Here Are the Best Tech Tips for Remote Workers
There is more to working from home successfully than having a laptop and a cell phone. Many remote workers work from a private home office with equipment found in any office building. Others can work from anywhere with a few essentials.
Whether you are working from your home permanently or partially, there are a few tools to help with telecommuting that all remote workers should have, especially since many companies are switching to remote work for the long-haul.
Tech That Can Help You Be a Better Remote Worker
Along those same lines, a second monitor is a great idea. For starters, if you use a laptop as your main (or only) computer, to get the right height for the keyboard, the monitor will be too low. And to get the monitor at the right height, the keyboard is then too high. An external monitor eliminates this problem.
Even if you use a desktop, you should still consider a second (or even a third) screen. Additional screens can help you get more work done, and research has shown that workers can be up to 42% more productive by using more than one monitor.
Cast a Wide Net
Once you’ve got your internet set, you want to make sure you can connect to it. If you have a direct, wired connection, that’s not a problem. But, what if it’s a nice day and you want to work in the backyard? Or, what if it’s a snow day and everyone is working and schooling from home?
Look into quality routers or setting up a Wi-Fi mesh system in your house. These can help extend the Wi-Fi signal to the rest of your home and make it easier for everyone to connect at the same time. You don’t have to be a tech geek to connect them, either. Most systems are plug and play. And, even if you do have to call tech support, you’ll be happier with a solid, strong connection all over the house.
If you work on the go or want to have a backup for internet emergencies, a mobile hotspot is a great tool. If you’re in the middle of a virtual presentation and you lose internet access, there’s no need to skip a beat—simply hook up to your mobile hotspot and continue.
A mobile or external hotspot is a wonderful item to have for those times when your internet connection is unstable—or nonexistent. During normal times, these are also a great tool when you decide to take your show on the road or to work from a coffee shop, coworking space, or another environment outside your day-to-day workspace. A hotspot is great for telecommuting while traveling and can even be useful for digital nomads.
A UPS, or uninterrupted power supply, is a fantastic tech tool to help ensure connectivity. Do a little research to learn more about what a UPS system does and how it might protect your work and your livelihood.
Backing up your files in a cloud or online platform can save a lot of headaches in the event of a technical emergency. Being able to log in and obtain all of your files will save you the hassle and stress of trying to salvage a destroyed hard drive. Alternatively, use an external desktop hard drive for all your backup needs.
Your cell phone probably came with earbuds that work “just fine.” But for the serious at-home employee, consider investing in a headset. Trying to host a conference call while holding a phone and navigating your computer is complicated. And while you could use speakerphone, that never seems to work as it should.
While you’re upgrading your headset, look into getting noise-cancelling headphones.
Wires are inevitable at times. Between ports, chargers, lamps, and monitors, they can accumulate. Wire management tubes and sleeves can cut out the clutter and simplify your home office set up.
Tripod and Webcam
Because phoning it in no longer means “on the phone,” consider investing in a tripod and a quality webcam. The webcam will do wonders for your connection. You’ll look better and, with the right set up, sound better (and hear the other participants more clearly), too.
Screen Share Software
If you collaborate with a virtual team regularly, screen-sharing software is essential. Services like join.me typically offer a free level and allow you to switch between presenters, share control of the mouse, and generally have a better idea of what everyone’s talking about during meetings because you can actually see their screen.
For those times when you aren’t real-time sharing, you still need a way to collaborate and keep track of projects. There are plenty of tools out there to help you do that; Trello, Monday.com, Teamwork, and Jira are all popular choices. You can also use Google Suite and even Dropbox (which can also function as a virtual filing system and backup service).
Whether you’re on a Mac or PC, having updated security software is highly advisable, even if you don’t work from home. Protecting your personal and professional information in a virtual office is just as important as safeguarding legal documents and banking information.
A virtual private network (VPN) can give you an added level of security, allowing you to obscure where you’re located. While not always necessary, it can be a useful tool if you want to play it safe.
Also, many companies (and freelance clients) insist that you use a VPN for their safety and security, so it’s worth checking out and investing in one.
Bonus “Low-Tech” Tips for Remote Workers
Sometimes, taking simple steps can be just as useful as the high-tech stuff. Here are a few tech tips for telecommuters that don’t require a huge amount of technical know-how:
- An extra power cord can really come in handy. And, consider getting an extra-long cord—the “standard” ones aren’t always long enough!
- A power strip is important for when you’re on the go and there’s only one outlet.
- Micro-USB and lightning cables are a great way to think ahead when it comes to items you might need on short notice.
- A versatile computer bag is an indispensable item for remote workers on the go, and a great go-to for storing computer items in one portable place.
Different Places, Similar Technology
In a lot of ways, working at home is just like working in the office when it comes to useful technology. With some small adaptations to help you create a tech-savvy work-from-home office, you can stay successful, focused, and productive from every angle.
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