According to CNBC, more than 70 percent of all workers worldwide who work for an employer do so remotely at least once a week.
The Pew Research Center found that about 10 percent of the workforce is self-employed, along with another 20 percent of workers who are employees of the self-employed. This provides a lot more flexibility for people to work from home than two decades ago.
If you are one of the many that need to work from home at least part time, the following tips to outfit your home office might be helpful.
Desks – Notice the plural here. This home-working author has found a really great way to set up an efficient home office that keeps space at a minimum. You need to have two desks or a desk and a table. For efficiency you should place your desks perpendicular to each other.
One of the benefits of having your desks perpendicular is that everything can fit nicely in a spare corner of your living space. The other, even greater, benefit is the ease of use when you need to reach for something, such as a printout or a reference book. Less moving and reaching equates to less time wasted.
Another nice aid is a hutch that mounts on the top of the side desk and holds the reference books you need to consult the most frequently. By the way, your main desk does not need to be some heavy office desk, unless you will meet with clients in your home. If you are on remote calls on Skype, for example, no one will ever see it.
Computer – You, of course, can consider either a desktop, a laptop or both. A desktop is really great, but what if you are going to take your work outside of your home office? What if you are taking your work between work and home? In that case, a laptop really does make the most sense.
You can spend some money on a laptop stand that puts the work at the same level as your desktop computer screen. If so, then you will likely want to add in a good wireless keyboard. Also, with the laptop, you will likely want a wireless mouse. Those track pads are just too slow.
High-speed Internet – Since most of your tasks and interactions will be done online, you need to have reliable internet access. Most companies require that you get yourself high-speed, hard-wired internet service, whether digital subscriber line (DSL) or cable, with fast upload and download speeds.
Chair – Since you have that perpendicular desk setup, get a good office chair with wheels, so you can slide over to grab a reference book. A chair with adjustable height is ideal.
VOICE over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – You will likely need to download Skype for when you need to have appointments with clients or coworkers. If so, you also need a headset with a noise-cancelling microphone. A good headset can be had for about $20.
You may want to consider having Skype be your phone that calls landlines as well. It is only about $7 a month to be able to send and receive calls to landlines on Skype.
Software – Microsoft Office, if you have a PC, is important. You will need at least Adobe Reader, if not Adobe Acrobat. Of course, you need a good antivirus program. You will likely need other occupation-specific software.
Hard Drive – External hard drives make your life better as a digital nomad in three ways: 1) They help you store essential files, photos and videos. 2) They free up space on your computer or laptop to allow the programs to run faster. 3) They protect valuable data in case your computer crashes or worst-case scenario, gets stolen.
Surge Protector – Since power surges are a regular occurrence, it is essential to have your computer hooked up to a surge protector. This is because it contains several voltage-sensitive components that can get damaged by a power surge. Since your laptop holds irreplaceable data, it is prudent to have this device at your workstation.
Scanner, Fax and Copier Machine – The scanner function will come in handy more than you can imagine. Though the devices might not be needed for your daily tasks, they are essential when signing forms, contracts and W9s.
Paper Shredder – Since you will be dealing with confidential documents and files from your clients, a paper shredder will ensure that you destroy and discard unwanted items to protect yourself and your clients.
File Cabinet – You also need to have a file cabinet where you store files. You can opt for those that accommodate paper files, as well as CD/DVDs.
Document Collaboration – Lifehacker suggests a document collaboration app. This author uses Google Docs. It is really amazing for two people in different countries to be able to work on one document at the same time.
Screen-Sharing App – Skype has added screen-sharing. This author uses Skype as the audio and video while simultaneously working with others on Google Docs. You can share files and videos through the Google Docs.
There is no need to go wild setting up a home office. The furniture portion can be purchased cheaply at thrift stores or at a discount retailer. No one can see any of that, nor your bunny slippers under your desk.
Work from home with us.