As the novel Coronavirus spreads in India, many companies have asked their employees to work from home.
Work from home is still not very popular among Indian companies. So it is only natural that a lot of employees getting the option now have no idea what all they need to function effectively from home.
Tips and tricks: How to work from home effectively
It is possible that a lot of us will find working from home challenging. If you are one among those who have no clue how to set up a workstation at home, here are some basic tips.
*Create a dedicated workspace: You have to have a space that would be your mini-office at home. The space doesn’t have to be large. A dedicated corner in a room is ideal. Once you finalise a spot, fit a desk that provides a generous work area. If your room is small and you don’t have that much space for a small desk, buy a laptop stand that can go on top of the sofa or on your bed. These are easy to store and allow the height to be adjusted. It is best to keep the screen at eye-level at all times to avoid stress on the neck and shoulder.
*Set office hours: The best way to become productive while working from home is to create a work schedule. Set office hours and stick to a rule that you will be active during that period. Avoid social networking and other distractions in that timeframe.
*Take regular breaks: If you feel like you are tired while working at a stretch, take short breaks, have some food or pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee to refresh yourself. Take advantage of the slight flexibility that working from home affords you.
*Be more productive: Try to speak to clients or schedule urgent calls when you are in the best frame of mind — mornings might be ideal.
You will also need to gear up for working from home. Here is a list of affordable gadgets under Rs 5000 that will have you all set to take on WFH challenges.
A pair of On-ear headphones
Headphones come in various shapes and sizes, but not all are created equal. Choosing the right pair can be confusing, especially between in-ear, on-ear or over-the-ear headphones. Choose one that will be comfortable to wear over long hours and has a good mic system.
I recently stumbled upon Sony’s WH-CH510 wireless on-ear headphones with a sleek design, super comfortable fit and good sound quality. Priced around Rs 3,500, these wireless headphones offer 35 hours of battery backup. The good thing about on-ear headphones is that they won’t fall off your face, plus they are relatively compact in design.
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Decent keyboard and mouse
It’s not possible to work from home without a good keyboard and mouse. For light work, any basic keyboard and mouse will do the job. But if you are working in an IT firm or in the media industry, you probably need to buy a set that is comfortable to use for long periods of time.
I personally like the Logitech K480 for a number of reasons. First, the keyboard comes with pleasing clickable keys. Second, it is fully compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Chrome OS. Third, the K480 only costs Rs 2,199. The Logitech G102 Prodigy, at Rs 1,395, is a good mouse to pair with this keyboard.
The best space for you to work at home might be the spot with the worst Wi-Fi connectivity. This is why you need a Wi-Fi range extender to boost the signal in the weak spots of your house. You have both wireless and wired options that can do this I can recommend the Netgear EX3110 AC750, which I think should be perfect for those living in smaller houses. The dual-band extender works with any standard router and supports wireless speeds of up to 750Mbps. The extender costs Rs 2,079.
There are people who like listening to music while at work, as it improves their mood. Even research has shown that listening to music can improve productivity. If you are someone who doesn’t get distracted while listening to music at work, I will recommend the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen). It’s a great little Alexa-enabled smart speaker with good audio quality, plus it serves as a clock as well. And yes, it can answer all your queries and questions related to Covid-19. For Rs 4,999, the Echo Dot isn’t a bad option.
If you are someone who works in a team that’s spread across multiple locations, video conferencing will be a daily affair. There are free video conferencing tools available from Google and Microsoft that work well along with your laptop camera. In case you want to improve the quality of the camera that comes on your computer, you might want to buy an external web camera.
If you ask my choice, I would recommend the Logitech C310 a 720p HD web camera with widescreen video calling. With a built-in mounting clip, this web camera is excellent for laptops and monitors. The Logitech C310 is priced at Rs 1979.
An all-in-one printer
Wondering why a printer is on this list? Imagine you have a deadline to meet tomorrow and it’s already late with no printing shops open. What would you do in such a situation? My advice is to get an affordable inkjet printer because there are times when you still need to print or scan a document.
You can opt for HP DeskJet 2131 or Canon Pixma MG 3070S, as both of them are compact and multi-functional printers. While the HP DeskJet 2131 is priced at Rs 3,074, the Canon Pixma MG 3070S will set you back by Rs 3,299. Before you decide to buy a printer, keep one thing in mind that running a printer can be expensive, thanks to the cost of ink cartridges.
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