Working from home is usually the exception, not the rule. But the current lockdown has thrown away the rulebook. As more of us are working from home than ever before, this stay-at-home working revolution is changing how we go about our business.
Expectations are on the up as we look to replicate the tools we have in the office back at home. But equally, thousands are embracing the new-found control they have over their office environment.
Just as we benefit from a pleasant working environment and effective technology in the office, so we need the right kit to make the most of our home offices or workspaces too.
Working from home will present new challenges to businesses and employees, but with the right hardware, you can respond to them effectively, and adapt to this new way of working, perhaps even embracing the change.
Ease and comfort as a priority
The right setup can transform your workspace. With the stress and anxiety surrounding the current climate, anything you can do to create a calm and comfortable working space will help; a nice chair can only go so far here.
If you started lockdown without the right hardware setup in place, it can be easy to simply make do with what you have and not make a fuss. But the longer things go on, the more talk turns to a permanent shift in our way of working. If your company goes fully remote on a permanent basis, the need to upgrade will become hard to ignore.
Big technology companies were some of the first to encourage their employees to work from home when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck. More recently we’ve seen Twitter announce plans to allow employees to work from home “forever”, in a move that looks set to shake things up far beyond Silicon Valley.
The company stated in a blog post: “The past few months have proven we can make [working from home] work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.”
What does this mean for you and your 15” laptop perched on the kitchen table? Well if you’re enjoying working from home you might want to start thinking about what you could do to improve your setup as you might just have the choice to do so permanently.
Nothing beats a dedicated monitor to start with and remember, size matters when it comes to screens, especially when you’re spending eight hours or more a day on the computer you need to consider what’s best for your eyes. A larger screen can deliver more information and reduce the risk of straining your eyes.
With a screen in place, an ergonomic keyboard and a proper mouse (you can’t still be using the laptop trackpad, surely?!) will be your next most transformative purchases when it comes to hardware. Don’t underestimate how much easier work can be with the right tools!
Connectivity and adaptability
But what of the human connection? Even before the pandemic, remote working was largely accepted as an occasional option to allow people time and space for ‘deep work’ or to fit around their lifestyle and responsibilities. What’s been inspiring is the fact that the lockdown has revealed we can collaborate and communicate on teamwork remotely as well.
The modern working environment requires us to be responsive and adaptive. Face-to-face contact through video calls is the obvious solution. But it’s been fascinating to watch this evolve over the past two months.
How many people in the early days baulked at an incoming video call? Perhaps we hadn’t brushed our hair that morning or we didn’t want our boss to see the kids (or the dog!) running amok in the background.
Now, we’re pretty much used to it! Video has become much more relaxed. Teams jump on calls at the drop of a hat, quickly hashing out new ideas, touching base and even delivering pitches that would previously have required potentially hours of travel. It seems we’ve realised that we all have lives outside of the office (shock!) and that these will occasionally creep into view while we’re ‘at work’.
There is no substitute for a physical team meeting. But perhaps we’re moving towards a world of work in which we won’t need these face-to-face meetings quite so frequently. If we can get the bulk of the job done remotely, the physical meetings we do have will fulfil a different purpose.
Of course, none of this is possible without the right technology setup. Unlike the traditional office environment, where you’re guaranteed access to the necessary tools even while hot desking, working from home can have its limitations. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to set up their makeshift office in one room for the entire lockdown, and it can be a major inconvenience to have to keep setting up, especially with boxes of hardware that use excessive amounts of wires and cables.
Companies will need to start considering exactly how they support their teams in pulling their remote office setups together.
Working from home looks set to stay, if not across the board then at least at significantly higher levels than we could have anticipated a couple of months ago. But the technology is available to see us through this one way or another.
We’ve collated an essential home office setup to improve productivity and make at least one area of your life that little bit easier to manage.
The Projectorpoint work from home starter kit
Having considered the importance of having greater comfort while you work, as well as the importance of having an array of tools which are easy-to-use and significantly more responsive, we unveil some of our top picks for homeworking hardware, to solve those work from home conundrums.
Each item is demonstrably capable of aiding you in making sure work from home is not only efficient but as enjoyable as it can be too.
Start with the essentials – a great keyboard and mouse
Price: £95.00 (Excl. VAT)
Without a doubt, this is one of the top-of-the-range keyboard and mouse kits you can get your hands on during lockdown. The MK850 maximises comfort, with a nicely cushioned palm rest which gives your hands and wrists support during hours of making keystroke after keystroke.
The keyframe itself is curved for greater ease of use, while the mouse is contoured, to match the shape of your hand, as you move from item to item. One of the greatest features of this specific product is its great connective capabilities. A few short clicks, and the mouse can be linked to your smartphone or tablet.
Capable of pairing to as many as three devices, this keyboard and mouse package allows seamless multi-tasking, provided that you have devices that are USB-enabled or Bluetooth Smart ready, supporting an external keyboard HID profile.
Collaborate with clarity – a professional and powerful webcam
Price: £208.00 (Excl. VAT)
There have been great leaps and bounds in the world of webcam technology in the last few years. You might have started lockdown with a model capable of producing images of tolerable picture quality, but nobody wants to be stuck with sub-optimal picture and sound quality on any video conference call.
The Logitech C925e offers you a webcam that can generate images at 1080p resolution as standard, with a handy Bluetooth headset, allowing greater mobility while on-call. No more being chained to your desk during a video call.
The Logitech C925e will make you the envy of your colleagues, as it is compatible with virtually any video conferencing software you will have to use, whether that’s Hangouts or Zoom. Don’t get hung up on a video conferencing kit that is less than perfect, and consider trying this new model today.
Get the full picture – big-screen monitors
Price: £509.00 (Excl. VAT)
Price: £395.00 (Excl. VAT)
Finally, the crowning glory on your homeworking setup: the monitor. If you’ve got the space then go big with a wraparound monitor in the shape of the Philips 346B1C-00 at 34 inches. It’s the perfect upgrade, if you’re looking for greater clarity and have the space to install a screen of this size.
With 3,440 x 1,440 (WQHD) resolution and a contrast ratio of 3000:1, this model is one of the best-equipped to reduce the risk of eye fatigue, during those long hours spent at your desk. Equipped with a LowBlue Mode, it can limit the amount of shortwave-length blue light rays emitted from LED screens, protecting your eyes in the long term.
The Philips 346B1C-00 also boasts exceptional connectivity, allowing you to connect seamlessly with any Notebook you may have, provided that it is compatible with USB-C docking.
If space is at a premium while working from home, and the 34-inch monitor size is simply unrealistic for you, models such as the Philips 272B7QUPBEB/00 can offer similar detail but at a smaller size. Ideal for those working in slightly more confined working environments, who are keen to have highly-connective monitors with great image quality.
If your team are working remotely and you’d like more information about the best value options and you want our experts to help you set up the right kit, we’ve got decades of experience doing just that.