Simple Hardware Remote Workers Need To Minimize Downtime
Being able to work from home is great. Working with minimal interruptions from technical mishaps makes you a great, reliable freelancer/employee for your clients/employer. These basic hardware needs for your home office will help you to be efficient, minimize downtime, stay focused and not be derailed by playing office technician.
To work remotely, you need good equipment no matter where you are. But you’ll need to pay special attention to your equipment if you live in or frequent developing countries that may be modern-convenience challenged. As a remote worker, here are 3 things I’ve found to be absolute musts to stay connected and keep working.
Frequently referred to as UPS devices, you should own one no matter where you live. If you’re in a place where the power/electricity cuts off intermittently without notice due to inclement weather or any other reason, you won’t be able to work at home without one.
The model pictured here is the one I’ve been using for the past 12 months, and is the Fortuner DSP Sine WAVE Home UPS. I have mine configured with 2 car batteries for an additional 2+ hours of power supply instead of the 60 minutes or less it’s designed to sustain. It plugs into any basic outlet in your home and has an inlet that you plug a power strip into, and attach your essential devices. Its sensor detects when the main power source is lost and instantly turns on the back-up power making use of the built-in inverter and any additional battery source you’ve added.
This particular unit retails for $100 USD. When I bought mine I wasn’t exactly sure how to configure it with the batteries, so I hired someone to install it. It turned out to be quite easy, and total cost with delivery and installation amounted to about $170 USD. This was 100% worth the investment. I never have to worry about power outages affecting my productivity. There’s a large price range of UPS models to be considered, so research and shop around and you’ll find one that fits your needs.
Quick Fact: A UPS is not a generator, but a battery back-up. Its purpose is to keep your electrically powered equipment going during power hiccups and not extended outages. If you experience frequent power surges or short outages, it kicks in every time automatically within less than 1 second to keep essentials like your modem powered so that you’re not booted offline. It will not keep you powered through the aftermath of a hurricane or an apocalyptic event, however.
Keep in mind that if you invest in back-up power, you shouldn’t confuse a UPS unit with an standalone inverter. An inverter by itself does not kick in quickly enough to prevent the devices it supports from momentarily losing power.
Also keep in mind that a UPS is not a convenient on-the-go back-up power method and is meant for stationary use.
2.USB WIFI from a Back-up Internet Service Provider (ISP)
This is simple.
I never rely on any one service while working remotely. ISPs have their own outages and technical issues, and I need to be able to switch at a moment’s notice when that happens.
Try to remember the last time your internet was down. You may have called customer service or technical support, and heard an automated message that said “We know we’re down, we’re fixing it ASAP, we hope that’ll be soon but make no guarantees, thanks for your patience…”
Internet outages will happen, but you can mitigate the risk of them affecting your productivity by always having more than 1 internet service provider.
My main ISP, TE Data, provides my cable connection, and I purchased a USB like the one shown above from a completely different company. It retails for about $20 USD in Egypt and you can recharge it as often as you like for as little as $2. Believe it or not, a $2 charge can keep me going for like 4 days as long as I don’t watch any online videos. Its speed is about 5 MB, and while that seems really slow it’s enough to operate on Skype and other platforms.
Consequently, it allows me to pick up my laptop and go pretty much anywhere I want to and continue working.
Last but not least, if you work at home you may have a noisy dog as a neighbor, noisy kids in your own house, live in an extreme traffic zone, or have many other sources of noise that can be distracting to customers or co-workers you voice chat with.
Buying a headset with good noise-cancelling technology helps completely eradicate background noise that might otherwise cause disruptions to your work.
I’ve had a number of headsets, and I suggest always sticking to top quality brand name products.
I have of those budget $20 Plantronics headset models that some people are OK with, and other people hate. I’m sorry to say, it’s not that good. Background noises are easily heard by people you’re speaking with online. Where I live, people honk their horns while driving like it’s as essential as using the gas and brake pedals. If I don’t close my windows during meetings, members of the remote team I’m on joke that it sounds like I live in Times Square.
I think about $100 minimum needs to be spent on a headset if you want all background noise to be completely silenced. My Sennheiser headset was amazing at this, and you can buy them pretty much anywhere on the globe. I’ll be ordering a new one asap, or may wait to pick one up while in the US to get a better deal.
In all, these are the main essential pieces of equipment I think of when I think of remote work life. If you have any input on any basic hardware you find necessary when working at home, please chime in by commenting!
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