Home Office Appliances
The devices that run your room
All the furniture in the world can't help you make the most of your home office, unless you have the tools of the trade – and these days, that means more than just a computer. Your first step in getting your home office wired is to decide which pieces of home office equipment are vital to your business, or to the work you intend to do in the room.
Must-Haves for Businesses
If you run your own business or work from home out of your home office, you'll know the importance of being able to manage calls. Business telephones are specially designed for this kind of work. These phones feature several options that will help you handle a larger volume of calls, including day and night voice mail that stores the time of call and phone number along with a message, three-way calling for conference calls and repeat dialing for when you can't get through to an important client.
Photocopiers are home office equipment essentials for anyone running a business or working remotely. Although they're usually large machines that take up some real estate, the convenience of preparing presentations or multiple copies of a report from your home office is invaluable on tight deadlines or when accuracy is important. You'll never have to worry about a mistake at the copy center holding you up.
3 Common Home Office Appliances:
Dot matrix printers are officially a thing of the past, and are rarely seen in a home office these days. The choice is now between laser printers and inkjet printers. Fortunately, the decision doesn't have to be difficult – inkjet printers are fine if you only print in small volumes, but they will take a little longer than laser printers. If you're printing large quantities, you'll want a laser printer for its speed, but you may have to deal with more technical issues. Remember too, the cost of cartridge replacements is an issue for both black-and-white and color printers. What may seem like a great deal on a printer could cost you more in the long run for ink replacements.
There are other types of printers that may benefit certain aspects of your business, including receipt printers if you deal in sales, business card printers if you do a lot of networking, label printers for staying organized and photo printers if you need to create a portfolio for clients.
Document scanners, or document imaging scanners as they're sometimes known, are useful in any office where entering documents into a database or the computer is essential – particularly when the process is ongoing, or when it is timely.
Traditional flatbed scanners (including computer scanners, digital scanners and laser scanners) work by repeatedly passing a bright light over an image placed in the box to create a digitally rendered version of the document.
Specialty scanners can also be helpful in your home office. Handheld business card scanners help you keep track of contacts (long after the card itself is lost), wide format scanners can help you deal with awkward items such as blueprints or legal pages, and photo scanners and slide scanners can help you turn your photographs or slides into a digital portfolio to present to clients.
Although nearly obliterated with the use of e-mails and scanners, fax machines are still handy in home offices – and the good news is, finding a cheap fax machine is easy!
Thermal fax machines are an older form of fax machine that communicate via the phone line. They print out faxes on a roll of thermal paper, while plain paper fax machines print out on standard printer paper. An Internet fax machine streamlines the process even more by eliminating the need for both paper and a phone line. Documents are delivered to your computer where you can then choose to print them out if you desire.
If you want to save on space, consider multifunction fax machines, which combine printers, scanners and faxes into one. A portable fax machine is also useful for saving space, as they are smaller than conventional faxes. Whichever model you choose, be sure that all the fax machine supplies are easily available. Some models require special products that are difficult to find.
Extras for Every Office
Not every office will require the same equipment, but there are some basic gadgets that can help you stay organized and on top of projects.
A shredder will be invaluable to your home office if you deal with important paperwork. These simple devices can fit onto a conventional garbage pail for ease of use and easy cleanup, and they'll make short work of any documents you need destroyed. Another small device that will make your life easier is a label maker. You can quickly and tidily mark files, folders or storage boxes, so you can have access to important information at your fingertips.