When you consider working from home, you may have some or all the technology you need to get started. However, to work at home effectively and to maximize your revenue-generating time, consider these important factors:
The right computer for the right job.
A small lightweight laptop may be convenient and portable, but not powerful enough to handle multitasking. A powerful gaming desktop may be extraordinarily fast but cost too much. Look for computers designed for small business—those are typically built with enough memory for multitasking and designed with productivity in mind.
What you are looking for:
- Memory: 8 gigabytes of installed memory (RAM) is now the usual average for most small business machines. Look for 16 gigabytes or more if you expect to have many programs open at the same time.
- Storage: look for fast Solid-State Drives. If you’re dedicating your machine for work, you might only need 128-256 gigabytes of storage space.
- Processor: lower-end processors will have trouble with multitasking and voice processing (especially if you take calls with the computer itself). Look for mid-range processors that have 4 processing cores at least.
- Networking: wireless is convenient, but still not secure for critical applications. You will need wired networking in any machine you choose.
Working wherever you are.
For the best cost-savings and lowest downtime, a traditional desktop computer is the way to go, as you can replace or upgrade components where necessary—sometimes by doing it yourself. However, if you find yourself needing to work at a different location regularly, a small-business laptop is a viable option. Make sure you have a large, high-resolution display (HD or better) and wired networking capabilities to ensure secure work wherever you go.
- Display: most consumer-level laptops come with a smaller screen and lower resolution. That type of screen can make it difficult to multitask. Look for small business laptops with an “HD” screen or better, and at least a 15” physical display size
- Avoid touchscreens: most business programs rely on keyboard-and-mouse input and will not understand touch input. As well, if the touchscreen breaks, that can cause problems trying to use other input devices when the broken touchscreens select items on-screen that you didn’t intend. Save money by choosing laptops without touch-enabled screens where possible.
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Don’t forget the network!
Make sure you’re using up-to-date networking equipment: use modern routers and switches and ensure all your network cables are in good condition—a bad network cable between your computer and the router or modem can wreak havoc with your network quality. As well, make sure you’ve subscribed to enough bandwidth from your local internet service provider; if there are multiple other devices on your premises, someone else hogging all the bandwidth can cause your quality to drop.