Working from home wasn’t new in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic hit. For years before organisations in the world had been toying with the idea of working from home. When the pandemic hit it shifted to an everyone thing, well at least everyone who could. On the other hand, there’s a group of people who have been working from home since the beginning of time. Many small businesses are started in home settings. At the centre of all of this is the home office. So whether you’ve been forced to work from home or it is in the design of your business or vocation to work from home we need to discuss home office essentials.
Desk and Chair
Well, this seems like a ridiculously obvious inclusion on the list but this may also be the most important combination in your home office. While you definitely need something to work on and something to sit on you need to consider the quality of it. You will spend anywhere between 4 and 10 (or more) hours at a time working on those things so having good quality ones is important. Office chairs especially are important as they are designed with the long sessions of sitting and working in mind. If you’ve tried working for extended periods on chairs that are not designed for this you will surely have a few things to say about this. Get yourself a good desk and chair combination. The way office furniture is made you can get these second-hand and still enjoy the best quality.
Many of us work from laptops and sometimes mobile devices like tablets and phones. Whatever the case if you are going to work in a home office one thing I recommend is an additional monitor. Save for those working on desktops an additional monitor will give a boost especially if it is a bigger screen. For those working on mobile devices, the benefits are obvious. The same can be said for those who use smaller form factor laptops that were built with mobility in mind. Focusing your eyes on small content for hours is not good for them and having that additional large format monitor will help keep your eyes healthy. Whether you use a hardware connection like an HDMI cable or go wireless with something like screen mirroring you will appreciate the bigger screen. All things considered, monitors are not very costly.
We have to be honest with ourselves about our environment. Another big feature of working from home or anywhere in Zimbabwe for that matter are power cuts. This is of course the argument in favour of laptops and mobile devices which are battery first devices. The power goes and you can continue to work. However, what doesn’t work without power is your router unless you’re using a MiFi. For those on fibre, ADSL and Wi-max connections once the power goes they are disconnected. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a device called a mini UPS which was designed to power such devices in the event of a power outage. These devices give up to 5 hours of power and can charge other USB enabled devices. The bonus here is you stay connected to wifi and your battery on mobile devices last much longer. Traditional UPS devices are made to give you enough power to save work on a desktop and are inefficient. The Mini UPS is meant to keep you online through the wifi that you are already paying for and not have to switch to mobile.
All in one printer
We are at the point where using paper is a choice now. With software, you can fill out forms without ever having printed them and that includes appending a signature. However, being Zimbabwean you still get organisations that will prefer you print the form and fill it out in ink then send it back. Also, sometimes you have no choice but to print and use paper. Then there are those people who need to print and work with paper. Whichever the case is your best friend is the all in one printer. Printer, copier and scanner all in one. They even come with fax capabilities but let’s just ignore that one since we have email.
One of the things that I’ve seen going ignored since the pandemic hit, to hilarious consequences I might add, are the people who just need human contact. I remember someone explaining how their boss requested all management to meet to discuss the strategy going forward after the announcement of lockdown. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a person in a leadership position wanted to meet to discuss the announcement that said people should reduce meetings. Of course, this is the type of person I mentioned earlier, some people thrive with human contact. If you are one of these people or have the misfortune of working for one you will no doubt have been doing a lot of meetings via video chat. A separate webcam from the one your laptop comes with is important because they provide better video and audio quality. Phones generally have better cameras than laptops, even the front-facing ones.
The home office is becoming an increasingly important institution for all walks of life. Investing in your home office is important because it plays a big part in how well you can work in it. Do yourself a favour and get your home office in good shape.