More than ever, people are making the shift from in-office work to telecommuting, or taking on jobs where they can work from home. But being a private contractor or a barefoot executive does not automatically mean becoming a bathrobe warrior with your laptop on a TV tray. To be professional, you want to have professional equipment. Only George R.R. Martin can get away with making his living using a DOS running WordStar 4.0 from the 1980s. You want to make your home office a hi-tech workspace with everything you need to get the job done.
The desk: Standing desks are the latest trends in workspace surfaces, especially a full-size adjustable standing desk. These can be adjusted for sitting or standing for improved ergonomics and convenience. If you’re cramped for space but working on your big-dream start-up, there are smaller versions of the standing desk that can be mounted on an existing surface, as well as wall-mount desks that fold up and out of the way if your home office is your entire home. Remember: for the best ergonomics, your eyes should be in line with your screen about two to three inches from the top of the monitor.
For any desk, decide what your basic needs are. You need to be able to fit the basics of a monitor, keyboard, and mouse (or your laptop), and a router and not have everything cluttered or spilling over (or worse, any expensive equipment easily knocked over).
Equipment: The router. Even more important that the brand and quality of your computer is the speed and reliability of your Wi-Fi. Here is where you want quality speeds for uploads and downloads. Also, if you share your router with an entire household (and family), you don’t want a big file to not go through because your kid is gaming while someone else is chilling with Apple TV. Decide whether you need a single-band router, a dual-band router, or a tri-band router for a serious hi-tech household.
A single-band router is the least expensive and is fine for general Internet surfing, but it can often get thwarted by other devices on the radio band, such as Bluetooth devices, wireless phones, and even your microwave.
A dual-band router will serve households that regularly stream videos or connect to online gaming, using one radio that connects to a 2.4 GHz band and another to a 5GHz band, which helps to minimize signal interference.
A tri-band router has one 2.4 GHz band and two 5GHz bands, which is almost a prerequisite to cover a large area with heavy traffic of streaming, file transferring, downloading, and gaming.
As a licensed Apple dealer, we are also a big fan of Apple’s brand-new AirPort Extreme, with a simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac Wi Fi to transmit at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies at the same time. This means that any wireless device you’re using will automatically connect to the best available band for the fastest performance. The new router has a built-in firewall for added security—essential for conducting business. The designers at Apple also reduced its size, meaning more available room on your desk for that cereal bowl.
The storage device. Sure, you get a connected external drive, but you can also get a network-attached storage device (NAS), which adds terabytes of storage. A NAS can back up computers or you can use it for remote access, even with your phone or laptop from anywhere with Internet, as it acts as a personal cloud storage.
The hard drive. For a professional home office, consider a 5TB desktop hard drive. If you travel for work and your home office is in a hotel room, it’s also helpful to have a solid portable hard drive with at least 2TB of storage.
Surge protector. A friendly reminder that they need replacing every few years because they do burn out. You can get one with good performance, or there are kinds such as the Tripp Lite TLP 1008TEL that will stop working when the protective circuits no longer work. If you are ready to equip your home office with the latest hi-tech devices or are interested in any of our lineup of Apple products, visit us at modernhomesystems.com or stop by our showroom at 7007 Carroll Rd, San Diego CA 92121 and our Apple Boutique at 16081 San Dieguito Rd “G2,” Rancho Santa Fe CA 92091.