Working from a home office has many benefits. There’s no need to commute, you may have some more flexibility in the hours you work, you can wear whatever you want. But for all the upsides of working from home, you might find that you have distractions that you never had in the office, and that you have to find solutions to certain problems, like security, that you never really had to deal with when you went in to work.
That’s where smart gadgets and systems come into play. With the right configuration of smart tools, you can streamline and automate many aspects of your workspace, freeing up your time to focus on work and eliminating distractions. In some cases, you can even get work done more quickly.
But where do you begin? Follow this guide to designing your ideal home office.
Start with the Network
The most important aspect of your smart home office is the network you’ll use to connect all of your devices. Ideally, your home office should be on a network separate from the rest of the home, with its own router. This way, you can ensure stronger network security, as the rest of your family members and guests will not have access to your business network, and you can establish stricter protocols. That being said, the same general security rules apply to your office network and devices, including securing your router, changing default usernames and passwords, establishing approved MAC addresses for devices, and updating your devices regularly. Once your network is in place, you can begin building your smart home office.
Home office security isn’t only about network security. Physical security is also important, especially when you’re work involved protected information, including health and financial information. Even if you aren’t working with that type of information, securing your home office is important, as a significant number of data breaches stem from lost or stolen devices. Even if a thief isn’t specifically targeting your business, if your home is burglarized or anything is stolen from your office, your business information could be at risk.
Therefore, your first smart device priority for your home office should be physical security. Installing an automated security system can save you time if you just need to step away for a few moments to run errands; just a simple command to switch to the “Away” setting can lock doors, turn off lights, and enable security cameras. A doorbell system with cameras can also help save time and improve security. You’ll know exactly when packages are dropped off – and be able to avoid those long conversations with chatty neighbors during the day.
If you have a voice assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home in your home already, you’re likely aware of how convenient they can be. But one of these devices in your home office can actually significantly improve your productivity, by serving as a digital personal assistant, controlling other devices, and an extension of your phone. With voice commands you can make your daily to-do list, make calls, and save time by asking the assistant to handle small tasks, like looking up a phone number or piece of information. This saves you time, as you won’t need to stop what you’re doing to look for the information on a computer or tablet.
If you only want to control other devices, for example turning lights on and off, opting for a smart plug can give you control. Smart plugs give you remote control over whatever appliance of device is plugged into them, and can supply information about energy usage, allow you to set timers, and more, taking some of the guesswork out of managing your office. For example, you can schedule devices to automatically turn off in the evening and turn on again in the morning, saving electricity overnight.
Finally, don’t overlook smart gadgets such as self-watering plant pots, smart time keepers, or smart notepads when setting up your home office. These devices can integrate with your existing apps and devices to help you better manage your time and keep track of your work, improving your productivity. Although integrating too many devices can become overwhelming, opting for devices that will save you time and eliminate frustration and errors can be beneficial to time management and overall efficiency.