It’s become increasingly popular to work from home – and it’s not just self-employed workers anymore. Whether it’s because employers want to cut down on office expenses, go green, or just keep employees happy – there has been an increase of over 4 million people working from home over the past decade and a half. Today, the total number of people working at least one day per week from home approaches 10% of the workforce nationwide (census.gov).
As more people work from home, it’s important to find ways to stay productive. If you’re one of the 13+ million people calling home your office, make sure you have these six essentials to get the job done.
1. Professional Workspace
Put yourself in an environment to succeed. That means, no working from bed, no watching television while checking email, and no doing the dishes on a conference call. Purchase a desk and establish a designated working space where you can focus on your job. I even go so far as to get dressed for work to put myself in the right mindset.
2. Schedule & Task Management
One of the beauties of working from home is being on your own schedule, but some people take it too far. It’s important to hold yourself accountable. Create a calendar and schedule for yourself. It doesn’t need to fall during the 9-5 day, but it does need to include a full day’s worth of work and have a clear end.
Furthermore, you can keep yourself on point using free software like RescueTime to monitor what you do through the day and Asana to keep track of your tasks and collaborate with other remote team members.
3. The Right Office Equipment
Today’s office requires an awesome computer. I recommend a powerful, yet affordable computer like the HP ENVY dv7t Quad Edition that allows you to take the office with you wherever you go. At home, however, I pair mine with an external monitor, wireless mouse, and keyboard to give myself a more complete work experience.
Furthermore, you will want to invest in a printer in case you need to take a document offline. I recommend picking up an HP Officejet 6700 Premium e-All-in-One which gives you the ability to scan and fax in addition to printing capabilities. What’s more, with an HP discount code, you can get big savings and write off the rest!
4. High-Speed Internet
Nothing slows down productivity more than slow Internet speeds. It may cost a few extra dollars a month, but it’s necessary to invest in reliable, high-speed Internet to power your home office. That way, you can support video-conferencing or any other high-bandwidth activities that come up during your day without slowing you down.
5. Collaboration Software
Just because you aren’t sitting next to your co-workers, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to interact with them. Select the collaboration tools that best suit your needs to work together remotely. I rely on free Google Hangouts for video conferencing. It’s easy to use and seamlessly integrates with my Google Drive which allows me to work on the same documents with co-workers in real time.
When you’re working remotely, it’s your responsibility to keep files safe. Sure, you can invest in a backup drive and manually preserve your files, but with cloud technology, protecting your most important information is easier than ever. Dropbox and Carbonite provide excellent solutions to automate your backup. What’s more, Dropbox gives you up to 18 GB of free space and makes it easy to share files with other members.
What do you say? Are you ready to set up your home office and join the millions already working from home? I know I am.