Many employees have a great desire for more independence. The home office is a solution, because it allows a more flexible work-life balance. Many employees therefore take advantage of what their bosses offer. In the current situation in particular, more and more people are working from the office in their own four walls – many bosses who were previously against the home office are now allowing this. When it comes to technical equipment, however, there are a few things to consider: monitor, notebook, tablet, smartphone, keyboard and mouse – what do you need in the home office?
Basics: This is fundamentally important
The home office is becoming more and more popular, and well over half of all employees want the flexibility that comes with working from home. However, “too much” flexibility also harbors the risk of not working productively. In order for you to be able to work successfully in your home office, you should adhere to a few basic rules:
- a solid morning routine
- an ergonomically designed workplace
- Consultations with family and possibly even friends and neighbors
Make it clear to everyone involved that you work at home and want to or have to remain largely undisturbed.
After all, your boss pays for the working hours. Ergonomics at the workplace play the same role in the home office as in the company. For this reason, when setting up the workplace in the home office, you should familiarize yourself with the topic and adjust the selection of furniture to your height.
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Performance over price
But now to the focus of this article, the technical equipment. Here, the price must not be decisive for the purchase, but the performance. Because if the technology gets stuck, the bottom line is that it costs more money than the possibility of being able to work through it undisturbed.
1. Internet: fiber optics or DLS – the main thing is online?
In the home office you can hardly choose which internet connection is available. It is clear that the data transfer rate has to match your own work processes. Anyone who is constantly online and uploading or downloading large amounts of data must have the right tariff. The expansion of fiber optics is being promoted throughout Germany, so the chances are good that your home will soon be connected to the Internet at high speed.
Important: It is best to carry out a speed test and check whether the paid speed can also be used! If the measurement results are not satisfactory, this is often due to the hardware of the end device. For example, the network card must be able to pass such high speeds.
- The LAN cable is always the best way to get the fastest speed possible.
- With the wireless connection via WLAN, volume is always lost.
In practice, this means that a connection is established from the router to the MacBook or PC using a LAN cable. If a fiber optic connection is available, the cable should have a suitable cross-section that can transmit the high speeds. In addition, the router must be able to cope with the new technology. If an obsolete device is used whose maximum transmission capacity is below the booked capacity of the DLS or fiber optic connection, you must expect a correspondingly reduced result.
- Internet access is the linchpin in a home office where people work regularly online, and it should be correspondingly powerful.
2. Computer: Microsoft or Apple?
It is not easy for anyone who is faced with the question of whether a Windows PC or an Apple Mac is the better choice. There are certainly many reasons in favor of a Microsoft device and there are at least as many reasons to prefer an Apple product. You should consider the following aspects when making your decision:
- There are few models at Apple. This has the advantage that it is relatively easy to make a decision. You always get good quality and good performance with a MacBook. With a Windows PC, the selection is very large and less manageable. Picking the right one from the enormous range is time-consuming and requires more expertise.
- The Apple operating system is relatively straightforward to use. Windows 10 is fantastic too, but it can be too cluttered at times. Compared to Windows, Apple is cleaner and easier to use.
- The individual devices from Apple are compatible with each other and can be networked seamlessly and easily. A MacBook is often generally more expensive, but offers integrated software almost free of charge. With a Windows PC, components have to be purchased in many cases. That makes the purchase more expensive.
Depending on the device in question, you should consider laptop insurance. Be it for Dell, Fujitsu, Apple or Lenovo – tailor-made device protection such as insurance for MacBooks covers display damage, liquid damage, third-party damage, operating errors, fire damage and theft. If something happens to the device, you can claim the insurance company.
3. Monitor: the right size is crucial
Even if the work device is a laptop, you don’t have to do without a clear display on a large monitor. For reasons of convenience and clarity alone, it is advisable to purchase a large monitor. You can connect this to the laptop. With the external monitor, you are able to set up the workplace ergonomically and maintain the minimum working distance.
Tip: If necessary, take care of workstation glasses. Ask your employer, because some bosses share the costs or take them over completely.
EXTRA: Tired & irritated eyes? Tips for relaxing in the office [infographic]
4. Keyboard and mouse
In the home office you should work with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse whenever possible. The easiest thing to do is to pair the peripheral devices with one another via Bluetooth. This saves the clutter of cables on the desk and enables quick assembly and disassembly.
5. Printer / scanner or paperless office?
In times of digitization, the need for a printer or scanner is decreasing. Some devices are mostly idle, but you can often not do without them. So you should consider whether you actually need a powerful printer at home, or whether you can also trigger the prints in the company.
As a rule, a lot more paper can be avoided than assumed.
If it has to be a printer, its performance should be adapted to the requirements in the home office. On the one hand, small printers save space and, on the other hand, they are inexpensive. Scanners are redundant in many cases because there are great apps out there these days that can turn the average smartphone into a scanner. You can also easily create photos of documents, which can then be easily attached to an e-mail.
Last but not least, the smartphone has become a valuable and now almost indispensable device in the home office. You can be reached, research online, recruiting employees, archiving, accessing company data and much more. Choosing the right mobile device, however, is a chapter in itself and you should inform yourself comprehensively in order to buy the right device with the right business equipment.