It used to be that “working from home” was once considered a luxury that few working professionals could enjoy. The advent of the knowledge worker and the introduction of technology in every aspect of our working lives changed all that. Consider these facts:
- According to statistics from GlobalWorkPlaceAnalytics, the population of “work from homers” grew by 29.4% between 2005 to 2012
- Forbes magazine estimates that one out of every five Americans work from home, with that number seen rising by 63% in the coming years
Since so much of our work is being done from home now, as opposed to traditional cubicle-based offices, productivity is taking center stage – both by corporate employers as well as the self-employed.
So how do you ensure that you remain highly productive, even when you are working from home? The answer: Get yourself some neat productivity boosting gadgets!
The Essential 5
The list of productivity boosters is long, and changes with technology improvements, time and trends. However, here are 5 essential productivity boosting gadgets that anyone operating out of a home office should consider having.
1) A Standing Desk
Technology has produced more “couch potatoes” in our generation than any other in recent memory. Why? Because:
- It is now so convenient to order things online rather than make a trip to the store!
- Email instead of walking to the post office!
- Text instead of walking to the cubicle next door to ours!
- Rampant obesity
- High instances of diabetes
- Increasing numbers of cardiovascular disease sufferers
The solution: Supplement your work environment with a standing desk, which is a simple piece of furniture designed to create a workstation where you can conduct all your business while standing upright. Having a standing desk in your home office is a great way to force you to exercise more, by standing, pacing around the desk and flexing your legs just a bit while you work.
2) A Water Filter Pitcher
As you move through your work day, especially if you are in a high-stress job, you need to consider staying hydrated:
- While java lovers may think their favorite brew is the way to stay hydrated, excessive intake of caffeine has been linked to a whole slew of health issues
- Pop drinkers swear that their solution is the way to go. However, the high sugar content and even higher calories that come with each bottle or can of pop isn’t exactly the hydration solution that doctors prescribe!
- What about energy and “health” drinks? While these may serve well in moderation, they can be highly addictive. Studies have also linked them to many other health aliments
The solution: Have a water filter pitcher within easy reach, topped with clear water and a glass, and take a drink every hour or so. These gadgets are designed to filter out odors and harmful chemicals like mercury, zinc and cadmium from the water, leaving you refreshed and hydrated throughout the day.
3) A Large Screen Monitor
A lot of us like to stay plugged into work in our home office using our Smartphone’s and tablet devices. However, the limited real-estate on these devices:
- Causes many of us to squint and blink while working, giving us headaches and migraines
- Adds to the stress of the moment when we are trying to respond to urgent matters using these devices
- May even lead us to perform poorly because we didn’t see (or missed out on) key components of the text, message or document we are working on
The solution: Equip your home office with a large screen monitor that you can conveniently connect to your mobile or laptop device. Ideal specifications include:
- Screen size: Anywhere from 24 to 28 inches
- Native Resolution: 2560x 1440 to 3840 x 2160
- Video: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Interfaces: DVI-D, HDMI
With the additional on-screen real-estate at your disposal, you’ll see your productivity skyrocket. Pair this with a multi-device keyboard, like the one from Logitech, and you’ll be unstoppable!
4) A Handy Scanner
If you are like most home office workers, you’ll probably have a slew of paper documents such as:
- Receipts for office expenses that you need when filing your taxes or invoicing clients
- Business cards of key contacts you made during the workshop or seminar you attended last month
- Cancelled checks or payslips that you need to keep track of
In typical Murphy style, these little bits of paper often go missing or get mislaid just when you want them the most!
The solution: Equip your home office with an electronic scanner/smart organizer like the one from Neat Desk. You’ll improve your productivity by:
- Scanning these and other paper documents and quickly converting them into digital format
- Collating and organizing important information into a digital folder instead of a shoe box or filing cabinet
- Neatly categorizing and tagging the documents for quick and painless retrieval at a later date
Not only will you ensure that key information doesn’t go missing ever again, but you’ll save many hours of time by drastically cutting down the great paper chase!
5) A Handy Vacuum Cleaner
Like their traditional office workers, home office users likely spend more time “at the office” than anywhere else in the house.
This often leads to:
- An accumulation of dust and debris under your desk and on the floor of your home office
- Procrastination and putting off the cleaning chore because there’s always something more important to tend to during the workday!
- Poor productivity when all you see is dirt and dust around the office
The solution: Equip yourself with a handy little vacuum cleaner, like the Roomba from iRobot. Built to take over the dreaded chore that you keep putting off, this gadget operates quietly in the background while you carry on with your day’s work.
There are some who suggest that employers should be footing the bill for home office productivity gadgets. Others disagree, putting the onus on the home office working employee/freelancer. While this debate continues, no one denies that arming the home office with gadgets such as the ones discussed above really does pay off in productivity improvements!