Design a Smarter Home Office
3 Products to Upgrade Your Home Office 02:11
These days, you can run an entire office in the palm of your hand. But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s efficient. If you plan on getting some real work done, you’ll need an office, and for many of us, that means a home office. With the right tools and set-up, you can create a space that’s as efficient as it is stylish. Let’s get to work on making that happen.
By the time you hook up your scanner, your printer, your monitor, your phone and your tablet, you’ve got a mess of cords to deal with. Is there any space left to work? Get a desk that can help you manage all that cable clutter. This desk from BlueLounge sports a stylish leather writing tray and mahogany accents, but slide out that tray and there’s room for a power strip, all the cords and anything else you want to stow away. Holes by the leg allow the cords to run down one side neatly, so you can turn that mess into a streamlined situation.
… Especially Those Cords.
You get inspired to move the furniture, one thing leads to another, and suddenly, you have a mess of unplugged cables and no memory of what went where. Or maybe you just want to unplug the modem and not the printer, and all the cords look alike. Labeling your cords solves the problem (and keeps you organized when you put things away).
Use a Bar Cart as a Catch-All.
Taking a conference call? You’ll want a speaker so you can talk hands-free and be heard clearly. But this is your home office, so no stuffy gray system for you. This Bluetooth speaker from Native Union comes in bright colors, and is a multi-tasker: It will charge your smartphone while you’re on the call, and you can use it anywhere in the house to stream music when the workday is done.
Going paperless is a great idea, but setting up the scanner and transferring files is a chore. A wireless scanner lets you scan and save to the cloud, so your documents are available whenever (and wherever) you need them.
VTech Connect to Cell
No matter how dedicated you are, if a client calls your cell and can’t get a clear connection, it’s unprofessional. VTech’s Connect to Cell lets you pair your cell to your home phone, so you can pick up calls on the handset — and take advantage of the stronger signal and clearer sound.
The fewer cables you have to hide (or avoid tripping over), the better. A wireless printer with Wi-Fi capability means you can print from any device, including smartphones and tablets, and even email the printer from a remote location — very convenient.
When you’re done scanning documents you want a way to destroy them, especially the ones that have your sensitive information on them. This shredder micro-cuts 12 sheets at a time (and is praised for not jamming), which means it reduces your sensitive documents to tiny crumbles. Plus it can even obliterate credit cards and CDs.
You can’t take notes and juggle a cell phone at the same time. Save your neck with a Bluetooth headset like the top-rated Plantronics Voyager Legend. It recognizes when it’s being worn and automatically swaps the call to the headset, eliminating awkward “Hang on, I’m transferring you to the headset” moments.
Conference Call Speaker
Putting your desk phone on speakerphone for a conference call can mean echoey calls that drop in and out whenever someone in the room is speaking. A device like NativeUnion’s Lego-esque SWITCH is made for hands-free conference calls, and has integrated mics so you can talk without leaning into the unit.
If you’ve ever found yourself deliberating over whether you can take your tablet to that meeting or if you really need your laptop, then a laptop/tablet hybrid like the Surface Pro 3 might ease your burden. The Surface Pro 3 has been lauded for its ability to handle files like a laptop, while being light and portable like a tablet. It even uses a stylus.
High-Power Wireless Router
At 4:30 p.m., your work day is still going, but your kids are taking an after-school break with the gaming console. Keep your wireless from slowing to a crawl by installing a high-powered router like D-Link’s top-rated Ultra Wi-Fi Router.
A shredder isn’t sexy, but it’s critical for properly disposing of sensitive documents you work with at home. Office-sized shredders are not an option (they’re too big, and aesthetically … ick) so look for one that’s small enough to store in a drawer, but powerful enough to make noodles of up to 5 sheets at a time. If your office is even a little bit paperless, a shredder is a major must-have.
With the right home office gadgets, your work is about to get a lot more productive … not to mention, fun!