Published: September 2020
Coronavirus and the need for self isolation means more employees are now working from home. For many professionals the occasional working from home day is not uncommon, but for some, it’s a new experience. Whether you’re a veteran or first-timer, there’s never been a better time for home office housekeeping. We’ve compiled a quick checklist to help you optimise productivity when working remotely.
1. Speed Matters: Fast Internet Connection Required
First is fast, and fast is productive; so it’s important to match your internet plan to your work needs. When working from home you may be sharing your internet connection with other devices vying for the same bandwidth. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for pages to load, files to download – or worse – intermittent and jittery video all because your internet can’t keep up with you.
Conduct a bandwidth audit by counting the number of devices connected at one time, in addition to your work from home and software needs. As video conferencing is the new work-norm for remote meetings, 100Mbps broadband plans are considered optimal as they allow live video streaming in HD and 4K! Never experience another frozen video still frame, garbled audio or disconnection from live video conferencing.
2. Check your Tech
- Your computer: The most important tool when working from home is your computer. Whether you’re using a desktop computer or laptop, smooth-running software is a must. Viruses have a nasty habit of slowing down your workflow capabilities and compromising your software. Be sure to install virus protection on your desktop or laptop.
- Update your operating system. But here’s a pro tip: wait a week or two after the release date to allow developers a chance to fix bugs that are occasionally discovered in the early stage releases.
- Noise-cancelling headphones perform wonders now that you’re working from home. Not only do they block out distractions and allow you to focus, but they also help those around you know you’re not to be disturbed.
- Webcam, if you’re using a desktop. Working from home is the age of video conferencing and you want to make a good impression on camera. Webcams come in HD and standard definition with the difference other than price: the streaming quality.
- Ergonomic keyboard and mouse – because let’s be honest – it’s likely you’re doing a lot more typing now that there’s less downtime commuting and colleague luncheons. Not only are ergonomic keyboards more comfortable and healthier for your wrists, but they allow for faster typing speeds.
- Video conferencing (VC) software. In most cases you’ll be using the software preferred by your employer, but be sure to keep it up to date. It can be frustrating trying to connect to a VC call and your software version is incompatible, preventing you from joining the meeting until you update to the latest version. And don’t forget to double-check your VC software profile matches your work persona, so you don’t debut in the video meeting with an avatar or nickname familiar only to you and your closest friends.
3. Distraction-Free Space
It’s beneficial for your quality of work and productivity to have your own private, distraction-free space, especially if you are working from home with kids. While many modern homes are built open-plan, psychologists question the social benefits of open-plan working spaces. A Harvard University study in 2018 found those who worked in open-plan offices had 73% fewer face-to-face interactions than those in regular offices.
4. Room with a View
If you can’t find a dedicated distraction-free space, perhaps a room with a view may help as this has been shown to reduce stress. In one study, office workers with a good view of the outdoors performed 10% to 25% better in terms of mental function and memory recall.
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