As business owners, we want to ensure that we are both productive and professional in any environment. For those working from home, the struggle is real. We all know the line can get very blurry when the home and office environments are united, so finding tools to clear the haze really helps. Juggling a home office and a home life can be challenging, but there are devices, techniques, and processes to make your home office more productive, more efficient, and more bearable! Taking your productivity from good to great can be as simple as implementing a few often-overlooked trends.
A GREAT Internet Connection
Working from home might mean sharing your bandwidth with two Netflix-loving teenagers and a Kijiji-savvy spouse! It can be quite frustrating when your connection is the speed of a snail racing through molasses. Web conferencing suffers, file downloads suffer, and you suffer. Fortunately, there are gadgets out there that can boost your connection. Routers, quality of service (QoS), and powerline adapters can help. A little research and a quick visit to your local electronics store will provide you with the boost you need.
A GREAT Door
Boundaries can be hard to set at a home office. “Honey, do you know where my gym bag is?”or “Mom, can you help me with my Calculus homework?” Sometimes a solid divider can be as simple as a closed door. Setting expectations and acceptable behaviour for your home office will allow for a much happier home/work life. Not only does it set limits for your household, but it also separates you from easy distractions throughout your home.
A GREAT Printer
Is there anything worse than being in your productivity zone and getting a paper jam or running out of ink? Did you know that there are printers out there that hold a two-year supply of ink? Why? Who knows . . . but it sure would eliminate downtime due to printing issues. Check out Ricoh and Ecotank.
A GREAT Firewall/Security Process
It’s super easy to overlook the safety of a home office network. First and foremost, physically confirm that all is protected. Locked filing cabinets, backup devices, and solid doors will do wonders in safe housing your operation. But what about the virtual world? Antivirus/anti-malware software and wireless network protection are basic necessities. TotalAV and LoJack for laptops are some suggestions . . . and if you don’t know how to set it up, ask your 13-year-old. Chances are, they are masters!
A GREAT Set of Headphones
Never mind the home office, we should all have a pair of headphones in our lives to cancel out outside interference wherever necessary. Headphones continue to be one of the most popular tech trends of the decade, and they just keep getting better. Keep in mind that these magic earphones will not completely eliminate voices or all frequencies of sound, but most will do a great job of getting rid of the refrigerator hum, the pesky heater ticks, and, to some degree, the sibling spats in the nearby room. Bose continues to be a leader in this area.
A GREAT Exercise Plan
It’s often hard enough to get supper on the table, kids picked up and dropped off, and contracts drafted and signed without having to worry about the number of steps you have accumulated during the day or how much cardio you need to include in your routine. But exercise remains one of the strongest contributors to your overall well-being, and that should make it a top priority. Check out at-your-desk yoga stretches and exercise routines: the results will impress you. And for those more adventurous types, type treadmill desks in your search engine. . . yes, they exist!
A GREAT Assistant
No, you don’t need to run out and hire staff and you don’t need to clone yourself, but you might just get some extra time in your day by using a few very popular virtual assistants. Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, the list goes on and the decision is yours, but these assistants may do away with some of your most mundane office tasks, such as searching for phone numbers or setting the radio . . . saving you minutes that add up.
A GREAT Support System
Working from home takes discipline, dedication, diligence, and drollery. Your family and friends are a large reason why you do what you do, so having their support is a necessity. Setting boundaries and processes is not always fun, but when your home world and your work world collide, those very boundaries can save your sanity.