Running a small business out of your home has never been more attainable. Affordability of home office supplies have dipped, while the options for utility and features have spiked — the perfect combination for setting up a streamlined workspace at home. We've rounded up a handful of "pro" upgrades for anyone looking to boost productivity with a modest investment for the home office below...
Getting serious about cloud storage: Dropbox's cloud storage is practically an essential app, it's hard to imagine working without it installed onto our computer and smart devices. The ability to store and share large files easily onto the cloud with virtually unlimited space is further boosted by Dropbox for Business's fantastic cooperative and management tools, allowing remote team members to manage administrate with an easy-to-use interface for improved workflow from afar.
Creating custom emails: Custom email addresses can help establish a brand and identity. Google Apps for Business gives this to you through the convenience of Gmail — a service you're already likely using and are familiar with. Google offers a free trial of their business edition upgrade offering, but afterwards each custom email will set you back $5 per month.
Add a virtual secretary: Ooma's small business solution is an affordable way to add a virtual receptionist for incoming phone calls coming into the office. Set up hold music, extensions, call-forwarding, and even "ring groups" to reach out to all your sales or administration division at once.
Incorporate task management: Wunderlist is one of my favorite task management apps and the Pro addition is especially useful for assigning tasks to teammates, and checking status. The app plans to add file attachment and sharing services soon to further improve Wunderlist's utility in a business environment.
Add a tablet: despite initially being labeled as merely "content consumption devices", tablets have become popular among businesses because of their flexibility and portability. The iPad offers the iWork suite for presentations, while the Microsoft Surface comes equipped with Office tools, making them a powerful secondary work device when you don't need a full laptop to lug around. Cloud-based apps make tablets even more viable, since their limited storage can be further buoyed by a wireless or wi-fi connection to remote files.
Get comfortable: If you're going to be running a small business from your home take care of your body and invest in an ergonomic high-quaity task chair — models from the likes of Herman Miller, Steelcase, Humanscale, or Knoll are all safe bets. You're going to be at your desk a lot, so practice good form to you keep your body performing as optimally as your business.
Chris Perez is the Founding Editor of Citygram Magazine.
He is an engineer and freelance writer / photographer based out of Austin, TX. He loves sharing stories about art, culture, food, and technology.
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