A good internet connection, computer, monitor, and chair—you need to have the best stuff in your home office.
- Time management and tools go hand in hand. If I were a contractor, I would want to make sure that all the people working for me had the best hammer, the best saw, the best ladders that they needed in order to build a house. When working from home, you're likely not building a house, but you are using tools every single day. Your monitor, your keyboard, your mouse. Even things like a stapler or scissors or drafting board. Your mindset should be to get the best possible tool that you can afford.
This is true even if your employer will not buy the upgrade for you. I want to repeat that, because many people miss it. I'm suggesting that you be willing to spend your own money out of pocket if needed, to get the best quality tools. Why? Because in the long run, it will increase your value per hour. And increasing your value per hour, is what leads to the greatest amount of freedom and career growth. Make more per hour, and you can spend less time working to provide the kind of lifestyle you want to have.
So ultimately, investments in the best tools, are investments in your quality of life, both at work and away from it. Now, of course, if your employer is willing to cover the costs try that first. At a physical office, typically the employer provides everything for you, but when you work from home, there is a little bit of a gray area, when it comes to who is buying which workplace based tools for whom. Here is the mindset that you want to have.
A 2% increase in productivity each year, results in one entire work week saved. In other words, if my computer is running slow and I make the investment, let's say of $100 to $200 to get a memory upgrade, to help it run just a little bit faster, that investment even with my own personal money can earn back thousands of dollars worth of time. First, consider your monitor, the primary tool of most every knowledge worker. Is your monitor too small, or not of high enough quality to be able to look at for extended periods of time? You're going to spend hours, looking at this object every single day.
It's why I favor large monitors, especially ultra wide monitors, that allow you to double the visual real estate to do your work. If you can't afford an ultra wide monitor, then having two monitors is the next best thing. And if you can't afford to have two monitors then get the largest highest quality monitor you can afford. By the way, even if you typically do work from a laptop it's worth getting a simple docking station so you can have a larger monitor and full size keyboard and mouse to work with on a daily basis.
Speaking of the keyboard, your hands are constantly interacting with that tool throughout the day not only will your body perform better if you get a well designed ergonomic keyboard, but you will gain time as well. Invest in and upgrade your keyboard. Also, look at that mouse that you're using. I've invested in the highest quality gaming mouse that I can afford. Why? Because it has lots of built in buttons that I can assign common functions to and that saves me time over the long run.
The chair that you're sitting in, is another tool to consider. While you don't need the top of the line here, you do need something that is comfortable, and mobile enough to allow you to move around easily. Your back and body will thank you, for providing a high quality chair. At the end of this video, take a quick audit of your workspace tools. Start at the left side of your workspace, wherever that begins. Start at the top of that left side and work your way down, looking for any tool that could use an upgrade.
Continue moving left to right all the way across your office, and pick up every single object that you use on a repeated basis and ask yourself, is there a better version of this available? As someone who did this early in my career, I can tell you that it was not inexpensive to make all these upgrades, it was an investment. Yet the compounded value of each workspace upgrade, has dramatically increased my value per hour year over year.
Do what you can afford. See if your employer will help you. Every upgrade you can make to your home office, will save you time and improve your focus.
- Creating a productive environment
- Creating a balanced schedule
- Using virtual meetings
- Staying responsive
- Balancing roles as a parent, caregiver, and professional
- Managing interruptions and emergencies at home