Remote workers are faced with a myriad of distractions which can be overcome by finding the right work from home technologies
Work from home is a technology-driven method of working that allows employees to perform their daily job functions entirely from their own home. WFH (work from home) is quickly becoming more than just a trend. According to the US Census Bureau, the number of people with work from home jobs tripled from 2019 to 2021. This drastic increase in these home-based workers has also had a direct impact on the development and production of technologies that can help supplement the in-office experiences.
Using technology such as phones and computers with text chat, video chat, file sharing, and project management, workers can create a work from home system that can communicate and collaborate with their management teams and co-workers without being physically in-office. This eliminates traditional barriers and distractions that can hinder in-office productivity such as commuting time, negative in-office culture, and distractions from co-workers.
Work From Home and the Technology That Makes it ‘Work’
In order to maximize productivity, it is important to make sure that employees have access to the right technology and equipment for their work from home setup. This includes:
When working from home, communication is key. That's why there are so many amazing remote work tools available to help us stay connected and productive.
Video conferencing platforms, like Zoom Rooms® software, allow us to have virtual face-to-face meetings with colleagues, friends, and family, complete with audio and video. But in the workplace, there is also a need for more robust, casual collaboration platforms. That's where platforms like Microsoft Teams® software come in handy. These virtual workspaces host a space for teams to chat, share files, and get work done together, outside of a physical conference room.
For work from home employees who want a more advanced remote working setup, Crestron Flex offers a range of features to enhance the virtual meeting experience. From one-touch meeting accessibility to high-fidelity audio and video quality, Crestron Flex can take your WFH conference-call systems to the next level.
Staying organized and on top of your tasks while working remotely can be a challenge, especially when a trip to the restroom takes you past a sink full of dishes or a pile of unfolded laundry. That's where time-management tools can help you stay on track in a work from home situation.
Managing several projects at once can be daunting and a huge time commitment. Time-management software like Asana® and Trello® help you keep track of projects, delegate tasks, and monitor progress. But even with project management under control, working from home presents a substantial list of distractions. Time tracking and productivity apps like Toggl® can track how you spend time and provide consistent reminders to help you stay focused on the right tasks. And when it comes to scheduling, Google Calendar™ and Microsoft® Outlook® software are intuitive tools to keep track of appointments, deadlines, and meetings.
Time certainly has a way of getting away from us, but these tools provide a great way to stay organized, prioritized, efficient, and productive.
Removing tedious tasks from your everyday work leads to higher amounts of productivity. And fortunately, there are plenty of great technologies that a work from home employee can utilize that will trim the tedious tasks ten-fold.
Gone are the days of: “Insert flash drive > drag in file > click to eject device safely > wait for ‘safe to remove’ confirmation > remove flash drive > insert into other device > etc.”
Cloud-storage platforms like Google Drive™ and Dropbox® give the ability to store, access, and share files from anywhere, within a few simple clicks. This enables a seamless experience for team collaboration and virtually unlimited file storage and sharing.
Document creation software such as Microsoft Office 365® and Google Docs™ web-based word-processing program also play a key role in boosting productivity. Creating, saving, sharing, and editing documents is fast and intuitive, allowing you to focus on the content while the software handles the formatting.
Finally, note-taking, organization, and productivity apps like Evernote® and OneNote® are great for capturing and prioritizing your thoughts, ensuring that you never miss a deadline or important commitment.
These productivity tools are a great addition to the work-from-home arsenal for employees looking to streamline their workflow and increase their efficiency.
Security and Privacy Technologies
Whether you’re the employee or the employer in a work from home arrangement, it's important to prioritize online privacy and security. That's where virtual private networks (VPNs), password-management software, and anti-virus and malware protection come in handy.
VPNs encrypt your internet connection, providing a secure connection even on public Wi-Fi® networks to ensure that sensitive work-related information remains confidential. Password-management software like LastPass® and 1Password® provide a secure personal-password database which can help reduce the risk of work-related data breaches. Anti-virus and malware protection keeps your devices protected from potentially harmful software which can be difficult to detect. This level of protection helps to ensure there are no unintended disruptions in your work.
Additionally, many hardware and software companies that make WFH products have included security features as a factory-default setting. This includes security protocols such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), which allows sensitive information such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and login credentials to be transmitted securely. For example, the Crestron Home® OS enables authentication and SSL by default on the CP4-R and MC4-R. SSL is also enabled by default on the Crestron Home® app. This ensures that all passwords and homeowner preferences are encrypted so that unwanted users are not able to view sensitive information or gain access to the home system.
Tools like these provide work-from-home employees the confidence that their personal information and online work are protected and secure.
Comfort and Efficiency Technologies
When working from home, it's important to create an environment that is optimized to provide the same level of comfort and efficiency you would expect from the standard in-office experience. Some of that in-office efficiency is due to the stand-alone office equipment typically found in the workplace.
Home-office equipment like printers and scanners are essentials, both in-office and in WFH scenarios, that allow for seamless document management and the ability to print important materials on demand. A noise-canceling headset with microphone, such as those offered by Jabra, is also an important tool for WFH efficiency as it blocks outside distractions for both you and everyone you interact with during video calls.
Comfortable work essentials such as an ergonomic chair and mouse are also major contributors to productivity and overall comfort levels, reducing physical strain and minimizing the risk of repetitive-strain injuries.
And for those who are truly looking for a highly optimized work from home setup, the Crestron Home® platform provides system automation and control solutions for even more benefits. This whole-home system uses smart technology to automate and simplify tasks such as adjusting lighting, temperature, and audio/visual systems, freeing up time and allowing for a more personalized and convenient work environment.
What is the future of remote work?
The benefits of a work from home job often include increased flexibility, better work-life balance, increased job satisfaction, and freedom to relocate, among others. According to studies reported by Forbes® magazine, productivity has also increased as much as 47% in work from home environments when compared with a traditional office setting.
As more employers adopt this new remote workforce mentality and the tech continues to advance, it will become easier for employers and employees to create and manage remote workflows. Automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will play an important role in allowing employers to remotely manage their teams.
Additionally, new advances in virtual reality and augmented reality have the potential to revolutionize the WFH experience by providing employees with remote workspaces that are as immersive and interactive as the physical office. Products like the Meta® VR headset have already begun building out these virtual workspaces with applications such as Horizon® Workrooms platform which allows users to come together as avatars and access their computer files virtually while using the Meta Quest™ 2 headset.
The future of remote work is only limited by the speed that new technologies are developed and adopted.