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By this time, most of us should already be used to working from home. While this working arrangement was first imposed on most of us by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us – workers and companies – are starting to experience both the benefits and challenges of working from home, including the convenience, flexibility and potential rental savings.
While some of us are thriving in a work-from-home (WFH) environment, others may still be working in sub-optimal conditions, using the same setup that was hastily cobbled together at the start of the pandemic when circuit breaker was first announced.
Given that WFH is going to continue in the future, it is high time that we stop relying on our temporary work-from-home setups and actually invest in making our home environments more optimal for working.
Improving our WFH condition doesn’t have to cost us a bomb. With a bit of thought, we can greatly improve our WFH experience on a small budget. Here are 5 ways we can easily do so.
#1 Fast Internet Speed With A Good Broadband Plan
First and foremost, fast and reliable internet is not only essential for working from home but pretty much something that everyone that you work with would already expect that you have. In fact, it’s more likely that your colleagues and clients will be more tolerable of noisy background noise at your home, than a bad internet connection that causes you to constantly disconnect or lag during a virtual meeting. During such a situation, the frustration isn’t just yours, but everyone else who is in the meeting.
While using internet data from your mobile plan may be a smart hack to maximise your mobile plan and office WiFi, working from home means our home internet needs to get up to speed.
With a 500Mbps fibre broadband plan from ViewQwest costing only $29.90 per month, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be upgrading your broadband speed. 500Mbps is more than sufficient to ensure that you are not going to be the cause of distraction during an important virtual meeting with your bosses, colleagues or clients. As a bonus, ViewQwest is also currently Singapore’s fastest fixed network and winner of Ookla’s Speedtest Awards since 2018.
#2 House-Wide Connectivity With A Good Router Or WiFi Mesh Coverage
If you already have a good broadband plan of at least 500Mbps but are still somehow experiencing connectivity issues, it could be time to review your WiFi network. While a wired Ethernet connection is still the best for maximising your broadband plan, most of us don’t have Ethernet cables running through the walls like our electrical wires.
To ensure good WiFi coverage throughout our homes, we can upgrade to a good router or WiFi mesh setup. Bundle deals with our broadband plans are a great way to get a better router with minimal cost outlay. Not only are we getting good internet speed, we are also getting a quality router to maximise that broadband connection speed that we are paying for. Additionally, upgrading to 2Gbps will also allow everyone to enjoy faster internet speed as the connection is shared by family members who are working from home, participating in home-based learning or just chilling and watching a video stream.
ViewQwest’s Work From Home Bundles ties together some great quality routers together with 2 Gbps fibre broadband. The Work From Home Mesh bundle includes the ASUS ZenWiFi Mini XD4 AX1800 2-Node Mesh System (worth $369), which comprises a WiFi 6 capable router and two extending nodes. The 2Gbps WFH Mesh Bundle would enable you to enjoy fast WiFi connectivity in every corner of your home. This is usually priced at $74.90 per month and the bundle offer is $52.90 per month or $22 off for 10 months for a total savings of $220 during your 24-month contract.
#3 Enhanced Audio Quality For Virtual Meetings
Aside from lag and connectivity issues, the other major bugbear of virtual meetings is usually audio.
Most virtual meetings start off with the cursory “can you hear me?”, and depending on the response (or lack of) to the question, it may take anything from between 10 seconds to 10 minutes to fix these audio issues. Multiply this time by the number of participants and you won’t have much left for the meeting. And if you are attending multiple meetings each day, the amount of time lost to ‘audio checks’ can quickly add up.
Having a good pair of earphones or headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC) can help block out noisy household members, neighbourhood construction or any background noise, making it easier to focus on the meeting or your work in general. A good condenser microphone can also isolate your voice from other background noise so that your colleagues can hear you speaking, rather than your child screaming.
Depending on your preferences, you can opt for a headset that combines both headphones and microphone or get a microphone separately. However, if your work requires you to livestream or record podcasts, a separate microphone may be better as the recording quality is usually better than the ones included with a headset. A Razer Seiren Mini, available for $79.90 on ViewQwest e-Store, will allow you to record professional sounding podcasts with its supercardioid pickup pattern.
#4 Boost Productivity With A Second Screen
If your work requires a lot of Excel sheets or cross-referencing across different applications, a second screen is likely to boost your productivity significantly. Even for writing – a job that can be done within a single document, a second screen makes it much easier to cross-reference materials and fact-check sources for accuracy.
A 24” monitor can be obtained for under $250, (while a larger budget can allow you to purchase larger or more feature filled options. If your job requires to be on the road (when not working from home), a portable monitor, can easily transit from home to office and outside engagements. You can browse through a wide selection of monitors on the ViewQwest e-Store.
#5 Improve Posture With Ergonomic Solutions
Carving out a space at home for working is probably the key to effective WFH. For those of us who are still scraping by with reproposed household furniture, perhaps it is time to consider a more permanent solution.
Ergonomic chairs are better for our spines than stiff-backed dining chairs or slouchy couches. While we may not want to spend the expense of getting the premium gaming chairs, we can improve our seating posture by adding a lumbar support cushion to ward off those backaches.
A standing desk is also another option to reduce our sitting hours. Not only does it help improve our posture, it can also improve our alertness during those post-lunch food-coma hours. While we can stack books or boxes to achieve a standing position while working on our laptops, a height-adjustable standing desk is probably the best option.
Enhance Your WFH Experience Today
If you can identify with one or more of the issues we discussed above, it might be a good time to consider how you can enhance your WFH experience today.
One easy way to do so is to consider the ViewQwest’s WFH Pro Bundle. At just $58.90 per month for the first 10 months (and $80.90 thereafter) and an additional one-time charge of $599, this 2Gbps Work From Home Pro bundle allows us to upgrade our internet and desk arrangements. Within this bundle, we would get an Omnidesk Pro 2020 (worth $1,220), ASUS ZenWiFI Mini XD4 (worth $369) and 2Gbps fibre broadband and set up an optimised work from home setup, ready to handle all the challenges of virtual meetings and remote working.