A report on the state of telecommuting in the US shows that 3.9 million employees regularly work from home. While this is a mere 2.9% of the total workforce in the US, it’s still a huge jump from the 1.8 million remote workers tallied in 2005.
This figure is still expected to increase in the near future as more employees see the benefits of working remotely. In fact, the flexibility of working remotely influences the career choices of millennials. The idea of being able to work wherever they want greatly appeals to them.
Among the various reasons people choose remote work are: better work-life balance, respite from toxic work culture, better work motivation, and relief from office-related stress. Moreover, working from home saves money, time, and other resources.
Working from home isn’t a walk in the park though. There are certain preparations you need to undertake. For instance, you must ensure that you have the right equipment and tools to perform your tasks effectively.
Must-haves for Remote Workers
Having the right equipment can boost employee productivity. Here are the basic equipment you should have when you’re working remotely:
A desktop may be more economical but a laptop gives you the flexibility to work wherever you want. It’s quite common for remote workers to do their tasks in various parts of the house such as the kitchen, dining table, or the living room.
The laptop required for work doesn’t necessarily have to be top-of-the-line unless your work deals with heavy graphic usage. Just be sure it’s reliable and durable enough to perform the tasks your work requires.
Fast, reliable internet connection
Even if you have the most advanced computer system, it’ll be useless without any reliable internet connection. To ensure productivity and efficiency, subscribe to a high-speed connection from a dependable service provider.
Ask friends for feedback and get first-hand information on how their chosen providers deliver on their promises. You can also go over reviews on the internet.
Software for business use
Another way to increase your productivity is to use software suitable for business use. The software you need to download or install depends on your line of work. Generally, you’ll require the basic setup including Microsoft Office 365, Skype, Dropbox, Google Drive, Basecamp, and Slack.
Scanning documents is a common task in remote work. There’s no need to purchase a separate high-quality scanner though. Look for a printer that has scanning and copying functions. It would be best if you can afford those that also enable Wi-Fi or mobile printing.
A headset with noise cancellation features is definitely a must-have when doing remote work. You’ll most likely have video chats or conference calls regularly, and you don’t want clients hearing embarrassing background noise.
Choose a headset with an ergonomic design and a comfortable fit. Other features you should look for are retractable mics and wireless Bluetooth connectivity.
Laptops aren’t really designed for long hours of work. Structurally, they can strain your eyes and cause lumbar problems if you use them hours on end.
One economical solution to this is to use a laptop stand that can raise your screen to eye level. This position is essential for good posture and prevents strain on your body.
Get one that is lightweight and has sleek foldable design. This way, you can conveniently bring it with you wherever you go.
Wireless keyboard and mouse
If you’re using a laptop stand, you would also need a wireless keyboard and mouse. Choose ergonomic ones that won’t cause additional strain on your wrist and hands. For the keyboard, opt for a multi-device style which works with laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Home Office Furniture
A well-designed home office fosters creativity, improves focus, and boosts work motivation. It’s highly recommended that you dedicate a quiet room as your home office. Proper furniture and decors are also essential in setting up your workspace.
There’s no need to purchase a new work desk for your home office. You can use your existing ones and just add accessories to organize your office supplies. Although if you can afford it, it would be nice to have one of those standing desks.
Ditch the old computer chair or kitchen stool you’ve been using on your work desk. Since you’d be spending a great deal of time working at your desk, get an ergonomic chair that can give you the right support. They conform to your body and help prevent back pains.
You don’t want co-workers looking at your bed or your tacky wallpaper during conference calls. A messy bookshelf won’t make the cut either. Make sure to set your work desk in front of a clean and neutral background.
If you don’t have any appropriate place at home, create a background that you can prop during video conferences.
Prevent eye strain by making sure that you have proper lighting in your home office. Inadequate lighting not only affects your eyesight but also affects your mood. Poor lighting can make you feel lethargic and negatively affect your productivity.
Even if your home office has an amazing view of the outdoors, having indoor plants is still a must-have. Indoor plants create a better work environment and improve the quality of air in your home. They purify the air you breathe and can also relieve stress.
Choose low maintenance plants such as sansevieria and golden pothos especially if you don’t have a green thumb.
One of the advantages of remote work is having the whole world as your office. You can work anywhere you want to. Be it the local café, common workspaces, or vacation house, you can bring your work with you.
However, frequent travels would require some handy gear. Make sure you always have these ready so you can just grab them when you’re off to someplace else.
High capacity power banks
Even if you fully charge your gadgets, you face the uncertainty of whether there’s a power source or not in your destination. Thus, it’s essential to have a power bank. For work purposes, you would need a high capacity one that can give you hours of power on the go.
Portable mobile hotspots
Although remote jobs allow you to work elsewhere, there won’t always be reliable connection in coffee shops or hotels. While you can use your phone’s hotspot feature, this tends to drain your battery fast and your data allowance too.
Portable mobile hotspots are the best solution to this problem. They’re specifically designed for mobile internet access and can provide the connection you need wherever you are.
Laptop bag or backpack
Of course, you’d definitely need a bag to haul your gear in. When choosing a bag, look for one with multiple pockets that can help you keep your stuff organized. Check the handles and paddings to make sure that they’re sturdy enough to protect your laptop and other gadgets.
Gear Up for Effective Remote Work
Remote work does provide you precious work-life balance. But to achieve success, you need to invest in proper equipment, tools, and accessories. So, gear up for effective remote working.