By: Paul Routledge, Country Manager, D-Link
A re-evaluation by businesses has led many of us to a situation where working from home, either full or part of the time will become normal. Some of us, particularly those for whom this has been the first time, will find it a lot harder than expected. And even now with over a year of experience, it’s still not easy to get it right.
In theory a laptop, broadband and your phone is all you need, whilst this is a good start, you’ll quickly find yourself missing the office for social reasons, or just a lack of equipment (trust me its true!). There are many things that can assist you, in keeping up with your demanding workloads at home. Here are a few of the most important top tech picks to make your transition from office to home as smooth as possible.
Create your perfect working area
When working from home on a regular basis, it’s important that you create a clear distinction between home and work life. Get up in the morning as if you are going out to work and don’t be tempted to sit sprawled on the sofa in your pyjamas. Create a dedicated working area this could be anywhere: a spare corner in the bedroom, hallway, or Kitchen but make sure it is where you go to work (and come “home” from when you have finished work).
If you don’t have a spare room, that’s not a problem: can you build an office in your back garden instead? Sheds and shipping containers are spacious enough to house an office, without taking up too much garden space.
By creating a separate office environment, you’ll retain the professional and productive feelings you’d get in a more traditional workspace. Creating a home office will help to retain your privacy, whilst ensuring you aren’t distracted. Especially with kids off school!
A reliable Wi-Fi router that covers your home
As most devices now connect wirelessly; your whole experience working from home could depend on your Wi-Fi performance. Imagine if everyone in your family is on seperate devices, all competing for bandwidth on your home network, this can cause traffic issues and downgrade performance. This can be helped by choosing a router with Mu-MiMO technology, basically this will allow you to have multiple user’s receiving data streams at the same time. Also, did you know that you can assign bandwidth priority on your router? Quality of Service allows specific devices be prioritised on your network, whether connected by wireless or physical cables. QoS enables you to prioritise your work laptop/Tablet/VoiP phone through working hours, so you won’t have to compete with the rest of the family, a must if your work involves video conferencing.
As a final note, a wired connection, will always provide a better more stable and secure broadband connection, so wire if you can. Consider a 5 or 8 port switch if you need more Ethernet ports, but we know that not all devices are close to your router!
Do you have a plan for if your router goes down? Everything in your home office ecosystem will lose connectivity, and there is nothing more frustrating! More of that later.
If the space you are converting into your home office is a significant distance away from your router, your connection could be limited to low speeds or in a total Wi-Fi blackspot. Rather than having one router serving up Wi-Fi to your entire home, a mesh network can extend your coverage. Strategic placement of your nodes is very important, to ensure you blanket all the rooms in your home with wireless internet connectivity you need, doing away with dreaded dead zones. Many products now on the market can be used outdoors and will easily extend the Wi-Fi to reach your garden office!
A 4G router or dongle for mobile connectivity
Mobile routers use a mobile Internet connection to give you a simple and fast Wi-Fi network anywhere you need one. It is also a failover solution for if your main broadband connection goes down, or another solution to the problem of competing for Wi-Fi signal; your 4G router could be used exclusively for work.
On a final note you could even take your 4G router and work in the garden (British weather permitting).
To fully create the home working environment, a USB hub/docking station can provide essential extra connectivity. Connections to your monitor, printer, webcam and home network can all be secured using these small, simple devices, all whilst charging your phone.
Anyone who juggles between charging multiple devices, or has multiple devices to charge at once, should consider a USB hub as part of their home office set up. Some have up to 7 USB ports so you can charge your phone, speakers, fitbit, fan AND the all-important coffee warmer right on your desk. Voila!
More and more staff and companies are embracing working from home, cutting down on commuting time, costs and stress. But does it achieve the same results as working in the office?
New research by YouGov Omnibus reveals that a fifth (20%) of HR managers believe that staff work to a slightly higher standard at home than they do in the office, and a further 7% believe they work to a “much higher” standard.
While we wish we could change the circumstances we find ourselves in, perhaps remote, flexible and home working is the sensible step forward and the real future of work.