Quick Summary of Products That Make Working From Home Easier (7 Essentials For 2020)
- Strong Router (Netgear Orbi)
- Conference Call App (Zoom)
- Instant Chat App (Skype)
- Camera for Video (Razer Kiyo)
- Cell Signal Booster (SureCall Fusion4Home)
- Quality Laptop or Desktop Computer (see links below)
- Great Project/Task Management Tool (Trello)
In the current age of quarantine, working from home is now a reality for most of us. Some of you reading this were already accustomed to working this way.
But most of us were not.
Making the unexpected transition from office to home is daunting. No matter what your home environment is like – kids, no kids, house, apartment, big city, rural area – successfully working from home is just as much psychological as it is circumstantial. And both present a significant challenge. Lucky for you, we have some good news.
There are products out there that will help you get your mind and your environment just right for setting up shop at home. Here are 7 products that make working from home easier in 2020.
1. Strong Router
Recommendation: NETGEAR Orbi Home WIFI System (RBK50)
You simply must have a powerful router in the home, especially if what you do relies on a strong and consistent internet connection. And we venture to guess that’s close to 100% of you.
There are countless routers out there spanning hundreds of brands. Some models specialize in particular home types, sizes, etc. But there’s one that we feel is the all-around best for just about anybody in any scenario. It’s called the NETGEAR Orbi Home Wifi System (RBK50).
NETGEAR has been THE leader in router technology for years, and this model encompasses just about every reason for that. It’s built specifically to accommodate spaces with multiple rooms (up to 5,000 sq ft). It comes with two units that work together; a router and a WiFi extender, as well as 3 ethernet gigabit ports, a USB 2.0 port, and 0.5 GB of RAM. It’s easy to set up, has parental controls and cyber threat protection.
The coverage this device offers is incredible. No downtime or dead zones are basically guaranteed with this thing. You can have dozens of devices connected to your home network simultaneously with no problems whatsoever. Connection speeds are very fast. The Orbi does require you to update the firmware every so often, but you’re probably used to doing that with other pieces of hardware and software. So it’s likely that it won’t be an inconvenience.
Also, the price is excellent for how robust this device is. $219 on Amazon.
2. Conference Call App
The ability to initiate or join a video conference is essential to almost every job in 2020. It’s more than likely you’ve already been part of a video conference before at some point. For some of you, it’s every day (or close to it).
Zoom is absolutely the best video conference software currently available. Period. And in the last month, the company has seen an astronomic increase in users. The fact that it’s taken a global quarantine for so many working professionals to finally familiarize themselves with Zoom is a shame. But it’s great that so many people are now using it.
Zoom has two subscription tiers: Basic (which is free) and Pro. Here are some details on the incredibly generous free version:
- Allows up to 100 attendees! (That is twice as many as any other similar free service that we know of)
- Available on every major every operating system
- The most reliable streaming you’ve ever experienced
- Includes scheduling options, text chat, session recording, whiteboards, annotation, screen-sharing, and more
- One of the only video conferencing platforms with breakout rooms
- Includes a commuter mode
And the Pro mode (only $15 per month) has even more features:
- Delegate scheduling duties
- Access to reporting tools
- Cloud storage for recordings
- Advanced use management
- Increases maximum meeting length to 24 hours
This is definitely a product that makes working from home easier.
3. Instant Chat App
Most of you are probably familiar with Skype. It’s been around since 2003 and has become a household name since then. If you own or are part of a business of 20 employees or less, Skype should be in your work-from-home arsenal. This is because it’s still free and still fantastic. Our opinion is that it has a cleaner and easier-to-navigate interface than Google Hangouts. Many here at SureCall even prefer Skype to FaceTime.
If you need to make one-on-one business or personal calls where you benefit from seeing the face of the other person, Skype is the way to go.
4. Camera for Video
Recommendation: Razer Kiyo
When it comes to working from home, this camera excels in every way you need it to. And the price ($99) isn’t even close to the most expensive webcams on the market.
Lots of cameras designed for computer use come with a built-in light. But the ringlight on this particular model produces the best results we’ve seen. All set in a circle, the 12 LED lights flatter your face just right. Intensity is adjustable and it has a super-effective daylight-balanced color temperature feature. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a poorly lit room. The Razer Kiyo will give you the perfect lighting so your face looks completely natural.
Here are the actual specs for those who like to know the details:
Resolution: 1080p or 720p
Frame rate: 30fps at 1080p, 60fps at 720p
Field of view: 90 degrees
Size: 69 x 69 x 48mm
5. Cell Signal Booster
Recommendation: SureCall Fusion4Home
We say with confidence that our cell phone signal boosters are the best on the market. Our boosters typically increase download speeds by up to 30%. And though we have multiple models designed for home use, the Fusion4Home is our quarantine recommendation. It covers the most bases for the most people.
No matter what cell carrier you use, or mobile device you have, whether you’re on 3G, 4G, or 5G, your talk, text and LTE data will be boosted A LOT by the Fusion4Home. Working from home in a remote area with a weak cell signal? Then you really need to get one of these. It will change everything for you. Having a booster like this in the home also increases the battery life of your devices.
If you’re feeling isolated of the coronavirus, a SureCall signal booster can help.
Here are the product specifications for the Fusion4Home:
- Boosts cell signal for all US carriers and devices
- Covers 2-3 rooms of a home, up to 2,000 sq ft
- Improves voice, text and 4G LTE data speeds
- 2XP technology delivers twice the uplink power to reach faraway towers
- Outdoor antenna is easy to install and captures signal from all directions
- Most popular DIY cell booster kit for home-offices
The prices for this device vary from site to site. But the best deal we’re currently aware of is on Amazon ($299).
Quality Laptop or Desktop Computer
Recommendation: (see links below)
Of all the products that make working from home easier, this is probably the most important one.
When it comes to home computers, everybody seems to have their preferences. Certainly, some are better than others. And we find that you often get what you pay for. The most expensive laptops out there, for the most part, usually really are better than the less expensive ones. But whatever your budget allows, a good computer is going to be invaluable in the work-from-home world we’re currently living in.
If you’re able to put yourself in the market for a new one, here are two reliable articles. One discusses the best desktop computers for home use and the other discusses the best laptop computers for home use. Browse the two lists and consider upgrading to a new computer. We don’t know how long this COVID-19 shutdown is going to last. If it lasts for a lot longer than we expect and you have to work from home for a long time, this will be an extremely good investment.
Great Project/Task Management Tool
Trello could very well be your work-from-home lifesaver.
It’s the best digital organization and collaboration tool out there. It has very practical uses for both solo workers and teams. It uses a project board system so that, at a glance, you can see the description and status of all projects and who’s working on them.
The best way to explain it is to have you imagine a whiteboard. It’s got lots of sticky notes on it that are nicely organized. These notes have attachments and photos on them that give you access to particular documents and other relevant files. There are comment sections and collaboration options with each one. Oh, and you can take this amazing whiteboard with you anywhere on your phone or computer. It’s awesome. If you haven’t tried it out, it’s very much worth downloading and at least playing with it for a while to see if you think it’ll help you.
Two More Closing Thoughts
Here are two final recommendations that we know will help you work from home:
A comfortable, ergonomic chair. Hopefully, you already had one of these at your office. But if you weren’t able to bring it home with you, it would be worth investing in one for your home office. Using a hard stool or kitchen chair as your every-day seat is gonna get uncomfortable really quick.
Also, consider designating a spot in your home that is for work and work only. When you do this, it will be much easier to focus and stay motivated. Working in your bedroom is not recommended. Some of you may not be able to avoid this for spacial or familial reasons. If so, you’ll have to make the best of it. But your mind already associates that space with sleeping which will cause a mental battle. Anything you can do to optimize your work environment in the home will increase your productivity. Guaranteed.
Products That Make Working From Home Easier (7 Essentials For 2020) – Conclusion
Incorporate as many of these products that make working from home easier as possible. We promise they’ll make your new home-work life so much more enjoyable and efficient. And if you have a trusted friend or family member who swears by similar but different products or brands than the items we listed, that’s great! Try whatever tools you feel will best suit your unique situation, whatever that is.
If you want more recommendations on products that make working from home easier, please reach out to us. We don’t want COVID-19 to cause your work productivity to miss a single beat! Let us help you.