Employees around the world are working from home exclusively or dividing their workday between home and the workplace, a trend prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies have realized the benefits of remote working, and thanks to collaborative technology like Zoom, Google Suite, and Slack, it’s still possible for companies to feel connected and productive. In fact, many employees now prefer having the option to work from home. A study by Owl Labs found that “23% of full-time employees are willing to take a pay cut of over 10% in order to work from home at least some of the time.” It’s clear that there are very real benefits of working from home:
- Reduced stress: A FlexJobs survey found that 86% of respondents “said they’d be less stressed” with working from home flexibility. According to the survey, much of that stress is caused by commuting to work.
- Health benefits: The same FlexJobs survey found that “77% of people said having a flexible job would allow them to be healthier (eat better, exercise more, etc.).”
- Improved work/life balance: A survey by Pew Research found that “38% of new teleworkers say it’s easier now to balance work with family responsibilities.”
- Increased productivity: According to a survey of 800 employers by HR firm Mercer, 94% said “that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely.”
Even as the pandemic wanes, WFH and hybrid work are expected to continue permanently. A 2021 Gartner study found that “In 2022, 31% of all workers worldwide will be remote (a mix of hybrid and fully remote). The U.S. will lead in terms of remote workers in 2022, accounting for 53% of the U.S. workforce.”
So, if you’re like the workers mentioned above and you’re now spending more — or all — of your workday at home, it’s essential to have a proper work-from-home setup that uses home office tech essentials. Doing so can ensure that you are prepared and productive.
A Top WFH Setup Benefit: Improved Productivity
In the workplace, productivity simply refers to how efficiently workers are able to complete tasks. One of the most significant barriers to task completion is the inability to focus on one thing at a time. In busy working environments, employees often have to multitask to accomplish their tasks and as a result, work is done poorly or slowly. This is often a symptom of inefficient processes and technology. Improving productivity in the workplace usually requires strong management, a realistic workload, and burnout prevention. But another way to ensure productivity, especially in remote or hybrid work environments, is by creating a proper work-from-home setup that features useful technology.
A proper work-from-home setup equipped with proper tech tools allows remote workers to better focus on the task at hand, away from disruptions like chatty family members or roommates and televisions. The ideal remote work setup encourages productivity by giving workers the space and comfort levels they need to be at their most efficient.
Creating a Productive Work-From-Home Tech Setup
When it comes to creating a remote workspace that uses tech for ultimate productivity, it’s all choosing technology that enables a good ergonomic setup. Select tech tools that keep your body feeling good, without experiencing neck, back, or eye strain or being distracted from the task at hand. Additionally, choose accessories and hardware that keep you focused and allow you to complete your job without delays or unnecessary steps.
Below, you’ll learn how to assemble your workspace using the ideal tech, hardware, and accessories that help you be more productive.
Select Your Monitor
Having an external computer monitor can help you visually spread out your virtual workspace, especially if you use a laptop as your primary work-from-home device. In order to accomplish most office tasks, workers need to display content in a clear and orderly manner. An external monitor helps you do that by extending your range of vision — a productivity game-changer that helps you accomplish many tasks more efficiently. Depending on your preferences, you can add one, two, three, or even more external monitors to your workspace.
Consider these tips when choosing the best work-from-home monitor:
- Choose the right screen size that helps you work but doesn’t take up your whole desk. Popular options usually range from 19 to 27 inches.
- Select the ideal resolution. If you use your computer for emails and typical tasks, 1080p is probably enough. However, if you perform specialized tasks like graphic design, consider a higher resolution.
- Ensure it has the right port for your laptop. If your device is older, you may need to select an older external monitor model as well, as new models have new connection technology.
Type With an Ergonomic Keyboard
There are a myriad of keyboard options out there. The one that comes attached to your laptop is generally the most basic version. To jazz up your work-from-home setup, you can choose a mechanical keyboard with colorful background lighting or loud key clicks — but the most important aspect is that it’s ergonomic, keeping you comfortable and properly positioned as you type.
The best work-from-home keyboard should:
- Be adjustable to your liking, such as having feet that raise up the back of the keyboard so it’s positioned at an angle
- Be able to connect via Bluetooth or wireless USB for ultimate portability and flexibility
- Have a split key layout, depending on your preferences
- Be lightweight, making it ideal for hybrid workers on the move
Use an Ergonomic Mouse and Mouse Pad
When using a laptop for work, it can feel a little cramped to simply use the trackpad. A computer mouse gives you more flexibility to do your job, but can also be more ergonomic, especially if you experience wrist pain while working. If you choose to use a computer mouse, be sure that you also choose a mouse pad that enables your mouse to glide smoothly across your workspace surface.
When searching for the best work-from-home mouse, ensure the following:
- The mouse is lightweight and fits well in your hand
- The mouse responds easily to finger taps and clicks
- The mouse connects via wireless USB or Bluetooth
Choose the Right Webcam
Working from home means communicating via video conferencing more often than in-office workers do. Make sure your video quality is top notch with a webcam. Yes, your laptop probably has a built-in camera, but webcam image quality is typically much better than your existing features. If you find yourself on lots of video calls, a webcam could be a worthwhile investment.
Look for the following features when choosing the best work-from-home webcam:
- Includes low-light correction features
- Comes equipped with quality audio capabilities
- Includes features like auto-focus, smart exposure, and noise reduction
- Features 360-degree rotating capabilities
Find the Best Lighting
One of the advantages of working from home is that you most likely can avoid harsh fluorescent overhead lights. However, you want to pay close attention to the amount of light that illuminates your workspace. Too little light can lead to eye strain, while too much light can produce glare — both of which can lead to headaches and fatigue, and negatively impact productivity. To ensure your workspace is well-lit, and that you can be as productive as possible, choose the optimal lighting setup for your environment.
Tips for the ideal WFH setup lighting:
- Use indirect and ambient lighting, such as lamps with shades
- Use an adjustable desk lamp for focused task work
- Avoid background lighting to prevent glare
- Take advantage of natural light by positioning your desk to face a window
- Use a ring light for optimal lighting during video conference calls
Upgrade Your Video Conference Audio
In the age of remote work, communicating successfully means having the technology to do so. Upgrading your audio from laptop or smartphone quality to speakerphone quality can ensure you hear your colleagues and they hear you, so meetings are productive and effective.
When finding the best work-from-home speakerphone, look for following features:
- Bluetooth and USB connectivity options
- Noise reduction
- Connects with other speakerphones
- Picks up 360 degrees of sound
- Long-lasting, rechargeable battery
Consider Other Hardware
Now that you have the basics covered for your WFH setup, you’ll need some work-from-home accessories and hardware that make it easier to focus on the task at hand.
- Laptop stand: A laptop stand positions your laptop at the ideal height for your eyes, preventing neck strain. You can also use a monitor mount to keep your external monitor at the same height as your laptop.
- Noise-cancelling headphones: Tune out distractions like your neighbor’s lawn mower to stay focused on your work using the best headphones for working from home. You can also use them to listen to your favorite music while working, as studies show this can boost your productivity and cognitive performance.
- Multi-port docks/adapters: If you’re assembling all the home office tech gadgets we’ve mentioned, ensure you’ve got an adapter to keep everything powered up and ready to use.
- Speakers: Just as over-using your eyes can lead to eye strain, using headphones for long periods of time can lead to ear fatigue. Take breaks from close listening and use computer speakers to keep your hearing in top shape.
- External hard drives: If you need to free up storage space on your computer or transfer files between devices, external hard drives and digital storage devices can be incredibly useful pieces of hardware.
- VPNs and password managers: Keep your data and personal information secure using virtual private networks and password managers. These are useful on your personal computer, but also on your work device, where you most likely store personal and professional information that should be protected.
Boost Your WFH Productivity Today With Home Office Tech
Once you’ve assembled all the essential tech elements of your work-from-home space, don’t be afraid to make changes as you see fit. Try playing around with the position of your lighting source or your external monitor in a way that works best for your individual productivity. Once you’ve discovered what works best for your at-home workday, you’ll be better positioned to check off your to-do list and meet deadlines just as well, or even better than you did in the office.