August 28, 2020
As technology continues to evolve and remote work becomes more accessible to more employees and freelancers worldwide, we’re seeing an increasing number of workers ditch their office surroundings for the comfort of their own homes or the ambience of coffee shops and public spaces.
According to FlexJobs, remote work is ever-growing and is expected to increase at an even faster rate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced more employers to protect their staff by looking at work-from-home solutions (WFH).
But how can both employees and freelancers alike ensure that they’re prepared for a career based fully away from the office? Here are a few essential tips in ensuring that you have the right equipment to flourish while working from home:
Maintain Your Productivity with a Backup Internet Connection
Regardless of whether you’re working from the heart of Silicon Valley or the middle of nowhere, very few internet providers can guarantee that your connection will be entirely free of downtime.
With many of us working based on meeting deadlines and managing our workloads efficiently, a 20-minute drop in connectivity could ultimately cost a fortune in lost earnings.
If it’s imperative that you remain connected at all times, buying a backup internet connection could pay dividends. Hardware like the Netgear Nighthawk M1 offers a reliable mobile hotspot device. With long-lasting battery life, fast internet speeds and a usable interface for users who aren’t entirely fluent in hotspot connections, the Nighthawk M1 can be a solid solution – just in case you’re faced with an outage.
Ready Yourself for Video Conferencing
Even if you’re a freelancer that has no colleagues or managers to interact with, the need for video conferencing software is vital for interacting with clients and collaborators.
The beauty of video conferencing apps is that you can gain direct communication with the people who matter and communicate more effectively with them by gauging their body language and expressions.
Apps like Skype have been around a long time and are easy to install and use, but it’s shaping up to be the decade of Zoom or Viewup conferencing, where large volumes of users can be placed in touch with each other efficiently with a range of nifty features that can add custom background images – just to help in shielding your laundry bag and that NSFW movie poster you’ve left in the spare room.
Embrace Remote Collaboration with a Webcam
While many laptops offer webcams of varying quality levels, many long-term freelancers and WFH employees choose to accommodate PCs into their homes in order to take advantage of more robust monitors and keyboard options. However, even if you’re using a laptop and need to regularly communicate visually with clients, colleagues or managers, it’s worth investing in a competent webcam.
Webcams are designed to offer clearer pictures for users and a better quality of collaboration when it comes to WFH. Luckily there are plenty of cheap and effective cameras on the market that can really help when it comes to getting yourself noticed on those big weekly Zoom calls.
Utilise Team Chat Apps
Synchronising with colleagues, clients and collaborators can help you to keep abreast of any developments with deadlines and emerging problems. Team chat apps have become essential for the modern freelancer, and there are plenty of options on the market.
Naturally, the strongest cost-effective choice would be WhatsApp – a great solution for small businesses that simply want to make sure all colleagues have an avenue for communication with each other.
Having the ability to run a quick query with your team rather than going to the effort of arranging a call is essential in the meeting of deadlines without any issues, and luckily technology has developed to the point where there are more opportunities than ever to get yourself heard whilst out of the office.
Note Taking Tablets
Whether you’re working on a PC or laptop, having a portable device to carry on your work on-the-go or to take valuable notes for ease of access later on could be a game-changer for your WFH setup.
While tablets like the world-famous iPad are great for scribbling notes and creating clear drawings, there are also some great cost-effective options like Lenovo’s Tab M10.
The tablet market is full of potential options for freelancers, and there are some great guides available that can point you in the direction of the most effective note-taking tablets.
Make the Most of Online Office Suites
Office suites are evolving to the point where freelancers can freely access great services that are hosted on the cloud, rather than through pre-installed software packages.
However, office suites are vital when it comes to sharing your work and uploading notes and thoughts online. Microsoft Office Online and Google’s G Suite offer great services to help the lives of freelancers and WFH employees alike, and even apps like Dropbox can really help in sharing writing and spreadsheet documents.
Online office suites can also aid collaborators and clients to edit your work and add comments in real-time – helping to pave the way for some excellent collaboration.
Of course, the most important thing when it comes to setting yourself up with a WFH career is to ensure that you have a comfortable environment that encourages productivity. Be sure to spend time thinking about how to set yourself up with a home office that’s free of distractions. In this respect, sometimes a cosy computer chair and table can be the best hardware you can kit yourself out with.
Peter Jobes is a Tech, crypto, and blockchain writer who has worked with the Press Association and clients like Tesco, RAC and HelpUCover. CMO at Solvid.