In another article we gave our top tips for working from home
. In this blog we explore in more detail the tools you need to make home-working as familiar to you as working in the office.
You don't necessarily need all these things to make working from home possible. On the IT side of things especially, your employer may use certain software tools - in which case, it makes sense to use those tools and the apps you're already used to, and where in all likelihood you already have an account or company data stored. If you have more flexibility, however, take a look at our IT suggestions below.
So let's explore what you need, starting with the all-important IT.
1. Tech tools for home-working
Let's start with the obvious: you need a computer and a phone. If work doesn't provide these then you need to be disciplined in terms of how you work on your own devices. Set up dedicated work folders and make sure you use them.
If you're not working from a VPN (Virtual Private Network) such as Citrix, you may want to back-up your work using services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Make sure you understand your company's data privacy rules. If in doubt, ask your IT, HR or compliance officer first.
If you have lots of apps bookmarked in your browser at work, you can import them into your personal-use browser. Again, though, understand that means you'll have work reminders on your own computer and a temptation to dip in and out! If you use Chrome, one trick is top create dedicated Google account for work, then use that account on Chrome at work and at home.
Chat & video tools
Coronavirus has shone the spotlight on virtual meeting tools as never before. The most popular apps by far are Microsoft Teams (which plays nice with Office 365 especially), Zoom and Skype. Common features include voice calls, voice-and-video calls, chat and screen-sharing.
There is a bewildering array of software applications designed for team-working. An old stalwart is Basecamp, but increasingly popular are Slack, Asana and Monday (currently hammering a Facebook advertising budget, it would seem). Again, Teams is punching in on this space, handy if you use it for your virtual meetings as well.
Which is best? Well, everyone has a favourite, and they all have their pros and cons. Use whatever you use at work, and if you don't use any at work, maybe agree with your colleagues to try one. Most offer free trials.
Few people have the luxury of a full office workstation at home. What you need is a desk or table top and a comfy chair if you don't have an office chair.
One of the biggest complaints we hear about home-working is people getting back ache or other strains. Often the chair is not designed to be sat on for long periods, or you're sitting at the wrong height for your desk or table. If you don't have the ideal ergonomics - and few do - make sure you build in breaks. If you need to make a call, for example, get up from your chair. Use cushions to get comfy. Don't "put-up" with something if it's hurting you - you need to find a solution that you can work with.
3. Noise-cancelling headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones can be useful at home, either to keep the din out or to play your favourite tunes. If you're not someone who can work with music in the background, simply wearing them can reduce distractions from elsewhere in the house.
4. Phone holder
They're cheap and they're a great idea if you're the kind of person who can't even go to the bathroom without your phone! Sit your phone in your holder and position the holder on your desk. Perhaps connect it to your computer or laptop so it's being powered. It'll stop you from losing it, or missing that all-important call from your boss because you couldn't find your phone!
5. "Do not disturb"'
If there are others in the house and you don't have a lockable door (unless you're working from the loo, you probably don't), invest in a "Do Not Disturb" sign. Or create your own to hang on the door handle, like they have in hotels. There's nothing worse than having someone photo-bomb your video conference.
As a reminder (and because it's funny), here's the clip
of the TV expert and his bouncing, photo-bombing toddlers. Though we're not suggesting they'd take any notice of a "Do Not Disturb" sign!
What tools are essential for working from home successfully? Have we missed any? We'd love to hear how you do it
We're here to help
If you have friends, family or loved ones worrying about work and income, please pass on our contact details. We can help them find work now, along with securing work for them once the virus passes.
This is a challenging time filled with uncertainty and anxiety but we have the capability, procedures, systems and technology to help.
If you think we can help, 📞 us
Colwyn Bay - 01492 517 602
Bangor - 01248 671 477
North-east Wales - 03333 235 900