If you’ve recently quit your job and are about to start working from home, or if you get to enjoy home-based work one or more days per week thanks to your employer, it’s vital to have a quality home office set up.
While it’s quicker, easier, and cheaper than ever to get yourself ready to work from home, there are still numerous steps you should take to ensure you can do your tasks productively and securely.
Start with the Basics
Don’t feel you have to invest a heap of money into technology products for your office. You will need a quality computer, plus a modem, multifunction photocopier/printer/scanner, and some helpful software programs, but you don’t need every device under the sun.
In fact, if you buy too many gadgets you’ll likely waste not only money but also time. Researching, comparing, buying, setting up, and learning how to use technology takes many hours, so the more products you add to your list, the more time taken away from your truly productive tasks. Plus, remember that having lots of gear in your home office will make the space more cluttered. This, in turn, may increase stress and reduce your productivity.
Be Mindful of Security
One of the most crucial home-office factors, no matter the industry you’re in or the job you do, is security. With so many hackers coming up with new ways to break into computers, steal data, crash systems, and otherwise cause havoc these days, you must take all necessary steps to protect yourself and your data.
For example, buy quality security software to keep cybercriminals at bay. The product you select should be comprehensive, covering you against a wide variety of threats. For example, you’ll want to be protected from ransomware, spyware, spam, viruses, and other types of malware.
Also, use a firewall as an extra layer of security. Firewalls, which often come pre-installed on devices, help to stop hackers from breaking into your network via the internet. Another step is to put proper passwords in place on your computer, Wi-Fi router, and any of the accounts you login to online where hackers could get your details.
Another way to stay safe is to update programs often. Anytime developers release new versions of software or firmware, whether it’s for security software, browsers, operating systems, plugins, apps, games, or more, you should update to the latest releases. Doing this will plug any gaps in security ASAP.
Invest in Tech Support
When you work from home, you may find it challenging to suddenly be without in-house I.T. providers to turn to for advice and assistance. However, this doesn’t mean you have to work everything out by yourself. Today it’s more affordable than ever to utilize premium home tech-support services.
Search online, and you’ll find numerous companies and individuals providing tech support on a monthly basis for a set number of hours or an ad-hoc basis as clients need them. Use these services to increase both your productivity and security, as qualified techies can help you get your home office situation set up quickly and easily, and check that everything is as secure as possible.
Plus, if you ever have issues with your equipment or software, you can get in touch with your tech support guru for help with getting glitches sorted out or other problems rectified. This is much more effective than waiting on the phone for hours for a manufacturer’s or telecommunications service representative to provide assistance for free.
Keep Your Home Office Separate from Family Members
It may not be the first thing you think of when considering how to be as productive and secure as possible in your home office environment, but a vital step is to keep your work area separate from the rest of the house and other family members. When you start working from home, your spouse, children, parents, flatmates,or even pets will be keen to spend more time with you. They may not mean to be disruptive, but it often happens.
Furthermore, the unfortunate fact is that your security risks increase if your children use your computer or otherwise have access to your tech tools. Youngsters don’t have the kind of training or worldly experience required to know how to do things securely online. They may end up leaving you vulnerable to a hacker’s attack as a result.
To make things more streamlined and safe, keep a separate area of the house for your work space. Close the door when you’re in “work time,” and teach your family that just because you’re working from home this doesn’t mean you’re available 24/7.
Working from home can be a dream and give you more of the work-life balance you’re searching for, but only if you take steps to protect your interests and be strategic in how you set up your days and new office environment. Follow the steps listed above, and you’ll soon settle into a productive flow and be more likely to achieve the results you’re after.