The pandemic has changed many things around the world, not least in the world of work, where the idea of spending all your time in an office now seems rather outdated.
Hybrid working, where time is split between an office and working from home, is now almost universally recognised as the best way to get the most out of your workforce, allowing them both the workplace collaboration experience, but also the opportunity for focus and productivity in a comfortable, familiar environment.
But how should you set yourself up for hybrid working? It can be a tricky mix of blending home and office technology - so here's a quick guide to everything you'll need to get started.
The right hardware
It may seem obvious - but having the right hardware tools and kit really can make all the difference to hybrid working, making you more productive and effective wherever you are.
Many of us may have had to jettison work devices in the office during the pandemic, and in some cases had to resort to using personal laptops, desktops or smartphones to carry out work tasks - which isn't ideal from a security view.
Being left without the right kit to effectively do your job when at home isn't handy either, and if your employer hasn't already helped you with getting the right hardware at home, it's definitely worth investing in the right computing devices - with Black Friday coming up, it's a great time for a deal.
Whether it's a more powerful laptop, a super-secure smartphone, or something as simple as a wireless mouse, high-quality headset or even a webcam, having the right hardware can set you up nicely for hybrid working.
The most effective software
Alongside your devices, you'll need to make sure you have all the right software tools to not just do your job effectively, but also stay safe doing so.
Although your workplace may have security protections such as malware and ransomware blockers set up, ensuring those are in place on non-office devices is vital to keeping you protected when hybrid working.
The rise of home workers has expanded the possible attack threat landscape exponentially, but having an effective security suite in place helps to minimise any risks.
If your employer hasn't set one up, also consider installing a VPN for extra security. Giving you the ability to mask your location, a VPN can keep you safe from criminals or snoopers looking for a weak spot to exploit and possibly steal valuable business data.
Finally, make sure you have the right collaboration tools to stay in touch with your colleagues when away from the office. Whether it's Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom or any of the other myriad choices, making sure you can quickly contact co-workers or bosses when working from home is paramount.
Some extra accessories
Once you have all your core kit ready to go, it's time for some extra additions.
Having the right office chair and desk can again seem like a basic suggestion, but can make all the difference when trying to stay productive when working outside of the office - particularly if you can ensure you get ergonomic products to stamp out any slouching.
Having an external monitor to widen your view can also be incredibly useful, allowing you to double the amount of screen space for your everyday tasks - and getting the right keyboard and mouse will also go a long way.
Finally, if you will be taking part in lots of video conferencing, it's worth investing in a quality webcam, which will go above and beyond whatever ships with your laptop. Having a good headset, whether wired or wireless, will also ensure you stay crystal clear, even when calling the other side of the world.
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