The sudden shift to at-home work took a lot of people by surprise—and found them creating makeshift offices out of their dining room tables and bedrooms. But as time has gone on and more and more people have become accustomed to working from home, dining room tables have made way to foldaway desks and bedrooms have once again become the space for winding down at the end of a long day instead of the backdrop for an all-hands meeting.
But even if you’ve made some improvements to your work from home setup since you ditched the office, it might be time to explore other ways you can make working from home a little easier, more efficient, and even more comfortable. If you’ve been wondering how to optimize your work from home setup, these suggestions may help you out
Explore some helpful internet add-ons
If your company doesn’t give you access to a VPN while you’re working from home, it’s worth it to invest in one so you can keep your information a little more private and secure. It may also be worth it to check out some other helpful additions to your work from home office setup, like wireless extenders to boost the power of your internet connection, webcam covers to ensure nobody sees you on camera without your permission, and even Wi-Fi hotspots devices in case you decide to take your work from home show on the road.
Invest in a pair of headphones
This is especially important if you have roomates or significant others who work from home (or are just home a lot). Getting a good pair of earphones—whether you invest in ear buds or over-the-ear headphones—can give you a degree of privacy in your online meetings. Even if you’re not in meetings, earphones can be a great way to help tune out any additional noise happening around you, so you can focus on your work with the help of your favorite tunes. And on that note…
Get a good speaker
For times when your roommates aren’t around, a nice wireless speaker is a definite upgrade from listening to music on your computer or your phone. It’s easy to connect and start playing your favorite focus-and-grind tunes, or a podcast that keeps you motivated while you’re on task. Some may even allow you to take calls on speaker if you want to pretend you’re an old-timey Hollywood mogul. As an added bonus, some are great for taking on the road when you head out on vacation (side note: don’t forget to take a vacation). Just remember to disconnect your phone when you’re done for the day.
Pick up a ring light
If the way you’ve looked in an endless stream of online meetings hasn’t convinced you, maybe this will: a ring light is both a fabulous and inexpensive way to improve your work from home desk setup. True, it can up your selfie game, too—some have a remote specifically for that purpose. But when you’re tired of looking like you crawled out of a crypt to attend a video meeting, a good ring light can help you face the issue head on with a lighting package that allows you to change the color temperature and brightness so you can look bright eyed and bushy tailed. Even better—if the meeting gets boring, you can jazz things up a bit with different color modes and special effects. Either way, you’ll look awesome on camera.
Snag a charging stand
Maybe you want to keep an eye on your phone because you’re expecting an important call or text, or maybe you’re waiting for a hot response vid from your favorite streamer to drop. Whatever the notification, it’s easier to monitor your phone when it’s at eye level, rather than face down on a charger (or in a worst case scenario, on the floor where you dropped it). That’s why a charging stand is an excellent addition to your work from home desk setup. Not only does it keep your phone powered up, it keeps your screen front and center so you can watch for your precious notifications—and respond at a moment’s notice.
Spring for a better keyboard
Anyone who has struggled with carpal tunnel will sing the virtues of an ergonomic keyboard—and even if you have a laptop, you might be able to get your hands on a wireless or connected ergonomic keyboard that can save your wrists. But what if you added a tablet to your work from home setup? There’s an add-on keyboard for tablets, too. When connected to your tablet, you can turn it into a little mini laptop and navigate all your apps and add-ons with ease.
Change the mood
While it’s true that a major department presentation is probably not the best time to turn your office into a disco, nothing says you can’t add a little more ambience to your work from home office setup for the times where you’re not on camera. (Unless your company goes for that, in which case, more power to you.) By adding smart bulbs and color strips to your home office, you can set a colorful mood—and even program your lights to dim or brighten depending on the time of day. And if you prefer to work in a more cave-like environment accented only by blue light and the glare of your computer screen, smart bulbs can help you achieve the hue to give you the best work from home setup.
This article is AT&T sponsored content written by Carly Milne, a TechBuzz contributor. The statements in this article are her own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.