If the Covid-19 pandemic hasn't altered your work environment, you're probably one of the few. These days, the remote Work From Home approach has become the defacto standard for most knowledge workers. And while this probably isn't going to change for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to make your environment as comfortable and productive as possible.
Now that the World Health Organization has declared that COVID-19 is a pandemic, working from home is a public health tactic, not a perk. With SXSW 2020 and HIMSS 2020 canceled, the thought of gathering large groups of people looks less and less like a good idea.
If any of these factors influence your work schedule, it may be time not only to dust off your home office but to kick it up a notch. You probably aren't going to have all the gear that you're used to at the office. So, if you're going to be working from home on a regular basis, I'd suggest making the transition a little bit easier by upgrading your setup.
Here are 8 ways to improve your and your staffs' Work From Home experience...
1. Upgrade your COFFEE maker
In the office, coffee is the source of life. So why not make it so at home. Look into replacing your old coffee maker with a Keurig or a Nespresso. You're going to be spending an lot of time focused in an environment that isn't really built for focus, so splurge a little and invest in something that will pay dividends every day.
2. SIT-STAND DESK CONVERTER
Sit-stand desks have become standard at most offices, so if you like having more movement in your workday, it's time to invest in one for your home office. If you are serious about adding some standing time to your workday, consider the Varidesk Pro Plus. It has a two-tiered system that lets you lift the keyboard and monitor at the same time. It is pre-assembled and ready to use out of the box. It comes in three models: one for a single monitor, one for a double, and one for anyone over six feet tall. It's not cheap at $495 for the basic model, but it's a worthwhile investment to help you get out of your chair on a regular basis.
3. STANDING MAT
This one goes with the standing desk like peanut butter goes with jelly. Don't skimp and let your standing plans be sabotaged by discomfort. Look for one that's comfortable whether you're wearing shoes or not. Manufacturers claims that these sort of mats reduce pressure on a person's knees by 40%.
4. ergonomic keyboard
Even if it feels like an unnecessary expense, your wrists and shoulders will thank you if you invest in an ergonomic keyboard. Logitech's Ergo K860 is a compact, one-piece ergonomic keyboard that is good for your body without being too clunky. The split and curved keyboard is designed to reduce muscle activity and allow for a natural posture whether you are sitting or standing. The goal is to have your wrists in a neutral position, not bent. The keyboard connects via Bluetooth or Logitech's USB-A Unifying receiver and takes two AA batteries.
5. ERGONOMIC MOUSE
The Logitech MX Vertical mouse is an absolute must. I swear by this mouse so much that I have one in the office and one at home. The design places your hand in a natural handshake position using a 57-degree angle, which reduces muscular strain by 10%, according to the manufacturer.
6. Upgrade your headphones
Now's the time to trade up to a better set of headphones as well - for those times when your home is noisy or you're working from a coffee shop. You don't have to spring for Apple AirPods to get a nice set of wireless headphones. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 provides top-notch performance for making calls, good battery life, USB-C and wireless charging and nicer matte finish on the buds and compact charging case. At $100, these headphones provide a lot of the benefits of AirPods without the big price tag
Working remotely means more virtual meetings, which means more video calls. If you're business leverages Microsoft Teams like we do, you'll find yourself talking to people through video more than ever before. Which means having a webcam is no longer an option - it's a must have. And while they were indeed hard to find when the initial stay at home orders were initiated back in March, they're more than available these days. Also, there are apps that you can download on your iPhone or Android that turns your phone into a webcam that pairs with your computer. This is an extremely cost effective solution if you can't find a webcam.
8. natural light lamp
Just like the standing mat, the ergonomic keyboard, and the ergonomic mouse, this is worth the investment in your health. People who have access to daylight during work hours are more productive during the day and sleep better at night. Adding some natural light to your home office could make a difference in the long run. The V-LIGHT Full Spectrum Natural Daylight Effect Desk Lamp has an adjustable arm and will fit on your desk and it's only $34 on Amazon.
Clearly, the remote Work From Home approach is now here to stay. And the ability to up you and your staff's environment will only improve their productivity and, ultimately, the performance of your business. Make sure you’ve done all you can to make working from home as easy and enjoyable as possible.
What are you doing to improve your home office environment? Are you doing anything specifically to improve the environment for your staff? How do you manage this? Please share your thoughts in the Comment box below or shoot me an email if you'd like to chat about this in more detail.