Work From Home Like a Boss: Top Tech for Your Home Office
Working from home -- and making a decent living doing it -- demands discipline, focus and follow-through. Decking your workspace out with some of the latest, greatest office tech doesn't hurt either. Having the right gear just might boost your productivity, that is if you don't let it drive you to distraction.
Here are four of our favorite tech tools to spruce up your home office -- and your workflow, too.
Being physically comfortable in your home work environment is as important as having an organized dedicated workspace. CubeSensors can help you keep yours from getting too hot or too cold or too bright or too dark, and a lot more.
The sensor-stacked wireless connected cubes are designed to improve your health, comfort and productivity. They attempt to do just that by continuously analyzing and educating you about your immediate air quality, temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, light and noise levels. Oh, the internet of things.
All you have to do is place a CubeSensor on your desk -- or couch or wherever you're working -- and occasionally shake it to gauge your conditions. If it glows blue, everything's kosher. If it glows red, something's amiss and it's time to check the companion iPhone app for friendly, environment-enhancing nudges. ("Open a window!" "Too dark to work!" "Lower humidity would be healthier.")
Price: $299 for two cubes, USB and ethernet cables, power adapter and base station
2. Epson WorkForce WF-3540 All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer
Yes, we know. Printers aren't exactly sexy, but for most of us they're still a much-needed home office staple. If you're in the market for a new one, consider upgrading to a wireless Energy Star workhorse, like that Epson WorkForce WF-3540 All-in-One Printer.
This high-capacity, multi-tray machine packs a decent batch of bells and whistles for the price, including touchscreen gesture navigation, double-sided printing, scanning, faxing and copying. Our favorite perk is the ability to print wirelessly from a tablet, smartphone or laptop. You can also use it to scan, save and move critical documents and pics to the cloud via Apple AirPrint and Google Air Print.
3. Pure Jongo T4 wireless streaming speaker
Cue your favorite workflow playlist and get to work. Research shows that that listening to music makes us more productive and creative on the job. And what better to help you keep your tunes -- and output and creativity -- pumping all the work day (or night) than a sweet wireless speaker, like the new Jongo T4 from Pure?
Because you toil from the comfort of your own home, you can go ahead and crank the shoebox-sized 50-watt Bluetooth room-filler up as loud as you like. The companion app turns your smartphone or tablet into a remote that you can cue tracks and stream Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Deezer music from. Match the speaker grille to your workspace decor. They come in standard black, plus three rich tropical colors -- burnt orange, lime green, and mango.
4. iStick Multifunction Desktop Organizer
Studies show that a neat, clean desk can lead to more productivity. No surprise there. Clean up yours in a flash (drive) with the iStick Multifunction Desktop Organizer.
Place the iStick over your computer keyboard (it's not really for laptops, unfortunately) and load its compartments up with pens, pencils, sticky notes and other office clutter culprits. Then plug in your USB-friendly devices, charge them and channel your inner Martha Stewart.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.