With digital technologies being as advanced as they are today, it’s simply never been easier to work from home. But the ability to work remotely isn’t just enjoyed by particular types of professionals like customer service representatives or finance specialists. There is actually an ever-expanding selection of professional roles that now have the opportunity to work from the comfort of their home office – including creative professionals like graphic designers and illustrators.
Even so, working from home does require creative professionals to invest in their own digital tools and equipment as well as video conferencing hardware and software. So what would you realistically need to work remotely as a creative professional?
We’ll be answering just this question today by outlining 5 tech essentials that you’ll definitely need to add to your WFH set-up to ensure that you can take on any and all creative projects that come your way.
1. A strong network connection
It goes without saying that you’ll need a solid internet connection when working remotely. This isn’t just to make sure that your Google Meets chats aren’t spotty either. A reliable internet connection can also help ensure that you can access web design tools like Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Look into the best ethernet cables, range extenders, and modems or routers available to you, and select the networking hardware that suits your office set-up, both in its size as well as its proximity to your home’s NBN connection point.
It’s also a good rule of thumb to connect all your office tech up via ethernet or using networking cables rather than relying on your WiFi connection alone. This is especially vital for creative professionals who can expect to use a wide range of different equipment on any given day (i.e. printers, cameras, graphics tablets, etc.).
2. A large and well-lit tabletop
Regardless of whether you’re working with photography or digital design as your selected medium, chances are you’ll still need plenty of space for sketching and brainstorming. This is precisely why all creative professionals should take measures to ensure that their home desk provides plenty of space to do just these things.
If you’re a professional illustrator or artist, you may already have a great artist’s desk positioned by the window in your home office. If not, then we highly recommend you add one of these versatile tabletops to your home office. It’s guaranteed to make a world of difference when it comes to sketching out your ideas or even laying out your ideal format when curating magazine spreads.
3. Plenty of external storage
Creative professionals are likely to be constantly juggling about ten or twenty .pdf, .jpg, or even .docx files for any project that they take on. Not only is it tricky to keep track of all your drafts, but it can also be intensely difficult to make sure that you’re presenting your client with the real ‘final, FINAL, FINAL’ copy. We’re all guilty of using duplicate file names or even just typing in a string of random numbers and letters at the end of a whole day’s worth of file revisions.
Thankfully, using external storage drives can help organically separate all your file names from project to project, as well as keeping all the clutter away from your computer’s internal storage! So you’ll want to make sure that you have a stack of USBs and HDDs or sleek and streamlined SSDs on hand and in your office space. And remember to keep your receipts for all these storage essentials, as they can be claimed back on your tax return at the end of the financial year.
4. Creative software
Nowadays, virtually all creative professionals are expected to possess proficiency with a range of different technical tools. This can include commonly used creative software like Photoshop or Lightroom as well as other tools found within Adobe’s Creative Cloud software suite. Alongside this, you may also be expected to be proficient with using sound-editing software like Ableton, GarageBand, or even Audacity. And then there’s design tools like Figma, that are commonly used by UX/UI specialists.
No matter what design tools and creative software you’re using, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve secured your own packages that are linked to your professional account – just so you can access these tools comfortably from your home office. It’s also worthwhile taking out multi-year or annual subscription plans for these creative software solutions to reduce your risks of being locked out of the platforms on a day where you may need them most!
5. Cybersecurity tools
Finally, working from home can come with its fair share of digital dangers. For starters, you’ll be accessing client briefs and a wide range of other links from unknown sources straight from your home network. Because of this, there are elevated risks of having your home network infiltrated by malicious third parties.
So you’ll naturally want to make sure that your home network connection is as secure as your office connection. This means investing in cybersecurity tools like VPNs, firewalls, and antivirus software packages. We recommend doing a little preliminary independent research to find the best cybersecurity tools to suit your needs. Look into the size and features that would be most valuable to you based on the number of devices that you’ll be looking to include on your security package or to install your VPN and other security software on.
Creative professionals are also encouraged to engage with the other best methods for keeping themselves safe online. This includes investing in cybersecurity tools like the ones we’ve outlined above (as well as other tools like password managers), keeping all your devices updated, and practicing caution when engaging with links and other digital resources sent over by unknown or unauthorised sources.
With these 5 WFH essentials in your home office, you should be set to reach new heights as a freelance or remote creative professional. Be sure to reevaluate your home office layout whenever you feel the need to do so too, just to make sure that all your tech and security essentials are up-to-date!