What Every WFH Owner Must Have Working from home requires planning whether you are a one-person shop or have remote teams. You can’t just leave your office-based work today and decide on a WFH setup in the dead of night. Post the Coronavirus crisis, your home should be able to accommodate your work needs for faster internet, bigger files, all-day working, and most important, increased productivity. If the Covid-19 pandemic taught us anything, we know working remotely requires a little bit of planning to maintain high productivity. The following list is a guide to all the must-have furniture, devices, and accessories you need to prepare your remote workers before moving from the office to a new home office setup. The Office Upgrade to Work Like a Pro Your Computer Your machine is where you’ll be working and communicating, so this is the first thing you should be spending your money on. Decide up front whether you’ll visit the local coffee shops from time to time to have your next zoom meeting, in which case a MacBook Air or even an iPad Pro might make sense. If that’s the case, get a laptop with good battery life (and maybe an external monitor when you’re in the home office), so you can at least enjoy that cup of coffee. As the Coronavirus pandemic wanes, you may want to spend a period of time outside your home office. Otherwise, make sure your office space fits your needs. The basic specifications of a work-from-home computer (regardless of whether you want a desktop or laptop setup) should include the following to maintain productivity levels: High-end processor (If you can afford Core i7 or Ryzen 7, go for it) HDD and SSD storage (Using dual storage means you can assign one for the processes and the other one for files) At least 16GB RAM (there are higher memory sizes, but the higher you go, the more money you need to spend, so take heed.) Windows 10 Pro operating system (and if you’re working on a Mac, the newest Mac OS version). If you can afford a larger monitor with FHD or QHD resolution, choose at least a 30-inch model or bigger for maximum productivity. You can also opt for a dual external monitor set-up (two 24-inch monitors positioned side-by-side). Of course, the specs above are just for day-to-day research, word processing, online surfing, video conferencing, and other similar tasks. If your work or remote workforce involves heavy graphics or advanced gaming, you might need to upgrade to better specifications with at least one external monitor. Work-from-home Office Essentials Aside from your computer, you cannot work from home effectively if you do not have the following things in your office setup: A high-speed internet: You can’t rely on patchy internet plans for your work. Ensure that your connection at home will let you download or upload big files easily, give you access to all websites you need for work, and peace of mind that it wouldn’t lag or drop in the middle of your shift. You’ll need the speed if you spend time in virtual meetings, google hangouts, conference calls, or on zoom calls. Software: Not many people appreciate this, but your office computer is well-equipped with installed software (probably by your company’s tech team). When you move home, you must ensure all necessary software is installed and accessible on your computer. This is critical if you’re using your computer, not a company-provided laptop. Computer table: You have plenty of options for office furniture, from full-sized desks to laptop tables or a laptop stand, a hybrid standing desk with an adjustable height or a converted sitting table, etc. Choose your wfh setup based on your personal lifestyle preference, needs, and living space. Ergonomic computer chair. Working on a stiff office chair won’t make you a productive worker. Invest in a good, ergonomic chair to prevent neck and back pains throughout your shift. Look at chairs by Herman Miller or an Aeron Chair. The investment in a comfortable desk chair can save you from the chiropractor. Keyboard and mouse: If you type a lot of text, don’t stick to just any keyboard and mouse combo. There are wrist-friendly, ergonomic keyboards and mice on the market today. Take advantage of the technological advancements, so you wouldn’t have to feel carpal tunnel symptoms or other similar injuries associated with repetitive typing movements. Good lighting: Natural lighting is great during the day, and for those that burn the midnight oil, consider a good desk lamp. You might consider a ring light for the video call. Also, think about blue light. Desk organizer: Another home office essential is a simple desk organizer that can help keep your workspace organized and clutter-free. It could be a small drawer or shelf unit. Phone charger: Make sure you have a reliable power source nearby for charging your phone. A dead battery in the middle of the conference call is annoying. You should have two USB ports and a standard outlet for charging your phone. Multiple Monitors: Having multiple monitors helps when working on different tasks simultaneously—for example, having one monitor dedicated to social media while another is for email clients. USB Ports: USB ports allow you to plug in your devices such as your printer, scanner, webcam, speakers, etc. If your work would require you to communicate with team members who are also working from their homes, you’ll need to prepare devices to ensure this is possible. There are a significant number of options to choose from, including: Noise-canceling Headphones. This device will save you on y our phone calls or video calls if you live in a house or apartment with a lot of noise (could be from pets, kids, or even your neighbors). It could also help you hear the people from the other side of your “line,” especially if their connection has low audio. A headset is a necessity for telecommuting workers. They allow you to take calls without disturbing others around you. Headphones are also helpful if you need to listen to music or podcasts. Microphones. If you’re not a headphone enthusiast, you can opt for a microphone and speaker combination. This combo is the set-up of most podcasts that communicate face-to-face with other people but record the conversation. If your work requires you to record your voice or music, pick a branded mic like Sennheiser or Shure. Speakers. Whether you love working with music in the background or prefer the mic-speaker setup when video-conferencing your peers, it’s always good to have a second option. Webcams. Yes, you can use your smartphone to conduct all online video meetings. But having a webcam already in place and ready to be used when you open your Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, or any other video-conferencing tool is always ideal, especially if your boss or teammates regularly requires an online meeting. The remarkable thing about shopping for computer stuff today is that almost anything you think about (a laptop table for your bed, a massage chair for your achy back, backlighting for your monitor, and so on) is available online. The items above are available from your go-to computer stores like Micro Center or general stores like Amazon. Working from home can enhance productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational expenses for companies, while employees benefit from perks such as greater flexibility and the absence of a daily commute. However, while many employers support remote workers, they still must overcome some challenges. Here are three recommendations for making remote work successful: Create a culture of trust. Trust between managers and staff is essential to ensuring everyone feels safe and comfortable being honest and open with each other. Due to distance and time differences, remote teams may find building this relationship complicated. Managers should make sure they give feedback and provide guidance without judgment. They should also recognize and reward success while holding employees accountable for mistakes. You may need to offer more status updates with a team of telecommuters. Be flexible. When things don’t go according to plan, it’s essential to remain calm and patient. Employees frustrated by constant changes in procedures will likely become disengaged and less productive. Managers should keep communication channels open and offer frequent updates. Keep up morale. Keeping team members engaged and motivated ensures they have opportunities to contribute ideas and share opinions. Team members must know their manager’s values and how they fit into the company’s overall goals. In conclusion, get creative with your “must-have for your work-from-home set-up. When looking to work from home or be set up for remote work, your home setup should have a computer, anything that stands in for a desk, printer, scanner, phone line, and fax machine. Beyond that, all you need is a small space, a comfortable sitting chair, a quiet area to concentrate, maybe a little natural light, and a reliable Internet connection. Make sure you have the necessary office supplies. And if you spend most of your days working from home or even as a digital nomad, you might as well dress like it. After all, nobody will see you sweat when you’re at home.