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Hardware & Software Ideal For Working Remotely
In a matter of weeks, the world has changed and "working from home" has become a necessity, as opposed to the luxury given to individual employees. Businesses are shutting down all over the world while those who can afford to conduct work remotely are frantically trying to adjust and get enough work done during the day regardless of the distance between teammates.
Working from home even for digital nomads takes some time to get used to especially when forced into the situation. For the traditional office worker, it may take a considerable adjustment period for them to get into the swing of things and turn their home office into a productive space.
To assist you new work from home employees, we've put together a list of tools that will make your adjustment period easier and have you up and running at full capacity in no time.
Hardware and equipment for home office
First off you need to get the right gear in place, this doesn't mean you need everything on this list, most can get by with a laptop and internet connection. Still, for those of you who want to a luxury home office experience you may need to chalk up some additional business expenses to make your extended stay at home a little more comfortable, or should I say "assist in increased productivity".
First would have to be a decent and reliable machine; this is the significant moneymaker, your employer and others will naturally sponsor some of you may have to use their device. Either way, they need to be able to handle your workload and consistently. This means the battery needs to be sound, so you can be mobile at times since you don't want to be tied to your desk. You will also want to make sure the latest software updates and patches are run so that you don't get stuck without your device for too long or worse, have it shut down on you without access to tech support or a repair centre.
Specific tasks other than email and content writing require more than one screen to make the process easier, coding, photo editing, and even managing various marketing tools work much better. Running two screens since you're able to move data between tools easier.
Note: You will need either an HDMI cable or RGB cable, and if you're running a MAC, you may need an adapter to connect your second screen.
Wireless Keyboard and mouseYes, I realise these interfaces are built into your laptop but having a wireless keyword and mouse gives you a lot more freedom as well as stopping you from hanging over your laptop. It allows you to sit back and hold a better posture while also giving you better control over your device.
DeskSome of us may be able to get away with working at the dinner table or on the couch for a short period. Still, if you're going to be sitting down for an extended period to complete a task, a desk is a must-have for posture and providing space for your other tools like keyword and mouse.
Office chairYour posture doesn't have to be thrown out simply because you've been tossed out of the office. If you have problems with your back, it's also a worthwhile investment to have a high-quality office chair that can be adjusted to your desk height.
Headphones with microphone
If you're going to be attending many meetings or having to do sales calls, you will probably need to get a reliable set of headphones with a built-in mic. There is nothing worse than spending 10 minutes trying o figure out the right way to sit at your laptop for others to the year you during your video call. Headphones not only provide a better sound quality during meetings but also acts as a way to drown out any background noise.
Additionally, its also great once you're in the zone and have your favourite playlist or podcast going while you work.
Printer & scannerSome of us may need to file necessary documentation or have to convert documents to digital copies to send out. Having a printer and scanner might seem like a white elephant to most of us, but for the small business owner or admin type, it is a worthwhile investment.
Blue light glasses
If you're planning on starring at a screen for hours your eyes will be taking its tool, remember its not only your Laptop but your TV or perhaps your recreational time in front of a screen such as Netflix, gaming your smartphone etc. This means there aren't extended breaks giving your eyes time to rest. To protect your eyes and reduce the effects of too much screen time, a set of blue light glasses can make all the difference.
In this day and age, you cannot be stuck without a smartphone. Yes, you may be worried about what's being tracked, but having one for remote work offers you a range of benefits. You can do your calls/video on your Smartphone instead of your laptop or use it as a hotspot if your home internet is unreliable or not available in certain parts of the home.
A Smartphone may also be needed for transactions like 2-factor authentication or identity verification to access certain services.
RouterI use a router myself and do not connect straight to the modem as an added layer of security. Some of you may have router functionality built into your modem, but one can never be too safe. A router allows you to secure your connection to the internet, maintain who is connected and add additional firewall support which is excellent if you're going to be doing transactions online.
Laptop standThis one may seem like a luxury, but the moment I got mine I couldn't live without it, my laptop tends to overheat if placed on a flat surface so having it raised helps keep it cool and running at its peak. Also, having the screen at eye level does help you from having to bend your neck too much, especially if you're running two screens.
Software ideal for working from homeNow that you have all the physical tools you need to make a good go of working from home, you will need some software to either make sure your devices and connection are safe or to augment particular behaviour that was done in the office.
VPNWorking from home requires additional safety measures, especially if your accessing company data and company services. In some cases your IT team can supply you with a VPN in other cases you may need to find your VPN service provider, but please avoid free VPN services, try to find a secure paid service that does not collect any data from your connections.
Video call softwareMeetings are unavoidable and are going to be part of your life even if you're working from, so you best all decide on your ideal video call software. There are plenty of enterprise tools available to choose from, and you could opt for Skype, Skype for business, Zoom, Google Hangouts and many more.
Tasks scheduling tool
Managing tasks for a remotely can cause some severe admin headaches, especially one specific projects are part of a chain of several tasks. To keep track of the status of staff and their workload, having a work scheduling tool can make all the difference.
You could use tools like Asana, Jira, Monday.com to set out "work boards" for each team member assigned hem tasks and deadlines and keep communication on tasks all in one place instead of scattered across several emails.
Task timing toolEven in these extraordinary times a boss or manager may still want to micromanage the team and pack on that additional admin, especially for freelancers who bill by the hour. Having a time management tool like Toggl can help ensure that all work/billable hours are tracked. It can also ensure that work is completed in the allocated time and projects do not fall behind.
Remote access toolSince many of us will not be used to working from home, the isolation leaves us unsure on how to complete specific tasks, which would usually be solved by a question to a colleague or being shown an example. Remote access tools like TeamViewer are not only meant to fix issues on your machine with the help of tech support but it can be used to coach people through specific tasks and can be invaluable to individual staff members.
Shared resources suite
Working on documents, reports sheets and having to send them between team members can become frustrating, especially when the limited amount of communication leads to mistakes on file. Having a shared resource like Office 365 or Google G suite allows you to create shared files for you and your team to edit, and once you're happy can be moved to a hard copy.
It will save you so much time and hair-pulling and well worth forcing everyone in the team to migrate to it.
Having meetings across the internet can leave a lot lost in transition and having transcription software can help you not lose your place in discussions or vital points that are brought up during these discussions. This transcription software can be run on live meetings or meetings you have recorded and want to extract the information into a text format.
These are great for marketing efforts, be it creating podcasts or video and providing the text to users and search engines.
Making working from home, work for you
Working from home comes with its own set of challenges but once you get settled in and set out your work schedule, you'll find that you can quickly start to hit your stride especially without office banter distractions.
How is working from home working out?
Are there any tools or tips you feel assist you in working from home? Which one of these tools can't you live without? Let us know in the comments section down below.
If you would like to know more about marketing for your business then don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us
Are you looking to promote your business?
South African small business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.
If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on remote working.
- The City Of Cape Town Pushing For Flex-Hours & Remote Work
- 6 Reasons Remote Workers Are a Challenge for Businesses
- How To Build Relationships With Remote Workers
- As More Types of Work Go Online, More Workers Are Going Nomadic
- Small Businesses That Can Go Digital During The Lockdown
Tags: Remote Work