How To Set Up A Home Office

What Type Of Computer Do I Choose?

If your work doesn't require you to take a computer with you, then a desktop computer is ideal. Desktops are cost effective and offer great performance. They can be easily upgraded and are highly versatile (they can also be used as gaming computers and media libraries to store you music and videos).

For those who take work out of the office, laptops – also referred to as notebooks – come in a range of sizes, from the thin and light Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) to the larger desktop replacements. The size and weight of the laptop is often dictated by the level of features and performance available.

When selecting a computer for your home office, consider the following:

  • Processor – The "brains" of the computer, which determines how fast it functions. Tip: Choose the fastest you can afford.
  • Random Access Memory (RAM) – Helps your processor perform tasks by acting as temporary storage. Tip: The more RAM, the more programs you can keep open at once, and the faster your computer will operate.
  • Hard Drive – Where your computer stores files. Storage capacity is measured in gigabytes. Tip: The more GB, the more files you can fit.

Which Software Is Essential?

  • Business: For administrative, accounting and finance tasks.
  • Anti-virus/Security: A must to protect against malicious attacks from viruses and worms.
  • Operating system: The software that runs the tasks on your computer.
  • Other: Programs like Microsoft Office come with essential programs, such as Word and Excel.

How Do I Set Up A Wireless Network?

A "wireless" network (Wi-Fi) lets you share files between multiple computers and other devices, such as a printer, without messy cables. The devices "talk" to each other through a router.

  • A router with a modem enables multiple computers to connect to the Internet.
  • Use security encryption to protect your documents.

Which Type Of Printer Do I Need?

The nature of your work will dictate which type of printer you require.

  • Personal laser printers deliver fast, sharp print for text documents.
  • Ink-jet printers are ideal for high quality colour output, like photographs.
  • Multifunction printers (MFP) combine a printer with a copier, a scanner and a fax machine.
  • Choose between a colour or mono chrome printer.

Ensure the printer is compatible with your computer, and always consider the costs of consumables, such as ink cartridges.

What Do I Look For In A Phone?

Look for a cordless phone with a hands-free speakerphone function. This allows you to multi-task while on hold, and is suitable for business meetings and conference calls.

  • Caller ID lets you screen calls for importance.
  • An in-built answering machine is a must.

How Do I Create The Right Office Environment?

A pleasant office environment can help with productivity. Consider the following:

  • Select a desk that is a light to medium colour with a matt finish; a dark or shiny desktop can result in too much reflection.
  • Use a halogen desk lamp for clean, even light without shadows.
  • Set up your monitor side-on to a window to avoid glare from the sun.
  • Position things like stationary and the telephone within reach to avoid over-stretching and straining.
  • Invest in a good-quality, fully-adjustable ergonomic chair with a well padded seat base.
  • Ensure you have adequate storage, like filing cabinets, to keep your office organised.
  • Remember to take regular breaks – stretch your muscles or go for a brisk work – as this will ensure you remain focused.

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