Whether you worked from home before a global pandemic took over or have been forced into remote work due to said pandemic, your work from home environment is just as important as an office, if not more so.
The couch or the kitchen table is just not going to cut it — mostly because it’s not your own space, it’s distracting, and terrible for your spinal health, too!
If you haven’t already invested in work from home technology and created a designated workspace, here are the top things you need.
Essential Work From Home Technology: A Laptop Stand
If you’re working from a laptop, it’s wise to invest in a laptop stand to take the pressure off your posture.
Books and boxes are not a long-term solution to prop up your laptop. You want to invest in something a little more sturdy, adjustable, and flexible to meet your postural needs — which you can find from Lenovo.
When you spend 7-8 hours hunched over your laptop at a small, non-ergonomic desk, you’ll realize why a laptop stand is so important.
It also offers great height for video calls and prevents your laptop from overheating.
A Bluetooth Keyboard
If you don’t have a dedicated desk space (although you really should), this is where a laptop stand and a Bluetooth keyboard can be helpful.
Bluetooth keyboards are compact in design, are highly responsive, portable, and quite affordable. You also have plenty of great brands to choose from.
Go for a no-frills, sleek, lightweight, efficient, and wireless option to add to your work from home technology. You don’t need to pay more than $30-$50 for a decent quality Bluetooth keyboard too, so it’s a win-win.
A Mousepad With Wrist Support
You don’t want to forget about your wrists when establishing an ergonomic work from home situation. All-too-often, this part of the anatomy is overlooked and leads to repetitive strain injuries such as Carpal Tunnel.
To add to this, a wrist injury is very limiting in how much work you can actually get done. For this reason, make sure you invest in a mousepad that offers decent wrist support.
The 3M Precise Mouse Map is an affordable option that does exactly what it says on the tin. It also offers the perfect tracking surface, designed for many of today’s top mouse options on the market.
A Smart Speaker
A smart speaker is basically your best option for a digital assistant. There is a myriad of smart speaker brands on offer today, but the Echo Dot is one of the best.
Not only is this Alexa device affordable, but it offers all the same features as Amazon’s other Echo products, at a fraction of the price.
A smart speaker is a brilliant addition to your home office because you can use it for so many different tasks. Some of these include playing music, listening to the radio, setting alarms and reminders, answering quick-fire questions, and more.
These devices offer voice control, too, so you don’t even have to get up from your seat. This is convenience in AI form!
A Universal Charger
If you’ve set up an office in a part of your home that offers limited space and wall outlets, you want to invest in a single charger for different devices.
The last thing you need is to be swapping out your devices from one wall outlet, only to plug in another. This is far too inconvenient and hard to keep track of what’s charged and what’s not.
With the Zendure 4-port wall charger, you can charge multiple devices from just one wall outlet. This can also help to reduce the wiring around your desk space to keep things neat and tidy.
A Monitor That’s Large Enough
Depending on your type of work, you might find that working on a laptop is just not cutting it. If you’re in need of a better screen display or more screen space, consider investing in an additional monitor.
Those high-tech, curved monitors will set you back a fortune. You don’t have to splurge and can find a number of good options for as little as $200.
Make sure the screen offers high-res capabilities to save your eyesight, as well as reflection and blue-light protection.
A Backup Internet Device
The last thing you need when working from home is a poor internet connection or one that doesn’t connect at all. There’s nothing more frustrating when you have a mountain of work to get through and tight deadlines.
Even if your internet connection is pretty stable, it’s wise to have a backup option. And turning your phone into a mobile hotspot is not the same thing — it’s only a short-term solution.
You might want to consider the Netgear Nighthawk M1 device for additional internet connectivity. It offers high-speed internet, a reliable connection, and great battery life.
You can also use this device when your WiFi is in need of an additional boost for working outdoors — because, why not?
A Conference Speaker
If there is one device that is functional, convenient, and super handy to have when working from home it’s a conference speaker.
Being tied to your phone for more than 30-minutes on a conference call can be downright annoying and even counter-productive. For a hands-free option that allows you to move around, but still stay connected, a conference speaker is a win.
And let’s be honest, most smartphone speakerphone capabilities can be quite sketchy. A great device to invest in is the Anker PowerConf Bluetooth Speakerphone.
You can place it on your desk beside you and clearly communicate with your colleagues or clients via 6 in-built microphones. It also has a built-in battery that doubles as a power bank for your other devices!
Working in an office, you may have become accustomed to the level of noise, or lack thereof versus working from home. Let’s face it, this is not always the best environment for productivity, especially with kids and pets around.
This is where noise-canceling headphones can be a complete gamechanger for you. These headphones block out outside noise and offer amazing sound quality, too.
Noise-canceling headphones are a great option if you don’t have a designated office space, and can be useful for video conferencing calls and regular phone calls.
For the best quality in the business, you want to opt for the Bose QC35 II.
Finally, would a work from home list of technology actually be complete without the addition of a webcam?
While most laptops and tablets offer built-in webcams, you may work off a desktop or external monitor. For this reason, you’ll need a webcam to participate in video and conference calls.
Buying a separate webcam may seem like an outdated practice, but if you cannot afford to invest in a laptop with a webcam, this is a far cheaper option.
Software Essentials You Have Access To
So, we’ve talked about hardware essentials to invest in, but no productive home office setup would be complete without relevant software.
Luckily, you don’t have to go out and spend a fortune on software programs. Many of them are built-in to the operating system or browser you use, such as:
Google Online Docs
If you work with spreadsheets and many various types of documents, then this suite is for you. And it works amazingly well in a browser.
Otherwise, you could also use Microsoft’s free Office Online, as well as Apple’s free Pages and Sheets for Mac.
Image Editing Software
Perhaps your job is on the more creative side and you need image editing software to get your work done? You don’t have to go out and buy expensive editing software for this if your employer has not provided you with it.
You can find built-in capabilities on most computers today. Microsoft computers offer Photos, and Apple offers Preview. While Google also offers Google Photos in your browser for simple image editing.
Video Conferencing Software
Is anything more ”in vogue” right now than video calls? If you’re new to the trend, you don’t have to splurge on this technology either.
You can use Zoom, Google Chat, Microsoft Teams for video conferencing, and they’re all free to use, too. Otherwise, there’s also Skype, Google Duo, and Apple FaceTime.
Are You a Tech Lover? Get Your Fix, Here
While you may already own some of the above work from home technology, you still want to put some real effort into your workspace at home. When you spend multiple hours in one spot, trying to be productive, your space needs to be comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient.
If you’re a tech fan, be sure to explore the rest of this blog for topics on internet connectivity, PCs, gaming, mobile technology, and more.