Welcome to Part Two of our series of articles on home office essentials. The last article discussed ergonomics and office furniture and your working environment. This next article will take that a step further and also look at the computer aspect of your home office.
Decorate It Some people design their home offices to be like a real world office. They take it that step too far though and strip their home office of all character and warmth. There's no need for your home office to be sterile and boring. In fact it should be just the opposite.
Seriously consider adding plants. They're a healthy decoration in so many ways. The colour green has a positive affect on our thought patterns. This combined with the fact that plants filter toxins from the air around us is another great reason for having a "green" office.
Hate those motivational posters you saw in work? Do you know why? They never "spoke" to you as a person. They were just corporate spindoctoring that meant nothing to you. Choose one single motivational poster that speaks to you and put it somewhere you can always see it. Even if it only makes you smile once during a working day because it's cheesy that's a positive influence on you.
Last but not least consider having your mission statement printed out, framed and on your desk in front of you. You don't have a mission statement? Get one! Write it now!Your mission statement is the reason you started your home business - make sure you are reminded of this every single day. It will push you forward when you need encouragement the most.
Your Computer Stop. This is the point where you need to be really, really honest with yourself. Computers are expensive and tempting. The question you need to ask yourself is "What do I need in my computer?" and not "What kind of computer do I want?"
Your home office does not *need* the latest superfast, supercool computer, printer, scanner, digital camera and external storage.
You want this stuff. You don't necessarily need it.
Your business needs functionality. You business needs cost effectiveness. Buy what you need for your business. Do not buy what you want for yourself.
Tips for buying your home office computer.
* Mid-range processor power Ignore the super poweful, super expensive next generation processors.They won't help you type that document any faster.
* 512MB of RAM This is a minimum. If you can afford 1GB get it. If you can afford more get it. More RAM is always better.
* 40GB hard disk What are you going to put on a 200GB hard disk? MP3s, movies and games. In other words 200GB of distractions. 40GB - 80GB is more than adequate for home office use.
* 3D Graphic Accelerator Next generation 3D chipsets are not essential business equipment. Most modern computers will have a 3D chipset by default. Simply don't go upgrading this because you're only doing it to play the latest games. Don't buy a distraction.
CDRW or DVDRW drive If you value your business you'll value your data. A CD or DVD writer/burner gives you the ability to safely and quickly backup your data. Do not buy a PC without one.
LCD/Flat screens MTV Cribs has sold more flat screen tvs than any marketing campaign could hope to. Will a 21" LCD screen make you work faster or better? Nope. CRT monitors are cheaper and do the same job. If its supplied as standard with the system then that's fine. Don't go spending money on an LCD upgrade.
Extended warranties Sales people make large commissions from these. Do you really need a 5 year warranty on your computer? Will you still own the same computer in even 3 years? Never take these warranties at face value.
Generic Brand Computers Just because it isn't Dell, IBM, HP or Compaq doesn't mean it's cheap. Generic brands use the same components as and are therefore equally as reliable as the big name brands like HP and Dell. Buy smart.
Refurbished systems If the budget is tight and the spec is right then these are well worth considering. Be certain of what your warranty cover on such a system is though. Many refurbished systems only have a 90-day warranty.
Phone-A-Friend Check with friends who have purchased computers recently. What problems did they encounter when buying their PC? Who did they buy from? What was the aftersales service like?
Printer Does your business really need a top-of-the-range color laserjet that prints 7,000 pages per minute? Nope? Didn't think so.
Here's a brief list of questions you should ask yourself when buying your printer:
* Do you need color printing capabilities?
* How many pages per minute do you actually need to print?
* What is the cost per page for color and black printing?
* How much does replacement ink/toner cost?
* How many pages of black text can you get from each cartridge?
* How much desktop space will the printer require?
* Are updated drivers and tech support for this model readily available?
Hopefully this set of articles has proven useful to you. Again a few thousand words can't possibly encompass everything you need to know about designing and operating a home office. www.home-office-advisor.com is there for that purpose.