In the office, we have amenities like a copier, scanner, phone system, multiple monitors, and, for special occasions, a fax machine.
But in this current work-from-home climate, how do you maintain the same level of productivity without all that hardware? I’ve got some options for you to consider.
Let’s talk first about the multiple monitors thing. Honestly, we’re at a point where I don’t know that most of us are going to get back to our office jobs, in the office, anytime soon. So, if you’re limping along on a single monitor or laptop screen at home, and you’re still gainfully employed, you may want to think about investing in another monitor for home. Again, maybe it wasn’t necessary for the one-off work-from-home day you may have had in the past. But if this is going to be a longer-term engagement, you may want to think about beefing up your at-home system. You won’t regret making that investment.
We’ve talked in previous blog posts about using a VPN or remote desktop app to get you into your work network and increase productivity. We’ve also talked about cloud storage such as Drobox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, or various others. You can learn more about those topics here.
Think about your phone system. At work, you may have a phone with a sidecar that shows all of your co-workers and their free/busy status, and, with a push of a button, you can call someone up, conference someone in, or transfer a call easily. If you’ve got a hosted PBX system from someone like 702 Communications, you have great options to bring that functionality to your desktop. It could be as easy as going to the office and bringing your desk phone home. Plug that into your home network and bingo, you’re up and running. You do need to know that if you’re going to use your office phone at home, you should talk to your provider about it so we can update your 911 location. If you move your desk phone and dial 911, unless you’ve let us know where that phone is, 911 won’t know where to find you. If you can’t bring your phone home, you also have the option to install what we call a soft phone on your computer or even on your cell phone. This is a piece of software or app that becomes your desk phone. You can make/receive calls from your desktop or mobile device without ever giving out your home number.
And that all-in-one copier/scanner/fax machine you might be missing? Your cell phone does all of that natively or with additional apps. I’ve used an app called Scanner Pro for the iPhone for several years now. It does a great job of document scanning. With my AirPrint-enabled printer, I can scan something, wirelessly print it out and pop it in the mail if I have to. Or, I can scan the document and immediately attach it to an email or even fax it to the recipient that needs that document. The only functionality your phone and home printer probably won’t replace is the binding and collating your office machine did for you. You might have to employ a roommate, spouse, or children to help with that!
I hope this helps you be safe and work well.