plenty of storage space and desktop space and a chair that is adjustable and comfortable to sit in all day.
Lighting should include lamps, overhead fixtures, and natural lighting through a window(s), and be sure you have temperature control all year long.
Finally, don’t be afraid to add in those personal touches that will make the office more “homey” and comfortable — clean, comfortable, well lit, and well equipped will lead towards better productivity.
Upgrade Phone & Internet
Anyone with a home-run business should consider investing in VoIP (voice over Internet protocol). It is often cheaper than other business phone options, and it’s much more efficient and simple to use.
And it doubles up on something you’re already paying for (or should be) — high-speed internet. You can’t afford to waste time and money, and maybe lose clients, over slow connection online or on the phone.
If you will be listening to audio or audio-visual content as part of your workday or will be doing teleconferencing or even important Skype calls, review the top computer speakers available and invest in an adequate and affordable option.
If you do recording, take the time to select the best studio monitors, but most home offices need something better than the built-in computer sound system but not quite studio level — and that’s where high-quality computer speakers fit in.
Also, consider investing in a pair of quality noise-canceling headphones to minimize background noise and prevent distractions.
Upgrade Mic & Cam
When conversing with business contacts or customers through a computer, you may want to improve the experience (on both ends) with an external microphone and webcam.
A webcam with 1080 or more pixels, 60 or more frames per second, auto-focus, and highly flexible field of view is best. And you don’t want to stick with the computer’s built-in microphone because it will capture too much “noise” and will have a “distant sound” to it.
Upgrade Keyboard & Mouse
Your two most commonly used input devices, keyboard, and mouse, need to be optimally fast and easy to use to maximize productivity.
Wireless (Bluetooth) mic and keyboards remove “cord-clutter” and give you more freedom to position said devices where you wish on the desktop. And a high-end mouse or keyboard will have superior ergonomics to the ones that probably came with your computer when you bought it.
Remember that getting carpal tunnel or repetitive strain injuries due to heavy use of mice/keyboards with a poor ergonomic design isn’t worth it — but paying a little more to avoid that fate and gain in productivity at the same time is!
Get a Multi-port USB Charger
Home offices often require you to use a large number of devices that use a USB plug-in or charger. Don’t waste time constantly plugging and unplugging devices because you don’t have enough USB ports.
This is a simple, cheap solution that makes your office more efficient to work in and increases organization. Skimping on “the small stuff” can give you a big headache, so don’t skimp.
Get a Better Monitor
Anyone spending hours and hours almost every single day working in front of a computer screen deserves a large, clear, and bright screen to look at.
Small screens promote eye strain and increase the odds you’ll miss something and make a mistake. Large screens, by contrast, are easy to work with. Look for a monitor 21 or more inches across diagonally (27 would be optimal). And pay attention to screen resolution, to ensure you get a clear, crisp picture.
Also, don’t overlook basic factors like how easy it is to swivel, angle, and height-adjust the monitor. And even consider setting up two monitors (dual screen), if you feel you can “multi-task” a little bit!
Finally, you may want to add a projector or even use one in place of a monitor. Projectors are great for business-related presentations, and they work well from a laptop, PC, or even a tablet. You can just project the image onto a suitable blank, white wall, but a small investment in a pull-down screen is probably worth it. Make sure your projector is full HD and accepts HDMI & VGA inputs.
To get the most out of your home office, it needs to be fully equipped with efficient, up to date computer accessories, as well as well-organized with a productivity-conducive interior design. If you set up your office in a hurry or on a strict budget originally, you might be lacking some essential features — but the sooner you upgrade, the sooner you can boost the efficiency and comfort level of your place or work!
We hope you enjoyed this promoted piece as much as we did!