Automattic recently made the decision to shut down their main office in San Francisco. This wasn’t due to any financial difficulties for the company, the choice was based on the fact that people were rarely in the office. More companies are allowing their employees to work from home, and with that comes some difficulties. There are a few things you can do, however, that can minimize the disadvantages of working from a home based office.
One of the key components of having successful work from home employees is the ability to keep in communication with the rest of the staff and collaborate with them on projects. Programs like Slack and Microsoft’s Team are great ways to keep the team involved with each other. Working from home can be very isolating. To keep the team engaged, there can be channels for “watercooler” type conversations.
A huge concern for companies regarding their work from home employees is protecting the business data. Make sure you are running regular virus scans on your computers at home, and you are utilizing the firewall features on your home’s modem and router. Also be extremely cautious while browsing the internet and beware of phishing emails. If you can, avoid having children use any computers that will be mainly accessing business data. Think of your home computer as you would if it was sitting right in your office, and don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do in a room full of your fellow employees.
Homes can have dead spots, where the internet connection just isn’t that great. To have a great, steady connection, utilizing a Wi-Fi extender can help a lot. Typically the extender will have several ports for you to be able to plug a networking cable directly into your computer. The extender can then have the best connection to your router, and you can benefit from that connection within your home office.
As the saying goes, productivity can increase with each additional monitor. Often, for a home office, people will be satisfied with a single monitor. Having at least 2 monitors, however, and be extremely useful. Most people, once they move to 2 monitors, almost can’t even function with a single monitor. The benefits of having multiple monitors are obviously an increase in productivity. It can really help you focus on the task at hand when you can look at items side by side or even move distractions, like chat applications and music to one monitor while the main monitor has your actual work.
A great way to easily connect all of your peripheral devices is to plug them all into a docking station. The docking station can not only have ports for your printer, scanner, SD card reader, mouse, keyboard, etc, it can also have connections for a networking cable and multiple monitors. When you bring your laptop somewhere else to work, you don’t want to have to plug in a ton of things every time you sit back down to your desk. With a docking station, you can connect everything with a single plug.
This is mainly just for convenience, but I love having a charging station in my office where I can plug in my phone, my smartwatch, tablets, etc. This puts those devices within reach while working, but still giving an advantage to having them charged up when you are ready to hit the road. I like to use a power strip inside a drawer and then all of the devices can be tucked away when needed.
Using these pieces of technology can make your home office the efficient work environment you need to get everything done. I would also recommend a door that locks. You don’t want to end up like the guy who’s kid interrupted his live TV interview!