One in four American households about 26 million of them now have a home office, according to New York-based CDB Research & Consulting Inc.
And, oh, how the work-at-home experience has evolved in just a few decades. We can get through the workday without ever getting out of bed, should we ever need to do so. Send the last email of the day with your feet propped up on the coffee table.
The Internet, Wi-Fi systems, laptops and other mobile devices get the credit for freeing workers from desktop computers and cordless phones with limited reach. Those were mainstays of the home office not so long ago.
The latest avalanche of home-office products is bringing even more flexibility and power for boosting comfort, efficiency and productivity.
Here are some of our favorite products.
↑ Work stations
Choosing a workstation is an important decision for anyone setting up a home office. Getting the job done doesnt always mean sitting at a desk. When you do use one, the desk should provide support and comfort to prevent injuries over time. Ergonomically friendly, height-adjustable electric desks are a popular choice for the home office, according to Mark Fink, president of ConSet America in Pittsboro. Its designs let the user move from sitting to standing with the touch of a button. These also add flexibility in offices with multiple users of different heights. Available through a nationwide retail-dealer network. Prices start at $750. www.conset.us
• Any room in the house can become an extension of the office with a ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display. It offers Internet access without being tethered to your PC. Check email, surf the Web and even attend conferences or tune in to live TV. This 22-inch monitor operates as a touch-screen Web browser, using an Android operating system. It requires no special setup. Use your existing wireless or Ethernet connection. Available through Amazon and from technology retailers for around $420. www.viewsonic.com
• Need lots of documentation to run your business? The HP LaserJet Enterprise flow MFP M525c is part of a new class of multifunction laser printers that turn printed pages into digital files. Scan directly to Web-based cloud servers, if you like. Or upload data to your workplace or share documents. The Enterprise flow MFP M525c features a touch-screen display and printing at 42 pages per minute. The printer also converts scanned documents to text, allowing you to cut and paste data, change it or share documents in electronic format. Retails for $2,600.
• iPad users sometimes may want the feel of a traditional keyboard, rather than touch-screen typing, especially when the focus is on productivity. The Brydge is a snap-on, hinged keyboard designed for those occasions. The keyboard is made of aluminum that is anodized to match the look of the iPad. Retails for $210 with Bluetooth speakers. www.thebrydge.com
Do power cords have you tangled up? Try these colorful cord identifiers, priced at $12.99 for 10 reusable colored dotz, 24 labeled circular tabs and 12 blank circular tabs. The identifiers fit on cords and cables up to 5 mm diameter or 7 mm wide. You wont lose your data when someone unplugs the wrong device. www.qcidirect.com
→ Web meetings
Marketing is critical for a small business, but owners cant be everywhere at once. With the Personify Live video presentation and conferencing software tool, you can record a presentation that will be available anytime. Add your image to a digital presentation or prepare a message or demonstrate a product on video when you cant make it to the next Web conference. The price starts at $19.99 monthly for up to 200 hundred hours of use. https://personifyinc.com/
→ Laptop/tablet combination
The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix fuses the laptop, tablet and more. The hybrid will be released later this month and offers a rip and flip screen that gives users absolute mobile freedom and versatility with four ways to use it. The tablet can separate from its base and function as a notebook. Flip the tablet 180 degrees and snap back into the base, and the PC functions in stand mode, allowing for demonstrations or movie viewing. Fold the screen down and it operates like a tablet, keeping the base connected and allowing for additional ports/connectivity. The Helix has a full-size keyboard, which makes note-taking and heavy typing a breeze. The battery lasts up to 10 hours, giving work-at-home users considerable mobility. Approximately $1,499 at retail. www.lenovo.com/us/en
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