The freelancer economy is on the rise, with some experts estimating that 40 percent of the American workforce will work independently by 2020. For the many people already embracing the lifestyle, "office" means a variety of things. It could be a desk at a co-working space or a table at the local Starbucks. But in many cases, freelancers work from their own houses, whether in a dedicated home office, at the kitchen table, or in a favorite recliner.
If you're one of the many people now working from home, you have the luxury of making your environment exactly what you want it to be. Here are a few gadgets that will improve your productivity, help make you more comfortable, or just make your life as a freelancer a little easier.
One of the biggest disadvantages of working from home is that you're there for all of the door-to-door salespeople and delivery personnel who visit at random times. With a smart doorbell in place, you don't even have to leave your desk to answer the door. You can view visitors on your phone's screen and speak directly to them. If you happen to be away from home for the day, you can still answer your door as though you were home.
2. Pomodoro Timer
Freelancers can have difficulty focusing on one task for long periods of time, especially with so many distractions around the house. The Pomodoro Method boosts productivity by forcing users to work for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. This timer makes it easy to force yourself to get work done.
3. Air Purifier
If you're spending all day in the same place, air quality will be more important than ever. This new purifier from Dyson uses sensors to detect and improve the air quality throughout a home, which you can monitor through a mobile app. This will dramatically reduce the allergens in your work areas, helping you feel better while you work. In an office, you may not be able to control your air quality, but one of the luxuries of working on your own terms is that you're in charge of your surroundings.
4. White Board
A white board has long been a dependable way to track your projects and brainstorm ideas. Smart Boards are cost prohibitive, but this app lets you turn any tablet into a white board, then share your sketches with others. Best of all, it's free. You still may want to invest in a white board for your office wall, though.
5. Smart Pen
As a freelancer, you'll likely spend hours in meetings, whether by phone or at your clients' offices. You'll likely bring along a pen and notepad for those meetings, but you'll then have to transcribe your notes later. This smart pen captures your writings and transfers them to a PC, Mac, or smartphone for later reference.
6. Smartphone Charging
Freelancers compulsively check email throughout the day, watching for new assignments. In some cases, they may even use their smartphones to snap photos or video. When you're away from home, it can be difficult to keep a charge. The LinearFlux LithiumCard is a credit card-size device that promises to charge an iOS or Android phone faster than a wall charger.
7. Standing Desk
Working from home can be bad for your health if you spend all day sitting. Standing desks have become popular in offices, but they're available for home offices, as well. The Varidesk Pro Plus 36 has a two-tier design that includes an upper deck for one or two monitors and a lower deck for a mouse and keyboard. There are 11 different height adjustments to allow you to find the most comfortable position as you work.
With the right tools in place, freelancers can create a comfortable, healthy workplace that encourages productivity throughout the day. In addition to gadgets, there are a large number of apps that can also support a freelancer's work and help them make as much money as possible.