The pandemic has had serious impacts on the economy but it has also been responsible for revolutionizing work in some industries, particularly those dependent on computers and the internet. To minimize health risks, employers were compelled to provide work-from-home options for employees.
However, not every company provides the appropriate equipment for workers to do their work at home, and not every employee personally owns the tools needed for the job. The good news is, some organizations are helping their staff assemble their home office.
So what work-from-home technology should I have in my home office? This article talks about the different devices and gadgets I find essential to help me do my work effectively and efficiently. Check them out.
- A Capable Computer
- Efficient Connectivity
- Primary Accessories
- Video Meeting Accessories
- Multifunctional Everything
A Capable Computer
Most office work nowadays is performed with the help of a computer, which is also the reason why these jobs are able to work remotely. Those who work in the digital space definitely need a computer that lets them perform the tasks they need to do with minimal issues.
Remote workers need a computer that suits their job. If I am in charge of video creation, I need a computer, either a desktop or a laptop, that can help me process graphics and render videos smoothly. The same is true if I work in software development or graphic design or analytics.
If I do not already have a machine to use and I am given the chance to purchase a new one, one thing that I can find intimidating is finding the right specifications for my computer. For regular office work, typing jobs, clerical tasks, writing, and similar responsibilities, a mid-range one is enough.
However, those with jobs that require processing and rendering power need to get systems with decent central processing units and graphics processing units. They might also need better storage and more RAM, especially for resource-heavy tasks.
Consider the Following Specs
Buying blindly is always a no-no. What I recommend is to go for computers compatible with the latest OS, such as Windows 10 for Windows and macOS Catalina for Mac. This way, I can make sure that I can run most of the applications I need to use.
Windows users should consider getting a minimum of 8GB RAM because the latest Microsoft OS can be resource-demanding. In terms of storage, I find having the operating system and apps installed on a solid-state drive (SSD) decreases boot time for the machine. Just keep in mind that SSD is pricier than HDD.
Those who prefer Apple products should take a look at what the new M1 chip has to offer. It is known to provide adequate performance for video editing and graphics. It is also extremely battery-efficient, making it a great portable companion.
Unlike when working in an on-site setting where an internet connection interruption is an office-wide issue, any problems with my home internet only affect me and my work, which can get me in trouble in case of missed deadlines and such.
Those who work in an output-based arrangement without tight deadlines may have minimal problems aside from hiccups when loading references, collaborating through the cloud, or uploading finished outputs. However, those who absolutely need a connection will definitely be affected.
Meanwhile, contact center representatives, hotline managers, virtual assistants, and other similar professionals are bound to suffer from a bad internet connection. The best way to reduce the possibility of issues is to look for an internet service provider (ISP) that is known for its reliability and consistency.
Personally, I also look for superb customer service when looking for an ISP so that I can easily get in touch with a representative and get help should I encounter problems with my connection. Remote workers should also consider getting mobile data plans for working on the go.
Other Connectivity Options
Aside from my internet connection, I also believe that other connectivity options are important, especially Bluetooth. This allows users to use speakers, headphones, a mouse, and keyboards wirelessly so that they can work untethered.
This is not a problem with laptops, tablets, and tablet PCs, but it can be an issue with desktops. Many desktops do not have a built-in Bluetooth module, which means that I need to purchase a dongle to let me connect to any device using this protocol.
Desktops also might not have built-in Wi-Fi modules, so purchasing a separate dongle may also be necessary. Nevertheless, I can still connect to the internet without Wi-Fi using a LAN cable.
Many people now use laptops as a primary device for their work. If this is the case, there is no need to purchase accessories like a keyboard, mouse, monitor, or speakers. However, desktop computers definitely require these things.
I want to emphasize that even laptop users can choose to get these accessories. I, for example, use an external keyboard and mouse as it is easier and more convenient to use. I do not have to worry about accidentally tapping the trackpad while typing, and such.
When looking for the right peripherals, I recommend snagging high-quality keyboards and mouses to make sure that you can use them for a long time. There are a lot of ergonomically designed mechanical keyboards and mouses out there, so a lack of options is never a problem.
Aside from these peripherals, I also prefer getting a good mousepad in terms of size, texture, and durability. Some come with a wrist rest for comfort. In addition, there are wrist rests designed for keyboards and mousepads to prevent straining wrists and reduce the chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
For those who work with graphics design, digital art, animation, video editing, and other jobs related to this, getting a second monitor is a good choice. This lets them organize their tools as they appear on the screen, making it easier to navigate from one app to another.
I would also love to get a second monitor, especially as it makes multitasking easier. Imagine simply dragging your browser to your second screen and placing my main app in the primary one.
Switching through apps and references would be a breeze. Plus, I can play a video on one screen without it covering my main work apps.
Video Meeting Accessories
One thing that emerged in the era of working from home is video meetings, especially for jobs that require huddling and brainstorming together. To do this, webcams are important, especially for desktop users who do not have built-in cams.
Remote workers can get any webcam they find in stores if they do not care about how they appear during team meetings. However, those who want to avoid pixelated, choppy, and generally poor video appearance should look for a decent webcam.
Some of the basic specifications to look for includes resolution, frame rate, and other features. Generally, anywhere between 480p to 1080p can offer pretty decent pictures. Others might want to consider getting 4K cams. As for the frame rate, the more frames-per-second, the better.
Users should also consider features such as autofocus, adjustable exposure, and built-in microphones. All of these can offer a better experience overall.
Noise-Canceling Headphones and Microphone
Another thing that could be annoying during video meetings is outside noise. Many people would definitely find it annoying to hear people in their homes talking and making noise. A pair of active noise-canceling headphones are the best solution for this.
Similarly, it can be distracting to hear dogs barking, people talking, and other such noises from other people’s homes during the meeting, so it is vital to make sure that your mic does not pick up such sounds.
To make my home office feel like a real one, I may need further equipment like printers or scanners. However, the thing about an at-home workspace is that I have limited space. It can be exhausting to figure out where to place my accessories, especially as I have a small table.
The best thing to do is to purchase devices that have more than one function. Instead of getting one printer and one scanner, a 2-in-1 device is a better option.
This also goes for speakers, which I can use as smart assistance, conference mic and speaker, and for playing multimedia content.
The only problem is I might find my computer lacking in ports. The good news is I can use a multi-port hub that gives me additional USB and HDMI ports so I have more space to plug in other peripheral devices.
Additional Storage Solutions
Speaking of space, those who work in multimedia will need a larger space to store their outputs. The best way to go is to get a portable external hard drive which they can use as they like. They can place final outputs for portability or use them to store unneeded files.
They might also want to clear up some space by uploading it to a cloud service. This may cost a bit of money but the accessibility and convenience it offers are definitely worth it.
Creating a home office for remote workers can be an overwhelming task.
With this guide, people like me who work from home can start establishing their workspaces with the right equipment.