January 5, 2021
4 Devices You Need to Help You Improve Your Work From Home Experience
These days, the work-from-home movement is in full swing. While the elimination of hour-long commutes is more than welcome, and in most cases, long overdue—remote employment offers its own share of challenges if you don’t have the right equipment.
That’s what we’re here for. We’ve put together this basic guide to help you find the right products to improve your work from home experience.
1. Wireless Mouse
You’ve had that mouse for years, and it still works.. What’s the big deal between a cord versus no cord? Going cordless solves the most common complaints people have with mice: The cord interrupts and restricts movement, tangles easily, and takes up space. If your computer sits at a distance from your keyboard and mouse, wireless accessories are the perfect solution.
Moreover, like all wireless devices, you can use a wireless mouse from across the room. Untethering yourself from your computer is useful during video conferences where you plan on moving around or referring to the whiteboard behind you.
When choosing a wireless mouse, opt for one that allows you to connect to more than one device (such as your tablet), allowing you to switch between them seamlessly. A Bluetooth mouse won’t take up its own USB port and will pair with devices that don’t have one.
Another aspect you shouldn’t ever compromise on is comfort. Save your wrist and fingers the unnecessary pain and shop for an ergonomic model that fits snugly within your grasp.
The downsides to wireless mice include decreased speed and a higher price tag. While the price gap between wired and wireless mice has narrowed considerably, if your work involves precision or you’re planning to game with the same mouse, you may notice a few more delays with a cordless mouse in comparison to its corded counterpart.
2. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
The home is not always an ideal workplace. Focusing on the task at hand is exponentially more difficult when sounds from children, construction work, traffic, or even birds chirping outside your window are punctuating your every thought.
Get in the zone by investing in a pair of over-ear noise-canceling headphones that extinguish background noise, letting you reach optimal productivity.
When it comes to comfort, memory foam gently molding around your ears is far more pleasant than earbuds, especially considering the amount of time you’ll be wearing them every day. Remember: The secret to working from home successfully is to never compromise on comfort—from the chair you sit on to the pair of headphones you wear.
Keep in mind that active noise cancellation circuitry is expensive. A decent pair of noise-canceling headphones will cost more than $100, with most pairs sitting around the $300-$500 range.
Moreover, these headphones usually don’t have boom microphones. If your job requires you to bounce between phone calls, consider purchasing a dedicated Bluetooth headset instead. The mics on these headsets isolate your voice from background noise, letting whoever is on the other end—whether that be your team, client, or boss—hear your voice crisp and clear.
3. Ergonomic Keyboard
Using a traditional keyboard forces you to squeeze your shoulders, elbows, and wrists together to keep your hands perpendicular to the keys. This forces you into an unnatural position that may lead to chronic pain (even in your back and neck) over the long run, especially if your job description includes typing for hours on end.
Enter the ergonomic keyboard. Keyboard keys are usually split down the middle (between TGB and YHN keys, bisecting the spacebar), the two sides angled upward and often arched so that your index fingers are higher than the rest. Certain models even incorporate a cushioned palm rest for maximum comfort.
With long-term usage, your wrists, hands, and arms tire less quickly, and you reduce the likelihood of developing repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), which buildup over time and inflict damage on your muscles, tendons, and nerves.
That said, ergonomic keyboards aren’t for everyone. Using one for the first time is almost always a disconcerting experience. Plus, your typing speed is likely to suffer in the temporary adjustment period. If you need to switch between a laptop with a traditional keyboard and a desktop with an ergonomic keyboard, growing accustomed to the latter is more difficult.
4. Dual Monitors
A dual monitor setup is exactly what it sounds like—it’s two monitors being used for one PC or laptop. Your workspace isn’t your desk or your home office—it’s your monitor. The more monitors you have, the larger your workspace.
Keeping a chat window with your client open while simultaneously accessing an internet browser, your calendar, and your email is next to impossible on one screen. Switching back and forth between tabs and applications is tiresome, slow, and makes it seem like you’re disorganized—leaving whoever you’re communicating with feeling less than impressed.
More than one monitor makes you nimble on your feet. Scheduling a meeting with your team? Simply drag your calendar to your second monitor. Need to browse the internet while accessing a spreadsheet? No problem. No matter what type of professional you are, having more than one monitor increases your flexibility.
What are the drawbacks of multiple monitors? If you’re already prone to distractions, two screens may double your chances of stepping off your spreadsheet and onto Facebook or Reddit. Another potential issue is your computer’s lack of resources. Performance drops depend on your system and the applications you plan on running—you may notice a dip in your computer’s response times.
If the cost of a second monitor is a concern, we have good news—the cost of monitors has dropped significantly in recent years. If you’re not sold on a second screen's functionality, a trial period doesn’t have to break the bank.
Stay Productive and Focused With the Right Gear
For those of us who are new to the work-from-home scene, remote employment has its unique set of challenges. We recommend scheduling breaks throughout the day, keeping water and snacks within reach, and remembering to turn off the computer when the end of the workday rolls around to keep yourself from burning out.
While we hope the recent need for working from home is soon behind us, we also think that many of us can now see that we can be effective at the home office, including our employers. The need to update your home set-up will become even more important as more and more of us engage with working remotely.
Here at Better1, we update you on the latest tech products so that you can make informed decisions on how to stay productive and motivated while working from home.