By Justine Louw, General Manager, Dell and Microsoft, Tarsus Distribution
COVID-19 has changed the workplace – perhaps forever. Unlike a hurricane or earthquake, the pandemic has unfolded over many months, with no firm end date in sight. While much of the white-collar workforce continues to work from home (WFH), the shift from level five Lockdown to level one has raised some important issues.
I think that we are currently experiencing 5 office environments:
- The home office
- The on-the-go office
- The multitasking office
- The work office
- The thinking office
For each of these it’s about having the right tools for the job. Here are some ideas to making the most of our new way of working and ensuring ongoing productivity no matter where you are, or which device you’re on.
1. The home office
Our home environment impacts how we feel and how productive we are. By now, many of us have strived to create a workable home office, with a desk and comfortable seating. We may have less space than we did at work, making it important to consider what you can fit onto your desk.
In addition to a smartphone and a laptop, it’s advisable to have a separate monitor to allow for collaboration during meetings. Having a second monitor helps in situation where you might be in an online meeting but still need to be working in a separate window. There are several options available to you for this, you could even use your television as a second monitor.
If your laptop is older than three years, you might want to invest in a new desktop computer that will provide you with the up to date video and sound quality you need to make meetings a more pleasant experience.
If you’re not ready to invest in an inverter, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) will keep computers and laptops running during a power cut. This can also keep your Wi-Fi on and keep you connected to your colleges.
Noise cancelling headphones with good sound quality and a decent battery life are an essential component of a solid tech toolkit. These will ensure that background noises such as yelling children, garbage collection trucks, barking dogs and will not intrude on work calls.
2. The on-the-go office
Make sure that the apps you have on your laptop are also on your smartphone or tablet so that you can easily switch between the two. If you’re taking a break from home and social distance working at your favourite coffee shop, remember to take a power adapter.
3. The multitasking office
When you’re on a call and life throws something unexpected at you, you may need to move from area to area in your home, without disrupting your meeting.
If you’re on Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom, apps make it easy to simply move your meeting from laptop to phone. Remember to mute when you are moving around and keep the camera on your face, not on the floor.
4. The work office
In many instances, people are continuing to work from home, and going into the office only for physical meetings. To ensure employee health and safety, many employers now require staff to book a meeting room when going to the office.
Generally, these rooms have no equipment, which is why it’s important that you are prepared. A portable monitor will provide extra screen space for working on spreadsheets and other important documents during meetings. They are compact and easy to carry around. Because they don’t require a lot of desk space, they may be suitable for home use too.
Remember to pack a power adapter to keep your devices running.
5. The thinking office
For those times when you need a break from technology, make sure you have a pen or pencil and paper or a favorite notebook that you can take into a quiet space where you can spend time thinking and planning. This is a helpful and necessary way to give yourself a break from screens and to de-stress.
A final word
As we continue to work from home, most of us want to be functional without investing a fortune in gadgets.
Look at extending the warranties on your equipment and upgrading the hard drive and memory on your PCs. For many people, the cost of living has increased in 2020, making it essential for us to sweat the technology we already own.
Have a look at the devices and accessories offered by our Technology Partners