15 tips to maximize your home office productivity

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From a productivity perspective, working at home can be your best friend or your worst nightmare based on a number of factors, including your personal discipline, home work environment, level of needed interaction with your coworkers, the ability of your boss to manage virtual teams, and a number of other related factors.

This is the first of two blogs on this topic. This week’s blog contains tips 1 to 6, next week’s blog contains tips 7 though 15.

We can talk about your boss in a different blog, but for today, I’d like to give you some tips on how to maximize your productivity when working in the comfort of your own home.

1. Embrace telephone related gadgets:
One key to home productivity is convenient and high quality phone communication. As a result, I suggest you have the following items at your fingertips:
Land-line based telephone: Cell phones are great. I have one and I love it. That said, it’s easier to lose your cell phone than it is to lose a land line that’s plugged into the wall. Also, it’s my opinion, that generally speaking land lines have a more consistently high sound quality.
Speaker phone: It allows you to be hands free in your office to use the keyboard, be cleaning your office, and/or filing documents. I particularly like to use my speaker phone when I’m on hold because of the potential difference in sound volume between the On Hold music and the person I’m are waiting to answer.
Wireless USB headphones: I know they are expensive, but they save you from being tethered to your desk/computer giving or listening to a webinar.
Cordless phone and headset: Like the wireless USB headphones, this saves you from being tethered to your desk when you are on the phone. It also allows you to multi-task when on less important phone calls, allowing you to fold laundry, make lunch, or other home related task. Note: if you are doing the dishes remember to hit the mute button :)

2. Have a network based printer / scanner / copy/ fax machine:
Having a combination printer/scanner/copier/fax truly is a four in one. The printer, well, you need a printer. The scanner is great for signed non-disclosure forms, expense reports, and other items that need to be digitized. The copier, well, it’s faster and easier than having to scan it to a PDF and then print it. Lastly, regarding a fax machine, it’s great for those occasional times when you actually need to fax something to someone. I personally barely ever need to fax something anymore, but when I do, it’s nice to have the capability handy. As a final note, one advantage of an all-in-one device is that it takes less physical space in your office.

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