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Stay focused! How tech can help you stay productive working from home

Written by Gavin Wyatt

Working from home (WFH) has become more popular in recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic has made this practice mainstream. Successful companies have adapted to WFH conditions and integrated remote working into their new operating rhythm.

Tech solutions can make WFH just as productive as being in the office! Let’s take a look at how technology can make the move to WFH seamless and enjoyable.

Communication

Video conferencing and calls are the new ways to host client meetings, talk with teammates and even keep in touch with our friends and family. Video conferences need to take place on a seamless and functional platform that is suited to your company’s needs.

The first thing to consider is what videoconferencing application to use. Zoom rose to ubiquity, and despite its security issues (which they addressed), it has maintained massive popularity.

Microsoft Teams has been a game-changer for many organisations. Part of the Microsoft 365 suite, this communication and collaboration app is also available as a free standalone download. Offering video calls and meetings, text chat, calling options and the ability to work together and pool resources, Microsoft Teams is a great channel for synching up your company’s workforce.

Cisco Webex is a robust tool with solid security credentials. It’s lauded for its reliability and ease-of-use.

You’ll need a solid internet connection that doesn’t have any download limits. A decent webcam also helps. Many in-built webcams can be poor in quality, in which you should consider purchasing an external webcam.

Your sound is also important. It’s worth investing in a mic system. You can use a mic headset, which is great for sound quality but can be a bit harsh on the ears if worn all day. A second option is a standard USB microphone which plugs into your computer and sits on your desk. These offer great sound quality, but are a bit limiting if you want to ‘walk-and-talk’ on an audio call.

Collaboration

Just as important to communication is the ability for colleagues to collaborate on projects and jobs no matter where they’re located. Microsoft Teams is a crucial tool for this, especially if your company is using other facets of the cloud-based Microsoft 365 environment. Documents in Excel, Word and Powerpoint can be worked on remotely in real time, while communications happen concurrently in Teams. Onedrive and Sharepoint from Microsoft also make it easy to share and access data.

There are other platforms that offer similar functionality, notably G Suite from Google. Another cloud-based platform, G Suite includes Google Docs, Google Drive, Calendar, Meet and Gmail.

Security

WFH poses cybersecurity threats. You can take several measures to keep your home office secure. Always use two-factor or multi-factor authentication when logging into company resources. This adds an extra layer of login security such as a text message or an email, providing you with a code to input to complete the login.

You should also use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when you log onto the internet. This creates an encrypted connection, routing your data through private servers that make it impossible to read by anyone with ill intentions. Use a VPN when working from your home computer.

It’s important to keep your antivirus software, operating systems, internet browser and applications up to date. This means that they’ll be equipped with the latest patches to recognise and thwart threats as they arise.

Comfort

Pain and discomfort will drop your productivity.

Laptops aren’t great for posture. They’re small and tend to make people hunch over them, leading to back pain by the end of the day. Invest in a height-adjustable external monitor, mouse and keyboard to plug into your laptop. The extra level of comfort, the increased productivity and the possible savings on chiropractor bills will make it all worthwhile.

A comfortable desk and office chair are essential for your wellbeing. A straight-backed dining room chair is not a sustainable solution for hours in front of the computer. Get yourself a comfortable, swivel office chair with adjustable height. A stand up workstation is another great option.

Thanks to the accessibility of high-tech solutions, the transition to working from home doesn’t have to hinder your productivity. Implementing some of the hardware and software mentioned here to make this a seamless process for your business.

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Gavin Wyatt

Gavin Wyatt is a content creator for Smile IT, a Brisbane digital solutions provider. He’s passionate about tech, SEO and digital marketing and has more than 10 years experience in online marketing.

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