Working from home is the new norm - but is the new norm here to stay even when the pandemic recedes, and everything goes back to normal? According to Gallup research, 62% of the USA employees shifted to working from home during the pandemic. So, will they continue to work remotely even after the health restrictions are lifted?
A survey was conducted to find out the answer to this, and 59% of U.S. employees wish to continue working remotely. The unplanned shifting from workplace to home has presented us with the challenge of setting up the right equipment and a dedicated workspace to shift from "leisure time" to "work time."
Most workers have faced low productivity issues while working from home with unavoidable distractions and less peace. Another challenge is hunting for the gears and gadgets comfortable enough to avoid injuries or excruciating pain to your neck and back.
Plan Your Home Office
Planning is imperative, and it is the first step before jumping into setting up your home office. To increase productivity and output, think about the basic requirements and gadgets that you will need. Decide where you will set up your home office. Is there enough lighting and minimum distractions? Are you setting it up temporarily or planning it for the long-term? Is there ample natural lighting to avoid excessive energy consumption? Do you often have to do video conferencing?
Once you decide where you will set up your home office and the budget, then start your search for basic requirements to something-extra to improve your productivity and the environment of your work-from-home space. To help you revamp your remote working area, we have created a list of tools and gears that you must have for maximum productivity and fewer distractions.
Bare Essentials of Home Office
1. A Portable and Functional CPU
To set up a home office, the first thing you need is a CPU. But would a CPU be efficient when we can get a laptop at a similar price? Or when laptops are fairly common. Unfortunately, some laptops come with limited upgrading power, fewer ports, and less customization. And a clunky and tower size PC is no good in terms of portability. In that case, you need a CPU that offers portability, low power consumption, lots of ports, and whose specs scream of power. Mini PC features the functionality of a powerful laptop with the option of upgrading. Not only are they compact, but also a cost-effective option for your home office.
From your day-to-day computing needs to light-gaming, it can handle everything other than high-end gaming. The powerful beast is compact enough to be mounted on the back of monitors and gives a less-cluttered look to your workstation. Moreover, it can be easily moved around from your makeshift home office to anywhere where your work is.
2. Desk and Chairs: For Comfort and Workplace Efficiency
One of the bare essentials to set up an efficient home office is a desk and chair. With work shifting to home and homes getting smarter, the smartest choice would be a smart desk and a chair. Your aim in buying a chair and desk should be functionality and health. Scientific studies have proved that sitting for long hours can adversely affect our well-being. A little movement can positively affect your performance and health, whereas a wrong chair and wrong posture will pose health threats.
Fortunately, present-day chairs and desks have innovative and intuitive designs to cater to your home office needs. A sit-stand desk has a strong base. The sturdy material allows you to alternate between sitting and standing. The beauty of these desks is their height adjustments, so you can work for a while in a standing position allowing your back to rest. Also, a bonus is that you can set the desk to its maximum height after finishing your work, so the kids can't touch your sensitive papers.
3. Mouse Pads: Non-slip for Better Mouse Movements
If your mouse doesn't follow your hand movements and you miss the precision of the mouse due to uneven surface, then you need a mousepad. Mousepads, aka desk mats or mouse mats, provide the right amount of friction that allows better mouse performance by increasing its accuracy. A large mouse pad is way better than ordinary mouse pads. Its extra-large coverage is enough to fit in both mouse and keyboard.
Furthermore, you won't have to pick up the mouse again and again and adjust it on the mouse pad. These stunning pads have excellent tracking and protect your desk surface from scratches, dust, and stains. You will forget the struggle of moving the keyboard while fiddling with the mouse pad. They are not just an accessory but are a versatile necessity to provide ample space to keep your files too.
4. Monitor Mounts - Just mount it!
Freeing up desk space and making it look more organized for your home office desk can be a daunting task. If you are working on two or more monitors simultaneously, that means you are struggling with desk space and positions of the monitor. The improper height of the monitor also causes inconvenience, neck pain, and strains the eyes. So, there comes a monitor mount to the rescue! These are sturdy devices that can support many monitors. They also smooth out the process of gaming in your off-time.
The traditional monitor mounts were stationary that could hold your monitor in a fixed position. But thanks to the present-day monitors, you can easily swivel, tilt, and adjust the height with a slight push of your hands. It gives you the comfort you need and enhances your productivity. Flip your monitor vertically or horizontally; the choice is yours.
Also, it pairs perfectly with a sit-stand desk enabling you to change the position of your monitor whether you are sitting or standing. The general aesthetics of your home desk also improves by the no-nonsense hide-the-cable feature of such monitor mounts.
Also, check out our recommendation for Triple Mount Monitor for full-surrounded work.
5. Webcam - Video-Conferencing Made Easy
With video-chatting usage exploding by a sudden rise in remote working situations, a webcam is a must-have for your makeshift home office. A grainy video and less vibrant colors of your laptop's on board webcam is not appealing to anyone. To up your video conferencing game at your home-office space, you need an external webcam. The external webcam shoots crisp videos and high-resolution images and comes with an affordable price tag.
These webcams also offer a built-in microphone for a stereo quality sound that picks up the sound effects and cancels out background noise. Unlike a built-in laptop webcam, these have all the freedom to be moved and adjusted at any place.
As if that's not enough, the webcams also have a virtual background feature that can replace your existing background and block out the traffic behind you. An app can work with your webcam to let you choose the background and go all creative with your interactive video communication.
6. Microphones & Headphones - Clear and Loud Experience
While reshaping your room into a makeshift office, you might need more virtual communication and remote collaboration tools. Although you can use your laptop's built-in microphones, you surely deserve a treat with a clear-cut audio experience during a Skype session. Only a good-quality microphone can work when you want to be heard clearly on the other side of the meeting.
The same goes with headphones; you can't effectively perform if you can't hear clearly. A laptop's speaker doesn't have a richer and fuller sound. But with a headphone, you can enjoy a rich sound and also turn up or down the amplifier to suit your ears.
Not just that, the headsets are now also designed to cover your entire ear allowing noise-cancellation options. This noise-cancellation can isolate you from surrounding which in turn boosts your focus.
Furthermore, the wireless headsets ensure comfort, so you don't wear yourself out. So, we can safely say that both microphone and headphones are the bare essentials for a more focused and productive video-conferencing from home.
7. Mouse and Keyboard Combo - You Can't Work Without!
Your hands and fingers need rest! And the most unfriendly and exhausting gadgets to our precious hands are the mouse and keyboard. Hours and hours of hitting keys can be made comfortable by choosing a better keyboard.
The hardest battle comes in deciding between "wireless" and "wired." If you need precision, go wired! If you want to free yourself from the cords, go wireless. But now high-end wireless peripherals are as responsive as the rival wireless ones.
With long-lasting battery responsiveness and versatility, they have become the leading choice amongst workers and gamers. In addition to that, these are built with the comfort factor of users in mind. So, choose the combo mindfully to do your office work effortlessly.
You can't set up a perfect workspace in your home in a day. However, with baby steps, you can optimize your place to work with handy gadgets and a peaceful environment. Only the right tools and fewer distractions will enhance productivity. For falling in love with the work, you will have to fall in love with the tools you work with. So, go and grab the gadgets that will make you want to work.
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