When you’re working from a small office, it’s important that you make the best use of space. Floor space is at a premium and overhead space must be safely used to avoid workplace injuries. Accessories for the compact office that help to make office life easier, simpler, safer or better managed are all worth investing in.
Here are a few useful tech accessories for smaller offices.
Motion Sensor Door Chimes
The motion sensor chimes on driveways are useful for small businesses. They can alert staff indoors to visitors. Motion sensor chimes also provide an extra layer of security at the entrances of small offices where the receptionist is sometimes off dealing with a small errand or taking a restroom break. There are chimes that fit an entry doorway at the reception area, which work using a steel disk, a magnet, and a spring to trigger the chime response.
Other chimes are the latest wireless versions that register when a relay has been activated and broadcast a wireless signal to a receiver which triggers the audible chime. One of the added benefits of the wireless chime is that it works well on sliding glass doors and wooden ones alike.
Both options are excellent, affordable low-tech security measures to announce a new visitor for the busy receptionist on the phone or anyone walking through the reception area when the receptionist is away from his or her desk.
It’s possible that not every computer in the office will be brand new or ordered through a PC maker using a custom order. Because of this, there are potential security issues when an open USB port is exposed to the staff and visitors alike. This creates a potential network security issue where anyone can quickly insert a mini USB flash drive into the open USB port and either install a malware virus or attempt to copy confidential files to their portable drive.
Using a lock port is a bit like a Kensington lock on a laptop that prevents theft. Except with the lock port, it plugs into the USB port and locks it up tight, so it cannot be accessed using another USB device like a flash drive. It is possible to use software and Windows configurations to prevent USB port access, however, this isn’t always completely reliable. Kensington makes a suitable USB lock and one with a cable attached too, but other manufacturers also provide a similar product. It makes for an inexpensive addition to work PCs to lock down their external security.
Portable Power Bank
While it might seem obvious to bring a power bank wherever you go to change up your work smartphone, iPhone, tablet or iPad, the reality is that sometimes you forget and leave it at home. When reaching the office, there may not be a way to keep devices powered on if a power cut hits. Secondary computing devices like a tablet or smartphone provide a good way to keep up with business email via cellular access in the event of a local power cut that takes the main desktop computers offline.
It’s a good idea to have at least one spare battery power bank that always stays in the office and is charged up ready to supply power to necessary devices in the event of a business emergency. Bear in mind that it may be necessary to charge up more than one mobile device concurrently if the power stays off for longer than an hour or two, so the milliamp (mAh) capacity should be on the high side. Having more than one port that can supply power to multiple mobile devices is a plus.
The Cable Drop is a neat little invention that makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it first. It is a circular cable tidy that adheres to the desk on the top or side and lets the cable clip into it. The idea is to avoid having a matrix of cables crisscrossing in a confusing latticework. It also protects employees from having to worry about long cables sticking out or lying on the floor creating a trip hazard.
There are many different brands offering a similar product now. One key difference between them is that some have cable grips that are grouped in sets of four, allowing the IT team to place all necessary cables into the cable holders neatly in an organized line.
Avoiding workplace accidents is important to all businesses, not just for the human safety angle but also because the sudden loss of a key employee for a period can create a significant disruption that’s difficult to deal with.
Portable Bluetooth Speaker
It’s a fact that some calls come through a mobile device and not the office switchboard. Quite often, small entrepreneurs won’t even use a landline and will use a free call provider like Google Voice or a paid one like Skype to make a VoIP call. Depending on who you wish to listen in, it’s a good idea to have a small Bluetooth speaker that can connect to the smartphone and act as a speakerphone setup.
There are many brands of Bluetooth speakers that fit the bill. Some of these portable speakers include their own microphone and are set up for exactly this purpose. In other instances, the speaker can provide some light background audio to cut the silence in the office and lighten the mood. One of the better brands is JBL, which has a good range of products from small to large including some that have call management features as described above.
It’s not only the large, expensive purchases that small offices require. There’s a lot to be said for the many small additions that make life easier, reduce risks, increase safety, announce new visitors, and add a little background music in there too. Never be shy to accept smart suggestions from keen members of staff who come up with ideas about other additions that would make office life easier or help the company to run more smoothly. Create a reward system for the best ideas. Checking out a tech gadget website every few months isn’t a bad idea too. You’ll find information about new products that you hadn’t even heard of before and can pick up the most useful ones.