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The Home Office: Skip the Commute, Work in Your Pajamas, and Save Money

I work from my home office, and I love my job. I love to look out the window, coffee in hand, and watch the rest of the world commute. I like being able to drive my kids to school and to be here when they get home. I enjoy wearing casual clothes every day. And I’m not alone.

According to a recent survey by Flexjobs (an employment site that specializes in work-at-home gigs), a lot of people who now work regular jobs wish they could work at home instead. A lot of them are parents who cite ‘family obligations’ as the reason they want to do so. Another significant percentage say they’d like to work from home because they think it would save them money.

In reality, working at home can require an initial investment in the kind of equipment and services a regular office job might have provided for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still save some money on that gear. This week, I’ve found you some bargains on the technology you’ll suddenly need to provide yourself. Sorry: I can’t help you with the pajamas and slippers. 

Carbonite Backup

The home office is loaded with hazards: Cups filled with coffee, a toddler with a hammer, even burglars can derail your work week if they come into contact with your computer. Replacing a computer that has been stolen or destroyed is annoying and expensive. But replacing the body of work, photos, and other important documents that were stored on that computer? That can be much more difficult. That’s why every home-worker needs a good backup plan.

Carbonite is a set-it-and-forget-it backup system that stores your files in the cloud; if your work computer goes missing or on the fritz, you can get your files back as soon as you find another machine. I got you two extra months when you sign up for any plan. Go to Carbonite, choose your plan, and enter the code DEALSEEKER to get your bonus months. This deal runs through December 15 of this year.

McAfee AntiVirus Plus

Maybe there was a nerd at your old office job who handled the malware protection for your computer. But in the home office, you have to wear that pencil protector yourself. When it comes to setting up a work-at-home system, the first item on your to-do list should be installing virus protection. I wouldn’t want the cost of such protection to cut in on that loungewear shopping spree you had planned. So I got you 50 percent off McAfee AntiVirus Plus, bringing the price to a very reasonable $30. You’d better move on it, though: This deal is only good until October 9. Use this link to score this deal.

99Designs

If you plan to run your own small business out of your home, you should spend some time thinking about your branding: You’ll need business cards, a website, maybe T-shirts for your employees. (Even if the latter is canine like mine.) 99designs is a graphic-design marketplace. You tell the site what you need — logos, websites, whatever — and designers there respond with bids to create it. They compete on design and price, and you score something awesome for less money and hassle than you might expect. I got you $30 off any design contest or service. Use this link through October 16, and you’ll be rocking a new brand identity in no time.        

Think Board

You might hate meetings. But if you leave the corporate life, I guarantee the time will come when you will miss that big whiteboard — a space to write your thoughts on the wall, with an endless supply of dry-erase markers. A Think Board turns any surface into that white board, without making it look like, well, a white board. It’s a clear, writeable, surface that comes in three sizes (8-½ by 11 inches  ($17.49), 30 by 30 by ($24.99), and 54 by 30 ($29.99).  Each order also includes an Expo marker, spray bottle, squeegee (for installation), a set of Velcro dots (to attach the marker), and an instruction card. Shop at Think Board and use the code TB-FALLSALE to get 20 percent off.

HP Instant Ink

It happens every time: You’re rushing to meet a deadline when one of the kids suddenly needs a ride home, the cat gets sick, the printer runs out of ink, and you don’t have another cartridge handy. I have a fix for the out-of-ink problem (you’ll have to clean up after the cat yourself):  HP’s Instant Ink printers order their own ink, so you never run out. First, you make sure you buy the right printer. Then you register at instantink.com to have ink delivered automatically. It’s not even expensive: Plans start at $3 a month. First, though, go to the HP Store and use the code INSTANTINK: You’ll get a free three-month subscription.

HP Officejet 4632 Inkjet e-All-in-One

This compact and affordable printer will handle scans and make copies, too, turning you into a powerhouse of productivity and keeping you out of copy shops. Since you’re busy, it’s also Instant Ink-compatible, so it’ll take care of shopping for its own refillables. It’s currently on sale at Walmart.com for $79.98 (it’s usually $99.99).

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Deluxe Bundle Desktop Scanner

I love this scanner. With it, I scan every bill, contract, invoice, and other paper that crosses my desk. That means I never have to file any paper or dig through a filing cabinet to find the document I need. It also means I can sign business papers and email them back, meaning I never need to fax anything, either. It’s smart, wireless, scans both sides of the page, and can handle a lot of pages at once. And it’s now on sale for $459 (down from $499.00) at Walmart.