If you have been working from home for a while now, then you will have a good idea of the things that you will need in order to make working from home work effectively. You know you need to have a laptop with the software that is needed to help you to work well. You might need to have a printer for some documents, as well as fast and reliable broadband. There is a range of other gadgets that you can use in the home, though, to help you to be able to work effectively and make working from home much simpler. You never know, you might wonder how you’ve been managing without it and your working from home could be much simpler and make your life easier.
So read on and see what technology or gadgets can make a difference to help you to get the job done from home. No matter what space you have to work with, a few simple changes could make your day-to-day working life much easier.
Second computer screen monitor
Having a second computer screen monitor can be so helpful when working from home, if you don’t make use of one already. If you have a job that involves a lot of information and data, and where referring back and forth to different information is useful, then this will be a life-saver. One screen could just have emails up so you can see if there are any emails that arrive that you need to deal with, and one screen could have your documents up that you are working on. They don’t have to cost a lot, and could even be expensed by an employer (or used as a tax-deductible expense if you are self-employed).
If you don’t want to go out and buy a second screen, then you could look to use a TV as a second screen. If your laptop or PC has a HDMI port, then it can be a good idea to connect it to your TV, and then you can use that screen as a visual screen to work off. It is just a case of extending or duplicating your laptop or computer screen.
Using headphones is a great idea when you’re working from home. Even if you live alone, there can be distractions from neighbors, the road outside, and even the washing machine running that can put you off work. So headphones can work well to block out sound. Not only that, but when you have meetings, it can be helpful to have headphones to hear conversations better.
As well as that, if you choose headphones that have a built-in microphone, then it can make video calls much easier for you too. Making yourself heard can be hard when there is a range of meetings going on, and with large groups of people, but headphones with a built-in microphone work so well. The sound and volume quality when just using your computer device isn’t always great, so it can be a simple purchase that can improve your experience, and make sure that you hear (and give out) all of the vital information that is needed.
Cell phone signal booster
If you live in an area where the cell-phone service isn’t that great, then you will be stuck when it comes to making some calls for work. If you can’t make your calls effectively, then you will miss a lot of what is being said, as well as miss a lot of incoming calls. You might have thought you were just having a quiet day, but in fact, it could just mean that you have an endless list of voicemails to work through and then deal with. Getting a cell-phone signal booster is a simple purchase for the home, as well as for the car, can make working from home really simple and websites like weBoost offers cell phone signal boosters that you can purchase. If you live in a dead spot and use your phone a lot for work, then getting a booster will really help to make your working life much easier.
While this isn’t something that would be classed as an essential, it can definitely help to make your life much easier. It is in the category of ‘nice to have’ things, and the chances are that you may already have one in the home. With a smart speaker, like an Amazon Alexa or a Google Home, you can set timers, reminders, and use voice commands from where you’re sitting working, rather than having to do anything else. You can even do a web search using the speaker, ask it questions, check the weather, and get updates on parcel deliveries (if it is an Alexa speaker).
If you work with Google services when you do your work, such as Google Mail and Google Calendar, then a Google smart speaker could fit in well with your work life and help it to all integrate. So just think about what you think will work best for you, before you make a purchase. They are all very versatile and can cope with a range of demands and requests. If you have a larger budget for something like this, then a smart screen could work instead, which can cope with all of the voice commands, but will also be compatible with video calling.
External hard drive
If you don’t have an external hard drive then it is a must for everyone. Whether you use it for work or just for your personal computer, it helps to save space and means that you can back up all of the important data, files, videos, and photos that you need. All you do with an external hard drive is plug it into your computer via a USB port, and then drag the files or videos that you need into the external hard drive to be saved. If you want to keep information secure and keep your computer from being cluttered up, then it can be really helpful.
External hard drives do come in a range of sizes. The smallest option that you can usually get is 200GB or less. This is a lot of space, and will be more than enough space for you if you just use your computer for storing photos, videos, and word documents. The next size that you can usually get goes up to 500GB, and is a good option to consider if you have a larger number of files, and lots of videos and images. If you need more than 500 GB, then you can get an even larger external hard drive, that can store terabytes of data. If you are someone who works as a graphic designer, for example, then this can be very helpful as the files that you will have will be very large.
Another option that you should consider using cloud storage. Using this, through a program like Google Drive or Dropbox, you will be able to store things off your computer, and they will be kept secure. All without having to have a physical external hard drive. For businesses with customer data, this could be a more secure option.
As with cell-phone signal problems, having patchy or unreliable home wi-fi can cause problems. Plus, if there are a number of you working from home, or working from home with children who are learning remotely, then the power of the home wi-fi could be weakened to certain areas of the house. You don’t want to freeze when leading a virtual meeting or stop working when you need to upload a large file to email.
If the room where you work is far from the router, then naturally, it can be lower than if you were sitting right next to it. So that is where something like a wi-fi extender comes in, so that you can extend your internet around the home but still have a good signal, no matter which home you are in. It is a simple device that is easy to install, but can take a lot of stress out of your working day.
When working from home taking regular breaks is essential, right? So you need to make sure that if you are a coffee drinker, that you have a machine that is going to do just the job that you need it to. Getting away for ten minutes to have an espresso or a creamy cappuccino can mean that you’re ready and refreshed to get back to your desk and get back into work mode.
When it comes to coffee machines you do have a number of options to choose from. There are certain models that will do a lot of the work for you, but there are some others that will need a little more input from you, especially if you like to release your inner barista. You could choose from:
- Capsule coffee machines or pod coffee machines: These are simple to use, as well as being quick and easy. All you need to do with these is to put in the ready-to-buy coffee pods or capsules and then the machine will do it all for you.
- Ground coffee machines: these are what you will find in most coffee shops, so can be what you might like if you’re a little more serious about your coffee.
- Bean-to-cup machines: these are a great choice if you like making fresh coffee, as it will grind up the beans for each drink that you have, making you a drink that you want each and every time you want one. This can take a little longer and be something that will involve more cleaning, but can be a good consideration if you are very particular about your coffee.