An important added furniture piece to enable you to have more free desk space is the usage of a credenza. This could alternatively be other furniture that serves a similar purpose, e.g., a bookcase, side table, and so on. This article will give you some ideas regarding how to modernize your credenza technology through the adding and placement of office equipment.
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The Credenza’s Functions and Capacity
The credenza, or other furniture that you might use, can help keep your desk workspace more free and open. This is achievable if this non-desk area can handle some placement of some tech-related Home Office items. Here’s a list of some of those items to keep away from the desk workspace surface. Some of these items will fit on the credenza perfectly and some will be positioned elsewhere.
- Files storage
- Readily accessible up front tech equipment
- Hidden from view tech equipment
- Multi-function printer (scanner)
- Internet Gateway equipment (modem, router)
- UPS (battery backup of tech equipment)
- Digital Files storage (server, NAS, external drives)
- Communications (phone, ATA adapter)
- Network switch
Your listing will vary, of course. This article is to present some example items for placement and to give you a visual “feel” of such an implementation. These items can all usually be handled by a moderate sized credenza, as you’ll soon discover here.
In this example, most of these items are networked together, so they’ll be near one another. If you have networking in other rooms or areas, you wouldn’t necessarily need to have them all on the credenza nor in the Home Office area. We’ll see the example credenza used first. Then, we’ll proceed to illustrate each piece of equipment and its placement. This is a good path to modernize your credenza technology.
- This is the Kirchoff Credenza. It’s somewhat small to medium in size, as you can see. The top two drawers are common. The bottom two left handles are a single pullout file drawer. The right center shelf is fixed and the bottom one is a pullout shelf.
Item #1: The Modem (Incoming Internet connection)
- Some people will start with the UPS device first. I recommend that you position all your other devices first and then position the UPS. Over time, you may find that the UPS location could dictate where a few of your devices go; you’ll want the opposite to occur.
- Your incoming Internet connection location may vary. In this example, it was established to go into the Home Office behind the credenza. So, the modem is the initial tech device to be put into place on the credenza top. The power plug will eventually go into the UPS. In the meantime, as you might need to maintain the Internet in your Home, you could temporarily use a power strip for all these initial devices. Then, you’re not pressured for time for installing all of this equipment.
Item #2: The Router (the Outgoing Distribution of the Internet Connection)
- Some people will have the modem and router as one unified device so this may not apply to you. If you happened to have the modem and router separately, this is now the time to connect your router to your modem. The shapes of routers, like many devices vary extensively. Most routers are just another rectangular box.
- If you’re experiencing a lot of buffering issues via Wi-Fi, it might be time to look for a more updated router that can handle more wireless devices concurrently. This will help modernize your credenza technology. An alternative is if you can add wired networking so some equipment can be directly connected to the network and off of wireless.
- As referenced earlier, if you need to maintain an Internet connection in your home, you could temporarily plug this into a power strip.
Item #3: Network Switch
- If your router isn’t sufficient for all your network ports, you might have a network switch to supplement them. Or, some will use a network switch anyway for various reasons of controlling traffic. You can place this on your credenza and plug it into one of the ports on your router.
- In my case, my router ports are used up to go out to various rooms in the home for direct Internet access. So, I mounted the small network switch on the side of the desk and covered all the wires. This enabled all desk items (starting with the laptop) to have a direct wired connection instead of relying on Wi-Fi.
So, your Internet connection is re-established and you can take a break. The rest of the equipment can now be easily put into place and tested.
Item #4: Modernize Your Credenza Technology with Phone VOIP
- Most people just use their cell phones these days but, some Home Offices will use a handset or speakerphone setup connected to the Internet, e.g., VOIP. In other words, a phone system that runs off the Internet. Updating your office phone to run over the Internet is a good way to modernize your credenza technology.
- An ATA Adapter is a device that you plug into an Internet port (on the router) on one side. On the other side, you plug your phone into it, using the standard phone plug. Those devices are technical in nature and some services include them pre-programmed for you. Some services examples are Vonage, CallCentric, and others. Some Home Offices use these types of systems for these various reasons:
- to have a business phone number
- just to have a different phone number than their personal cell
- affordable International calling
- keep their minutes down on their cell phones (not everyone has unlimited minutes)
- to have a call menu structure with extensions
- If you use a phone system you’ll want to connect it to the Router (or Network switch) now. If you still use a landline, you’ll want to put it in place now.
Item #5: Printer, Scanner, or Multi-function Device
- So, you may not have any of these things or, you might just have a printer. In any case, it’s now time to put it/them into place. This example covers a multi-function 3-in-1 device (printer, scanner, fax). I’ll just call it “the printer”. In the example credenza you see, we had to remove the fixed center shelf. This allowed the printer to rest on the pull-out shelf. It worked out great because it keeps it somewhat out of sight yet permits the pulling out for using the scanner.
- Due to its location on the credenza, it can now be directly plugged into the router (or the network switch). It you don’t have a network port on your printer, you can utilize whatever method you have before, i.e., Wi-Fi or USB. If using USB, you might now need a USB extension cable, depending on your situation.
- If you have a separate scanner, it might best be positioned on top of the credenza. Then, connect it.
Item #6: Digital Files Storage (Server, NAS, external drives)
This is fairly unique for everyone. The concept here basically covers two areas:
- The equipment that stores your digital files
- The device you use to back them up
However, many Home Offices haven’t quite gotten into the backing up of files beyond having some space in the cloud for different uses. These cloud services (Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, etc.) require a fee beyond a certain “free” minimum capacity. And some Home Offices don’t have a lot of files for going beyond those capacities. However, accessing them via the Internet all the time does pose a speed issue at times.
For reasons of security, control, faster access, and expense, many Home Offices keep their files locally and include a backup system as well. Getting a good backup system in place is a positive way to modernize your credenza technology. This section covers the locally retained storage devices of digital files in two ways:
- The example will mention placement of a small server (NAS) for storing and accessing the digital files.
- It then will also address the positioning of an external USB-connected hard drive (dock) for backups from that server.
Item #6a: NAS Server (for Digital Files) will Modernize Your Credenza Technology
- This is an example of adding a NAS Server on the credenza. It can be placed anywhere and will have one or more network cables plugged into the router. The contents of the files, in this example, are encrypted.
- Other Home Offices may have much more elaborate servers and might be larger. Some servers will go into a separate area of the Home Office such as a “closet” and might be be rack mounted, along with other networking equipment. This article only addresses the small devices such as this.
Item #6b: USB-connected External Drive (for File Backups)
- This is an example of a USB 3.0 connected hard drive that’s used for backups of digital files. While some devices might be just a small enclosed single drive, this is an open “drive dock” and can hold 2 hard drives (of different types). It has the advantage of simple and quick drive insertion or removal, similar to “hot swap” capability. It’s directly connected via a long USB cable to the server.
- Due to the nature of a little bit of added security, this drive dock is located in a different room. The drive’s file contents, in this example, remain encrypted.
- Periodically, a drive is removed for storing offsite for security. Another drive is inserted to continue receiving backups.
Item #7: UPS (Universal Power Supply, battery backup)
These days, many Home Offices have a UPS for 2 reasons:
- Backup power if home loses electricity
- Stronger electrical protection that regular surge protectors don’t provide.
- This is the item that your credenza-placed tech devices can be connected into. However, printers and a few types of devices still today are discouraged from plugging into a UPS. You’ll have to decide for yourself on that aspect. I plug my printer into the “surge only” outlets of the UPS. All the other electronic items I use are plugged into the “battery” outlets on the UPS.
- If your UPS has a USB or Network capability, you’ll want to connect it back to the devices you used before. In my case, the UPS allows the cable coax to run through it for the cable Modem. It also has a USB connection to the NAS for protection. It does have Network ports (in & out) for plugging the router into it if desired.
- Here are a few additional UPS related notes:
- I always ensure the UPS has a form of “automatic voltage regulation” protection. The term varies with different brands. Also, a term “true sine-wave” protection is a 2nd feature I look for in a UPS.
- I do use a UPS for attaching to my more expensive TVs with streaming and audio boxes. That is purely for the electrical protection aspects, well beyond standard surge protection.
- Also, if ever adding a backup power system for your home, you’ll want to consider ensuring it has sine-wave capability. This is what many computer related devices may require for protection during the power switchover, as well as during the time the home is running on backup power.
Item #8: Paper Files Storage Blends in to Modernize Your Credenza
- So, now that your technical equipment is all connected and running, it’s time to finalize a few of the loose ends that are in or near the credenza. At this time, you can now move your paper files and folders into the appropriate drawers of the credenza.
- Having easy access to both your physical paper files, your digital files, and your office devices is an excellent show of how you’ve modernized your credenza technology.
Item #9: Shredder
You can now position the shredder. I recommend it next to the credenza on either side. You can plug it in but, I don’t plug mine into the UPS. But, that’s up to you on your scenario and recommendations of the equipment manufacturers.
- Yes, every Home Office should have a shredder. Over the last 25 years, I’m on my 3rd one. If you get a pretty good one, they tend to last. You also need to oil them appropriately, based on their instructions, of course. Some of them advise you to squirt the oil directly across the open shredding slot. Others prohibit that and insist you put the oil on some paper and then shred that.
- I do always get a shredder that can handle a moderate amount of paper sheets at a time. I look for about 8-12 sheets capability. And, I only expect it to work real good at about the 75% capacity of that. So, if you’re envisioning about 8 sheets at a time, I recommend getting one that reports a capacity of about 12 sheets.
- Most of the average good ones will also have a specific area for inserting credit cards and disc media (if you use that).
- Such shredders may cost about $75-$150.
Conclusion of How to Modernize Your Credenza Technology
As you can see, modernizing your office technology equipment and using nearby placement, you’ll have a more organized, protected, and efficient Home Office.
- Regarding the desk itself, see the related article on how to Modernize Your Home Office Desk For More Space. Both articles go together. As we all work differently and have various goals with our Home Offices, I hope this has helped in giving you more ideas of what’s possible while still maintaining a pleasing décor.