Fueled by the recent pandemic, remote work is gaining in popularity around the globe. For office working employees and entrepreneurs, this is a significant adjustment, as they have to give up their professional setup and attempt to act professional from the living room couch. There are also many who have always been working from home or just started and want to add a professional workplace touch. If you are one of those working from home, this article is just what you need.
While you can certainly work with a laptop on your lap from the bed, this won’t work well in the long run. You want to work like a pro and increase your productivity while also reducing stress on your body; then, you will need some office equipment. Investing in the right equipment when working from home can bring you a level of comfort and increase productivity.
Some basic equipment you’ll need will include; good internet and a robust Wi-Fi router, power backup, a computer with a good set of headphones, a desk, a chair, and good lighting.
We have talked with business professionals working in remote environments to figure out what equipment can make our jobs more manageable in a home setup.
Computer: “Work-from-home equipment varies depending on the type of job but there are certain equipment that will be needed regardless of the job. The first one is the computer. In most cases, a laptop would be better because it allows mobility but on certain jobs that require high specs, a desktop would be a smarter choice. A secondary display monitor can also be added for extended view.
UPS: “During power interruptions, a UPS will be helpful for desktop computers as it provides several minutes of power which is enough to save your work and shut down the computer properly.
Webcam and Speakers: “When it comes to online meetings, a webcam and a set of speakers or headphones would be important. Laptops usually have built-in webcams but an external USB webcam would still be better for its range of resolution options and it can also be moved for a better angle. A good lighting equipment is also necessary. It could be a ring light or a simple, adjustable LED lamp. Printers are optional since most documents can just be sent through emails but making hard copies of certain documents, reminders or information is also helpful. A good modem and wifi router would be a great help for a stronger internet connection, and in case of power interruptions, a pocket wifi or a USB dongle would be a good option. There are also cable converters that allow modems to be powered through a USB port on a laptop or power bank.”
Kenneth Reaves, Owner & Editor of Perfect Captain
“Many of us transitioned to a home office due to Covid about a year ago but had no idea how to set up a proper home-based office. I had to do some research about it and came to the conclusion that, besides the obvious things like a chair and a desk, the one thing that's crucial for a home office is a good lamp, but not any lamp; a SAD lamp.” recommends Sharon Van Donkelaar CMO at Expandi.
What does a SAD Lamp accomplish?
As Sharon Van Donkelaar explains, it is more than just a light; “Besides fulfilling their obvious job of providing illumination in poorly lit rooms, Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps also supply a therapy light that replicates the sunlight itself, thus reducing the risk of suffering mental disorders like depression or anxiety. This kind of lamp does not only provide a luxurious and futuristic touch to your home office but also has a great positive impact on your mood and overall health, especially if you've been particularly affected by the pandemic and its lockdown. So, if that's the case, there's no real reason why you shouldn't get one when setting up your remote office.”
“A desk is among the essential pieces of equipment needed for a home-based office. Look for a simple, minimalistic desk offering ample room to set up a laptop, monitor, and read a book. The best recommendation is standing desks that easily adjust in height with an electric system to let you stretch your legs while working.
“Office chairs are mandatory to complete a home-based office. The key things to look for in an office chair include comfort and ergonomic. Ensure you invest in quality chairs to keep you comfortable for hours while offering back protection and injury prevention.
“A powerful computer, laptop, or both, if it is possible, are other necessary items to have if you work remotely. Look for a laptop that meets your needs and performs all your work-related activities, but if you prefer a PC, ensure you get a budget-friendly monitor. Even better, you can use both to take advantage of a dual-screen setup.” says Harriet Chan, Co-founder & Marketing Director of CocoFinder.
For organization around your work station Chan has some recommendations; “Pen pots offer a clever way to declutter the workstation and keep your home desk tidy. If you want to feel motivated and productive while sitting down for hours, a pen pot helps keep all your office pens organized and makes it effortless to reach them when needed. The printer and scanner are other essential home office equipment. It may not be important to some but essential to others and could save you many trips to local printing shops. Ensure you get one that is simple to use and durable. Other essential equipment to consider if you want to work productively from home include a file cabinet and a desk lamp. A simple and functional file cabinet is worth buying to safely store your documents, whereas a desk lamp makes it easy to work through the night.”
“You would never guess it, but having a good chair is an essential item when working from home. When I first started working from home, I was happy using my dining chair. However, I ended up with a stiff and sore lower back and hips. The sofa was no better, my shoulders and neck would suffer from sitting in one spot for a long time. I decided to look for a chair that could accommodate me seated for extended hours and it needed to be adjustable After doing much research I settled for an ergonomic chair.” says Piyushi Dhir, Businesswoman, Writer and Owner of Help and Wellness.
Piyushi Dhir explains how an ergonomic chair can prove beneficial; “I learned that an ergonomic chair is adjustable to the support and interaction of the user. These styles of chairs have smart backrests that rotate and embraces your back, fully adjusting to all your movements. The padded seats are designed to keep your pelvis in the correct position to reduce tight, sore hips. The headrest is made to support your head and reduce tension in your neck and shoulders. While there are many versatile ergonomic chairs out there, choosing one best suited to your body type will be helpful to anyone who spends hours in front of their computer while working from home.”
Wireless Router: “Besides having a working laptop, an ergonomic desk and one or two extra monitors for improved viewing, one of the most important things that you will need when setting up your home office workspace is a reliable wireless router. After all, you can’t expect to get any work done or hold video conference meetings if you have spotty WiFi. That not only looks bad in front of colleagues but most especially when dealing with potential or current clients. In this respect, try not to automatically rely on the router your service provider offers. If you find that it gives you issues, you can either buy your own router or in the worst case, switch to a new service provider.”
Cordless Headset and Speakers: “You will also need to purchase a wordless headset to help you make the necessary video conference calls. These accessories will not only help your callers hear you better, but it will minimize any excess noise that may be coming from your side that could potentially disrupt the call’s proceedings. Plus, it gives you convenient hands-free mobility! You can even invest in a pair of Bluetooth speakers as well, while you are at it. Another important accessory to consider investing in is a repeater. These devices will essentially extend the range of your wireless internet connectivity. This means you will be able to make calls from anywhere in the house, and even outside in the backyard, if necessary.”
Eden Cheng, Founder WeInvoice
“Many people who are new to working from home forget about the much greater level of speed required to do work tasks, compared with everyday web browsing or shopping online. If you work from home chances are high that video conferencing colleagues and clients will be necessary - not just for chat but also very large files like a design document on Photoshop sent in PDF form as an attachment which would go well beyond email attachments if it was even possible! And for designers coding websites or developing software: sending high-resolution images back and forth can take time.” says John Webster, the Owner of Wiringo.
Your regular Internet may not perform as you would expect, Webster advises upgrading to a faster connection, “All of these tasks need fast internet like video calls or downloads - this is where your provider could help! Upgrade your package for a faster connection speed when the time comes so that when you find yourself away from home without Wi-Fi, all those little annoyances won't seem as bad.”