Posted January 22, 2014 by

7 Essentials for Working at Home after College

A simple home office

A simple home office. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Ready to kick-start your home office? There are lots of things you’ll probably want to have, but some assets are essential. These items give you security, flexibility, and the ability to perform as if you were in a fully stocked office.

Up to Date Laptop and Software

Laptops are the ideal solution because they’re less bulky than a desktop and portable, for times when you have to go to a meeting or visit a client. But they have more storage space and power than notebook computers. With so many new software advances and updates coming out, make sure you get the most up to date laptop, so that you can put yourself ahead of the game. Invest in a well-padded carrying case that’s large enough for everything you’d want to carry with your computer, such as a full size keyboard and mouse, charger, pads and pens, etc.

Separate Phone Line for Business

It’s easy for spouses and coworkers to accidentally interrupt an important business call if you’re sharing the home line. Also, the family may forget to pass on important business messages if they come through the home line. The best way to come across as a professional is to have a separate business line in the home office, equipped with voice mail or an answering machine. This serves another purpose — you won’t be tempted to keep taking business calls way past time to shut down for the evening.

Paper Shredder

Identity theft can happen to businesses just like it can to individuals. A paper shredder is an item that’ll help you keep your home business and career safe. It protects both you and your clients, as you’ll be handling their sensitive information too.

Multifunction Printer

Home based workers often take the convenience of a stocked office for granted. It’s surprising how often a scanner, printer, and copier come in handy. With a multi-function printer, you can scan and store all your important documents on the computer, or print out documents you receive through email for your files.

Surge Protector

It doesn’t have to be storming outside for a power surge to damage or destroy your computer and equipment. Over time, an unprotected system sustains many small surges that don’t cause obvious damage but cut the system’s functionality and reduce its lifespan. This is an item that’s worth paying top dollar for; don’t just get the cheapest you can find.

If possible, invest in a UPS/surge protector unit that keeps the computer powered long enough for you to save your work and shut the system down properly when the power goes out. Storms blow in quickly in Texas.

Quality Office Chair

A comfortable chair means the difference in staying focused and productive all day, or worrying with a hurting back. Ergonomic chairs are the best, but any high-quality office chair is better than using a metal folding chair or uncomfortable wooden straight back chair. Buy your chair from a local retailer instead of online so you can sit in it and test it out.

Do your feet sit comfortably on the floor? Is it adjustable to the height most comfortable to you? Scratch and dent sales are great places to get steep discounts on high-quality office furniture.

A Comprehensive Insurance Plan

Once you get all your equipment in the home office, and depending where you live, you need to make sure it’s covered in case of a fire, home invasion, flood, or other tragedy. If you decide to set up home base in Texas, all of these can be an issue so be sure to take advantage of Texas homeowners insurance which will cover your home office equipment, as well as the other valuables and belongings in your home. Be sure to discuss your home office with the insurance agent so he or she can recommend the best policy to cover your needs.

After stocking up on the essentials, you can shop for the extras that make working at home pleasant, such as a mini fridge for the office, cool looking office supplies to go on the desk, artwork for the walls, and other fun stuff. Just make sure you invest in the essentials first so you don’t run out of funds before the important stuff is taken care of. Managing funds is just one of the many lessons to learn about working from home.

Author Bio: Joe Fortunato is a freelance writer from Tampa, Florida. He enjoys learning about new subjects, following his Baltimore Orioles, and traveling the country for fishing. You can find Joe on Twitter at @joey_fort.

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