Have you ever wanted to work from home? Most people love the idea– eliminating the daily commute, finding a more comfortable work environment, and being closer to family and loved ones.
Thanks to new technology, remote work is becoming more feasible and more popular—the number of people working from home at least half the time has steadily increased over the last several years and is showing no signs of stopping.
While the setup is appealing to many people, most newcomers aren’t sure how to structure their environment, or how to maximize their productivity. Working from home is a new frontier, and while it can be exciting, it can also be intimidating. One of the best things you can do for yourself early on, in this position, is investing in the right gadgets and devices to make your remote work environment effective.
Best Gadgets to Acquire
These are some of the most important gadgets and devices you’ll need:
1. A good laptop. This first entry is the most obvious on the list, and you probably already have one. Investing in a good laptop, preferably somewhat new, can make all your tasks significantly easier. Why a laptop? It’s going to give you the most flexibility, offering sufficient power and versatility while allowing you to take your work on the go.
2. Mouse and keyboard. It’s also a good idea to invest in a separate ergonomic mouse and keyboard. You don’t need anything terribly fancy here, but something better than a basic laptop keyboard and trackpad will make your life easier (and possibly help you prevent carpal tunnel).
3. A second (or third) monitor. If you’re never used one before, a second monitor could seem like a gimmick, but empirical research demonstrates the productivity gains are real. Some studies suggest that a second monitor can increase your productivity by 9 to 50 percent. They aren’t horribly expensive, and once you get used to one, there’s no going back. For some roles, you might even want three monitors—but start with two and see how that works.
4. A home assistant/smart speaker. There’s no singular name for this category of devices yet, which includes Amazon Alexa and Google Home, but it’s worth having one in your office. These home speakers will serve as digital assistants, helping you buy the products you need, play the music you want, and handle dozens of other tasks.
5. An all-in-one printer. While you’re at it, invest in an all-in-one printer, which can help you handle printing, scanning, faxing, and other functions. Some of these may seem obsolete, and you likely won’t have a pressing need to print documents on a regular basis, but you’ll be glad it’s there when you do need it.
6. A smart thermostat. Investing in a smart thermostat will help you keep your house at an ideal temperature without having to get up and make the change. Nest remains one of the most popular smart thermostats for installation, but there are a variety of choices here.
7. Reliable backups. You never know when your Wi-Fi router is going to fail, or when your power might go out, or when your laptop’s storage is going to fail. Make sure you invest in sufficient backups for all these potential failures, including a mobile hotspot, an uninterruptable power supply, and some way to back up your data (preferably in the cloud).
8. An adjustable desk. You’ve likely heard about the benefits of a standing desk, but you might also want to sit for tasks that require more intense focus (or as you grow tired throughout the day). That’s where adjustable desks come in handy, giving you the best of both worlds.
9. Cleaning bots. Though technically comprising multiple devices, it’s a good idea to invest in some cleaning bots so you aren’t frustrated by a dirty house that you also have to work in. The Roomba is the classic authority here, but there are also niche-specific bots like the Winbot, which can help you clean windows.
Setting Up Your Office
No matter what types of gadgets and tech you get to make your life as a remote worker easier, make sure you set it all up in a designated office or workspace within your house. You may be initially tempted to work on the couch, or even from your bed at times, but there’s a psychological benefit to having somewhere specific and designated for only work-related responsibilities. On that note, it helps to dress up like you would for the office.
Working from home takes a little getting used to, but with the right setup, you may find yourself more productive than you’ve ever been before.