The pandemic has pushed companies to switch to a work-from-home setup. In the U.S., 42% of the workforce now works remotely. And there’s still no sign that employees could return to their normal lives of going to the office for work.
If you’ve experienced bumps in your workflow these past few months, maybe it’s time for some upgrades. A smooth-sailing work-from-home experience relies on the right technology. That’s why investing in it is essential.
Let’s look at some technological upgrades to consider to improve your work setup at home and boost your productivity.
Wi-Fi and Internet
The Internet is king when it comes to working from home. If your Internet is starting to slow down, you might have to replace your router. If so, consider getting one with at least two cores for better speeds. A multi-core router also performs fast even when many devices are connected to it. You’d also need to ensure that your router has two or more frequencies for better coverage.
But if the router works well, the problem might be with the Internet connection itself. Check your upload and download speeds and make sure that you’re getting what you have paid for. If not, it’s best to contact your Internet service provider to fix any issues regarding your connection or to upgrade it. With a faster, more reliable Internet connection, you’d be able to get more work done.
Your Computer or Laptop
A computer that lags or freezes a lot can disrupt your workflow and demotivate you. In this case, it might be time to upgrade your computer’s parts or get a new one. There are many factors to consider when upgrading a computer. But let’s focus on the essentials: its RAM and storage.
RAM or random access memory basically determines how many applications you can use at once. The sweet spot is 16 gigs of RAM. With this, you can open several programs and browser tabs without hiccups. But if you’re on a tight budget, an 8-gig RAM would do you fine. Regarding storage, getting a solid state drive (SSD) is ideal. It’s quite pricey, but it would allow you to access your files and boot up your computer quickly.
These upgrades may be expensive, but they’re an important investment that will help you work more smoothly. If money’s tight, consider taking a personal loan. Or if you already have an existing one, you can apply for a debt consolidation plan.
You could also invest in external peripherals such as a keyboard, a mouse, headphones, a mic, and a webcam. If you want better ergonomics while using a laptop, you could prop it up using a stand or a pile of books to put the monitor at eye level.
This means that you’d also need to get an external keyboard and a mouse if you’re using a laptop. Keep your keyboard and mouse at a fair distance so that your forerarms are almost parallel to the floor. These extra peripherals will improve your posture to avoid back pain.
You might also get a pair of noise-canceling headphones. These will help you block out noise so that you can focus on your tasks. The noise-canceling feature will also help you hear your coworkers more clearly during video conference calls.
Speaking of calls, you might also consider getting an external microphone (if your headphone doesn’t already have one) and a webcam. These accessories will ensure clear conversations with your coworkers during virtual meetings.
Many free apps help users boost their productivity. Downloading one or two that fit your needs would be extremely helpful.
You could try apps with a Pomodoro timer. The Pomodoro technique is the strategy of breaking down work into intervals. Each interval runs for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. After four intervals, the break time will be 20 minutes. You can change these durations according to your preferences.
You could also use timer apps to remind yourself to take breaks. Looking at screens for a long time causes eye strain. If you don’t feel well, you can’t work well. Therefore, you could set a reminder. You should look away from your screen every few minutes.
You could also use productivity apps to track ongoing projects, tasks, and deadlines. With these apps, you’d also see the tasks you’ve accomplished so far throughout your day, which could motivate you to keep going.
Working from home may be challenging, especially if the tech you own can’t keep up with your work demands. Upgrading your tech will help you work from home more efficiently.