Setting up a remote office has a number of advantages, especially if you’re just starting out. Most new contractors are self-employed and often work alone before they can build a team, so their home becomes their first office.
And that’s all well and good, but turns out creating a decent office is harder than it looks. There are some basic features you should have available, as well as some investments that may be necessary. You will need tools for work now, and you need to be able to rely on them.
With that, let’s take a look at what I consider to be essentials for your remote office!
Save your files in the cloud
We’re long past the time where saving files on your computer and transferring them via Pendrive was the way to go.
Nowadays, you can rely on services like Google Drive, Dropbox, MEGA, and many others, as a way to save your files on the cloud. Meaning, the folders you choose will always be synced whenever you make changes or create new files, giving you an easy way to back up your files.
This is great for many reasons:
For one, the confidence that if your computer breaks down for some reason, you will still be able to access the exact same files anywhere. It works from your phone or most other devices with internet access. This means that if you ever have to format your computer, you don’t risk losing anything.
Smartphones are essential
Smartphones give you a lot of freedom to work outdoors. Yes, we’re talking about remote offices, but most contractor jobs require visiting houses and you may want a tool to assist your work on a daily basis.
Almost everything you can do with a PC or laptop, you can do with a smartphone. Taking notes, sending emails, replying to messages, audio and video calls – and much more. A smartphone is a mobile office you can take anywhere.
It’s highly recommended that you purchase a smartphone with a new number specifically for work, as this will help in reducing confusion.
Get a good chair
Nothing will annoy you more in a home office than an uncomfortable chair.
Almost any desk will be fine, and you can get by with an average laptop. But a bad chair will ruin your days – not just right now, but likely in the future when your back starts to feel the strain.
Do yourself a favor and get a good chair. Your work days will be far more pleasant and your back will thank you.
If you need to get out a lot, consider investing in a good pair of sneakers.
Get good internet
Internet connection issues will always happen at some point, but you certainly want the most reliable service you can find. For a remote office, being offline completely halts productivity and prevents you from doing your job.
The same goes for connection bandwidth. Perhaps you don’t need the absolute top tier plan, but video calls need reliable download and upload speed for minimum lag and stuttering.
Invest in a good computer
Obviously, this will depend on how long you plan on sticking to a remote office. But assuming it’s for at least one year, getting yourself a proper computer for work can be extremely helpful – perhaps even a laptop.
If you ever leave the home office setup, you can still bring your laptop with you, so the investment remains.
The thing is that low to mid-tier computers can be a bit unreliable depending on the kind of work that you do. For simply browsing, writing estimates, and attending the odd video call, most laptops will do just fine. But if you need to use AutoDesk, Photoshop, and other advanced software, your average computer might struggle.
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