essential home office technology

Introduction to Essential Home Office Technology

This article gives you some ideas regarding how to modernize some essential home office technology through adding, updating, placing, and organizing office equipment. Some additional items are also shown for home offices involved with much online work such as remote access, website development, content writing, video conferencing, blogging, UX design, and many others. This article is listed in our “Start Blog Plan” main topic and our overview article “How Do You Start A Blog?”. It also is a part of the “Blog Planning” category.

This is a detailed part from our overall “Home Office Setup” guide. Keep reading to see what items pertain to your home office scenario.

Positioning Equipment

Positioning equipment and devices will vary a lot, depending on what furniture you have and where it’s placed. Next are mentioned key pieces of office furniture that can be used for positioning equipment. This is followed by the list of equipment and an example of positioning it and setup on a specific type of furniture.

  • Desk
  • Credenza
  • Tower of Drawers
  • Floor
home office credenza
  • This is the Kirchoff Credenza. It’s perfect for placement of many technology devices and more. 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.

This is the Kirchoff Desk. It’s a perfect workspace environment for placement of the main technology equipment of computer and monitors. Placement of the desk against a wall keeps a lot of wires hidden for good appearance and Feng Shui. It’s a modern, old style design. It is a cross between minimalist and an added functionality. There’s an optimal workspace on top with a front row of 2 small accessory drawers and a mouse/keyboard pullout tray. Just a few items are placed on it so that it retains a healthy, clear workspace.

home office desk
home office drawers tower

This is a tower set of drawers. It’s good for storing some active papers in various stages of processing. It also doubles as keeping the laptop off the desk, by being at the top of the tower. And it has further function by having some immediately available items such as printer paper, tech device manuals, and cables with adapters.

Home Office Technology Set Up

The home office technology set up is important to execute correctly over time so that you can focus simply on work and utilizing that technology. Placement of your home office tech setup will be generally done on the desk, credenza, stands, on shelves, on the wall, and even on the floor.

First, plan out your vision of furniture placement and equipment placement. Then, you can proceed to see if you have all the home office tech equipment and accessories. Keep reading; we cover a reasonably healthy equipment list next.

Home Office Equipment List

Here’s a home office equipment list of tech equipment, devices, and accessories. Some of them can fit on a credenza perfectly and some will be positioned on a desk or nearby another piece of office furniture. Remaining items might be in a storage area or a drawer until ready for use. Keep in mind, of course, not all items apply nor are needed by everyone. This list covers a variety of work scenarios for the technical functions of the home office.

  • Computer, laptop, etc.
  • Monitor(s)
  • Keyboard, mouse
  • Camera, smartphone, webcam, supporting desk stands
  • Audio, speaker(s), microphone(s)
  • Multi-function printer (scanner)
  • Internet Gateway equipment (modem, router)
  • UPS (battery backup of tech equipment)
  • Digital Files storage (server, NAS, external drives, drive wiper)
  • Communications (phone, ATA adapter)
  • Network switch

Your list will vary, of course. This article presents some example items for placement and to give you a visual “feel” of such an implementation. You’ll have a better home office feeling if you can reduce the equipment and the wires appearance on the desk workspace, as you’ll soon discover here.

In these examples, most items are networked together, so they may tend to be near a network port or near one another. If you have networking in other rooms or areas, you wouldn’t necessarily need to have them all on the credenza, desk, or even in the Home Office area at all. We’ll now cover where your positioning of office equipment might be served best.

Keep reading to see examples of where these tech devices can be placed on each of your office pieces of furniture.

The Modem (Incoming Internet connection)

home office modem front
  • 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.

The Router (network and Internet sharing)

home office router front view
  • 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.

Network Switch (additional network sharing)

home office network switch top view
  • 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.

Phone VOIP

home office phone with ata adapter
  • 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.

Printer (multi-function for adding scanner)

home office multifunction printer
  • 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.

NAS Server (for digital files storage)

home office nas server front
  • This is an example of adding a NAS Server on the credenza. It stores digital files for use via the network. It can be also be placed anywhere besides on a credenza. It can have one or more network cables plugged into the router or one plugged into any available network port in any room. The contents of the files on this server, in this example, are encrypted, for added protection. We wrote a guide “How To QNAP Factory Reset NAS“.
  • 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.

USB-connected External Drive (for digital file backups)

home office external drive storage dock
  • This is an example of a USB 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.

UPS (Universal Power Supply, battery backup)

These days, many Home Offices have a UPS for 2 reasons:

  1. Backup power if home loses electricity
  2. Stronger electrical protection that regular surge protectors don’t provide.
home office ups front showing watts usage
  • 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.

Additional Technology for Home Office

home office external hdd drive wiper

There will sometimes be additional technology for home office items you consider as time progresses. For example, over time, you might discover a need for larger drive storage. Or, in some cases, a drive might fail and will need replacement. For security reasons, you don’t just discard the old one without some further preparation.

So, with some sensitive information such as login credentials or confidential client files being stored on your computer or server, it’s good to have a drive storage “wiper” for HDD drives or a secure “eraser” for SSD drives as your replace them. There are other more advanced types of drives and secure methods of completely erasing their contents, as needed.

However, it’s known in the security information world that the only true, final erasure is to physically “carve” the storage device into a particularly small sized set of pieces or have it fully burned and melted down. These aspects however, are usually afforded by more commercial operations so a wiping device is more practical for the home office; however, you could then physically damage the drive further with a sledge hammer and soak it overnight in a large bowl of salt water, if you’re so inclined.

Here are some more essential home office technology items, more as a summary but common.

  • Laptop or Computer of your choice.
    • Everyone has their own desire on this type so I don’t address any particular make or model since it’s a vast area for everyone.
  • Wireless mouse and keyboard.
    • This is often a bundle but can be separate. It frees up more space via less wires.
  • Surge-protected power strip or outlet.
    • This might be used at the desk. It’s an additional level of protection from unseen electrical surges. Strips are good for adding extra plugins. If you change out the outlet, that’s good too but is more work.
  • USB Hub with Network Port.
    • This is an optional accessory that adds more functions for you. You can place it out of sight on your desk keyboard tray for additional USB ports for quick connecting devices temporarily.
  • 4K (or higher) webcam.
    • Some can be hung on the monitor to maintain more space on the desk. This is for video conferencing, vlogging, and creating quality videos.
  • Multi-Arm Monitor Holders
    • This is for those who don’t want to do a large TV screen as a monitor. You can free up desk space by using monitor holders which can mount to the desk.
    • They also make a Laptop shelf to keep the laptop off the desk. Take the number of arms your order to accommodate a laptop in case you want 3 arms, 2 for monitors and 1 for laptop.
  • Wire Guides and Coverings
    • There are a lot of wire guides and coverings to choose from. I elected to use the coverings that are flexible and have a zipper which also clip to each other in foot-long sections.

Related Articles

Even Staples has a good article for an ideal home office setup including technology recommendations.

Conclusion

As you can see, modernizing your home office with technology equipment and devices can be daunting and overwhelming for some. The best method is to review the items covered in this article and setup initially those that you’re familiar with in using already. Then, enhance your home office technology over time as you progress forward.

Over time, you’ll discover your needs and how you work, which will change periodically. Referring back to this article, you’ll find some items that may satisfy your discovered or changed needs. You’ll want to make updates to support your newer work scenario.

This article has presented some ideas for you to have a more organized, protected & connected, and efficient Home Office. And you’ll have more desk space to perform your online or blogging work. Make your own plan now. As was mentioned, it’s best to envision it all initially and then slowly make those changes over time. Share your ideas or results with us and share this article with others.

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