How To Telecommute or Work Remotely
Working from home has become a common component of many professional careers, but having a productive work from home environment is an overlooked and often forgotten aspect.
While working from home has become a common component of many careers, having a productive remote-working environment is a necessity. A laptop and a workspace alone are often not enough to drive productivity. Having the right equipment and resources when working from home can ensure that employees and organizations are successful.
What Do I Need to Work From Home or Remote?
Working from home or remotely requires more than a laptop. In order to set employees up for success, organizations need to provide them with the proper tools and resources. This equipment includes desks and furniture, collaboration and communication software, authentication and VPNs, monitors and productivity tools.
In order for you and your organization to work from home effectively, providing a device to perform day-to-day operations is key. The type of device will depend on the type of work being done – for example, a desktop will be able to offer more processing power for pulling data and running multiple high-performance applications at once. Devices may also need additional accessories, such as a desktop requiring a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Common devices include desktops, all-in-one desktops (which offers a computer built into a monitor), and laptops. When deciding what you or your organization will need from a work from home experience, consider the workload and responsibilities, as well as additional components you may need to invest in depending on the device you choose.
Monitors may be one of the most overlooked aspects of working in an office, but they make a significant difference in productivity. Being able to have multiple applications open on multiple screens ensures less switching back and forth and quicker access to information. However, many people might not have multiple monitors in their home, so when looking to create a work-from-home environment, make sure to evaluate the value of having additional monitors. It’s an investment that allows employees to stay productive and can help prevent eye strain.
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One of the difficult aspects of working remotely is the inability to physically collaborate on projects in a group setting. Collaboration tools can allow that teamwork to continue even when employees are working remotely. These tools include teleconferencing tools, document access and editing from multiple people at once, shared digital workspaces to whiteboard ideas, and the ability to pass ideas and information back and forth as needed. Even if teams aren’t all working at the same time, these tools ensure documents remain up to date and the team stays in touch regardless of where they're located.
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Authentication and VPN Software
Keeping your network secure also means being able to access that network remotely when needed, and a work-from-home environment demands that access. Invest in authentication tools and VPN software to enable employees to access your office network and the digital applications required to keep your organization operating efficiently. These applications will need to be installed on each workstation, so work with your IT team or provider to ensure that every employee’s work device is properly updated. Additionally, make sure you provide documentation about how to use the authentication and VPN tools for network access so employees can have that resource on hand for any questions that may come up.
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Virtual Meeting Environments
Meetings can continue as scheduled even when the attendees are in different locations thanks to innovations in virtual meeting environments. Hardware, such as webcams and microphones, are connected with software that allows employees to meet virtually. That virtual meeting software includes tools for screen sharing, giving presentations, chat rooms and note taking. Thanks to this technology, every presentation, chart or video can be shared by all attendees to ensure consistent and more in-depth communication. Recording meetings is also a feature, so team members can refer back to these presentations later as needed.
Docks & Keyboards
Similar to monitors, creating a home office environment will likely offer something you and your organization won’t have at home: a setup that includes a docking station with a keyboard and mouse. A docking station is crucial for creating a successful homework environment if you have external monitors because it keeps all the cords organized while also dedicating some desk space to your laptop. A wireless keyboard and mouse can also allow for easier mobility and flexibility. Maybe most important of all, however, is how much more comfortable this makes you and your environment. Working from home can feel crowded and cramped if you don’t organize your workspace well, potentially reducing your productivity.
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A desk in the office is a no-brainer, but not everyone may have a desk and office chair at home they can use while working from home. Having a dedicated workspace is key to productivity, so office furniture should be at the top of the work-from-home necessities list. Be conscious of the available space for this furniture, and consider a comfortable chair with good support and a desk that can fit all your equipment, from monitors and docking stations to notebooks and scratch pads. You may also want to consider spending a little extra to get a standing desk converter.
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For additional information about how your organization can effectively allow for a remote-work environment, see these resources:
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