In view of the fact that it seems probable that all our team will be working from home (WFH) to a significant degree for the foreseeable future, here at ProTech we recently decided that we would make available all unused IT equipment as well as procuring new equipment to ensure that each and every person had the best possible setup for homeworking.
We asked everyone what equipment would benefit them and some common themes immediately became evident. We thought it would be beneficial to share some of the changes we ultimately ended up implementing, in case it can assist anyone else looking at ways to improve their productivity from home.
Wireless Mouse for Laptop users
For those using a work laptop to work from home, while their laptop touchpad might make the laptop operable, it’s certainly not ideal for an 8 hour working day and definitely can get frustrating to use. A wireless mouse is a cheap addition to anyone’s set up but when using a wireless mouse you certainly feel like you can get on with doing what you need to do, much more easily throughout the day than with the touchpad.
Another issue for some of our team members that are using laptops was that they found themselves looking downwards all day and felt this was craning their necks. A solution to this that was put forward was to utilise a laptop riser combined with a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard that can bring the screen up a little higher like a typical monitor. Since they have been provided laptop risers, the feedback has been that they have been very useful and are appreciated. A separate keyboard will also be required.
The laptop risers led rather quickly onto another issue the team were having.
At the ProTech office all workstations are setup with two large monitors. Working from home on a 15” laptop can be debilitating when you are used to having two hi-res screens. This is obviously dependent on the graphics capability in their PC or laptop but as long as the computer has the facility to connect another screen and extend then it seemed a no brainer to move to resolve this for the team. We immediately got to work allocating some of our spare monitors to those who had the option to have an extended monitor but didn’t have the monitor itself. Combined with their other monitor, or with a laptop up on a riser next to their new monitor, they now have a set up much closer to the one that they have at work and feel more comfortable cracking on almost exactly as they would in the office.
This wasn’t one that came up in discussion with the entire team but it’s certainly one that the author of this article has found useful. With kids coming and going at home at different times and often sharing the lounge with cartoons on the TV, headphones can provide an outlet to focus intently during virtual Zoom meetings, drowning out the distracting noise behind or allow you to listen to music directly to get in the zone while working and block out what else is happening if you can’t have the room you work in exclusively to yourself.
If you have the budget to improve your set up then there is other equipment that can make a real difference.
You may want to consider getting an ergonomic chair that will be better for your back. Or a sit-stand desk riser that enables you to stand whilst working.
A good webcam with an inbuilt microphone can really help you feel more engaged in Zoom meetings when often the ones that come with laptops or on your phone can be a little clunky and not the best quality.
Now that you are very likely plugging in more devices at home, it could be the ideal time to start using a surge protector- this will protect your devices from being damaged should there be a power surge or spike, and as they are only slightly more expensive than other plug adapters, it makes sense for you to ensure that you’ll be able to keep on working if the unfortunate was to happen.
It’s true that a lot of us may be working at home for some time, so it’s surely worthwhile having a good think about what aspects of home working aren’t working completely for you and looking to resolve them so you can make the biggest impact possible day to day.