As companies around the world are mandating employees to work from home because of the coronavirus, new and unexpected challenges have arisen for small businesses.
While some people prefer working from home, others struggle to work without the stimulation an office environment brings.
If you’ve found yourself in unfamiliar territory when it comes to working from home because of the coronavirus, here are 7 work from home tools that are practically essential.
On the other hand, if you’re a small business owner looking to make sure your crew has everything they need to keep productively working going from home, you’ll want to have a serious look over this list, too.
Fast, reliable internet access
It might seem like a no-brainer, but just because your internet connection is good enough to stream Netflix and answer emails, it doesn’t mean it’s able to handle every thing you need to do to carry out your work from home. Is your internet fast enough to handle video conferencing or downloads of large data files?
Normally, we’d suggest visiting a public library or coffee shop — but during social distancing, chances are working from home is all you can do.
Instead, you can try prioritizing your internet bandwidth so that you designate which device in your household gets to use more bandwidth than others.
A trusted VPN
If your company has sensitive information, it’s important to make sure that your connection is as secure as possible.
“Experts are warning of a new wave of cyberattacks targeting Americans who are forced to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak,” according to The Hill.
That’s where a quality Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in. VPNs create secure connections and protect your identity.
There are plenty of options on the market, some more effective or user-friendly than others, so it’s worth it to do some research before committing.
Also, some work on monthly subscription models while others can require a year commitment. It’ll be up to you to forecast your needs.
A digital communication platform
If your small business typically relies on face-to-face communication, getting a digital communication platform is key.
Whether that’s Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts, creating a place where your employees can communicate as quickly as possible will be integral to keeping productivity up despite the distance thrust upon teams and coworkers.
A time tracking system or method
Especially if you’re typically an hourly employee, you’ll really want to invest in a time tracking software or devise your own system that can allow you to stay on top of the time you’re spending on work.
If software isn’t your thing, there are alternatives like the Pomodoro Technique that helps you stay on top of the time you’re spending on work and boosts concentration and productivity as well.
Headphones or a headset
If you’re going to be taking a lot of calls, it’s time to invest in a quality headset or noise-cancelling headphones.
The more you can make it as comfortable and effective to carry out your usual work processes from home, the better suited you’ll be to ride out the social distancing of the coronavirus like a champ
A quality office set up
Yes, it’s incredibly tempting to make yourself a cup of coffee and work from bed in your pajamas all day, but that’s far from the best set up for success.
In fact, considering people are being told to work from home for weeks or even months, investing in an ergonomic chair that can accommodate the height of your desk is a smart choice to make.
Just like at your office, you’ll be sitting in this chair for hours and hours every day and it can make or break your comfort level and subsequent ability to concentrate or sit for extended periods of time.
An electric kettle
While it might seem completely unrelated to work, traditional kettles that whistle every time they’re hot regardless of whether or not you’re on a call with the president of your company or not can really get in your way.
You’re going to be in an endless battle with your desire to make that cup of coffee or tea that you’re accustomed to using to get you through every afternoon and little things like this will impact you more than you think. An electric kettle that doesn’t make noise when it’s done but keeps the water hot will go a long way in adjusting to your schedule rather than the other way around.
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