The New Year is fast approaching, and many aspiring entrepreneurs are eager to turn their dreams into reality next year. With all the excitement that comes with starting your own business, it’s easy to overlook the basics. Most new entrepreneurs focus on the big picture, such as raising capital, business planning, and marketing. They have little head space left to think about small details like office supplies.
If you’re in the same situation, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we put together a list of eight office essentials that you need to have in 2018.
1. Ergonomic Desks & Chairs
It doesn’t cost much to keep your employees comfortable through the workday. For this reason, desks and chairs top of office essentials list.
Great office chairs and desks are available in every price range. They are must-have items for both commercial traditional and home offices.
In 2018, you have multiple options for desks that can make your office a healthier workplace. Consider investing in standing desks, counters, and hanging tables. As they say, sitting is the new smoking so give your employees the chance to stretch their legs and work their muscles while working. A good standing desk starts around $150. There are even lower cost sit-to-stand converter boxes which convert traditional desks to standing desks.
If budget permits, consider investing in treadmill desks. Studies have shown that the fitness device is associated with improved memory and concentration and increased productivity. If that’s not enough, treadmill desks are great for you and your employees’ health. You get work done while working out at the same time.
If you do choose traditional sit-down desks, you and your employees will spend a lot of hours sitting, so consider investing in ergonomic office chairs. Ergonomic office chairs and training can improve worker productivity by as much as 17.5 percent while also reducing the risk of work-related injuries. Good chairs don’t need to put a big dent in your budget either. Task chairs start at around $50 and are ideal for 3-4 hours of sitting. High backed executive chairs can cost upwards of $1,000 but offer great ergonomic technology for a full day of sitting.
2. VoIP Phone Service
If you’re still using a landline, consider switching over to Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone systems, which use the internet to make and receive calls. VoIP technology is significantly cheaper than a landline and offers more calling features such as call transfer, queueing, extensions, directories, and more. VoIP is also easier to setup than a traditional landline. Business owners on the go will especially benefit from a VoIP phone system because you can use your office phone, cell phone, or computer to make and receive calls.
Virtually all businesses today rely on computers to perform day to day activities. You don’t need to purchase high-end models unless your business specializes in graphic design, 3D animation, video editing, or other processes that require heavy computing power.
Desktop units under $200 such as this well-reviewed computer have enough computing juice to power basic applications such as emailing, internet browsing, online marketing, document writing, file sharing, video conferencing, and so on.
For businesses with employees who work remotely or travel, laptops are the better choice. For under $300, Chromebooks allow internet browsing and provide access to G Suite apps such as Google Docs and Google Slides. They also super quick to set up — just connect to WiFi, sign in with your Google account, and start using your computer.
4. Fast and Reliable Internet Access
A fast, reliable internet connection is a must for every business operating in 2018, so it’s no surprise this necessity also makes our list of office essentials. In the age of globalization, you can generate new leads and convert prospects into clients regardless of location with the help of the internet. It is also essential in day to day operations for efficient communication, data storage, and file sharing.
You and your employees will most likely share data so consider investing in a reputable service provider that offers secure, high-speed internet. Different providers offer better service depending on where you’re located. For example, Verizon FiOS is most popular in the Northeast, Charter Spectrum in the Midwest and Southwest, and Comcast in the Northwest. Look for high download speeds and low cancellation fees in case you need to switch providers. You will also need a long-range wireless Wi-Fi router so everyone can have internet access while on your office’s premises. Wi-Fi routers are affordable, and you get one for your business for under $100.
Once your Internet connection is set up, it’s a good idea to do a speed test of your business website to make sure your customers have quick access.
5. All-In-One Printer, Fax, Copier, and Scanner
While many businesses have gone paperless today, some types of businesses, such as law firms, medical offices, and banks, still need to use paper. Fortunately, you can purchase a printer, fax, copier, and scanner in an all in one machine. Even if you don’t use much paper, your clients may submit documents to you in hard copy. You can use the scanner to turn hard-copy documents into digital files.
During the course of running your business, you will most likely come across confidential information in the form of hard copy documents. This is especially true in the medical, recruiting, and legal industries. If you deal with sensitive documents, consider buying a good paper shredder. For the highest security, invest in a shredder that micro cuts documents into the smallest bits. For less than $50, you can help keep your business safe from leakage, identity theft, and other types of information theft.
7. Portable Storage Devices
As a business owner, you need portable storage like USB flash drives and external hard drives to help you keep your data secure. These devices have password-protected features so only authorized personnel have access to sensitive files. In addition to data security, they also act as cost-effective backup solutions in case your system goes down. You can get one with 1 terabyte (1,000 GB) of storage capacity for under $50.
8. Electronic Whiteboards
Traditional whiteboards are a thing of the past. Step your team into the future with an interactive display system that responds to touch and swipes. These devices are a little bit on the expensive side, but they are internet ready, plus they enable you to write directly on the screen with your fingers or a touch screen pen. With electronic whiteboards, your employees will find it difficult not to be excited to hold meetings and presentations.
Don’t Skimp on Office Essentials!
Starting a company can take so much of your attention that you have limited head space to think about office supplies. As you prepare to open your business, make sure that you have office essentials such as ergonomic desks and chairs, computers and mobile devices, good internet connection, shredders and air purifiers just to name a few. These items help keep day to day operations running smoothly and safely.