It has been two years. Two years of a not-so-normal kind of life – work and home life that is. Many of us had the chance to work remote, and along with it made workspace at home a little more convenient if not having an already perfect setup. Those who have their businesses at home especially took proper renovations as well as those who have kids home-studying.
For example, a friend who has to limit employees because of lockdowns and less income flow decided to redo his garage and expand it a little to set up a home office for when he has to conduct customer meetings (in person and online). He took inspiration from the convenience and chic look of Apres Furniture, seeing their pretty reception counters prompted him to have one installed. It was customized to his requirement and needless to say, it’s functional and is a really pretty addition.
The reception desk is the first thing visitors get to see when entering a salon, an office, a hotel, and some other establishments – and first impressions always last, as the cliché goes. That’s why it’s important for a business to have one that would paint their brand professionally. It’s also an intelligent spot to setup most office needs.
To better make it lighter for our home setup or business to function, we secure other office equipment, software, hardware, programs, or tools handy. Here is a quick rundown of the top essentials that I chose to have or keep.
Adjustable tables are ideal for your home office setup. Sitting all day long has its unpleasant consequences, and so does standing for hours on end. Thus, adjustable tables are recommended by health experts.
For chairs, an ergonomic chair is mostly advised to be used. Ergonomic chairs are designed to best support the human body, it has features that one can adjust in connection to considerations like posture, comfort, support, and health.
Laptop and Complete Computer Setup
Laptops specs nowadays are more than sufficient to run your business smoothly. It’s convenient and gives you flexibility to move around. It is wise to invest in one along with other gadgets that make using a laptop easier and ease discomfort. For one, a laptop stand so that you don’t hunch over while working. A lapdesk (laptop desk) to use as a barrier for you and your skin if you use your laptop sitting. A laptop cooling pad is also a good idea to reduce the heat that your gadget emits, some lapdesks come with installed cooling fan too.
If you value performance over portability, a desktop setup is a better option (although you can still have your laptop, tablet and other portables if there’s a need to be mobile). For those who prefer bigger monitor screens and better performing processors and parts, desktops are the way to go. They are less expensive too and an upgrade is easier than it is with a laptop.
Monitors also have an impact to one’s productivity. Personally, I use the desktop when I need to do a lot of graphics. But when writing, the laptop is enough. While I still have a lot of tabs opened, it makes switching from one monitor to the other and finding those tabs easier.
Most tasks of remote work need internet, and not just any internet connection but a high-speed one. Videoconferencing, coding, and even sending files to colleagues need an efficient internet connection. If your current connection seem unstable, check with your provider and upgrade to a better and faster package.
Office Tools and Creative Apps
Our desktops, laptops and smart phones come with pre-installed programs when we buy them from the store. The basic programs or applications installed depend on the brand and the operating system of your chosen gadgets. These often include the standard office tools (i.e. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint), online browser, security software such as Norton Antivirus, Symantec or McAfee, desktop utilities, and multimedia applications. You have the option to keep the pre-installed programs or install your own set of preferred applications on your gadgets and gizmos.
There are several versions of Microsoft Office Tools or Suites that you can install on your PC. Aside from standard Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook programs you can also install other tools like the Microsoft Access for database management needs. For the creatives, Adobe Photoshop, Canva, Desygner for photo editing needs.
I use Google Chrome as my default browser but I also installed Firefox for faster or quicker access to other websites or applications. Google Chrome works faster when it comes to accessing files from Google Drive and Firefox can speed things up in loading multimedia pages on your screen. Though Safari is the installed browser for Macs, I rarely use it.
Choosing the right antivirus program is very important to secure your data and protect yourself against malicious software and hacking. Trial versions of Norton Antivirus and McAfee Antivirus are usually pre-installed in computers. This will allow you to test their products first and decide on whether you like to purchase it on a longer term or upgrade to their premium versions.
Consider though the pros and cons of having a free antivirus software and the advantages of paying for it.
Scanner and Printer
Things have become easier to manage at home because of the scanner and printer. It’s not just for printing our own business cards. There’s just a lot of scanning and printing that one does in relation to any business.
If you sell services or products, and in turn buy stuff to get your business going, it is but wise to have an invoicing system that would make accounting easy for you. You can always use traditional ledgers, but you can also conveniently upgrade to an online system. In connection to having printers and making your business eco-friendly, having less paper trail is good for you and the environment in the long run.
Website and Blog
Bill Gates once said “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” Another version goes “If it’s not on the Web, it doesn’t exist at all.” People search stuff online and one search could mean a new customer for you. It is a wise move to have a website or business page where your contact info, the services you offer, and if possible some testimonials from your previous customers are readily available. You can also make a blog that is connected to your business to further give your customers information about your brand.
What’s an office without a coffee machine/corner? Coffee is, to some, a daily fuel. You can have a simple coffee machine, or if you prefer your french press, that’s okay too. It is after all, an office that is an extension of your home – no need to buy a new coffee machine if you already have one that works perfectly.
You do not have to limit your coffee corner to coffee, it can also be a tea station, or a snack, break, or relaxation area. Something that would take you away from the usual office routine.
Plants just lift you up, just like anything that has to do with nature. In Japan, Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is defined as making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest. Simply walking in the woods can relax a person, so is being near the water. Thus, doing these are advised by health professionals.
While we do not have the leisure to walk everyday, adding some houseplants might have a similar effect. Having plants/greenery around you may improve productivity. Office plants can increase the humidity around a desk, purify the air, and add to your workspace aesthetic. In effect, one increases productivity and satisfaction on the job.
These are only some of the essentials that I have made sure to have so that I can work on my office or business tasks efficiently. Other advanced programs which can be tailored to your work demands may also be installed or downloaded to your desktop or laptop. Just make sure that everything you download comes from a reliable source and thoroughly screened by your Antivirus and security programs.
Don’t hesitate to add other equipment that would come in handy for you and your employees (even the kids at home). What other things have we not listed that is essential to you? Let us know in the comments.