2020 will go down in history as the year that businesses fast-tracked the digitization of their operations and sent employees working from offices to working from their homes. While being allowed to work remotely was highly appreciated, many employees were unprepared for the demands of working from home.
The bare minimum for remote working is a laptop and a stable and reliable Internet connection. There are, however, other equipment that work-at-home employees need in order to work as efficiently as they do in the office.
Here are examples of home office equipment that will be very useful for employees who are working remotely from home:
1. High-Performance Laptop or Desktop Computer
It’s okay to use personal laptops for work, but only if their OS and specs are compatible with the programs employees need for work. Most personal laptops have lower-end specs since owners just use them for surfing the web, playing games, writing journals, watching movies and TV shows, and the like.
Ideally, companies should support their employees during this unprecedented period of prolonged work-from-home. Many have already done so, providing “work-from-home gear” that includes a company-issued laptop and computer chair. Others gave stipends to help employees pay for high-speed Internet services.
If given the chance to choose a computer, employees should look for laptops or desktops whose specs fit the requirements of the computer programs or software they use for work.
2. Ergonomic Chair and Matching Table
Offices provide ergonomic office chairs because employees’ comfort and well-being are paramount. When people are expected to sit in one spot for over six hours, they need a desk and chair that offer comfort and spinal support. A hard chair and a desk that’s either too high or too low can eventually cause all kinds of body aches and pains. Hence, work-at-home employees should also have a comfortable office chair (padded and with an ergonomic backrest) and a table that’s just the perfect height (forearms can rest comfortably on the desk and keyboard, the elbows and knees can bend at 90 degrees with the feet flat on the floor).
3. Backup Software
One of the disadvantages of working from home is employees cannot benefit from their office’s auto-backup software. They need to provide for themselves a reliable backup system so that all the data they create or use while working from home are protected and will be accessible no matter what happens (e.g., if their laptop crashes in the middle of entering data, there’s an unannounced blackout, the Internet connection failed in the middle of syncing shared files). An affordable cloud file server with automatic backup, ransomware features, data encryption, and online sharing and collaborating features would be ideal for employees whose work is data-driven.
You don’t have to be a call center agent or virtual assistant to need a headset. It is one of the many things that many office employees already use even before the pandemic anyway. Either it’s a necessary tool for them to do their job, or they simply like to blast their favorite music while working but don’t want to disturb their colleagues.
They may have to do the same thing when they work from home. They may be parents with kids who attend online classes or live with spouses, siblings, and roommates who’re all working remotely as well. Headsets make it easier to get lost in their work and respect the others’ need for quiet in the house.
Of course, headsets are also useful for accepting calls, joining video conferences, and talking to clients or colleagues while transcribing conversations, placing orders, filling out profile sheets, cross-checking data, and the like.
A must for executives, managers, and sales representatives, an HD webcam can go a long way in maintaining a professional image while working from home. If the video quality of a built-in laptop computer is good enough, however, all that’s left would be to install video conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype, Goober, and Google Hangouts.
6. Docking station / USB Hub
This may seem like a trivial thing, but having a USB hub on the desk can save precious time looking and prevent work-at-home employees from breaking their momentum while working. Anytime they need to charge their phones, find files in a thumb drive, or use a mouse with a cord, they don’t have to du|ck beneath or behind the CPU of their desktop computer to find an empty USB port.
These would be a good starter kit for any employee working from home today. When they have all the tools they need, employees can continue working efficiently even when they’re staying at home.