The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many people having to work from home in the short term due to lockdown restrictions. However, as shelter in place rules start to ease, many are considering ways to continue working from home over the long run.
If you’re in this situation, it pays to think about how you might go about creating a productive home office environment for yourself that won’t break the bank.
Invest in Gear Slowly
Don’t stress about outlaying a lot of cash on tech products, stationery, storage, and other bits and pieces straight away. Instead, invest in gear slowly, as you need it. Doing this saves you from buying things you don’t need and helps your cashflow.
To get set up, most people these days need a properly functioning desktop or laptop computer, a modem, a multifunction photocopier/printer/scanner, and perhaps some software programs. Keep in mind, though, that you can purchase most software on a month-by-month basis, so you shouldn’t need to outlay too much upfront. You may also need a filing cabinet and/or bookshelf, plus some simple stationery such as pens, paper, stapler, etc.
What you likely don’t need, though, is every type of gadget available. Save yourself time and money (and give yourself more physical space in your office) by keeping things simple. Buying lots of tech and other products is labor-intensive as it involves researching, comparing items, buying them, transporting them, often setting them up, and then learning how to use programs. If you want to be as productive as possible when working at home, don’t procrastinate with the purchase of goods you have zero or little need for.
When working from home, be more vigilant about keeping company and other data safe from prying eyes than ever. You won’t have all the usual security measures you’ve come to rely on in a typical workplace. Hackers are out in force more than ever before these days, so take steps to stop them from breaking into your networks, stealing data, crashing systems, or causing other problems.
For example, buy a comprehensive internet security package that covers you against various threats. Seek protection from things like malware, ransomware, viruses, spyware, spam, and more. Also, use a firewall on your computer(s). This tool acts as an additional line of defense against hackers, especially when they try to break into your devices via the internet.
Utilize Tech Support Services
Working from home has many benefits, but one of the potential downsides is that you have to figure out all the tech elements by yourself, from setting up gear to using programs, and troubleshooting when things go awry. For many people, this situation leaves them stressed out and wasting too much time over a year.
To become more productive, consider utilizing tech support services. You can’t have an I.T. person around full-time like you might have been used to when working in an office, but you can hire I.T. providers anytime you need advice or assistance.
It’s affordable, nowadays, to pay for a set number of hours of support per month or year, so you’re covered anytime you get stuck. Alternatively, simply pay for help on an ad-hoc basis, as you need it. Search online, and you’ll find many qualified techies to choose from around the world.
When you have a dedicated person to contact, you’ll save hours waiting for a telecommunications or manufacturer’s customer service team to respond to your queries. It might cost a little money doing things this way, but the investment will be well worth it. Note, though, that before you give anyone access to your systems, make sure you choose the provider carefully. Be sure you’re speaking with a real I.T. consultant from a genuine business and not being scammed by a hacker.
Have Enough Separation
To be productive at home, ensure there’s enough separation between your work and family life. You need to have a space where you can work uninterrupted by your partner, children, pets, flatmates, parents, or others.
Wherever possible, choose a spot where you can close the door when you’re working. This signal gives those you share your home with the message that you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed unless it’s urgent.
Productivity tends to increase for many people when they swap from traveling to a workplace to working from home. However, it’s essential to follow all the steps listed above, so you get the same kind of positive results for yourself, and impress your boss, your clients, and yourself.