THE BEST HOME OFFICE SETUP TO GET YOU UP AND RUNNING

You want to get stuck into doing what you do best and making some money, but your home office setup isn’t quite right, or perhaps it doesn’t exist yet. Either way, you’ve found the right article to help you create the best home office setup for your home office workstation.

There are so many important aspects to a great home office setup including:

  • The desk, standing desk extenders, chair, and home office furniture.
  • The Feng Shui elements such as plants, lighting, and layout.
  • The home office organization items such as wall and desk organization and storage.
  • And, of course, the technical elements such as the home network setup, a phone and headset, computer and monitor(s), computer accessories such as a keyboard and mouse, network-attached storage (NAS), and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to name some critical items.

By the end of this blog post you’ll have a much better understanding about what you’ll need in terms of the technology elements listed above to ensure you’re no longer frustrated by loss of productivity.

If you’d like some inspiration for the other aspects, we cover them all in Best Home Office Setup Ideas. 

HOME NETWORK SETUP

In today’s world, connectivity is the core of your productivity! Especially for the likes of us who have chosen to work from home.

Setting up a home network means two things:

  1. If you are using multiple devices in your small business set up, you need to connect them with each other to create an electronic communications system.
  2. All of those home network devices need to be connected to a single internet connection.

So, setting up a smooth home network setup according to your home business’s special need is an integral part of its growth.

Setting up a home network

Focusing on your home office internet connection (because it feels like the apocalypse if it isn’t working!), let us check out the two types of home network set up technologies that are available in the market:

  1. Wired – This is when you are using an Ethernet cable to connect to the internet. Ethernet cables give a more stable and secure connection along with a faster speed. But they are not suitable for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones as they need to have an Ethernet port for the cable connection.
  2. Wireless – This is when you are using WiFi to access the internet. They are slower and can be less reliable when compared to an Ethernet connection but it makes up for it by being easy to use and simple to set up from the end user perspective. If you prefer mobility around the house, or if you are not so good with cabling (my hand is up!), WiFi is the best!

Now wondering which one to choose? Amp up your network game by keeping these simple things in mind (I’ve got lame puns like that till the cows come home) –

  • Business Need – Are you a graphic designer who needs to upload heavy files faster? A coder who needs a stable internet connection with no signal loss? A writer who only requires internet to email word docs or simple PDFs? By determining the kind of output you want, you can equip your home office workstation by opting for either a wired or a wireless network. A little planning at the beginning will result in a wise investment decision.
  • Machine Need – A gamer’s computer setup at home will be a wired setup with a stationary device like a desktop computer because it assures faster and uninterrupted internet connectivity, ideal for heavy and complicated gaming software. A writer will keep the set up minimal ensuring high mobility, making a WiFi or even a simple mobile tethering ideal for their work.

Home Network Diagram

As you can see from the following diagram, internet goes from the outside world into your home via an ADSL cable or fiber. This is when your home office technology setup starts.

A router plays a central role between your devices and the internet at large. This is where your inner and outer worlds merge.

home network technology setup starts.

A router is connected with an ADSL cable or fiber through which your internet service provider delivers the internet to your home.

On one hand, a router has both a wireless access point to support devices on WiFi and an Ethernet switch for a cable connection with a wired device like a desktop.

So it gathers the network from the outside world and distributes it to be used by various devices which are connected to the network at your home.

Home Network Equipment

The best thing about setting up your own home network setup is that you can easily bypass the help of any professional and do it all by yourself. Yes, it can be simple.

Let us help you by listing the absolute necessities that are required to set up a glitch-free, secure and fast home network set up:

  • Wireless Router

It’s common these days for people to have multiple devices that need internet connection in multiple locations within the home. For this you’ll need a wireless router which will give off WiFi signals for your devices to connect and access the internet from.

Despite the name, you can also connect devices into the wireless router with wires (better known as an Ethernet cable).

The router is the bridge between your devices and your modem. Your router and modem connected together form your ‘gateway’.

Here are three examples ranging from most economical to higher quality. You can click on the image for more details and all the specs.

  • Internet Modem

Home network means nothing if it is not connected to the World Wide Web. Normally, your internet service provider or the phone company will give you the internet connection but there has to be a device so you can be connected to the rest of the world.

Ta-da! Enter Mr. Internet Modem whose function is just that. It acts as a bridge between your router and the online world at large. It can be rented from your connection provider, but we recommend buying one of your own because they are not that expensive.

“But I don’t need any wireless connections in my house” (said no-one ever!). No sweat. Typically you can connect your computer directly into your modem with a cable if you like. Be sure to check the modem information before buying it.

When choosing a modem I recommend finding the most economical one that’s capable of delivering the internet speed your ISP has promised, or the internet speed you plan on upgrading to. Is your plan 50Mbps, 75Mbps, 100Mbps, more??

Here are some options:

  • Ethernet Hub/Switch

Now I don’t want to overload you. Suffice to say that you probably won’t need a Switch as they’re typically needed for large internal networks such as for businesses and schools.

Switches connect many computers together into a single LAN (Local Area Network). I won’t go any deeper as 99 times out of 100 it won’t be needed for a home office setup, but I just wanted to add this in so you know it exists, and so you know you probably won’t need it. Phew!

HOME OFFICE PHONE AND HEADSETS

You might go ‘Whaaatttt?” given you are reared in an age of latest tech-perfect smartphones, but a handy home office phone and headset are the primary equipment requirements in a lot of jobs.

Take for instance you want to pursue a career of telecommuting being customer care representative or a tech troubleshooter from a remote location, or perhaps run a virtual call center. Then VoIP phones will be your savior.

A what phone??

Home Office Phones

A VoIP phone stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Sounds like something they’d have in The Pentagon doesn’t it.

This latest technology helps you to make and receive calls over the internet instead of the traditional telephone network.

A VoIP phone connection has many benefits such as cheaper calls (particularly long distance), the ability to connect to any broadband connection and get a dial tone (portability), and conduct video conferencing calls (multi-funcitonal) to name a few.

With a VoIP work phone you’ll have a dedicated home office phone, so there’s no grey area between work and play when it comes to your phone. Finally!

Before you make your purchase check whether the VoIP service provider covers components like auto-attendant, speed dial, virtual phone number, softphone (ability to make over the internet calls with your computer), a voice mail to email transcription, Do not Disturb and multi-party conferencing, caller ID display, hold, touchpad etc.

Trust me it will lessen your workload, save time, increase efficiency and give you an added aura of ‘professionalism’.

Besides features, the next worry is always the ‘money’ factor! Especially, if your work includes a lot of international calls. But worry not. A VoIP provider like MagicJack Home will give you an absolute pocket-friendly and quality service. You can plug it directly to your router and you are all set to work.

Here’s how MagicJack works by connecting it to your high-speed modem OR your computer.

Beyond MagicJack here’s another option (the Obi202 VoIP Adapter with Google Voice) that’s specially designed for small office / home office (SOHO) and is rated very highly with over 1,700 customer reviews.

I love smart technology like this that makes living the laptop lifestyle and saving money at the same time all the easier.

Home Office Headsets

Headsets come in a lot of variety and are super useful in doing tasks needing extensive phone work. Having both hands free will bring a new level of freedom to your work life haha. But seriously, you’ll love it.

And if you’re into gaming, these headsets can be next level. LOL. I didn’t even mean that.

Headsets come in wireless and wired.

Under the wireless category, you will get two choices – Bluetooth or DECT.

In the wired category also you have two choices – the traditional 3.5 mm jack or USB.

The main difference between wired and wireless home office headsets is the audio quality because wireless will inevitably have a range issue and interference problems.

Wireless helps keep your work space de-cluttered and they work fantastically in short distance and in compact spaces like an inside of a car or in your home office space. But consider the need to recharge or use batteries in the wireless models.

If you are deskbound and the call-quality is important to you then corded ones are the best way to go.

Some customer care or telesales jobs come with a pre-requisite of a corded home office headset for plugging into your landline phone or computer.

On the market there’s a plethora of options available at every price point, so it’s best to weigh the functionalities, hardware compatibility and cost to determine the appropriate one. And of course, don’t forget that your comfort is a big factor.

Noise cancellation is also important and will determine whether you want a monaural (one ear) or binaural (both ears) earpiece on your headset.

Popular Headset Brands

If you want a popular headset brand that offers the luxury of wireless bundled with a superior sound quality and minimal interference with a range up to 590 ft then you should opt for Plantronics.

You will also get a lightweight design and a sleek look (see above). Also, its battery performance is one of the best in the industry.

For excellent noise cancellation and superb post-sales service go for Cisco Headset for Telephone with Noise Cancelling Microphone pictured above.

For a fast and reliable Bluetooth connection enabled headsets, watch out for Blue Parrot B-450XT as shown above. It has already garnered nearly 5600 reviews on Amazon alone!

For a budget-friendly USB corded headset, the Mpow 071 shown above is widely popular among the netizens.

BEST HOME DESKTOP COMPUTER, LAPTOP AND MONITORS

With the World Wide Web growing ever wider it is not a surprise that nowadays mostly, if not all communications happen online. Hence, you cannot imagine setting up a home office workstation sin computers.

But what exactly do you need for your computer setup at home?

Will a low end laptop but with good battery life do because you require portability but not a lot of functionality?

Or do you need a high end desktop with a lot of specifications, or the option to upgrade it constantly?

best home desktop computer

Personally I chose a rather bulky laptop that has good processing power back when I was working for an employer doing program heavy work. Nowadays I’m looking to switch to a large screen tablet as I need portability and I always use a laptop stand with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (as shown in these photos in my co-working space) so I don’t even need the laptop keyboard.

home computer setup

It’s easy to get confused with all the options out there when it comes to home desktop computers, laptops and monitors, so our best advice is that you research, research, research before proceeding.

Best Home Desktop Computer

The ideal way to start hunting for your best home desktop computer is to determine the operating system you would require to make your software function the best. This will add the necessary punch to your computer setup at home.

If you are a video editor, a 3D graphics designer, an app-maker with no qualms about spending the dough, then check out the latest Apple iMac Pro below.

For budget-conscious Apple admirers, there is the latest Apple iMac with all new processor, graphics technologies, storage, and the most colorful retina display.

If space is an issue, you can also go for the latest palm size splendor of Apple Mac Mini.

For Windows fans, they can also now choose between a traditional desktop PC, a stylish all-in-one or a thumb-drive size Intel Compute Stick for all their computing needs.

If you are looking for a powerful PC with ridiculously lavish specs, then opt for Corsair One. The build, graphics, and speed will stun you. Also, smart engineering has made it quite a quiet product.

But Dell is still ruling the economical PC roost with its fast and reliable performance in the tower PC arena. This one is very reasonably priced and as shown above it looks pretty sleek.  

Best Laptop Under $600

If you are worried that your choices will dry up in the budget bracket for laptops, then rest your concerns. And no, you don’t even have to compromise in the spec section at all!

For your business as well as everyday needs, you have what we call an all-purpose laptop. With the latest Quad-core 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor and expandable 8 GB RAM, this HP Notebook is the beast in the budget buy. Armed with a 17.3” inch HD display and a long-lasting battery, it is already a darling with the home office owners.

For 2-in-1 laptops (see image above), check out this Dell Inspiron which is stylish, sports a vivid display and is a diverse machine.

For the ultimate Ultrabook, you can’t go past the 2019 Lenovo Ideapad 330S. It is light and powerful! Enough said.

Notice the lack of Apple products in this best laptop under $600 category! Some call it annoying that they are more expensive products, others call it good marketing on Apple’s part.

Best Monitor Under $200

If your computer setup at home demands a screen bigger than your laptop screen, or perhaps multiple screens, you can opt for a good basic computer monitor. In this budget, the screen size will generally range between 21 to 24 inches and you have to give up amenities like wall-mount or built-in audio system.

This Samsung SD300 CBD Monitor provides great monitors for people on a budget. With a screen size of 23.6 inches, it comes with a gorgeous 1080p display and brightest of the screens.

For a bigger screen, this BenQ 27 Inch is earning good reviews presently. But both have the old TN paneling making servicing a bit limiting!

For the best in IPS paneling, check out the Acer Widescreen Monitor with zero frame design and 250 nit brightness. Love that zero frame design as pictured above.

Beyond the information and recommendations above, here are some blogs to help you continue your journey of research into the best home desktop computers, laptops and monitors.

Best Home Computers of 2019 – by toptenreviews.com

How to Buy the Best Desktop Computer for Your Needs – by choice.com.au

How to Buy a Monitor – by cnet.com

Remember, try to not get caught up in analysis paralysis!

COMPUTER ACCESSORIES LIST

A desktop or laptop experience is incomplete without proper accessories. A laptop generally comes with a built in keyboard, mouse (touchpad), speakers, webcam, hard drive, and monitor.

computer accessories list

For a desktop computer, you’ll need the following –

  • Keyboard – You can choose between the regular QWERTY or a more ergonomic design. They come in both wired and cordless versions. You can choose one depending on whether you need a bigger key display, backlight display or a touchpad like the one you find on a laptop. Gaming keyboards will have extra keys.

  • Mouse – They also come in a wired and wireless variety. There is not much difference except that wired one will draw power from the hard drive whereas wireless one will need to be battery powered.
  • Headphones or Speakers for audio
  • Webcam for video chatting

  • Printer & Scanner – Check out our ‘best printers for small business and home use blog’ for more information (blog and hyperlink coming soon).

NAS SERVER FOR HOME AND HOME CLOUD STORAGE

NAS or Network Attached Storage devices are an absolute necessity for your computer setup at home if you want to store data at a central place from where multiple devices can access that data.

It even makes remote access a breeze so you don’t have to carry around sensitive data while traveling.

home cloud storage

Essentially, a NAS device is an external hard drive that connects to your network rather than your PC. The main thing to consider is obviously the storage space, although these days storage devices come with such large amounts of storage that you only need to think about this if you’re working with large files such as video files.  

Speed is the next important factor. To save yourself from data loss, you can also look into NAS drives which have the capacity to hold multiple hard drives and mirror data.

Netgear ReadyNAS is the best and is fairly priced, with the latest technology of the BTRFS file system for complete data protection. It is fairly easy to set up and you can choose your own hard drives to attach with it with a maximum storage of 16 TB.

Also, you can access it from outside your network using Netgear’s cloud-based service. And with the powerful desktop app, you can also do automatic backups!

UNINTERRUPTED POWER SUPPLY (UPS) FOR HOME

We have all faced situations where we forget to save data and lose it in a wink if there is (God forbid) a power cut! To be safe from the trouble of corrupted data or data loss, a UPS, or uninterrupted power supply, will be a smart addition to your home office workstation.

To get you all confused, you might want to calculate how much power back up you require for your work and how many devices there are which will determine the number and types of ports that you will need.

To simplify things, for your computer setup at home this APC Back-UPS Pro should be more than sufficient. With 5 outlets offering UPS Power Backup and 5 outlets offering surge protection only (a total of 10), this battery backup and surge protector is currently the best UPS on the market. It gives an 865W of battery backup and can power your computer, external hard drives and other electronics including wireless router during a power outage. Savior!!!

CONCLUSION

We hope that this blog post on the best home office setup has helped you find the correct ways to improve your home office environment which will result in an effortless and efficient output.

Working from home is a dream for many and a non-compromising attitude on selecting the right devices for your home office workstation will give your dream the dignity it deserves. So armed with above information, enjoy the freedom that comes with working from home with a top notch technology setup.

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