Just last month, the home office was a mildly trendy alternative to the 9-to-5 norm. One global health crisis later, and it’s become the new standard.
For those of us who are suddenly forced out of the cubicle and onto our laptops, the transition can be jarring. But working from home doesn’t have to throw off your groove. Believe it or not, it can even be more productive than the grind you’re used to. The trick is all in keeping a routine, staying strong against the myriad distractions of the internet, and customizing your workspace.
Here are eight ways you can take action on all of the above, along with 10 products that are going to become as essential to your home office as a coffee maker.
Without the constraints of an office desk, your workplace can be as big as you need it to be. Take the opportunity to invest in some gear that can actually double your productivity, like this Mobile Pixels DUEX Pro Portable Dual Monitor. It greatly expands your options for multitasking and can swivel to fit your needs.
Setting goals and mapping out a route to get there: those skills are crucial in any job, but they get a lot harder when you’re suddenly separated from your team. It’s important to stay in touch and keep yourself from duplicating the efforts of your coworkers. For that, get a project management software package like Goals by KeepSolid. It’s a great tool that allows you to assign or check off tasks, track progress, and create “mind maps” that get everyone on the same page.
Now that you can write off some equipment as work expenses, it might be time to upgrade your gear. That’s even easier to do with certified refurbished tech like this Apple Magic Mouse 2 or full-size Apple Magic Keyboard. Both will unclutter your workspace with a wire-free, Bluetooth connection and a long-lasting rechargeable battery. Both peripherals are on sale for more than 20% off the cost of a new model.
How many times have you walked out of a company meeting and thought, “that could have been an email?” Don’t be the guy or gal that calls those meetings, especially when they’re teleconferences. Do the legwork of preparing for questions beforehand, and get your relevant documents organized and accessible with a meeting tool like Pinstriped. It lets you prep an agenda and add suggestions or follow-ups to the plan as they arise.
It can be tough to prioritize work projects over equally crucial chores at home, especially when the two environments blend into one. There are plenty of productivity apps out there that can help you keep on track with both. We like Focuster, a great piece of software that lets you easily clear out your inbox with reminders and scheduling tools. Working from multiple devices? Toodledo is another solid productivity app with a great interface that works equally well on smartphones and tablets – plus an intuitive prioritization structure that helps you build better habits in work and life.
Working from home in this environment means making sure even the most important deals can be sealed without an in-person meeting. For contracts, that means getting a platform that can make eSignatures easy – both for you and your clients. KeepSolid Sign fits that bill, with a ton of document templates that can fit any situation, all equipped with the ability to take authenticated electronic signatures.
If you’re suddenly working on your own laptop, you should know that it’s no longer just a convenient hub for communications and streaming movies. It’s suddenly your entire livelihood. Make sure you remove all extraneous programs and files that might slow it down. If you’ve got a Mac, there’s a great app called CleanMyMac X that streamlines that process. It sweeps your computer for things like unneeded apps, duplicate files, and outdated software while actively guarding it against malware, adware, and other things that drag your productivity.
Again, we can’t stress how important it is to keep your work computer protected. That doesn’t have to mean remembering a ton of complex passwords, though. NordPass is an all-in-one password manager that generates secure logins for every web portal, autogenerates them for easy access, and protects it all behind cutting-edge security.