It is year 5 of the quarantine and you are beginning to think this might last a while and maybe it’s time to move from the couch to an actual home office, I mean it was cool the first couple of weeks but now it’s just sad and your back is hurting.
The problem is, you are not sure how to go about it. That’s fine, changing our routine can be difficult and figuring out the right way to do something can be daunting. Building your home office is extremely important, both for your sanity and for your work.
I have put together some pointers on how to put your home office together, some of these might seem super obvious and others you may not have thought about before. Bare with me as we take this deep dive into your new work away from work.
Figure Out Your Computer
You are probably working with a work-issued laptop if that’s the case you might have to get a little more creative with how you set up your workspace.
Here is the thing, laptops have limited ports so you may not be able to connect everything you want to connect to it. You probably have two USB ports at best (if you still have USB ports) and an aux input jack, you might also have an HDMI and ethernet port. Your connectivity is very limited.
Get yourself a USB hub, you can find these on Amazon ranging from $10 to a few hundred, it really depends on what you want but I would suggest against getting a $300+ hub unless you want to connect 100 different things to your computer.
Find the one that works for you that is within your budget, don’t worry, by the end of this blog you’ll know exactly what you need.
You are going to need at least one 1080p monitor, trust me you do not want to skip this point. Having a second screen to work on is absolutely essential when working.
Having a second screen makes life a whole lot easier. Being able to go back and forth between screens. You might think your laptop alone is fine, but you will be exposed to a whole new world.
You can find a decent 27 inches, 1080p monitor, for as low as $100 on Amazon.
If you do not want to monitors I would suggest a laptop stand, that way you can have two screens side to side to look at. This will forever change your life, believe me.
Don’t Rely on Your Laptop’s Camera or Microphone
Working at home means lots of online meetings. You want to look your absolute best during these meetings and one of the best ways to do it is to present a crisp look with a proper webcam. A good webcam will not run you very much and definitely goes a long way in making a good impression, that is if you can find any left anywhere.
As far as a microphone and speakers go typically your laptop should be enough, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do better. I recommend noise-canceling headphones, not only for your calls but also to help you concentrate on work.
Many times I have found myself distracted by the noises around me, whether it’s my refrigerator, my washer or people outside it can get hard to keep my attention on my work. When this happens I pop in my BlueTooth headphones and jam to some music, I have also been known to use this headset during calls in order to keep myself from losing focus. Also, you just never know when your laptop’s mic is going to stop working randomly as it happened to me a week ago.
Keyboard and Mouse
You might think you don’t need a keyboard, I mean you have a laptop and that’s basically the same thing right? Wrong!
If you are using your laptop as a second screen, and you should, you will need a new keyboard. Now personally I like mechanical keyboards, you can hit the keys lighter thus making typing a faster, they are also heavier meaning you won’t be shoving it around your table with your fingers easily.
As far as mouse goes I have been using a gaming mouse that was gifted to me for many years. It has a lot of extra buttons I reprogrammed to copy, paste and do other functions; it is incredibly comfortable to use too. Logitech has had a monopoly on great computer mice for decades with the Master Series, these are not your father’s mice, these mice are built with comfort and ease of use in mind.
Whatever mouse you decide to get make sure it has good battery life and that is rechargeable, no need to waste money on batteries that are bad for the environment.
So now you have your screens, your connections are all figured out, you got a shiny new camera, a brand new keyboard and a super comfortable mouse. What else do you need now? Oh yeah, a place to actually set this all up.
You probably already have a desk you have been working on, but if you don’t here’s no need to worry, you don’t need anything fancy. A simple desk with enough room for all your stuff will be fine. Just make sure you are comfortable with its height.
Now, the most important item on this list, your chair. You need a chair that is going to keep you comfortable, you are going to spend many hours on it. I am biased towards gaming chairs, they are designed specifically to keep gamers comfortable for hours, Marc, on the other hand, is in favor of ergonomic chairs, he is of course wrong.
I recommend doing some research on this, make sure you pick what is right for you.
Check Your Connection
There is one thing many people do not think about when working from home, the fact that suddenly there are a lot more devices on your home connection. That has the potential of slowing down your connection, thankfully you do not have to worry about data caps in the US right now.
If you and your spouse are working while your kids are doing their homework online you are already putting your hotspot through a lot, and that’s not even taking into account your phones and other devices. We suggest increasing your internet speed at least while you are working from home, you can go back to whatever worked for you before once this is all over.
Your workspace is as important as the work you do, you need to make sure you are happy and comfortable. Take the time to find the right items for you. It might look like we are getting close to the end of this but even if we are you will be happy that you invested in a home office.
As I have mentioned in a previous entry we are likely to be working remotely for a while and having a good place to work will do good not just for your work but for your mental state as well.
Thank you for joining us again, please stay safe out there.