The COVID-19 pandemic brought an unprecedented swing to remote work, but companies are slowly bringing their workforce back into the office. In fact, surveys show that 45 percent of workers will transition to a hybrid workforce model — that is, workers will spend part of their time working in the office and part of their time working from home — while 32 percent plan to go back to the office full-time. That means that the majority of workers will soon spend at least some of their time working back in the office.
After more than a year and a half of remote work, employees are now facing their return to in-office life. What does that look like? In part, it’s reimagining their in-office setup and doubling up on tech to set up both a home and campus office. Many of us hauled our tech gadgets, gear and equipment home back in early 2020, leaving our cubicles devoid of essential tools and tech Gadgets for the job. Now it’s time to create an equally-as-appealing workstation back in the office to keep the same levels of comfort, safety and productivity in the office. Here’s a list of the best tech to stock in your home and on campus to make your transition a smooth one.
- A Good Pair of Headphones — The reality is, while you may be back in the office, the video meetings are likely to continue. What’s more, if you’re used to working in a quiet environment, you may not be prepared for the distractions the in-person work life may bring. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones with a mic can keep you focused and ensure that you’re taking calls and meetings respectfully in the office. Keep some comfortable wired and wireless headphones at your home office and campus office so you’re never without a good pair.
- A High-Quality Web Cam — Since you’re most likely planning to spend some of your time working from home, you don’t want to lug all your gear back and forth every day. Make sure you have your office computer set up with a high-definition webcam so your co-workers can see and hear you clearly. Chances are, the office has faster internet (and your company will reimburse you for the purchase), so go as high-def as you can within your budget. Look for a webcam with 4K or 1080P resolution and a frames per second (FPS) rate of 60+.
- An Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse — Ergonomics is the study of creating workspaces that reduce physical stress and injuries. Repetitive movements like typing and moving a mouse can cause repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), such as carpal tunnel syndrome, but using ergonomic equipment can help. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends equipment that keeps your wrists and hands in line with forearms with adequate room for your keyboard and mouse. Using a keyboard with a gel cushion can help prevent pressure points at the wrist and keep your arm from getting tired.
- Accessories for the Commute — Surprisingly, about half of remote workers say they miss their commute. Why? In part, it has to do with the productivity and decompression factor of the drive home. Without time in the car, there’s less time for podcasts, music, calls to mom and catching up on the latest news. Get back into the swing of commuting with a car phone mount that provides hands-free access to your device. Set up voice commands or use Bluetooth® to connect your phone to your car’s screen so you can easily use your navigation, make phone calls or queue up your favorite podcasts and playlists.
- A Desktop Air Purifier — You’ve gotten used to working in the comfort of your own home, which could mean additional or fewer allergens in the air, depending on what triggers you. If you find that working in the office tends to leave you with watery eyes and a stuffy nose, consider setting yourself up for comfort with a portable air purifier on your desk. If you’re planning on being in the office regularly, you may also consider adding a few potted plants to your desk to help keep the air fresh and to bring a little touch of the outdoors into your cube.
- A Smart Pen — These days, there are smart phones, doorbells, lights and even toasters, so why not smart pens? These handy digital writing instruments serve as a regular writing pen, a tablet stylus and a memory storage device to store your most pertinent thoughts. If you love taking notes by hand, a smart pen is great because it can turn what you write into digital format so you have it on your computer or phone when you need it. Make sure to stock up on a few blank notepads as well before you head back into the office!
- A Wireless Charging Pad — Keep your workplace neat and tidy and ensure that your Tech Gadgets are always powered up with a wireless charging pad for the office. These handy desktop essentials work with most newer phones (make sure to check your specific model before buying to make sure it has wireless charging capabilities) as well as some headphones and smartwatches, so you’ll never be without a boost when you need it the most. Whether it’s wireless or not, always make sure to keep a backup phone charger at work!
- A Warming Coffee Pad — You may not have constant access to a fresh pot of coffee now that you’re back in the office, so keeping your beverage warm all morning can help make you feel at home. If you like to sip your morning cup slowly or know you’ll have back-to-back meetings, invest in a warming coffee pad to keep on your desk. A high-quality, insulated travel mug is a must for your commute, too!
Whether you’re heading back into the office full-time or are settling into a hybrid work life, you’ll be more productive and focused than ever with these Tech Gadgets in all of your work spaces. Make sure to check with your company about a potential technology stipend or reimbursement to help you cover the expense of setting up your new in-person office.