This post provides a short checklist on things you might need to work from home #WFH and remote to your default office location. These days we face more and more constraints in our day-to-day life and at work due to COVID-19. I like to answer the common question “What do I need to work remotely?” or “What do I have to provide my employees that they can work from home?”. Independently of the current situation nevertheless due to the situation and many request regarding this question.
For sure, not all jobs and tasks can be done remotely, but most jobs where people usually work in offices could be done remotely instead of a certain Office location.
Basic technical requirements to work remote
- Internet connection with
- sufficient bandwidth (I’d propose > 16 mbits)
- and low latency for real-time communication (audio & video conferencing)
- Mobile devices
- laptop, mac, tablet or similar
- smart phone | especially for security reasons to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- Headset or speaker (mic + speaker)
- Webcam (for video chat or conferencing)
- (optional) additional (power) extension lead with protection of over voltage
- suited plugs, cables etc. for all devices
- Secured corporate app services to being access remotely by remote workers, for instance
- chat communication
- audio / video conferencing
- application / desktop sharing
- telephony (PSTN)
- soft phone for phone calls to/from PSTN
- and/or smartphone for phone calls to/from PSTN
- files, e.g. PDFs, Word, Excel, PowerPoints etc.
- co-authoring to edit files by multiple users the same time
- line of business (LOB) apps (as needed), e.g. CRM, CAD, …
Advanced technical requirements to work remote
In certain cases and depending on how often and long you work remote it might make sense to level up your remote equipment, let’s say from a occasional mobile remote worker to a more regular home office remote worker. For example, I could not and don’t want to work remotely only having my laptop all the time it’s to small and uncomfortable on the long term. That’s why I’d like to add some advanced technical requirements for working remote for the long term.
- docking station for laptops and periphere devices (headset, webcam, displays…)
- USB hub (in case more devices need to be connected via usb as available usb ports in the docking station)
- > 1x larger screen, e.g. 1x 27″ or 2x 24″ display/s attached to the laptop docking station via HDMI or else with sufficient quality
- (optional) USB printer (in case there is some legacy paper work to print out, fill out and send out via (physical) mail (distribution)
- (optional) USB scanner (I’d recommend Office Lense instead however to complete the list I’d say a scanner could be helpful if you cope with legacy paper work and you must scan many paper pages a day)
Other (optional/recommended) requirements to work remote
I think the above hardware, equipment and services should enable you and/or your users to work from home or anywhere else in a comfortable way. Thus you should also consider the following to work productively from remote. Environmental variables.
- Room / space / noise / door | It’s more comfortable and less distracting to a have a dedicated room or space (or have at least very good headsets with active noise cancelation (ANC) built-in, which filters out most of the noise).
- Ergonomic chair | If you work the whole day sitting on your sofa or dining table it might not be the right place and you end up with headaches or a back and neck which hurts.
- Desk / table | A suited desk also keeps your posture ok and in shape in conjunction with the suited chair.
- Light | To see something on your screen to much and to little light can be disadvantageous on the long term, so you should have a good lamp.
- (optional) Box | Depending on where you work (e.g. a home office space) it might supporting to have a box or bag where you can put everything together after your business hours to really enjoy after-work life if you cannot just close a room’s door.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
To work from home or remotely and be productive can be comfortable if the requirements and prerequisites for a modern workplace are given. If not it’s not much fun and you might be not very productive. It’s also important to have some small talk with your co-workers and team mates because it’s different to work remote if you are used to work almost up to five days in an office. So, don’t forget about some basic “small / coffee talk” to keep in sync with your co-workers.
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