A lot of people find themselves working from home. That is just one of the new realities of living in a pandemic with no end in sight. For many working at home for a legitimate company was little more than a vague dream they were too afraid to voice. Now, that dream has become a reality. For those unprepared for the transition, the dream turned reality could easily become a nightmare.
Everybody thinks they have what it takes to work from home. Unfortunately, no one really knows what it takes until they try it. There are plenty of sources offering lists of what you will need to work from home. But most of those lists are only telling you what you already know. It is obvious that you will need a desk, a computer, and a good office chair. Those high-backed, low-cushioned kitchen chairs aren’t going to cut it for long. Here are a few things you might not have considered:
A Second Computer
You already have a computer. Who doesn’t? it is relatively new and plenty powerful. Still, that might not be enough. Many companies will not let you log onto the company’s private network from a personal computer without it being expressly provisioned for the task. Your accountant might also prefer you do your work on a different computer than the one you use for personal pursuits. The good news is that you can claim a work computer on your taxes, but before you do make sure to consult a financial professional.
Some households have a single computer for the whole family. That might have worked well enough when the kids were leaving the house to go to school and you to work. Now that school and work are done on the same computer. That will not due. If you have a spouse working from home, two additional computers might be in order.
That camera on your laptop that makes faces look like potatoes with nondescript faces is not going to cut it for those Zoom meetings your company suddenly started requiring. You can do better by picking up almost any USB webcam that can be positioned for a more flattering view of your face.
You might be surprised at how much a good one will run you. Let’s just say that masks and hand-sanitizers aren’t the only products subject to price-gouging right now. A webcam that would have cost about $30 before the health crisis can easily run you well over a hundred. Even if you were expecting to have to buy a webcam, you might not be prepared for the current asking price.
Depending on where your home office is, sometimes there can be a lot of direct sunlight which will affect how easily you can see things on your computer screen. Investing in some vertical blinds can help you moderate how much light enters your room and will help protect your eyes.
You may already be covered. And if you are, you have nothing to worry about. I’m talking about insurance that covers you when you are working from home. This is something you might want to ask your insurance provider about. What happens if you suffer an injury at home? Will your insurance from work pay for it? Will your homeowner’s insurance pay for it if you were working at the time?
If you slip and fall at work while going from the water cooler to your desk, you are almost certainly covered. But what about when you take a 10 minute break at home and injure yourself? Is it covered, and by whom? These are interesting times. And some of this is uncharted territory. Don’t be blindsided by an accident that causes you to miss work the time to learn about your coverage is before you need it.
Working from home does not have to be a bad dream as long as you go into it with your eyes open. Secure a separate computer for work. Find an adjustable webcam at a reasonable price. And check with your insurance carrier before you actually need the coverage.