Do You Have the Right Home Office Technology?

Is your home office up to the task? Do you have the right tools, tech, and amenities to make your business move along as smoothly as it should? If your answer to either of those questions is that you're not sure, then take the time to learn what the home-based office of the 2020's should look like.

It's not just about having the right computer, either. Modern telecommuters and independent entrepreneurs need excellent equipment, adequate apps, proper peripherals, suitable software, manageable memory, and much more.The traditional decent computer setup just won't cut it if you want to stay competitive in a marketplace where millions of people earn their primary income in a converted second bedroom. To bring your technology up to par, you need to know what to buy, what to throw out, what to keep, and what to fix up. There's a lot to do, and the longest journey begins with a single step, so let's start. Here are the components of an agile, operational home office.

Computer and Printer

It can be difficult to have someone else pick out a computer for you. The amount of memory, apps, and add-ons you need will be closely related to the kind of work you do. For example, if you are a tax accountant, your need for word processing applications will be minimal, but you'll possibly need an entire suite of financial software to do your job. Check with others in your industry and see what types of setups they have. It never hurts to get advice from other at-home workers. Consider a three-in-one fax-printer-scanner. That way, even if you rarely use one of the functions, you'll have everything covered. Most of your important documents can be stored in the cloud or on a thumbdrive, but for ultra-sensitive items and highly confidential data, you might want to keep hard copies. That's why it's always smart to have the versatility of an all-in-one device.

Learning Apps

Because so many business owners decide to earn online degrees while working from home, it's imperative to have full online learning capability. That means at least one video app with which to remotely attend classes, perfect audio capability so you can hear what instructors and classmates say during webinars, a flexible filing system so you can store things like lectures and notes for future reference, and interactive test-taking software for real-time examinations.If you decide to earn an online degree while running your small company from the privacy of your den, consider taking out a private student loan from Earnest to cover tuition and other education-related expenses. It's a smart move if you want to focus on your studies and possibly work just part-time while getting your degree.

Plus, with a private student loan, you'll have access to competitive interest rates, reasonable pay-back periods, and the chance to improve your credit scores as you repay the loan.You shouldn't need two of everything just because you're running a company and attending school at the same time. One monitor and main system should do the trick as long as you keep your academic and professional schedules separate. However, it might be wise to add enough memory to ably handle the mass of files you'll be dealing with as both a student and an entrepreneur.

A Separate Phone Line

There are two ways to go if you want a dedicated telephone line for your company. You can either install a landline in your home or add a separate number to your smart phone. Some people do both. The goal is to keep personal and business calls from overlapping. When your business number rings, you'll know it's not a friend calling to invite you to lunch. If your personal line rings, you can simply send the incoming call to voicemail if you're busy. There are inexpensive apps that will convert your smartphone into a dual line, or you can purchase a burner phone as an additional line.

Backup Power

If you have spent time working in offices, you already know that corporations always have some kind of backup electrical power in the event of downed lines or grid blackouts. You can do the same for your private in-home office. Look for supplementary power supplies that offer a fixed number of hours of emergency electricity. Note that these are not solutions for widespread server failure, but they do one very important thing: they prevent you from losing data in a power surge or total outage.

Having a backup box for your electrical needs will allow you to work offline even when the rest of your house has zero electricity. Plus, you have the chance to save data, back up files, and not worry about losing entire chunks of information just because an electrical storm knocked out the power in your neighborhood. Most come with surge protectors, but if yours does not, purchase an anti-surge device separately. They prevent power fluctuations from frying your computer's circuits, which can be a major disaster.

High-Speed Net Access

If you don't already have high-speed internet access in your residence, whether you live in a house or an apartment, get it. If you want to be competitive in any industry, there's no choice but to have a high-speed connection. Even if the majority of your job means doing offline tasks, you'll need speed for the times when you have to connect with clients and customers, and for any video capability, like tele-meetings and conferences.

Security Fire Boxes and Shredders

For a modest investment, you can add a nice layer of security to your office arrangement when you purchase a high-quality paper shredder and a fireproof safe or fire-box. What goes in the shredder? Old tax documents and sensitive client paperwork that you kept in a hard-copy file but no longer need. Basically, anything that must be disposed of but which contains confidential or sensitive data. Spend one minute at the end of each day checking to see if anything needs to be shredded. Likewise, boost your security by maintaining a fire-resistant lock-box for highly confidential paperwork or thumb drives. Purchase a small box at first and upgrade as your needs grow.


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