2020 saw a dramatic shift to a predominantly work-from-home (WFH) economy for countless individuals. Many companies can’t wait to return to in-person office spaces. Even so, for many other employees, the shift to a remote-work scenario has become the new status quo. Major companies like Twitter, Shopify, and Upwork have already declared themselves fully-remote. Countless others will doubtless follow suit in the coming months.
If you’re an employee working on the homefront for the foreseeable future, it may be time to find different smart home solutions to upgrade your home office. Here are a handful of the best tech-centric ways you can do so.
1. Address Your Internet
If there’s one thing that is essential to a WFH situation, it’s the internet. This doesn’t just reference an internet connection, either. Two decades into the 21st century, you need to have access to consistent, high-speed internet.
At this point, most internet packages come with upload and download speeds that are more than adequate for the average employee. However, it’s the inconsistent part that can cause headaches. If your internet speed tends to vary at different times of the day, it creates problems. You don’t want a slump in your signal right when you need to upload a project or hop on a Zoom call.
If you want to have a good smart home experience, start by addressing your internet. Upgrade your router for better WiFi throughout your home. Hardwire your primary workstation with an ethernet cable. Check with your internet service provider to see what different data plans they have to determine what the right fit is for you. The key is finding a strong, consistent connection.
2. Replace the Basics
Quality internet won’t do you much good if you don’t have the devices to take advantage of it. Your job may have given you some work from home equipment at the beginning of the pandemic. And make no mistake, a company laptop is nothing to scoff at.
However, if you’re going to be remote-working for the long-term, you may want to take things a step further. Here are a few of the most basic office tech upgrades that you should address before anything else:
- A monitor: A tiny laptop screen can strain your vision. Make sure you have a larger monitor available, along with a chord to plug straight into your laptop.
- A mouse and keyboard: Again, trackpads and laptop keyboards are a good start. However, if you’re settling in for the long haul, you should invest in a larger, ergonomically-friendly keyboard and mouse.
- Speakers: From music to video chats, make sure you have a good set of speakers set up to facilitate your work each day.
- Microphone and camera: The remote work world often requires both audio and video communication. When that happens, you want to have a good set up ready to go.
- A smart power strip: This smart power solution can give you control of your office equipment via your smartphone. It can also reduce your power consumption.
It’s wise to start with your home office basics before you get too distracted with unnecessary gadgets and flashy upgrades.
3. Consider Security
Security also ranks right up there with basic equipment and consistent internet. If your office isn’t secure, it can leave you open to malware, hackers, and even physical robbery. There are many ways that you can use smart devices to increase your security in your home office.
For instance, you can secure your physical office by installing smart door locks, cameras, and blinds. This ensures that both your office and your house as a whole are protected from external threats.
In addition, you can increase your security by adding password protection to your work devices. You can also install quality antivirus software and keep everything updated at all times.
4. Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy
When it comes to your mind and body, it’s also important to think about your health. This is another area where smart tech can come through in spades.
For example, you can use a smart robot vacuum to keep your floors clean. There are also smart carbon monoxide and smoke detectors that you can set up. You can even use your smartphone to remember when to replace filters on your furnace, humidifiers, air purifiers, and any other health-focused appliances.
5. Be Eco-Friendly
Operating from home can help you cut down on your carbon emissions by avoiding a regular commute. However, that doesn’t reduce your pollution levels to zero. On the contrary, you still have to heat and cool your space. Leaving lights on all day long uses electricity, too, as does using an arsenal of office equipment and devices.
If you want to improve your office with smart tech, consider trying to be more sustainable in the process, as well. A few suggestions for ways to do so include:
- Setting up smart lighting that uses less power and can turn off via sensors or a smartphone.
- Installing smart blinds that allow you to insulate your windows when you’re not using a space.
- Using a smart thermostat to regulate the temperature in your home office when you’re both on and off the clock.
Smart tech can go a long way in helping you create a more sustainable home office.
6. Print from Anywhere
If your job requires printing from time to time, this offers another area of potential smart home office improvement. Printers aren’t expensive, and investing in a slightly more advanced model can often be wise.
At this point, there are countless, affordable home printers that can revolutionize your paper and ink needs. Many of them offer air print options. This enables you to set them up wherever you’d prefer. Then, all you need to do is connect to them via your WiFi. Once that’s done, you can print on demand from anywhere in your home.
From consistent internet to basic equipment, security concerns, and even eco-friendly considerations, there are many ways to upgrade your home office. If you’re planning on working remotely for the foreseeable future, this isn’t just a good idea. It’s a necessity.
So review your current home office or other work-from-home situation. Where can you make smart tech upgrades that will enhance your efficiency, productivity, or comfort? Once you’ve identified them, take action. You’ll thank yourself in the months ahead.
Angela is a senior editor at Dreniq News. She has written for many famous news agencies.