Working from home can be a great option for some, even though it's become less popular to some degree, the option is not going away. Let's approach this as if you are newbie with a look at the ins and outs, and what you need need to get started. I’ve worked from home for many years as an IT professional and find it enjoyable, though, it more than just waking up and turning on your computer.
One of the first areas you need to consider is your office setup — you'll want your home office in a quiet area of your home. I created a large, quiet and cool — temperature wise, for all my gear — office in my basement. Everyone has a different layout to contend with but once you have a space all set up, it's time to equip it.
You should be well equipped in your home office with the following items — and don’t be a cheapskate:
- A quality headset for phone calls/Skype/and other services your company may use.
- A comfortable ergonomic office chair which I cannot stress enough (I personally like Steelcase).
- A work desk; standard sit-down with lots of room, a standing desk, or the best of both worlds in an adjustable desktop that allows for sitting or standing.
- Good lighting that's easy on your eyes. I use a combination of overhead halogen lighting and LED desk lamps.
- Creature comforts to make your day much better, like a mug warmer, a novelty clock, a chair pad for comfort, personal photos, etc.
- A USB hub to plug multiple devices into your main computer all at once. You'll also want a space saver and an efficient charging device.
- A quality keyboard. Ever tired a mechanical keyboard? Those keyboards of yesteryear that make the "click" sound when you type? The Corsair and WASD brands are well reviewed, just don't settle for a $20 keyboard that won't last.
- Multiple monitors, a great efficiency hack. If your company lives by email as many do, this allows you to use one of them just for email, at the very least, with the others for tasks at hand. Quality is key — you'll be staring at your monitors for hours on end, so a quality monitor with a strong dpi (dots per inch/high resolution) means less eye strain. Higher end monitors have a variety of other features as well. The Dell UltraSharp is one that consistently scores well though on the pricier side for some.
Now that you have your home office space set up and equipped, create a consistent working schedule with reasonable working hours — including when to change out of your pajamas — and find a happy work/life balance. If you can't put down the notebook, email or cell phone, you'll find yourself working countless hours and, and the comforts of working from home are all for nothing.
Brian Koch is an avid techie who's worked in the tech field for dozens of years with Compaq/HP, his own pc business Techpertise, outdoor photography, and more. He has lived with his wife Stacy in Colorado for over 16 years. E-mail questions, comments, suggestions to Brian: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Techpertise.