A Checklist for Setting Up Your Home Office

Items You May Need to Set Up an Efficient Home Office

When you begin to set up your home office, one of two things tend to happen. Either you are unable to easily identify what equipment and technology you use every day so you underestimate what you will need to get your office up and running, and quickly find yourself struggling. Or, you clearly see each individual item you may need and are overwhelmed by the thought of meeting every one of those needs down to the last staple.

In either of these cases, it wouldn't be a surprise to find yourself running around in circles before you're able to focus your efforts and create an office that will help you work productively.

Use this checklist to develop a well-rounded yet streamlined list of what you need in your home office. Check the items you absolutely need, and circle the items you may eventually want to add to create a prioritized list of your home office essentials.

Computer

Man working on computer in home office.
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This will apply to most of us since very few small business owners who have the ability to work from home can complete their work without a computer. Do your research so you can select a computer that meets your specific needs. Buy from Amazon

Monitor

monitor
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You clearly need a monitor if you have a desktop computer, but it can also be useful (and better for your neck) to have a monitor you plug into your laptop. Depending on the work you do, you may also consider dual monitors. Buy from Amazon

High-Speed Internet Access

internet access
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The days of being able to work with a dial-up connection are long gone. To work efficiently online, a broadband connection is essential. Buy from Amazon

Desk

desk
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Ideally, you will have space for a traditional desk where you create an ergonomically correct workstation. But, if you need to get creative, you can make a table, counter or other flat surface work. Buy from Amazon

Chair

chair
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Take time to select and invest in a comfortable chair; it is one of the most important parts of an efficient home office. Again, ergonomics and comfort count when it comes to sitting, so make sure you test out a chair before making a purchase. Buy from Amazon

Adequate Lighting

lighting
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Just as a good chair is important for an ergonomic home office, so is having adequate lighting levels. You don't want to deal with headaches and eye strain from squinting or using lighting that makes it hard to read. Buy from Amazon

Telephone and/or VoIP

telephone
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With VoIP technology, Internet-based phone services, and even mobile phones, you may not need a traditional landline telephone, but access to a phone service is usually necessary when working from home. Buy from Amazon

Software

microsoft office
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Some small business owners simply need access to word processing, spreadsheet, and email management applications, while others need additional software that is specific to their needs. Make a list of the software you will need to run your home office. Buy from Amazon

Network Router

router
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Not always required, a network router can be necessary if you have more than one computer that needs Internet access. Consider a wireless router if you have a laptop and computers located in different parts of your home. Buy from Amazon

Surge Protector

surge protector
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Often overlooked, a surge protector should be a staple in any home office that uses computer equipment. Buy from Amazon

Printer or Multipurpose Machine

printer
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If you have a paperless office, you may be able to get away without having a printer, but there may be situations when you need to scan, fax and even make copies. If this is common in your business, look into multipurpose machines that can manage all of these tasks. Buy from Amazon

Backup Drive or Personal Server

external hard drive
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Once your home office is up and running, you will need to have a plan for backing up and protecting your data. You can use online backup services to copy your files automatically, but it is also a good idea to consider having an in-house backup in place. External drives and personal servers are relatively affordable and can save your business in the case of computer failure. Buy from Amazon

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

ups
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A UPS provides backup power for a limited time in case your electricity goes out because UPS can provide you with useful buffer time to save your work and safely shut down your equipment. Buy from Amazon

File Cabinet

file cabinet
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Even if you aim to be paperless, there are always some hard copy documents you need to hang on to. The best place to store these documents -- and be able to find them later -- is in a file cabinet. Buy from Amazon

Storage

bookcase
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Where will you keep pens, sticky notes, paper, folders, ink, business cards and other supplies? Consider purchasing a bookcase or shelving to store unused items in your home office. Buy from Amazon

Fire-Safe Box

fire safe box
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Speaking of storage, you may consider using a fire-safe box to store and protect your most important business paperwork. Many small business owners also use these durable boxes to keep backup copies of their data. Buy from Amazon

Paper Shredder

shredder
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A shredder is a must for destroying sensitive and confidential information in your business. And for every other piece of non-sensitive paper, consider getting a recycling bin. Buy from Amazon

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