Home Office Setup: Equipment, Furniture & Organization
Have you recently switched to remote work? In this article, you'll find tips, tricks, and small additions that can take a home office setup to the next level.
These days, more people than ever are working remotely. Finding a way to be productive at home is a must, and a home office has quickly become an essential part of any living space. Whether you have a separate room or a couple of folding tables, there are easy ways that you can maximize the effectiveness of your home office. Specific equipment, combined with different organizational techniques, will help make your workspace as comfortable as possible. Below you will find tips, tricks, and small additions that can take a home office setup to the next level.
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Essential Home Office Equipment
To start our home office setup guide, here is some of the most essential home office equipment:
When working from home, your computer is the lifeblood of your home office. There are many different configurations of computers, ranging from netbook to server and everything in between. Most computers will work just fine for basic home office tasks, such as word processing or using web-based applications.
Whether you are a student learning remotely or just trying to hear everyone in a video call, headphones are a massive help in staying focused and getting the best audio possible. Headphones also enable more than one user to occupy the same home office space without limiting or altering their home office experience.
Ranging from over-ear headsets to near-invisible earbuds, headphones provide specific benefits depending on the type of device you are using. For the best quality, an over the ear headset is the way to go. These headphones are often noise canceling and provide the highest overall audio quality. Earbuds are another fantastic headphone solution. They are perfect for video calls when you need to hear the other party clearly and do not want to wear a massive headset.
Just like headphones, a microphone is mandatory for any modern home office setup. These days, remote meetings and classrooms require you to participate. To do so, you will need a microphone. If you plan on spending a lot of time communicating via voice over the internet, consider investing in a dedicated microphone that will provide high-quality audio capture. Headsets are a great option that combine headphones and a microphone in a single device, allowing you to join conference calls hands-free!
The final piece of home office equipment you will need is a webcam. You can communicate over voice with headphones and a microphone, but to get the full remote work experience, you will most likely have to use a webcam. Most laptops come with built-in webcams that will work just fine for 99% of home office tasks. Desktops, unfortunately, require a separate dedicated webcam to share video. Any standard USB webcam should work for most virtual meetings and remote jobs. Specialized remote work such as teaching may require more robust webcam solutions that allow for different viewing angles and zoom or focus controls.
It is impossible to work from home or learn remotely without an internet connection. Modern computers depend on the internet for almost everything. Nearly all professional communications are handled via email or voice over IP calling. For these reasons, a reliable internet connection is mandatory for any home office setup. You could have the best office in the world with a powerful supercomputer ready to work, but you would never be able to submit that work without the internet. Ensure you have a reliable router, and consider a Wi-Fi extender if you’re having trouble getting signal in your office space.
Home Office Furniture
Of course, you’ll need somewhere to sit in your office and somewhere to place your equipment. Here’s a quick overview of the most important home office furniture:
There is no piece of home office furniture more important than your desk. A good desk increases productivity and work ethic by making it comfortable to work from home. Having the appropriate amount of desk space allows you to accomplish any task from work at home. A large enough desk can support the use of dual monitors, which many professionals have had in the office but not at home, until now. Another option to consider is a standing desk or standing desk converter, which will allow you to sit and stand as you please.
You will likely be spending extended sessions sitting at a desk to accomplish your work. Using a cheap chair can not only have adverse health effects, but it can also seriously affect your workplace performance. To improve your health and performance, spending extra on a nice ergonomic chair is the best investment you can make for your home office. A good chair is the difference between significant back pain after a long day of work or a comfortable and efficient home office setup.
Monitor Stands & Mounts
Monitor stands free up valuable desk space. With that extra space, you can optimize your home office with more equipment or even more monitors. Dual monitors provide a significant boost in productivity and minimize the differences between a standard office and home office setup. Dual monitors can take up a ton of desk space when not mounted to a wall or some kind of stand. Mounts and stands also offer the unique advantage of rotating a monitor. Vertical monitors can save you even more desk space. Some professions, such as writing, can benefit significantly from the added vertical screen space.
How to Organize a Home Office
You could have the best home office equipment in the world, but if your office space is cluttered and unorganized, you will still struggle to get the most out of your workspace. Small changes like desk placement, cable management, or even desk orientation can go a long way in making your office space as productive as possible. Here are a few tips on how to organize a home office:
Desk Setup Ideas
Whether you have a ton of space or share a desk with a spouse, there are ways you can organize your setup to maximize productivity. Little things like using one vertical monitor and one horizontal monitor can free up a ton of desk space. Another great way to maximize desk space is with a monitor stand or mount. Monitors often take up the most space on your desk, and taking them out of the equation is an easy way to increase the size of your workspace.
Another great way to save desk space is with a tenkeyless or 60% keyboard. These keyboards function the same as their full-sized counterparts but do not take up as much desk space. Tenkeyless keyboards save space by removing the Numpad, and 60% keyboards free up the most space by losing dedicated function and arrow keys. You can still use key combinations with smaller keyboards to achieve the same functions as full-sized keyboards.
Where to Put Your Desk
Desk placement in a room is often an overlooked aspect when setting up a home office. Putting a desk next to a doorway, for instance, can cause frequent interruptions from outside parties and make it easier to get distracted. For this reason, it is recommended to put your desk up against a wall or window. That way, there will be minimal distractions coming into your peripheral vision. If you have space, you can even set up an L-shaped desk that will give you ample room for a PC set up in addition to plenty of empty desk space for scratch paper, or an additional laptop.
When sharing a home office, desk placement is more crucial than ever. If both parties need to use microphones, poor desk placement can result in audio bleed, where both users can be heard in each other's microphones. For this reason, it is recommended to have your backs or side profile facing each other when sharing a home office with another person. When both users' fronts face each other, it is easy for voices to get crossed on microphones, and both parties will be stuck looking at the back of the other's computer.
The difference between tripping on a power cord and always knowing where your peripherals are is in your cable management. Proper grouping and hiding of cables can make your home office look more professional and operate more efficiently. Clean cabling makes it easier for you to track down ports and plugs on any of your other devices. Inexpensive organizational tools such as cable ties and shrouds to hide groups of cords can go a long way in taking your cable management to the next level.
A Note About Screensharing
While not directly related to webcams, the ability to share your screen is also an essential part of any home office set up. There is no equipment you need to buy to share your screen. You just need to enable it in whatever software you are using to host your virtual meeting. Remember that when you share your screen, you are also sharing sounds playing on your PC, so it is best to close any unnecessary programs or music that may make noise in the background.
Remote work or learning has become standard for just about everyone this year. Luckily, that does not mean the quality of education or work has to diminish. With the proper equipment and organization of furniture and office space, any home can double as a remote workplace or classroom. A home office can be just as efficient if not more than a standard office. Webcams and microphones let you meet with coworkers and classmates remotely while getting full use of your PC simultaneously. By accurately utilizing the equipment and space available, you can create the best home office setup for yourself and maximize your productivity.