I’ve been working from home since 2007, and over the years I’ve accumulated some furniture, equipment, and other things that I can’t live without.
I’ve worked in customer service doing phone and chat support. Then I dove into transcription. Now I’m a freelancer who does a number of things including blogging and affiliate marketing.
I’ve kept this list generic and included items that are transferable into any work at home job.
If you’re looking for transcription specific office equipment check out one of these blog posts:
- Become a Work at Home Transcriptionist (Resources and 30+ Job Leads)
- 5 Work at Home Transcription Companies that Pay at Least $50/ahour
1. Desk and Chair
The thought of working from home sound awesome. Everyone dreams of working in their PJ’s from bed while they sip on tea. Nope. This gets old quickly. You’ll want to invest in a comfortable chair and desk. I can’t stress the importance of this.
Think about it. You’ll be sitting there between 5-9 hours a day working, depending if your job is part-time or full-time. Imagine what your back would feel like if you spent 9 hours in your bed hunched over a laptop. Ouch!
I recommend either getting a chair that has an adjustable height or better yet a standing desk that adjusts to allow you to sit or stand. You can get a motorized standing desk, one with a crank, or a lovely adjustable standing desk that can turn your regular desk into a standing one.
As for chairs get one with great back support. I recommend one that is fully adjustable since no one is built the same.
2. A Desktop Computer
If you’re unsure of the term desktop computer, this is the stand alone tower that you hook your keyboard, mouse, and monitor up to. It’s different than an all-in-one computer and laptop.
If you’re looking to work for a service company, like Sykes or Arise for example, you’ll need to have a desktop computer. It’s usually a requirement listed in the job posting.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly PC you can get a refurbished HP 8300 Elite with an Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core, 8GB RAM, 500GB SATA, running Windows 10. If you have no idea what that means just know that those specs will allow you to have a VPN running, with multiple windows open to preform almost any task a standard work at home job can throw at you.
It’s totally worth the investment and it will open up 1000s of opportunities for you to work at home. Check out these deals on Amazon. I chose some computers that will have enough power for a work at home job:
Some companies will allow you to work with a laptop but they may require you to have an additional monitor hooked up to it. This leads me to my second recommendation.
3. Second Monitor
This is the holy grail of working at home. I’ve been duel screening for years and it changed my entire workflow. A monitor is relatively inexpensive; You can buy one for under $100 on Amazon.
Just be aware of the connection cords. You may need an adapter in order to plug one in via USB if your computer only has one DVI or VGA port. I purchased this set of adapters and they work great.
If you’ve ever read a job description one thing you’ll see over and over again is that you need to have strong multitasking skills. A second computer screen will improve your multitasking speed drastically.
If you do transcription you could have the transcript that you’re working on in front of you and your guidelines and google on the other screen for quick reference.
Or if you work in a call center you can have your CMS on the screen in front of you and all your KB documents, business website, chat support on the second screen.
Imagine not having to keep maximizing and minimizing screens that you use every minute of your work day. You can just set them up over on your second screen for quick reference. Just order one now you can thank me later.
4. Keyboard and Mouse
You’ll be typing and using your mouse a LOT so I recommend peripherals that are comfortable . The technical definition for this is ergonomics. I switched from a mechanical keyboard to an Apple keyboard and my fingers thanked me. Especially while I was doing transcription. I can type faster and longer on the chiclet style keyboard.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative you can check out the Amazon Basics keyboard. It’s similar in a sense that it won’t be torturous on your fingers during a long day of work. As for a mouse, I purchased a cheep one at Walmart that was tiny enough for my hand and was comfortable to use.
5. USB headset
Almost any company that you will work for at home will at some point or an other have conference calls.
When that happens you’ll want a headset with a noise canceling microphone. One that allows you to mute and control the volume on the headset itself. No really! You will want one of these.
If you’re anything like me and get a little nervous being the center of attention you’ll want peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable microphone that is easy to use and won’t sound terrible. Also, you won’t be that one person who shows up on their phone or laptop with no headset and all you hear is an echo in the background while they try to figure out how to mute themselves.
If you can’t tell I’ve attended a lot of conferences over the years. Just buy yourself a headset. You’ll likely end up needing one for training in the future while working from home.
6. A beautiful office space that you love to be in.
One thing I will point out is that you should have a dedicate work space. I say this because you want to leave work at work when your shift ends. If you don’t have an extra bedroom or basement find a place somewhere in your house that you can dedicate as an office space and hide it with a curtain if you can’t close it off. When the day is over you need to be able to put work out of sight and out of mind.
One of the benefits of working at home is that you get to feel a sense of relaxation. There’s no hustle and bustle in the morning to get ready and drive to your office. You have no set rules on decoration when it comes to your home office so make it a place that you love. Paint it a fun color, put up some tapestries, add life with plants, just make it a nice place to be.
When I worked at home in a call center I had fun little trinkets around to keep my mind at ease. Candles burning that smelled delicious and were relaxing. Some music playing between calls that kept me happy. You’re going to spend a lot of your time in your home office space so make it pretty and something that you can stand looking at day in and day out.
Those are the six things I recommend to anyone who is starting a work at home journey.
What do you think about this list? What’s one thing you couldn’t live without in your office?