Effective Anywhere: A Guide to Working Remotely

A man using a laptop while working remotely

Now more than ever, it’s essential for you to be able to work effectively from any location. Whether you are part of a large organization exploring remote work possibilities due to the current crisis or an independent contractor looking to enhance your on-the-go capabilities, you need smart, innovative tools and tips to ensure you can fulfill your responsibilities from anywhere at any time.

So where do you start when it comes to working remotely?

Begin With the Basics

You wouldn’t sit down to eat a four-course meal without silverware, plates and a table. Similarly, remote work is a substantial undertaking that requires you to invest in a few necessities.

Do you have a comfortable headset with excellent sound quality both ways? If you’re working from home or an otherwise stable location, consider the affordable Jabra Biz 1500, featuring a noise-canceling microphone to cut down on background noise and those dreaded heavy breathing sounds alike.

For clear communication when you’re out and about (or just pacing circles in your kitchen), consider the Plantronics Voyager 3200 UC. It’s discreet and comfortable, featuring three precise microphones, noise cancellation and support for wideband audio, so you can use it with smartphones that are HD Voice-enabled.

What about a comfortable chair? It’s something we take for granted when working in office environments, but the wrong chair can be a literal pain in the neck when working from home. (Pro-tip: don’t try using your 10-year old recliner chair unless you want to interrupt your workday with an unplanned nap.)

The first thing you should know about buying ergonomic chairs is that they’re often expensive. The HermanMiller Embody and Aeron are popular choices, but the price tags may put you off. Budget-conscious chair buyers should look on eBay and Craigslist, in addition to checking local furniture clearance and thrift stores.

A heavily worn office chair

The Network Solutions team recommends avoiding chairs that look like this.

Of course, sitting isn’t the only option. The Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk is aesthetically appealing and easy to work on – not to mention quite affordable compared to many popular home office chairs.

There are other basics to consider:

Keyboard? Try the iKBC CD108 for a reliable, consistent and straightforward option. You should also consider the SteelSeries Apex 5, which features a programmable OLED keyboard for illumination in dark environments and a magnetic wrist rest for comfort during long working sessions.

Mouse? If working in a shared space, check out the Logitech M590, a silent wireless mouse with 90% click noise reduction. A somewhat higher-end option is the Logitech MX Master 2S, which tracks on glass with a Darkfield high-precision sensor and features a fast-recharging battery, making it the perfect choice for power users.

This is assuming you have a computer; if not, explore affordable desktop and laptop options from a reputable brand like Lenovo, build a custom laptop through a top reseller like XOTIC PC or go all-in with a bespoke desktop PC build from Falcon Northwest.

Above all else, ensure that your setup matches your needs. One of the main benefits of working remotely is being able to decide exactly how to optimize your equipment for maximum productivity. Take full advantage of that opportunity.

A woman focusing on her remote work

Maintain Productivity From Any Location

Often, one of the biggest challenges of working remotely is keeping up a high level of productivity in environments that may lack the resources and familiarity of your office. You need a complete suite of tools that offers the same ability to share, collaborate and edit that you would have at a physical location. That’s where Microsoft Office 365 comes in.

Office 365 reimagines productivity, providing cutting-edge solutions that enable you to collaborate from almost any location. It offers familiar Microsoft products like Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint, but also includes key applications such as Teams, OneDrive for storage and Planner.

What about security? You need to protect your information and ensure that authorized users only see it. Fortunately, Office 365 boasts comprehensive security features, including threat-protection technologies that defend against spam, viruses, malware and phishing attacks. Two-factor authentication provides yet another layer of security, while OneDrive Personal Vault enables you to back up your files and secure them with a PIN, fingerprint or facial recognition.

You should also note that Office 365 is a cloud-based service featuring automatic upgrades. That means that instead of paying for new versions of your Office applications, you’ll be able to use the latest versions at all times, without an additional cost. And with award-winning support from Network Solutions, you can make the most of your continually upgraded, secure applications.

Prioritize Virtual Privacy

Security is one of your main considerations when working remotely. You likely already know the importance of using a virtual private network (VPN) outside of the office, but you might not know which option is the best choice for you and your organization. You should look into Cisco’s AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client and use it in conjunction with a two-factor authentication credential system such as Symantec VIP

AnyConnect lets you work from anywhere, on company-issued computers or your mobile device, while securing access to protect your organization.

Symantec VIP, on the other hand, works by generating unique security codes via a mobile app or physical dongle. When accessing Cisco AnyConnect, users will enter their network credentials in addition to the security code generated by Symantec VIP, thus ensuring their access is fully authorized.

Using this VPN and credential technology in tandem gives you complete peace of mind. You’ll be able to work from practically any location with the same high level of security afforded by working at your office.

A remote worker on a video call

Video Collaboration

Video conferencing is an essential part of remote collaboration. Seeing your coworkers and being seen helps to maintain the personal, human connection that working remotely can erode. Having acquired your preferred webcam and headset, you need a video-conferencing solution that makes sense for your organization.

In terms of video-conferencing software, Zoom is a popular and reliable choice. The Basic plan is free and allows you to have unlimited meetings with up to 100 participants. It does have a 40-minute limit, so you may want to upgrade to the Pro or Business package depending on your team’s particular needs.

Keep Your Calls In Line

Remote workers often use their smartphones for business communications. However, it can be somewhat frustrating to get business calls to your personal number. That’s why you should consider getting a business phone number.

Adding a business phone number allows you to separate personal and business calls, to reduce confusion. Phone by Web.com is a quality option that offers vanity numbers, WiFi calling, unlimited calls and texts, email support, business greetings and more. Pick a number that reflects well on you and your organization and enjoy a modern business phone service for mobile professionals.

A woman working remote

Be Ready Wherever

It’s hard to predict what the future holds, but it’s clear that remote work is going to continue to be an important option for companies and individuals in a wide range of fields. The technology and tools outlined in this article will go a long way to helping you work effectively from any location, but the most critical factor in your success is your ability to remain flexible and adaptable.

As the way we work continues to evolve in response to global and economic changes, your capacity to grow and change with it is paramount. Stay focused, make sure you have the tools you need and never let your working environment affect your productivity. 

Likewise, don’t let your focus on staying productive overwhelm you and stress you out. Situate your desk near a window if possible, so you can enjoy some natural light. Go for a walk and get some fresh air, or take a few minutes to clean off your desk. When you’re not working around others, it’s essential that you find ways to relax and get away from your computer from time to time.

You have what it takes to work from anywhere, but if you do have additional questions, feel free to reach out to the team at Network Solutions. We would love to serve you wherever you are.

Images: Shutterstock