5 Indispensable Tools for Work from Home Warriors
Dec 11, 2020 11:51:00 AM
By now, it’s undeniably clear that remote working is the future of work. More and more employers are offering flexible work arrangements both as a way to save on overhead costs and because it’s an excellent recruitment and employee retention tool. Meanwhile, employees who work from home enjoy freedom from long daily commutes and a better work-life balance, both of which have a direct impact on their productivity. It’s a win-win situation for both parties, making it easy to see why it has risen in popularity in recent years.
If you are transitioning into a work from home role for the first time, you’ll likely be in need of a few essentials to perform your tasks effectively. From mobile data packages that can help you stay connected to items that can significantly improve the quality of your working life, here’s our list of absolute essential items for remote workers.
A Stable Internet Connection
It goes without saying that access to a reliable high-speed internet connection is an absolute must when one is working from home. However, ideal download and upload speeds will vary depending on what you use the internet for, as well as how many members of your household are sharing the connection. Here are a few bandwidth recommendations for some of the most popular work apps out there that you may use:
- Zoom requires download and upload speeds between 2 to 6 Mbps for comfortable video conferencing.
- Skype requires a minimum download speed of 30 Kbps and an upload speed of 100 Kbps for a regular audio call. For high-definition video calling, the software requires a download speed of at least 1.2 Mbps and an upload speed of 1.5 Mbps.
- Slack requires a download speed of 200 Kbps to 2 Mbps and an upload speed of 100 Kbps to 600 Kbps.
- Google Meet requires a minimum download and upload speed of 1 Mbps for standard-quality video calls. For comfortable high-definition video conferencing, the software recommends scaling up to 3 to 4 Mbps for both download and upload speed.
In addition to your home broadband or fiber connection, you’ll want to have a way to connect to the internet should your primary method fail for whatever reason. Most remote workers use prepaid WiFi routers or use their phones as internet hotspots after subscribing to mobile data packages. It’s also a good idea to have enough mobile load on your prepaid phone so that you can continue to stay in touch with your office contacts should both your main and backup internet connections stop working.
A Desktop or Laptop Computer
The answer to whether you should buy a full-fledged computer workstation or a laptop will depend on several factors. These can include the kind of work that you do, how much space you have at home, or if portability matters to you, among others.
If you do have the space at home and do not see yourself working outside at co-working spaces or cafés, a desktop computer is the most cost-effective option. On the other hand, if flexibility and portability are high on your list of priorities, you’ll be better off with a laptop. Before buying your machine, make sure that you consult your employer’s recommended specifications.
You don’t have to limit yourself to the standard keyboard and mouse when you’re working from home. Accessories such as external monitors, laptop stands, and ergonomic mice and keyboards can vastly improve the experience of being hunched over the computer for extended periods of time. Other accessories worth looking into can include a USB hub for all of your peripherals, a comfortable headset or earphones for taking calls with, or a Bluetooth speaker for playing all of your favorite tunes while working.
Coffee is life, right? At home, you can make your usual cup of joe to your exact specifications with a coffeemaker. It’s also cheaper and healthier to brew your own coffee than it is to keep relying on 3-in-1 coffee mixes that are loaded with sugar, preservatives, and empty calories. Whether you prefer your coffee cold-brewed, French-pressed, or any other style, a coffeemaker is something you’ll definitely appreciate having on hand.
A Seat Cushion
Sitting for extended periods can have detrimental effects on your musculoskeletal health. It exerts up to 90% more pressure to your lower back, thus contributing to back, neck, and sciatica pain. An ergonomic seat cushion is an easy way to upgrade any common household chair that you might already be using for work. You can also look into posture-correcting support seats that work by tilting your hips upright, thus putting your spine in the correct sitting position.
Working from home may become part of the norm a lot sooner than we all think. By investing in the essentials that we’ve listed here early, you’ll be well on your way to the home office of your dreams.