Remote work is now becoming essential for many workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Your work from home experience may be new, or you may have been telecommuting for a while now. Either way, having more organization and structure to your work from home setup can help.
Setting Up for a Successful Work from Home Experience
Whether you have worked from home for a while or are just starting, having the right setup is important. Do you have an organized desk space? What about places to store supplies such as pens, documents, or other tools? Consider getting a gamut of office supplies for your home offices, such as sticky notes, supply baskets, and paper clip holders.
If you are just starting your work from home experience, you may overlook one of your most important necessities – a chair! A cheap and uncomfortable office chair could not only be distracting but cause or exacerbate back problems. Some folks opt for standing desks that can also be easily transitioned to a sitting desk as needed.
Equipment That Makes Working from Home Easier
If you are lucky, your company will provide you with the right equipment you need to successfully work from home. However, don’t count on it. You should be prepared to obtain and install equipment on your own. What are the basics if you are doing a lot of office work? A computer, printer, and webcam. And make sure you get a fully functional computer or laptop – not just a tablet or smartphone.
Beyond these basics, a dual monitor setup is ideal, because it will enable you to better multitask. Also, if you are required to be online with a webcam, having that additional monitor may make it easier by keeping your main workspace free from your video conferencing software (which can be placed in your second monitor). Many employers are requiring employees to stay connected during the workday, so you will need to have a webcam (with microphone) along with that second monitor.
These days, most television sets can serve as a computer monitor, depending on the outputs and connections available. If your computer uses an HDMI cable to connect to a monitor, it should plug easily into any modern TV. You can buy an HDMI splitter or switch if you don’t have enough slots on your TV to connect your computer and peripherals (such as a Roku).
You probably need a printer but think beyond the inkjet. Do you need color printing? If not, consider a laser printer, which can output many more pages per minute while saving on toner costs. Many laser printers now can print on both sides of the paper, saving on paper and helping the environment. Or, consider an MFP, which stands for a multi-function printer. This type of printer will serve as a printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine. Smaller models are available for home office usage.
Dealing with IT Support Remotely
When you have a problem with your IT setup, you may have to work with your IT support team remotely. To get the best results, try to document as much as you can about the problem. If possible, take a screenshot. You can even take a photo of your screen with your smartphone if a screenshot isn’t feasible.
By providing as much information as possible to the IT helpdesk, you can hopefully get your issue resolved more quickly. To avoid needing help in the first place, be sure to have current virus protection software installed, and follow your company’s best practices on IT security and password protection.
Dealing with the Pros and Cons of Remote Work
The obvious pros of work from home include avoiding a stressful commute and enjoying the comforts of home. However, remote work can be challenging in other ways. If you lack organization, your telecommuting may not be as productive. You may also have either the problem of feeling too isolated or having family members interrupt you when working.
If your problem is isolation, make sure you connect with others as much as possible. This could include having a video conferencing “water cooler” break with your fellow employees. If your problem is too much family interruption, make sure you explain to them your work hours and try to keep your work time delineated.
You’ll also be responsible for your equipment and supplies when you work from home, so make sure you are organized. Order what you need in advance so you are not left in the lurch – and don’t forget the little things like sticky notes!
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