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Work From Home Tips and Tricks

Nowadays, a lot of people are working from home while still being able to connect and communicate with everyone remotely. A helpful work-from-home set-up is an efficient and ergonomic way of having a dedicated workspace that improves your workflow and productivity as much as you would find yourselves working at the office. With a few simple additions and adjustments, you can set up a dedicated workspace that’ll enable you to be just as productive and efficient in the comfort of your own home.

Workspace

Trisha at her computer desk

The first thing is to identify a dedicated space for setting up a workstation. Many people may not have a dedicated home office room with space for all the essential furniture such as a desk, chair and cabinets. Instead, with a little creativity and inspiration, you can set up a makeshift DIY workstation of your own. We suggest grabbing a small table, such as a children’s table or even a craft table, and repurposing it as a desk. Some have opted to turn the dining table into their workstation or even place a flat surface between two drawers to serve as a desk to build a workstation on. You’ll also want a comfortable chair that provides plenty of back support for those long hours you’ll be sitting at your workstation. Once you’ve figured out a dedicated space, the next step is to set up your workstation. Like most home workers, many of us are using our laptops to perform work at home. A few extra peripherals can help improve your efficiency by taking your laptop and turning it into a desktop set-up that is better suited to prolonged work sessions. Adding a mouse and keyboard to your set-up can do a lot to make your workflow more efficient. Once you’re using a standard-sized keyboard and mouse instead of being confined to the trackpad and keyboard on the laptop, you’ll be able to feel and notice the difference.

To take your workstation a step further, adding one or two monitors is a luxury that everyone should experience. The best way is to take any old monitor or small TV you might have lying around and rework it to serve as an extra monitor for your workstation. If not, consider investing in one depending on your needs. Be sure to check the connectivity requirements to make your monitors work with your set-up. If you’re missing an adapter, check an online retailer for some affordable options.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, consider getting a laptop docking station such as the pluggable USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station. It has dual video HDMI and DGI/VGA outs, gigabit ethernet, audio and six USB ports. This enables you to connect all your peripherals to the docking station while the docking station is connected to your laptop via a single USB 3.0 cable. It’s a nice way of maintaining cable management when you have multiple cables connected to all kinds of different ports. It also makes disconnecting and reconnecting your laptop to all your peripherals much easier.

Communication

Logitech C920 webcam and HyperX Cloud Headsets

When it comes to working from home, communication methods such as video conferences are necessary to keep up with daily tasks and projects, and you’ll need the proper gear and set-up to be able to get work done. Most laptops already come with a built-in camera and microphone that will work for most video conference platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Bluejeans. If you’re working on a home desktop, you may need to invest in a webcam like the affordable Logitech C920. It’s got up to 1080p video and has dual mics that pick up your audio easily. A headset is a good alternative to give yourself some privacy without having to worry about people eavesdropping. A headset also comes with a microphone, which provides better audio quality than the one on your laptop and webcam. HyperX offers excellent headsets with Bluetooth connectivity and volume control for a seamless wireless experience.

One thing to be mindful of during video calls is your background, which people can see the entire time your camera is on. To avoid any distractions or accidents, consider putting up a divider or curtain behind you to censor your background of any sensitive information. You can also download software to change and modify your background. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom offer virtual background solutions, while Skype has a toggle to blur the background. XSplit also offers a background software removal tool called VCam that can be used with any video conferencing solution.

Security

VPN graphic

Lastly, as a precaution, it’s a good idea to consider VPN security. It’s a good measure to consider if you’re working with sensitive information that you don’t want to put at risk. If your company laptop doesn’t have the security software installed, investing in a VPN (Virtual Private Metwork) might not be the worst idea.

Working from home isn’t easy and making the adjustment can involve a certain amount of trial and error, but with an optimal set-up and dedicated workspace, it can be quite manageable. With some effort, you can improve your work-from-home experience with a productive and efficient workflow that prioritises getting things done in a comfortable manner. The smallest adjustments and additions can go a long way in making your home office set-up a lot better.

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