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Grow Your Business Technology

5 Tech Gadgets to Improve Your Co-Working Space

image for nd3000 / Getty Images
nd3000 / Getty Images

At a co-working office such as WeWork buildings, you pay for perks that usually include a desk, high-speed internet, and access to on-site printers or copiers. These are the main reasons for agreeing to such an arrangement, along with getting to be in a work-focused setting, as opposed to a coffeehouse or public library. Here are a few tech accessories to have on hand that can help you stay most productive in this environment. 

This is an obvious accessory to always have on hand. It's the fastest way to share large files with a colleague. And, depending on how printing is managed at the co-work space, you may need to put your documents on a USB flash drive to transfer it to a printer (or copier) – either by plugging it into a USB port on the printer or copier or with a kiosk control panel that's connected to it. 

I would recommend you invest in a couple of drives that are at least 8GB (approximately $5 to $10). You never know when you might want to help a co-worker in that space, or when you might misplace a drive. But make sure you're getting the newest tech necessary for your computer. For instance, the newest MacBook Pro takes a USB Type-C drive.

This is a simple item that you'll be thankful for having should the need arise, especially when there's only one available outlet during crowded times at the co-work space. If you use more than one device at once, a power strip will let you keep them all simultaneously plugged in. You can also be the hero and offer to share the extra outlets on your power strip with others.

These come in a variety of sizes with various numbers of outlets built in. But for a mobile worker, you likely don't need more than three outlets, such as on the Belkin Mini Surge Protector ($14.95).

Co-working environments often come with library-like quiet-zone requirements so all the competing businesses don't clamor for everyone's attention. It behooves you to invest in a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones, such as the industry-standard $329 Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones. That pair may be a bit rich for some small business folks, but you should look for a pair with a relatively long battery life and active noise cancellation. The $113 Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 QuietPoint headphones are a decent budget model to consider.

If the co-work space has a conference room, there may be a TV or large monitor in it. Assuming it's not a totally outdated model, you can connect your laptop, smartphone or tablet to it. The screen of your mobile device will display on the TV or monitor, which is useful for conducting a presentation to others. 

To make the connection, you'll need to buy connectors and adapters that work with your device's specific video-out port. For example, many Windows laptops have an HDMI video-out port, and modern TVs use HDMI video-in ports. But some of laptops, especially thinner models, have the smaller micro-HDMI ports. So, you would need to buy a cable that has a micro-HDMI connector at one end and a standard-sized HDMI connector at its other end, such as on the AmazonBasics High-Speed micro-HDMI to HDMI ($9.99). [See related article: How to Use Your Laptop as a Desktop Computer]

Dealing with a spotty Wi-Fi connection is frustrating. The signal at your co-working space might become weak if you're sitting too far from the broadcasting router. To improve your laptop's ability to connect, and stay connected, consider picking up a Wi-Fi extender. 

These devices grab the Wi-Fi signal from the router and boost it, extending its range. They come in two varieties. With the first type, you plug it into a wall outlet located between the router and your laptop, such as the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender ($108.99). The other kind you plug into your laptop's USB port, such as the Cisco-Linksys AE1000 Wireless-N Adapter ($29.99). The latter has a big antenna that should do a better job connecting to a far-off signal than the much smaller antenna inside your laptop.