Brie Weiler Reynolds has been working from home for four years and she’s the Director of Online Content at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Brie provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog.
In theory, working from home sounds like a dream to many professionals. Rolling out of bed after an extra hour or two of sleep, sipping coffee in your fuzzy slippers while you begin the workday–it all sounds cozy. But without the proper tools, working from home can be downright difficult.
Not to discount slippers and a well-stocked refrigerator at your disposal, but there’s more involved with working from home. Here are 9 tools you’ll need to make working from home a success.
Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
Working from your laptop all day can be incredibly uncomfortable. Investing in an inexpensive wireless keyboard and mouse will make your work days much more comfortable, and keep you focused on work rather than your poor posture. And because they’re wireless, you’ll keep your workspace clutter-free.
Even if you have the most reliable Internet service imaginable (and if you do, please let us all know so we can get it too!), your Internet connection will fail you once and a while. Work+ is a great (free!) app that helps people find alternative sources of free wifi, including restaurants, coffee shops, public parks, and more. And if you’d like your free wifi to come with coffee, a dog park, cocktails, or countless other options, you can narrow your search by a variety of choices.
One of the few things you might miss about working in the office is the ability to show someone your computer screen. With screen-sharing software like Join.Me, which has a free level, you can quickly share your screen with coworkers. You’ll be back to easy collaboration in no time.
Productivity Monitoring Software
For anyone with a manager who doesn’t trust them to work from home and stay productive, software like Time Doctor is on your side. Managers can use this productivity monitoring software to monitor workers’ activity, run analytics on the data, and work with telecommuters to help them stay productive. If you need more than your promise to convince management that you’ll be a productive telecommuter, offer them something like Time Doctor as a way to keep tabs on you.
Handheld Digital Scanner
If you want to keep your home office paperless and clutter free, invest in an inexpensive, infinitely-helpful handheld digital scanner. Scan papers large and small, from lunch receipts to handbooks, and store them digitally for easy access.
Online File Backup Service
Telecommuters rely 110% on their laptops, but often take for granted that they’ll continue to work well into old-age. To prepare for the disastrous day when your laptop says sayonara, invest in an online file backup service like Carbonite. Every day (and continuously, if you’d prefer), these seamless systems will backup your entire computer, saving thousands of your files, pictures, videos, and more online. Your future self will thank you when the inevitable happens and your laptop kicks the bucket.
Skype or Other Video Conference Software
When you work remotely, there’s nothing better than a single application that allows instant communication with your teammates across the virtual world. That application is Skype, which offers free calls to other Skype users and low or no-cost international calls.
Sure, your kitchen table seems like a great place to work… until your husband is home sick from his job, or you make too-frequent trips to the nearby refrigerator while you’re procrastinating. Find a quiet space in your house to dedicate as your home office. It can be as simple as the corner of a guest room. As long as there’s a desk, chair, good lighting, electricity, and Internet service, your home office will help you stay focused and get work done.
Cloud-Based Document Sharing Device
Telecommuting sure makes people better at sharing! To make it easier to share large files and collaborate with coworkers, opt for cloud-based file sharing services like DropBox and Google Drive. DropBox can help you send large files back and forth, whereas Google Drive will help you create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.
Telecommuting is a great way to work, but only if you equip yourself with the necessary tools. These 9 ideas will make you more productive and more comfortable when you work from home.
Want to learn more about how you can work better at home? Here are more ideas on how to work productively at home!
Photo: Luke Chesser / Unsplash