7 Things You Need to Start a Remote Career: Your Complete Work-from-Home Checklist
Working from home – or anywhere else in the world – has become quite an appealing setup for both employees and their companies.
Aside from saving time and money for both parties, it also supports better work-life balance and is believed to reduce commute-related stress. Allowing remote work also promotes inclusivity within companies, not to mention it leads to better performance and productivity.
As a bonus, workers can even customize their workstations as needed to achieve an optimal work environment.
If you’re planning to begin your career as a home-based employee, this checklist will show you the seven things you will need to make your transition from office-based to home-based as smooth as possible.
Setup and Equipment
How your home office is equipped and set up will affect your performance in your first online job. Here are some things you will need to have in terms of equipment and office setup to get you started:
1. Desk and Chair
Although being home-based means you can work just about anywhere, it is still a good idea to have an office desk and chair exclusively for this purpose. This will ensure that you have a secure place to put your work-related stuff in and an ergonomically correct workstation that will help you become more efficient in your tasks.
Aside from a counter, table, or just about any flat surface turned into a work surface, you also need a comfortable chair to sit on. Taking comfort and ergonomics into account, it would be best to test the chair before buying.
Very few – if any – work-related tasks performed remotely can be accomplished without using a computer. That said, you should consider your profession or the kind of job you do when buying a laptop or desktop computer.
Take note that the minimum computer specification you need will vary depending on the type of work you will be performing. For example, if you’re doing website or software development, you would need more speed and processing power than those that only do documentation and typing projects.
If you’re buying a desktop computer, having a good monitor is a must. However, it is also wise to purchase an extra screen to plug into your laptop. This will reduce the strain on your neck, not to mention it could help with tasks that require dual monitors.
Again, the minimum specifications for this equipment will vary, depending on what you do. For those in the digital design industry, you may also need the best possible display quality that digital screen suppliers can offer to use with a high-spec computer.
4. Reliable Internet
A reliable internet connection is one of the most fundamental tools every remote worker needs. After all, remote work usually means doing everything related to your job – from communications to output submission – online.
Take note that working from home might become a challenge if you rely on an unstable Wi-Fi connection. Public access networks won’t do either as they are neither secure nor consistent.
For optimal work performance, have a decent broadband connection directly to your PC. Make sure the speed and bandwidth can accommodate the kind of work you do.
Check your connection speed with testing tools to see if it fits your client or company’s requirements. If it doesn’t, you may need to upgrade to a higher plan.
Besides the furniture and hardware, you will also need at least a basic set of software and tools to support the type of work you do. While you might need some specialized software for your main tasks, there are a few others that are almost always vital in promoting productivity, such as:
5. Communication Tools
Today’s workforce relies so much on digital communication tools because it makes relaying information, sharing files, and gathering intel faster and easier. From email and instant messaging to voice and video conferencing systems, here are some programs you might want to install in your computer for your remote work:
● Slack – This is a real-time chat platform catering to groups of people for just about any purpose. It spares companies and their employees from lengthy email threads. It can even work with various other tools and software used for file-sharing, time-management, and others.
● Skype for Business – Skype’s Teams feature offers an enterprise version of the Microsoft-owned chat platform. Both Skype and Teams can be purchased with the Microsoft Office 365 Premium bundle, so it’s probably already on your computer if you have that version of the document-processing and creation programs.
● Zoom – Considered the frontrunner of video call and chat applications, this software can accommodate large meetings of as many as 500 participants. It also offers unlimited conferencing time for the premium version and 40 minutes maximum for the free one.
6. File Sharing and Project Management Tools
Although telling someone about the deadline is fine, teams become more productive when everything is shared and consolidated in a single platform. This is where the following systems come in handy:
● Basecamp – This web-based platform is used for project management, with core functions covering messaging, collaboration, task management, file sharing, reporting, and scheduling. It also has a universal search function that lets you find what you need anytime you need it using a quick search.
● Monday – This Basecamp alternative offers a visually stunning project management platform that is perfect for teams ranging from small to medium in size. It is cloud-based but has a feature that clearly shows the people responsible for every task and when they need to accomplish them.
7. Time Management Tools
Some companies track the online time of their remote workers; some don’t. Either way, having time management tools can still be very useful in staying productive while working from home. Below are some examples you can try:
● Timely – This software is the perfect choice for you if you’re fond of using your calendar to set aside time for different projects. It is an excellent time-tracking program that does more than just keep records of your work hours. It also lets you schedule tasks and designate the amount of time to be spent on every project. For employees, it is also useful for keeping track of their earnings.
● Toggl – This is a free time tracker that supports task labeling down to every minute of your workday. It is a great choice for measuring personal productivity, though it may not be the best choice if you are managing or monitoring your team’s time allocation.
Start Remote Work Now
Remote work is the long-awaited solution to time-consuming commutes and companies’ limited access to great talent. Complete the essentials on this list and begin working from home or anywhere else in the world.