How the Right Tech Can Turn Any Home Office Into a Productivity Zone
Working from home was once considered a unique setup. But in today’s world, it’s commonplace. And over the next decade and a half, it’s possible that working from home will actually surpass office-based jobs. Those who see this shift happening and adjust accordingly will thrive. And that involves optimizing your home office for maximum productivity and efficiency.
Working From Home: The New Normal
The work from home trend has experienced significant growth over the past few years. At the beginning of this year, roughly 5 million employees (or 3.6 percent of the U.S. workforce) were working from home at least half of the time. And since 2005, the number of regular telecommuting workers (not including self-employed professionals), has grown by 173 percent.
Then COVID-19 hit and everything changed.
“We see an incredible 42 percent of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time. About another 33 percent are not working – a testament to the savage impact of the lockdown recession. And the remaining 26 percent – mostly essential service workers – are working on their business premises,” Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom wrote back in the summer. “So, by sheer numbers, the U.S. is a working-from-home economy. Almost twice as many employees are working from home as at work.”
Those numbers are obviously shrinking as more businesses reopen and people resume to life as normal, but the view of how and where we work has forever changed. The stigma associated with working from home prior to COVID-19 is gone. Nearly everyone has done it, and many would prefer to keep doing it.
Bloom points to a study that suggests the share of working days spent at home is anticipated to increase from just 5 percent (pre-COVID) to 20 percent - a 400 percent increase. And that includes many positions in our industry.
Try These 6 Home Office Tech and Gadgets
Working from home comes with its perks and advantages, but it’s not without friction. If you want to overcome stumbling blocks and maximize your opportunity to work remotely, you should begin by thinking about your home office.
It’s easy to view a home office as nothing but a physical space where you work - but it’s much more than that. It has a direct impact on your focus, efficiency, productivity, and frame of mind. And if you want to excel in a remote work capacity, it’s imperative that you optimize your office accordingly.
Thankfully, there are more work from home gadgets and solutions than ever before. And in this article, we’re going to explore a few of the top ones you should consider integrating into your own home office:
1. Standing Desk
Sitting too much is bad for your physical health and puts a strain on your productivity and proficiency. If you’re working from home and spending more than a couple of hours per day in your office, you need a standing desk.
A standing desk is basically a desk that raises and lowers to allow you to sit or stand while working - with the ultimate objective of switching back and forth to avoid remaining in one position for too long.
There are a variety of standing desk types on the market, including electric and mechanical. You can buy entire standing desk frames or simple contraptions that you place on top of your existing desk to raise and lower your computer, keyboard, and mouse.
2. Wireless Everything
Few things are more frustrating than looking for a charging cable, untangling chords, or staring at a mess of tangled cables spilling out of the backside of your desk. Thankfully, you don’t have to live like this any longer. Almost all tech gadgets now come with wireless options - including keyboards, computer mice, smartphones, and headphones. It’s always worth upgrading to a wireless option. It reduces clutter and increases your flexibility.
3. Dual Monitors
It’s highly recommended that you implement a dual monitor setup on your home office desk. Two monitors opens up a world of opportunity and helps to streamline productivity. It gives you the option to keep multiple windows open at once and enjoy greater visibility when working.
You can even install adjustable arm mounts that allow you to move around the placement of your screens with ease. This is helpful if you like to work from multiple positions.
4. Space Heater
Nothing is more distracting than being miserably cold. And with colder months encroaching, it’s smart to think about how you can make your home office more pleasant.
Rather than heating up your whole house, consider using a space heater to warm your home office during the day. This cuts down on wasted energy, lowers costs, and lets you focus on working (not shivering).
5. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether you’re working from home alone or you share a house with a partner, kids, or roommates, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a pair of quality Bluetooth noise canceling headphones.
Noise canceling headphones allow you to remain focused regardless of outside noise. And if you use them well, they can also boost your productivity. (Research binaural beats to learn more.)
6. Virtual Meeting Gadgets
If you’re doing a lot of virtual meetings, it’s imperative that you put your best foot forward. And while you can always log in to a meeting and flip on your webcam like 95 percent of your coworkers do, you can dramatically improve your image by adding two “gadgets” to your home office arsenal:
Whether it’s a team meeting or a pitch to a new prospective client, the image you put forth on virtual meetings goes a long way in establishing your reputation (good or bad). Make it count!
Make Remote Work an Advantage
For many professionals in our industry, working from home is not a welcome format - and it’s hurting their productivity, focus, output, and quality of work. For others, it’s a refreshing change of pace and environment. And with the right office setup, you can slip into this latter category. Take the time to optimize your environment and keep improving until you find a setup that works.