Telecommute Resources

This is a summary of potential resources for any tech person who is interested in working from home – temporarily or full time. It came about from a twitter conversation on subject. This is not an attempt to promote any way of working, nor does it mean you need all of these resources to telecommute. It is entirely any individual’s call on what they need/afford to make working from home a satisfying experience.
I will start with my own experience. I am a minimalist when it comes to gadgets. I go into an office most days. When I work from home my needs are limited to my laptop, a keyboard and a mouse and a simple headset with a microphone. I used to have an extra monitor but it did not have any glare adjustment with made it hard to use. But most of us need a bit more than just a laptop – essentials seem to be monitors, headphones, standing/sitting desk and chair.
Monitors: Some people seemed to prefer 4k monitors like this one. There was a great suggestion by Monica Rathbun(b|t) on a portable monitor. If we don’t want to or have a lot of money the cheaper monitors like ASUS may be helpful. If you are the kind to have all your work displayed on a large screen – there are big ones like this. These cost a lot of money. By and large most people were in agreement that an extra monitor seems to add to one’s comfort and ease while working, so just having a cheap one might help in that regard.
Headsets: The options suggested were Plantronics , Yeti, and Surface noise cancelling headphones. My personal favorite has been Bose.
Buck Woody (b|t) and John Morehouse(b|t) also suggest Jabra speakers as well.

Keyboards and Mouse can be found anywhere for cheap. I personally like the Amazon essentials line. I have also found good options on sale at Staples or Office Depot. Majority laptops come with a built in camera that one may need to show demos or share screen during conference calls.

Spare power cords are absolutely necessary, as pointed out by Lisa Bohm (b|t)and Kellyn Pot’Vin-Gorman(b|t). Kellyn also has suggested a 1 TB drive and having a set of accessories you can pack and move with quickly.

Furniture including chairs and sitting/standing desks are personal with regards to comfort level and easy to find. I am fine with an ordinary folding table from walmart and a chair I found many years ago on Office Depot. It is important to find what works for your body/how many hours you are going to be standing or sitting and so on. A lot of health conditions can be created by improper desk arrangements.

Lastly, aside from gadgets, telecommute is a radically different way to work. It is a privilege for us to have it in tech – the vast majority of other professions in the world have to be worked on on site and the vast majority of people have to travel to work. But in order to enjoy and get the most out of it, self care is absolutely essential. I worked for nearly 6 years so I have some idea of what kind of needs there are :
1 Do not under estimate your need for being around real people. For many, the convenience factor and not having a commute is so exhilarating that we completely lose sight of our needs in this regard. Being around other humans creates a sense of connection and warmth that computers cannot absolutely provide. Find time, atleast at lunch, to dine with fellow human(s). Find office spaces for shared work if that is possible. Go to user groups or other meetings to be around real people.
2 Take frequent breaks. Buck Woody and Tim Ford mention having pets that allow for this to happen .It is important to step outdoors and get some fresh air/sunshine in. Having a fitness watch can help to remind one of this.
3 Start and end on time and maintain physical hygiene. I have never relished the ideas of working in jammies or nightwear much. It helps to start the day showering and clean set of clothes. And ending the day and calling it done. These are rituals that help sustain balance and create boundaries, which are very necessary.

Hope this was helpful and thanks to everyone who contributed.

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