Lockdown, at least in certain parts of the world, seems set to last well into the summer if not beyond, and so many people are thinking about what they need to work from home. Below is a handy checklist with suggestions as to what you will need for the perfect, hassle-free home office.
Computer: obviously! Unless your company has provided you with a computer, consider what you need to work with in terms of the company’s equipment. Is it really a good idea to treat yourself to the latest Mac when your company uses Windows? Sure, it is possible to run Windows on a Mac, but it could be slower and more hassle than it is worth.
High-speed Internet: dropping out of virtual meetings could, in the long run, cost you time, hassle, and face in front of your employer. Make sure you have a reliable and fast Internet supplier; if you are not happy with your current setup, this is the ideal time to make a change. Remember that some companies insist on hardwired Internet, not the more easily hacked Wi-Fi connections.
Landline telephone: Landline telephones had pretty much become a thing of the past, but in this crisis, they are coming back into their own. Mobiles simply are not secure or reliable enough for some purposes; if you work in a customer support team and will be taking calls at home, you’ll probably need an old-fashioned landline phone. The good news is your Internet supplier almost certainly includes phone services that can be added to your package.
A good headset: dealing with video calls and phone calls is much easier if you can go hands-free, and you will get much better quality with a headset. Noise-canceling microphones cut out the background noise from the kids rowing over the PlayStation for your contacts, and noise-canceling headphones can do the same for you.
WebCam: most laptops now come equipped with WebCams, as do many computer screens, but there are quite a few that do not. If yours does not, a midrange camera should do the job unless you have some special reason for needing to transmit in high definition.
Printer/scanner: many of us have got used to the idea of the paperless office, but there are still going to be quite a few occasions when you need to print something out or scan it in for your fellow workers or customers; there are plenty of budget models available and choosing a black-and-white one can cut your costs.
Peripherals: a wireless mouse and keyboard can be a godsend in the home office. A USB hub to manage all the devices you need could be a good idea. An extra monitor has been shown to increase productivity significantly, and finally, as there have been warnings that the number of workers off sick could affect power supplies, a battery backup unit to enable you to keep your computer running through power outages could be a good investment.