Take your WFH setup to the next level with these three tech improvements
After a year of lockdown, many of us are now Work From Home veterans. We know our Zoom from our Teams, and sometimes we even manage to step outside at lunchtime to remember what sunlight and fresh air feels like. But even though - fingers crossed - the future may soon involve trips to the office and interaction with real, live humans once again - “WFH” is here to stay, as businesses big and small find they can function just as effectively, wherever their employees are.
So if you haven’t already, now is the time then to take your WFH setup seriously, so here’s three techie improvements to make to the place you currently spend 40 hours a week a little bit more bearable.
"After a year of lockdown, many of us are now Work From Home veterans"
First, let’s talk screens, as that is what you spend thousands of hours every year looking at. If you’ve spent the last year working from a tiny laptop screen, it’s time for an upgrade. Less than £200 will bag you a large 27-inch monitor to plug your in to, which means you’ll be able to fit much more comfortably on the screen.
If you want to spend a little more, ultra-wide displays are the latest must-have tech. These are screens that are the same width as 1.5 or even 2 regular sized monitors - a 24:9 or 32:9 width to height ratio, compared to the conventional 16:9. These are wide enough for your windows to luxuriate, so you can keep an eye on Zoom, your inbox and whatever documents you’re working on without having to constantly flip between apps. And they tend to start from as little as £350, even for name-brands like Samsung and LG.
"Ultra-wide displays are the latest must-have tech"
Next, what about those all important video meetings? First impressions are now made digitally, so it is important to appear professional when your face appears on screen. So before spending a single penny, make sure that your camera is roughly level with your eyes, so that your colleagues don’t find themselves peering up your nose. But there is more you can do.
If you have a low-quality, grainy camera, then buy a better one that will plug in by USB. A Logitech C920, for instance, will set you back around £60 but will capture your face in full high definition.
Or you can even make use of the really excellent camera you already own: Your phone. Connect your iPhone via USB and you can use the app “Camo” as a replacement webcam. If you have a reasonably new phone the results are spectacular. And even better, if you’re a photography buff, and have a pricey Canon EOS DSLR camera to hand, Canon now offers software for download that’ll turn your big, professional camera into a TV broadcast-quality webcam too.
Sometimes though, you just need some more light. So consider positioning a light to point towards your face to ensure that you are sufficiently illuminated. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can even splash out on a specialist lightbox from Boling, for around £129, which is designed for photographers but will let you pick the perfect hue to light your face with.
And finally, what about your actual desk? With everything happening remotely, it is important to still get up and move around, so if you really want to push the boat out, consider a motorised standing desk.
These start from around £200 and are made by companies like VonHaus and iMount, and all work on the same principles: Motorised legs enable you to have your desk as high or as low as you want, and can be controlled with buttons to adjust the height.
This means you can start the day standing while you check your emails, before hitting the “down” button and pulling up your chair to work more comfortably on that report you need to finish. Just be careful how you arrange the wires and chords plugging everything in though, as if you haven’t secured them with enough slack, maneuvering your desk could quickly lead to that expensive ultra-wide monitor you just bought going splat.
"It is time to treat yourself"
Ultimately, my point in this column is this: If you can afford it, it is time to treat yourself. You’ll almost certainly be spending a day or two every week working in the spare bedroom from now on until you retire. So consider this permission for you to spend some money to do WFH right!
Read more: 7 ways tech can make you happier
Read more: How to reduce your children's screen time
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