Setting Up Your Home IT Office

How to setup your home office

Remote working can bring lots of benefits to employers & employees alike, however it’s important to generate an appropriate surroundings.

Before embarking on home working, you need to have a meeting together with your relatives, or those you live with, to speak about how the setup will work, including your need for privacy & quiet & how this will impact on their lives.


Basic Set-up

It is important that people generate a space to work in & have the resources they need. It is also sensible to minimise distractions. It’s not easy to concentrate on work when the TV is on or the children are jogging riot in the next room.

The best way is to designate an area, preferably a separate room, in which you can work. The usual trend is for this to be a spare room or an attic conversion. in case you don’t have a room available to do this, then you need to select whether you are going to commandeer some existing space, for example the dining room table or a corner of the kitchen, or perhaps even a transportable office that can be moved to a convenient location.

Incase you plan to spend plenty of time at home, you need to think about whether you have the correct furniture – for example are you going to be happy sitting at your kitchen table on a wooden chair for 7-8 hours per day?

Phone & Internet

Seldom underestimate the space you will need to operate successfully. On top of the equipment you need like PCs & printers, you may need space for files, documents, reference books etc.

Things to think about when setting up your office:

Home Furniture

Do you have suitable phone lines & web connections? Is there a limit on your web downloads? How will you reclaim the call charges for business phone calls?
Privacy

Will you be able to make business phone calls without background noise or be able to close the door when you need to concentrate?
Power

Do you have enough space & storage for all the documents, reference books etc. you need. in case you need more space is this available?
Environment

Do you have the correct power outlets in the correct places?

Storage

You  need to make certain that your arrangement is suitable for both you & those around you; in case you are in any doubt, I would do a dry run before you spend plenty of time & money on setting up your home office.

Computer Equipment & its use

This may appear an unlikely point, but sitting in the smallest room in the house surrounded by boxes or dirty washing may not be the greatest surroundings for productive work. You also need to think about light, task lighting may be needed. Sound distractions that may occur also need to be taken in to account.

Laptops however are more pricey than the computer equivalent, so you do need to weigh up the plus and minus factors.

For most workers the main decision is whether to select a computer or a laptop computer. Laptops provide greater portability, so you can easily move from room to room or even work in the garden; they also take up less space, if this is at a premium. However, working on a laptop computer for several hours a day can be uncomfortable so it may be wiser to invest in a separate keyboard, mouse & monitor.

When you have made your decision, you need to make certain that you have the acceptable & legitimate licenses application loaded onto your computer or laptop computer.

Other Equipment

Printers

You need to think about the volume of printing you will be doing in your home office. in case you are  printing out occasional documents then a low cost Ink/Bubble Jet printer will be suitable. However, in case you foresee larger print jobs then a LaserJet or even a colour LaserJet would be advisable.  Inkjets are cheap to buy but the ink cartridges can be pricey & this might work out more pricey in the long run.
Scanners

Incase you need to copy documents, pics or other reference material onto your computer you will need a scanner. Most flatbed scanners are comparatively cheap to buy & will probably be suitable for most jobs.

Multi-Function Devices

Most printer manufacturers provide multi-function printer, scanner, copier devices which sometimes include fax facilities. These can be great in case you have limited space & are no more pricey to buy than the combined prices for a printer & scanner.

Backup Device

Incase you have a laptop computer or need to be able to work from anywhere in your home then it may be simpler to make use of a wireless router/access point.

Connections To The Work Office

If you are generating or storing work information on your laptop computer & computer it is sensible to back this up to make certain you are protected ought to your equipment fail. This can range from a CD or DVD Writer or USB pen tool up to Network/PC attached storage or even online backups.

Wireless

Remote access programs like ‘Go to my PC’ ‘Log me in’ & UltraVNC let you operate your office computer from remote locations. This is fine for rare use, but can tie up an office computer & stop other people using it.

The most productive way to work from home is with a remote connection, either to your office or to a hosted facility. Terminal servers & VPN connections are the main ways of connecting in to your office. Terminal servers tend to be faster & also enable you to work ‘virtually’ at your work computer.

Hosted facilities can range from hosted servers, hosted exchange facilities or full hosted desktop services. These services are usually hosted by specialist IT companies & supply all the facilities you would expect in your office, at your remote location.

The advantage of these solutions is that you are working off the same technique as everybody else in your company. Sharing access to information, databases, & electronic mail will improve productivity. Another benefit is that you don’t need to put in additional application on your home PC/Laptop as everything is available in the remote surroundings.

Keeping Intouch

VoIP can provide VoIP allows you to make phone calls using a computer network (over an information network like the Internet). You can use it to speak to someone with a regular phone number & they can phone you. VoIP converts the voice signal from your phone in to a digital signal, which travels over the net, then gets converted back at the other finish.

There are several options regarding phone/communication systems when working from home. Traditional rings are fine but may work out pricey as do mobile rings. VoIP (Voice over web Protocol) can provide a costs effective alternative.

a number of the benefits of VoIP are:

* Saves money & Cost Efficient – Whether there’s  you or hundreds of employees, you will find VoIP a lot cheaper than landline phone costs. When you are out & about this can also cut the costs of having to make use of your mobile.
* Flexibility – You can use the phone from anywhere you have an online connection; it’s like having your office phone with you on a regular basis. You may even talk on your laptop computer using a headphone/microphone.
* additional Features at no cost – voicemail, Call forwarding, Call waiting, Caller ID, Call Block, Call Return & Do not disturb.
* No Separate Cabling – With VoIP there is no need to put in structured cabling for a separate phone system; everything can run off standard computer cabling.
* Integration with other applications – Video Conferencing, voicemails forwarded to your electronic mail inbox & fax integration are  a few examples.

Tags: Remote Working

Allen White

Allen is a Consultant for ITPS in the North East of England and holds the following accreditations. MCSA, MCSE, MCTS, MCITP, CCA, CCSP, VCP 4,5 and HP ASE, AIS - Network Infrastructure.

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