WORKING FROM HOME: USEFUL ADVICE: ERGONOMICS, PERIPHERALS AND MUCH MORE
I have a thread running on Twitter at the moment on “low-tech” advice about working from home. This will appear on this blog soon (and all I can say at present is that ironing boards are featuring a lot). I am grateful to Nicholas Jackson, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, for sending me his hints for working at home.
“I appreciate a lot of the equipment listed isn’t cheap but it may be of interest to some people. I tend to get mine equipment from ebay which makes it cheaper.
There’s a useful Guardian article here and a few others on the web generally on working from home.
- Dual monitors allow more information to be viewed at any one time, allowing for more efficient working. These can be bought a monitor
- You will want to ensure that the monitor can accept the video output of your laptop. The standard output now on laptops tends to be a DisplayPort. Most monitors will have Displayport as an input (as well as a few other options). It is possible to obtain adapters to convert between standards.
- Most screens currently being sold are be suitable for work applications.
- Response time, refresh rate and speakers aren’t particularly important for a work screen (they are more relevant to gaming/playing videos). Some screens will have inbuilt speakers but this is not essential.
1. A monitor mount can allow a wider variety of positions for your monitors, as well as in some cases, the ability to pivot your monitor by 90 degrees, allowing
- A laptop riser is useful for positioning your laptop at an angle that makes it easier to use. It can be used to position your laptop screen next to your monitor to make dual screen working easier.
- Laptop stands can allow users to work at different heights, including potentially as a standing desk, which allow a kitchen table to be used more easily if needs be.
- Whilst a laptop riser makes it easier to use a laptop keyboard, having a standalone keyboard can be preferable when typing for long periods. Mechanical keyboards are durable and give more physical feedback when typing but can be noisier and more expensive. Tactile keys, such as MX Brown keys, tend to be preferable for typing. More info available here and here.
- Noise Cancelling headphones such as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Sony WH-1000XM3
- Standalone microphones are useful for voice or web meetings, where your device doesn’t have an inbuilt microphone.
- A headset can be useful as an alternative to a microphone/speakers for communicating through a computer.
- A webcam can be useful for holding video meetings, where your mobile phone is deemed insufficient for video calls. A Logitech C922 is well reviewed (and C920) although less expensive options are available
Mobile phone peripherals
- A Bluetooth headset connected to your mobile telephone can be useful when taking a significant number of calls on your mobile phone, leaving your hands free to type.
- A USB hub can be used to make it easier to connect multiple USB devices to a single PC/laptop (for instance if your PC USB ports are inaccessible or your laptop does not have enough USB ports) as the hub can sit on your desk. USB 3.0 generally allows for greater amounts of information to be transmitted, where both devices are compatible.
- A USB Switch selector allows you to connect multiple USB peripherals (such as mouse, keyboard, USB data stick) to the USB switch. You can then connect the switch to 2 PCs/laptops and switch the computer that is using the periphrals at the touch of a button.
- A docking station allows a user to connect a wide variety of connections to their laptop with once, simply connection to their laptop. Docking stations your laptop to easily connect with USB devices, monitors and an ethernet connection (whereas USB hubs are limited to USB devices).
- A wifi extender and powerline networking can be useful for extending the range of your wifi, for instance to the garden.
- More modern routers tend to have greater ranger and transfer speeds through improved technology.
A decent chair makes working home home more comfortable. Herman Miller Aeron are very expensive but well reviewed.
- An adjustable desk likewise can make working form home comfortable by having your desk at an appropriate height.
- An office chair mat can make it easier to use an office chair at home without putting dents in the carpet”
I would add that new Wi-Fi mesh networks are vastly superior to Wi-Fi extenders.