With tighter restrictions on movement in the UK, working from home has become somewhat the norm for many people. Remote working isn’t a new thing, but if you don’t have a home office set up, it could be time to start thinking about what you need to do your job as easy as possible.
Depending on what type of job you have, you might need a range of things to make your workload as streamlined as possible. Technology doesn’t just make your job simpler; it also helps reduce stress; as you know, everything will keep ticking over as normal.
So, what do you need to set up a productive home office? Take a look at some of the must-have elements to make the transition a breeze.
If you are used to working on a desktop computer at work, then this is possibly the best option when you work from home. At this critical time, many employers are allowing employees to take desktop computers home to ensure a smooth transition for home working.
However, if you have a desktop computer at home already, you should be able to connect to your company’s central information hub remotely to save lugging tons of equipment home with you.
The advantages of using a desktop computer at home are that depending on the model, they should have larger screens and ensure better ergonomics for the user.
Depending on the work you do, you may be able to work from a laptop at home. These are easy to set up and have the advantage of being portable, so that you can work from the kitchen or your pyjamas in bed. If you’re not using a work laptop, it’s best to check the power and processing capabilities of your technology so it can cope with the added usage. You may need to download extra software, and this might slow it down if you have older equipment.
The downsides of using a laptop longer term is the strain it puts on your posture. Looking down at it and having insufficient support can cause back and neck pain. So, consider getting a laptop table or raising it up towards eye level.
If you’re used to working with several screens or monitors, then you may need to consider this in your home set up. In some cases, you can also use a laptop as another screen to avoid taking extra equipment home with you. Try to get each screen set up as you would at work, as varying levels can cause eye strain and neck pain.
Many laptops and desktops have webcams built into them, but if you have an older model, you may need a separate webcam for video calls. With more people using this type of communication over the next few months, it’s a great idea to have one just in case.
Unless you live on your own, there’s probably going to be some distractions that are a lot different to your general workday situations. If you have children, then you’ll know how challenging it can be to juggle homeschooling with a full day’s work, plus all the daily chores on top. However, at some points during the day, you’ll need some quiet time to get things done.
Getting some noise-cancelling headphones, especially if you’re on important calls for video conferences will ensure that nothing distracts you. Many headphone models also have built-in microphones, so you won’t need to worry about extra equipment. If you’re stuck on what to choose, go for over-ear styles to get the best noise-cancelling effect.
Once you’ve got all the hardware sorted out, it’s now time to think about what you need to get your daily tasks completed. If you’re using work equipment, you may already have access to everything. However, if you need to download software onto your computer, start with making a list of things you need immediate access to.
Depending on how your company works, there are a number of online document and spreadsheet options, including Google’s online offering. If you use editing software at work and don’t have access to online options, downloading what you need is essential.
Accessing remote networks needs to be set up on your computer, and this can be done remotely too. You might need a quick call to your tech department, and they’ll ensure you have access to everything you need from your main company systems.
Most people have access to fast WiFi, but as more people use it when working from home, there has been concern that Internet providers won’t cope. However, service providers have quashed this with Howard Watson, chief technology and information officer at BT, saying “Even if the same heavy data traffic that we see each evening were to run throughout the daytime, there is still enough capacity for work-applications to run simultaneously.”
So what do you do if your Internet is slow?
If you’re experiencing slow speeds, there might be a number of other things that are affecting it. Your package could have something to do with it. Although many providers are now lifting limits to ensure people can cope with the extra strain of working and streaming programmes at home.
How far you are from your router can also have an effect. In most homes, there should be sufficient coverage. However, if you’re experiencing issues, try a WiFi range extender to boost its reach. It might sound simple, but the age-old turn it off and on again, sometimes works too.
Working from home should be a smooth transition, and having the right equipment will make your working day easier to cope with. It’s also essential to think about where you’re sitting (for the least distractions), and what you’re sitting on. Ergonomic chairs ensure that you maintain good posture and reduce neck and back pain in the long-term. You might also want to think about wrist supports, an ergonomic mouse, and footrest to complete your home office set up.
It only takes one click to create chaos in your work and home environment. But with the right precautions and protection in place, you can make sure all your data and your clients data remain secure. Contact Francis.W@westtek.co.uk if you have any questions about cybersecurity or working from home for friendly expert advice.