INSIDE: What is a fully equipped home office for remote work? Let’s dive in and find out what you need and what you don’t need. Read on to find out!
If this is your first time looking for telework, you are likely wondering what your home office space will require. Perhaps you are worried you won’t have what you need and don’t have the budget to invest in a new setup at this time. Luckily, many remote employees are able to start with what they have and invest in the extras and upgrades as they go along.
What is a Fully Equipped Home Office for Remote Work?
In today’s post, we are breaking down a few of the necessities and requirements you may face when looking for your first work-at-home job.
Which equipment do you need to work from home?
When it comes to home office setups, there are quite a few items that may be necessary for someone in one industry but not for another. Customer service is one such industry that typically comes with a lot of requirements. Other opportunities such as freelance writing can come with little to no equipment requirements.
You first step in determining what equipment you will need for remote working is deciding on an industry. Are you looking for customer service work? Writing jobs? Virtual assistant gigs? Once you decide on a direction for your job search, you can start looking into industry standards.
Desktop vs. Laptop
As mentioned previously, customer service work tends to come with a long list of equipment and software requirements. That list usually starts with the type of computer you will be allowed to work on. In most cases, an up-to-date, all-in-one desktop is required for this type of work. In many cases, use of a Mac or Windows-based system is also dictated by the job.
If you only have access to a laptop at this time, however, you are not out of luck! There are still plenty of remote opportunities to choose from. Many freelance roles like freelance writing, transcription, tutoring and more can be done on a laptop.
Ethernet vs. WiFi
Whether your computer needs to be connected to the internet via wire or you can use a WiFi signal will depend on the job. Customer service roles, for example, typically do not allow use of WiFi router or satellite. A freelance writer, on the other hand, may be able to perform their job from anywhere remotely as long as they have a signal.
Recommendations for your internet connection and internet speed may come from the company contracting you. If there is a specific requirement, such as Ethernet-only, will typically be listed in the job description prior to applying. Many large customer service companies will even run a system check on your computer to verify internet download speed and software prior to accepting you for a job. If necessary, check with your internet service provider to make sure your speeds are up to par.
Wireless Phone vs. Landline
Many people today no longer have a landline phone. With many work-at-home jobs, it won’t be a problem should you fall into that category. However, some companies, especially those in the customer service industry, do require a landline phone for accepting calls. Even within this industry, however, there are some companies that route calls through your computer as opposed to a landline. If this is an area of concern for you, make sure you read through the requirements of a job posting thoroughly before applying.
Once upon a time, you didn’t need to worry about having noise-canceling headphones unless your remote job was in customer service. That’s no longer the case. With so many companies video conferencing interviews, training, video calls and meetings, it’s now commonplace to have them. They help eliminate any background noise such as children, dogs, traffic and mowing neighbors. As you can imagine, some web conferencing meetings could run a lot smoother if more people wore them.
Luckily, they aren’t all that expensive. You can pick up a quality pair on Amazon or your favorite home office supply store for under $50. Plantronics and Logitech are two trusted manufacturers.
Do you need a printer?
Home office printers can come in handy from time to time even if it isn’t a requirement of the job. And many remote jobs do not require them. You may want or need to print out your contract or tax forms to complete when offered a job, for example. That being said, there are always ways around it if you don’t have a printer at home. You can likely print things from your local library or office supply store. Perhaps you have a neighbor, friend or family member who will allow you to use theirs on occasion.
Is there a tax break for working from home?
You may be able to claim certain expenses on your taxes as a home office deduction. Any tax deduction should be discussed with a qualified tax professional, however. These tax break rules can change year to year. And some expenses, like utility bills, may qualify as an expense for one type of remote worker but not for another. It’s always best to get income tax information from a professional who can look at your specific situation, whether you are a remote employee or independent contractor, and advise as to whether an itemized deduction or home office expense makes sense for you. They may even have some other ideas for tax relief that you didn’t know about.
Should you personalize your office?
I highly recommend making your desk setup your own. You may be spending quite a bit of time here after all!
Start with the small stuff. Just as you would in a corporate cubicle, put up a few pictures. Maybe write your goals and aspirations on a whiteboard to keep you motivated. Add a plant or diffuser.
As you settle in and start making money, you may decide you need a few upgrades like a new laptop stand or standing desk. Perhaps an LED desk lamp if needed to brighten your workspace. If things are really going well, maybe you want to invest in a total home office design with new paint or much needed filing cabinets or deskspace. Perhaps you would enjoy a co-working space from time to time.
Many people find themselves working in their home office more than they imagined. By knowing the answer to, “what is a fully equipped home office for remote work?” you can enjoy that time much more. Make your home office setup your own. Make it comfortable and productive!