Millions of people have changed to remote work in the past few months in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Working from home can be an excellent change for some, but there are certainly challenges that come with remote work. Traditional office environments are designed to limit distractions and challenges that would take away from work, but those same designs are rarely present at home. Working from home is not as simple as taking your laptop home and carrying on like you would in an office. You must take some steps and some essential gadgets you need to make working from home pleasant, bearable, and productive. Consider this list of helpful gear that will make working from home more manageable and help you weather these uncertain global events.
Tune Out and Replace Distractions
Even if you live alone, you likely are very familiar with distracting sounds and noises. Whether it is the firetruck going past, a neighbor running the washing machine, or your housemates watching a movie in the other room, there are plenty of distractions at home. Ignoring distractions is more convenient when your coworker is grabbing a coffee, but ignoring distractions at home is much more challenging. Instead of relying solely on willpower, opt for a pair of wireless headphones, earbuds, or even a gaming headset, to tune out distractions.
Use headphones to drown out distracting noises and help keep you focused on work. Replacing the pleasing sound of a movie in the other room with a podcast or music can help you stay on task. The trick is to find audio that enables you to cover distractions and stay productive while not becoming another distraction. What works best will come down to your personal preferences, situation, and willpower. Headphones may not entirely fix your distraction issues, but they can certainly help you ignore temptations or irritations at home.
You may not consider an office chair a gadget, but a quality chair is critical to working from home. You may be tempted to work from your couch or bed, but this is a bad idea. Working from lounge or sleep places will likely decrease your productivity and can complicate what your brain associates with each location. The bed is for sleeping, the couch is for lounging, and a proper desk chair is for working. You will be spending roughly eight hours in this chair, so you do not want an uncomfortable or cheap one. Making do with an inferior chair can affect the rest of your body, causing annoying aches and pains. You can find a decent chair for a reasonable price, but office chairs do quickly escalate in price. Investing a few hundred dollars into a chair might feel excessive, but it is worth the cost to take care of your body and work in comfort.
If you are working from home, you likely grabbed your laptop from work and thought that would be enough. Laptops are ideal for travel and small spaces, but not ideal for prolonged use. Instead of hunching over your laptop and fighting with the single screen to find the tab you want, add a second monitor to your setup. With some simple cables or a laptop dock, you can connect a second 27” monitor to make working on your computer far easier.
27” 1080p monitors are a reasonably inexpensive gadget to add to your home office that can make a big difference. You can opt for better resolution or larger screen size, but a 1080p monitor will do the job just fine for most work tasks. A second monitor expands your workspace, which reduces the times you lose the tab you want and how far you have to hunch over to see your laptop screen.
Working from home may not be an easy transition for everyone. Managing distractions can be challenging, especially if you live in a loud house. You can combat the noise with headphones and replace the sound with helpful audio to keep you on task. Invest in a comfortable, quality desk chair for your home office. If you are going to spend hours a day in a chair, it should be a comfortable one. Adding a full-size monitor to complement your laptop will make your work life less bothersome and give you more screen room to spread out. Working from home is still work, and you should be working in comfort, so take the time to get the equipment you need to ensure you can work remotely for the long haul.