Your employees may be working at home temporarily. Some of them may be working from home for the long term. Either way, it’s important for them to have a workday environment that makes them productive and content with their job.
There are several technological and non-tech essentials for the home office that are key to maximizing productivity and job satisfaction.
Different Roles, Different Needs
The types of technologies, furniture, accessories, and other items your employees should have in their home office depend upon their role within your organization.
For your salespeople, camera and lighting may be among the most important factors to get right—as salespeople spend a lot of time in online meetings (or at least they should). They may be using a video outreach & engagement tool like Vidyard, HippoVideo or Wistia Soapbox to support the sales process that you have designed.
Your customer service staff may need multiple monitors to best assist your customers.
For your creatives, computer processor power and monitor resolution may be most important.
The desk setup itself is an important factor too. Will some of your employees be more productive if they work at a standing desk?
Here is information about a variety of equipment and accessories that can make your employees more productive and satisfied with their jobs in 2021. None of the links below are affiliate links — they are only included to better inform you, the reader.
Multiple Monitor Computer Desk
Many home office desks are too small to support multiple monitors. But there are ways to expand a desk both vertically and horizontally.
A VariDesk Converter can change a basic desk into a three-dimensional, standing workspace without breaking the bank. A drafting chair can be used to sit at a standing desk — this saves the considerable effort of lowering the desk. Plus, the keyboard and mouse are on an ergonomically-appropriate level.
Multiple monitors can be clamped to an employee’s desk using another Vari product—a dual monitor arm.
For a sitting desk, a desk shelf is useful for organizing a limited space. A desk shelf can also raise the level of a monitor or monitors to eye level when clamping a monitor arm to the desk is not practical.
A Pedco Ultraclamp, coupled with the right thread adapters can clamp a variety of devices to a desk shelf.
Home Office Lighting
Some of your employees may spend a lot of time on camera. However, many people do not have the right lighting balance in their home office. You know them — they are the ones who always seem to be in shadow during meetings.
Much as it’s tempting to have the outdoors as a backdrop by aiming the camera at a window, this is not the best use of natural lighting. Natural light behind someone can put them in silhouette.
Good types of artificial lighting include a simple clip-on ring light or a photography studio light.
For any sort of video production in which an employee needs to be on-camera, a high-quality USB camera or a mirrorless camera with a USB connection is best. An HDMI to USB adapter can be used to connect a quality camera to a computer.
External USB cameras are finally catching up to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Elgato released the Facecam in 2021. A company called Opal aims to revolutionize the USB webcam.
There are a number of benefits to using Bluetooth earbuds:
- They prevent echo during online meetings (compared to computer speakers)
- They untether an employee from their desk
- Some of them have decent-sounding microphones
Headphones accomplish the same goal, but they present a visual distraction.
There are many earbuds on the market to choose from. Popular brands include Apple, Google, Bose, and Raycon.
For online meetings, presentations, screencasts, podcasting, or anything else that involves audio, a quality microphone is essential.
A USB microphone like the Elgato Wave or the Audio-Technica AT2020 will provide better voice quality than either earbuds or a laptop’s built-in microphone.
For someone who really wants to step up their audio the combination of an XLR mic from Shure or Heil plus a Universal Audio Volt 276 is a quality combination.
For employees who answer incoming calls to the company’s main number or calls that were directed to them by an auto-attendant, an essential piece of standard office equipment is also an essential part of a home office.
A multi-line VoIP phone can operate in a home office just as it does in an office building.
Mobile Phone Holder
Sometimes, little things can make a big difference.
Clamping a mobile phone to a desk reduces desktop clutter. It also angles the phone in a way that makes the display easier for an employee to view. The above-mentioned Pedco Ultraclamp, coupled with a simple mobile phone holder, works well.
Ambient sound is an important part of any work environment. The sound could be music or it could be white noise to drown out distracting sounds like leaf blowers.
A device like a Google Nest Hub has decent sound quality for a home office. It allows for quickly muting sound via touchscreen or voice command.
Employee Cyber Security
Online security is, of course, an important element of any office environment—home or otherwise. Employees working from a home office create a new avenue for hackers to breach your company’s security. For that reason, cyber attacks against home office employees are on the rise.
A cyber security package for home office workers is essential for thwarting potential attacks and protecting your company data.