Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly common and necessary part of modern employment, but lasting success depends upon having the right tools for the remote work. While the specific systems and applications you use will vary based on the nature of your role; some equipment, devices, and services can be regarded as essential for the vast majority of situations
Keep reading to find out more about what’s essential when working from home.
Modern technology has helped to make working from home a realistic prospect for people in a large number of roles, but it is crucial that you are equipped with the right tools for remote work. When you are, studies have shown that telecommuting is not only possible but actually offers a number of key benefits for workers and employers alike.
The growth in opportunities to work from home can be attributed to a range of different factors, including improved internet speeds, widespread availability of internet-enabled devices, globalization, as well as growing concerns over the environment.
However, without these tools, it becomes difficult to perform your day-to-day tasks effectively, collaborate remotely, or otherwise communicate with colleagues, customers, and other businesses or organizations. For these reasons, it’s important to have the essential devices and equipment, as well as access to the right software and services.
Essential Devices for Remote Work
On a basic level, for remote work to even be possible, you are going to need to either own or have continuous access to an internet-enabled device, which must be capable of running all software applications and other services you require for your job. There are a number of possible options here, but the main ones include:
- Desktop computer
- Laptop computer
Realistically, and for most people, desktop or laptop computers can be regarded as essential when working remotely. They offer a large enough screen for you to work comfortably for prolonged periods and offer the processing power necessary to run key software. You will need a keyboard for any job that requires a significant amount of typing and while tablet keyboards exist, they are small and may not be ideal when typing for several hours every day.
At the same time, there may be instances where a tablet or smartphone is sufficient in its own right, but they tend to be better deployed as supplementary devices. This can be especially true for anyone who requires a second screen to perform work tasks.
Communication Tools and Services
Next, you need to consider the various communication tools and services you require so that you are able to communicate effectively with the people you need to. In different situations, this communication could be either text-based, voice-based, or video-based. This could mean the use of email, instant messaging, text messaging, as well as telephone and/or video calls.
Modern smartphones offer voice calls, text messaging, and email support, while their apps and cameras make video calls possible. As a result, a smartphone is likely to be the single most important communication device for remote work purposes. Yet, video calls may be easier with a larger screen, such as those on a laptop or tablet.
If you have a laptop or desktop computer and it does not have a built-in camera, you will likely need to buy a webcam. In order to make communication clear and efficient, you will need to have access to a pair of headphones, with a built-in microphone. Moreover, a cloud-based storage solution can be ideal for sharing documents and other files.
Work from Home Software Solutions
Of all the essential tools for remote work, software solutions can be the hardest to pin down. After all, the applications that are necessary to work from home in one job may differ significantly from those needed in another. Nevertheless, there are a certain number of software solutions that are especially likely to be needed by the vast majority of remote workers.
For instance, you are almost certainly going to need a word processor, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, as well as an application that is able to read PDF files. Additionally, you may need spreadsheet or database software. For work communication purposes, an email account is vital, while apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Microsoft Teams can also be advantageous, allowing you to carry out video calls and teleconferencing.
If presentations are a key part of your role, you are likely in need of slide show and/or screen sharing software, or even a digital whiteboarding solution, assuming you have access to a touch screen. Some roles will also require frequent use of social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so social media management tools can be vital.
Your Home-Based Workstation
It is crucial to understand that working from home is fundamentally different from working in a shared workspace, in a number of key ways. One of the single biggest challenges associated with learning how to work from home for many people is the absence of a defined workstation, and this means you may need to create one for yourself.
For some, it may be perfectly possible to work comfortably and effectively from your sofa or even from your bed. Yet, these are not always the best options for maximizing productivity and if you are going to use a desktop computer, multiple screens, and other equipment, it may not be possible at all. If you do require a desk and chair, prioritize comfort and ensure that the chair is at an appropriate height, in relation to the desk and your screen(s).
The location of your workstation will be dependent on many factors, including the space you have at home, the strength of your Wi-Fi signal, and whether or not there are distractions nearby.
Successfully adapting to working from home is a process and it can take a little bit of time to get into the full swing of things. Yet, if you have the right tools for remote working, it can not only serve as a suitable substitute for working in an office but can actually provide tangible benefits for employees and their employers.
The types of job roles that can be carried out remotely are increasingly diverse, but for the majority, you will need to ensure you possess the right internet-enabled devices, have access to the right software applications and digital services, and possess the necessary equipment to make communication, collaboration, and work presentations possible.
If you find yourself working from home but not being as effective as you were in the office then check out these Working at Home: 7 Productivity Tips. Or if you would like to dive deeper into detail on working from home check out How to Work from Home: A 2020 Guide to Remote Work.