Remote Office: 10 Essentials You Can’t Live Without!

Monday, July 2, 2018

So, you just gave up your old desk job and are now an honest-to-goodness, full-time freelancer. First of all, congratulations! You now have the flexibility to work when you want and, more importantly, where you want anywhere in the world. The next step should be setting up your new remote office!

Before you start rolling in the Benjamins and jet-setting across the globe, there are a few important pieces of this freelancing puzzle you’ll want to set up. That’s why I’ve taken a headache out of starting a new freelancing business by rounding up my top 10 essentials for your new remote office!

Really Awesome WiFi

This might seem obvious, but if you plan on working from genuinely remote destinations around the world, you’ll find that WiFi is somewhat of a luxury. Whether you can set up a hotspot on your phone or prefer to search for a more stable modem on your journey, having reliable access to the Internet is a must-have for any aspiring freelancer to be. This is particularly important when you work with other freelancers or clients all around the world and need to stay in touch across multiple time zones!

Whilst it is generally considered that there are few options for reliable wifi in remote or rural areas, that is not necessarily the case. When looking at the best options for internet in rural areas, for instance, you probably have more options than you think. What will be best suited to you whether traveling or working from home, will depend on a number of factors like your location, your data usage habits, and indeed your budget.

A Printer, Scanner & Copier

Portable scanner is a great way of going paperless in the remote office space.

If you are setting up your first home office, you will want to invest in a quality printer, scanner, and copier. Whether you opt for an all-in-one model or a couple of pieces of equipment, the most important thing is that you can print, scan, and copy documents whenever you and your clients need them. 

If you're planning to travel a lot, why not get a portable scanner and going paperless for less waste and hassle?

Lightweight Laptop

You never know when you'll have the energy to work, so having a lightweight laptop for remote work is a no-brainer.

As a freelance writer, my laptop is basically my lifeline. I go everywhere with it, so I’m ready whenever inspiration strikes and break out into a cold sweat when I lose track of it.

Having a dependable and lightweight laptop is essential for anyone that plans on working remotely and is particularly important if you anticipate working on the go frequently. 

For me, spending the few extra dollars on my ultra-lightweight MacBook was the best money I’ve ever spent and was a substantial investment in my future as a successful freelance writer.

You can't have a genuine remote office without a laptop, so that investition is a no-brainer for every freelancer.

Reliable Calendar or Planner

Working for yourself as a freelancer means learning how to juggle. No, I’m not talking about flaming balls or swords; I’m talking about your calendar. 

When I started freelancing, all of a sudden, I had to balance more deadlines, meetings, and phone calls than ever before (and remember, I was an attorney!). That’s why getting organized and keeping everything in one calendar was so important (and probably saved my sanity in the beginning).

Read more: Find Your New Normal as a Remote Worker

As a Mac user, I am currently taking advantage of my iCal, which syncs in real time between my computer and phone at any given time. That said, I have plenty of freelancing friends that swear by paper planners as well, so feel free to go old school if that’s more your style! 

However you do it, just keep those dates updated and all in one place!

Professional Email Address

Use a professional email address for business, and your regular one for personal life.

Maybe was a cute email address back in high school, but it’s time to enter the grown-up world and get yourself a professional email address.

You don’t need to create a business name or even purchase a domain name this early in the game, a simple format will suffice and will exemplify your professionalism to clients and other freelancers alike.

A Dedicated Business Phone Number

Using another phone number just for business is more likely to increase your productivity while working from your remote office.

Along the same lines as a professional email address, you will also want to secure a separate phone number for your clients to use to avoid paying exorbitant international fees (or just sharing your personal information with people you barely know).

If setting up a business line with your provider seems too much right now, check out Google Voice! Simply enter your current phone number, and Google will set you up with a separate number that automatically forwards to your cell phone…for free!

Google Account

Google account is absolutely essential for business, and that means that it also should find a home in your remote office.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it: the global freelancing community runs on Google. If you don’t already have a professional Google account, get one. Immediately. No really, stop reading this article, open up a new window, and sign up right now.

From document sharing and collaboration to Hangouts and free video chatting, your Google account will quickly become your go-to portal for all of your communication needs as a freelancer!

Microsoft Programs

Microsoft Word is one of the essential programs you will use as a freelance writer.

I’m a Mac user, and even I don’t understand why Pages is still a thing in 2018. Admit it or not, but the rest of the world is using Microsoft Word and expects your work to be delivered in this format!

Skype Account

Skype is a go-to software to stay in touch with your clients and an essential part of the remote office.

While Google Hangouts are indeed an excellent way to video chat with multiple clients, you can’t go wrong with a Skype account either. Your remote office should definitely include both platforms so clients from different industries and parts of the world can easily communicate with you!

A Comfortable Work Space

Make sure that any of the remote work spaces you may choose is comfortable enough for longer work sessions.w

Last but certainly not the least, you will need a comfortable place to sit down and get to work! Whether this means furnishing a new home office or finding a great work spot on-the-go is entirely up to you, but I can’t emphasize the importance of having some sort of dedicated workspace enough. 

Read more: What's the Best Work Space for a Traveler?

When I’m at home, this is as simple as a fold-out desk in my bedroom. When I’m away, it is a room where I can spread out my various notebooks and write without distraction. Whatever your style, make sure it is conducive to good work!

Well, freelancers, that’s it! You now have everything you need to set up your first remote office and begin your journey as a profitable freelancer. This profession is truly limitless, and you are in for the time of your life, believe me!

Elizabeth Murray freelance content writer at
Traveling is about expanding your mindset and challenging every custom, tradition, and way of life you thought you knew.