April 8, 2020 - 4 minute read

Working from Home : Basics (part 1)

Working from home was once a luxury and it is now a reality among large companies and small businesses. I've been working from home on and off for years. If you are new to this model, here are a few basic things you should consider.

Get a good headset

There is one single piece of equipment, only one, that you should invest when starting to work at home. A good headset.

Working from home means conference calls. That means a lot of background noise. There's noise in your environment. There's noise in everyone else's environment. This is a potential distraction at best - and a living hell at worst.

You can no longer hop to the person's desk to talk to them. So the top priority is to hear them well and be heard well.

"I will use my regular phone", you may say. If you have a very low volume of calls with very short length, sure. But more than 10 calls a day or anything longer than 30 minutes will make you rethink that decision.

So don't be cheap. Don't think it's not worth the money. Don't be petty. Buy a decent headset!

There are a lot of good headsets out there. It depends on you budget, compatible hardware/software and many other variables. But consider two things before buying:

Everything else is extra.

For reference, I've been using Logitech USB Headset H390 for the last 3 years. Simple, affordable and it does the job.

Keep the infrastructure running

You know what is worse than a noisy call? A choppy call.

You know, the audio echoes and cuts out? And you can see the person on the other end doing a very awkward version of "the robot"? That happens because of bad Internet connection. But not always.

A few things to try before upgrading your Internet plan:

Always have options

You have the nicest Internet plan and the company gave you all brand-new equipment. All good, right? No, problems can still happen.

Do you have options?

Use the tools that work best for you

Tools don't matter. Let me say it again. TOOLS DON'T MATTER.

I could go on about the various tools I use working from home. The ones that are the best, how to setup a good environment, etc. This is useless if the tools I pick are not the ones you need.

If you are transitioning from office to home, you already have a set of tools that enable you to work. Learning how to use those tools is the best you can do now. Don't overload yourself trying to change too many things at the beginning.

Know how to ask for help

All the tips I gave so far were technical. You can be a non-technical person or a tech wizard, you will seek help at some point. And yes, asking technical questions take some effort. Well-asked questions receive much better answers, quicker.

How to ask a technical question: