The home office is the new must-have of 2020. Not only is it a great addition to the typical house design and setup, but it is also literally a must-have for those employees & entrepreneurs who have been forced to work from home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We take a look at some of the best gadgets, furniture and decorative effects to add to your own home office.
The Ultimate Home Office Computer
For the typical employee, the computer used at home will often be dictated by the company you work for. You won’t be using a Macbook very often if the company has kitted everyone out with a Windows PC.
However, if you are self-employed and looking to kit out your own home office, a Mac might be your computer of choice – especially if you are a designer.
The Mac’s operating system and resistance to viruses are often touted as it’s true selling point. However, Macs also look stylish and integrate into an entire Apple ‘ecosystem’ with Apple watches and iPhones. You can also use an iPad as a ‘sidecar’.
The most expensive Mac Pro (at the time of writing) costs a hefty $53,000, whilst the cheapest comes in at around $6k.
If a PC is more your thing – then the Dell G5 might be a good choice. Its competitively priced at around $1500 and features an Intel Core i7 Opticore CPU and 16GB of RAM, with an NVIDIA Geforce video card if you fancy a bit of gaming on your lunch. The airflow is efficient and highly effective thanks to the 3 fans and multiple thermal mode options that can be controlled in the Alienware control center. The computer is also easy to upgrade thanks to the toolless-access to all the major components.
Also, consider purchasing a wireless keyboard, especially if you are using a laptop as your main computer. You can also use it on an iPad to create a ‘really portable’ laptop if you want to work from the kitchen or even the garden for a while.
A most wireless keyboard can store the Bluetooth profile of different devices, so you can transition between, for example, a Mac and an iPad instantly. The great thing about using the same keyboard is that all your shortcuts will be set up and your hands learn how to use one specific keyboard, meaning that you should be able to work just as fast, or at least type as fast, regardless of the device the keyboard is connected to.
The Keychron range of mechanical keyboards is definitely worth looking at if you want to purchase one for your home office.
Ultra HD Computer Screen
Choosing a computer screen or monitor can be difficult, as there are so many specifications and configurations to consider. Monitors are typically 20 to 40 inches in size. A typical screen is around 27 inches wide from a bottom corner to the opposite side top corner.
27 inches monitors are more popular with gamers and those looking for a high tech home office.
Resolution refers to the number of horizontal and vertical pixels. If budget allows, look for a 27 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixels monitor, also known as a “Quad HD” monitor. If you are a graphic designer, you may want to take the pixel and screen quality to a higher level, with a 4k monitor. With a 3140 x 2160 pixel resolution, 4k screens provide very sharp images.
If you are a gamer, a 4k screen is likely to be overkill unless you have a hugely powerful graphics card. However, if you are editing 4k quality videos, you may want to choose a 5k monitor such as the LG 34WK95U-W
A Back-Friendly Sit-Stand Desk
Sitting can be bad for your lower back, your posture and overall health. No modern high-tech home office would be complete without a sit-stand-desk. The Jarvis Laminate Standing Desk starts at under $500. The Jarvis desk comes with a range of top sizes and other options such as wire grommets. The desk goes as high as 50 inches but also goes down to a level so that you can sit on the floor.
If you are on a budget and want the benefits of a standing desk – consider using your ironing board – without the iron!
Control the Environment
The brightness, the air temperature and quality can all be worked with, using technology.
Using Apple HomeKit, you can control a smart-blind and you can change the lighting according to the time of day.
The temperature can be controlled with a smart thermostat, which again can be controlled through the Apple HomeKit System – with your computer or iPhone. This is a good investment, as it allows you to quickly and easily control the temperature room by room – ideal if you are the only one in the house during the day. Apple has its own smart thermostat, as does a company called Tado which comes with some amazing reviews on Amazon.
The Tado kit works directly and integrates with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit.
A Dyson fan is the high-tech choice of cooling your office during the summer. The fans that Dyson produces typically generate outstanding airflow, with minimal noise.
Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool Fan Heater Air Purifier is both a top-quality fan and as the name suggests a heater! Ideal if you have converted an outhouse-building or your shed into a home office. The ‘fan’ also removes allergens and air pollutants.
Plants for Air Quality
Having plants in your office offers a range of benefits. Plants such as Motherinlaw’s tongue can improve air quality, whilst research from the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that having a green office can increase productivity by around 15% compared to a lean, minimalistic office. Workers also reported higher levels of happiness and wellbeing whilst in the green office.
The best plants for air quality include Motherinlaw’s tongue, aloe vera and English Ivy. Beware that some great house plants, are toxic to cats and dogs.
A Virtual PA
You have all your tech sorted out and the home office environment has been set up to make it as comfortable and as productive as possible. What more could you want?
Well, if you want to take efficiency to the next level, consider a virtual receptionist and even a virtual assistant.
A virtual receptionist is great if you are self-employed and working from home. With a dedicated call answering service or receptionist from a company such as Moneypenny, you can avoid annoying sales phone calls and other unwanted calls that cause frustrating interruptions. With a 24.7 service, a second receptionist will answer your calls in the evenings and weekends, allowing you to switch off and relax. The receptionist will know your business well enough to pass as an in-house employee, capturing all your sales leads and dealing with general queries. This can be great for your reputation and brand.
Moneypenny Call Answering Service comes with great reviews
A virtual assistant can also be very useful and can often be allocated the more tedious, yet time-consuming administrative jobs. High-quality virtual assistants can be hired for a few dollars per hour on a site such as onlinejobs.ph – but read a few case studies first, to familiarise yourself with the typical processes and communication issues that can occur.
If feeling good and working hard is your goal, consider the following additions to your home office to increase wellbeing and in turn productivity.
SAD lamp – if you are working indoors, a SAD lamp may increase vitamin D production within the body, improve mood and wellbeing.
Massage Cushion – when you are sitting, consider using a massage cushion, to reduce muscle tension and stress.
Grounding mat – grounding has been shown in scientific research to reduce inflammation and enhance wound healing. Consider putting your bare feet on one whilst your work. Some people also believe that grounding can help prevent any negative health consequences associated with exposure to EMFs emitted by modern electrical devices. If you don’t want to buy a grounding mat, you can get the same benefits from walking barefoot on the grass or the beach!