What the Tech? Gadgets to Make Working from Home Better
When the pandemic forced companies to allow employees to work from home most people wondered what might happen when those workers were asked to return. Now, we know.
According to a recent survey by the job-board website Monster.com, 95% of American workers say they want to quit their job. Many of them citing the desire to stay out of the office and work remotely.
Working from home has its challenges. If you’re trying to convince your boss that you can remain working from home AND be productive, here are a few gadgets that weren’t widely available this time last year but will upgrade your workspace.
Zoom or virtual meetings are a necessary evil when it comes to remote work. While some have upgraded their live stream capabilities many employees still have work to do to make it as close as possible to in-person meetings.
Few things are more frustrating than someone logging on through Zoom with a bad internet connection. There’s always that one guy whose picture freezes as they try to talk to the group.
Poor WiFi reception is to blame.
If you haven’t upgraded your WiFi router in several years, it is time. WiFi 6 is the latest technology available and it’s around 250% faster than the best routers of 2018. It’s especially important as we keep adding devices that connect to WiFi such as security cameras, doorbells, thermostats, and Alexa devices.
Not to mention other people connecting to the internet over WiFi on phones, computers, game systems, and streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire, and Google Chromecasts.
A new WiFi 6 router can be purchased for between $100-$300 and the difference is noticeable.
You might also want to get a WiFi extender to stretch the signal throughout the house. Mesh WiFi network devices will also strengthen your existing network and spread high-speed internet to parts of the house far from the primary router.
If you’re connecting to Zoom meetings frequently a dedicated web camera will improve the look on your end of the connection. Logitech web cameras were in short supply during the early days of the pandemic but they’re back in stock now. I recommend staying away from cheap web cameras as these are not only poor quality but there are security risks.
A dedicated microphone that plugs into your Zoom meeting computer will ensure your boss and co-workers hear you clearly. The microphone and camera on a laptop or phone lacks the quality to make it feel like you’re in the office.
Lighting is another upgrade worth the investment. Small ring lights can fit on or just behind your desk to add professional-type lighting to a Zoom or virtual meeting. Look for lights that feature an amber or orange light if you have overhead fluorescent bulbs. The amber color will give you a more natural look rather than the harsh white light that can leave you looking
Virtual backgrounds were kind of cool when people first started using Zoom but they’re often distracting to other people in the meeting. Rather than using a virtual background it’s best to just clean up the space that will serve as your web meeting background.
Not only are these gadgets back in stock and most in-store and online retailers their prices have dropped since last summer. You might spend a little over $400 for all of the gadgets which is still less than what you’re paying for gas to drive back and forth to work. It might help to convince your boss to allow you to keep working remotely.