It seems like a lifetime ago when we could simply pop by our colleague’s cubicle to ask a question or brainstorm an idea (or you were just looking to chat). With many employees working from home for the foreseeable future, it is crucial to take advantage of the many tools and products available to help improve your remote workflow.
When we first went into lockdown, you likely found yourself transforming a corner of your home into an office space and acquainting yourself with a host of new digital communication platforms. It may have felt like a shock to the system at first, trust me – we get it, and we hope that you have overcome some of the initial hurdles of transitioning to remote work. However, if you’re looking at your makeshift (or nonexistent) workstation and thinking there might be some room for improvement, then you’re in the right place. Let’s take a closer look at how to build the ultimate mobile office to help you thrive while we ride out the rest of this pandemic.
The Remote Worker’s Digital Toolkit
- Communication – Let’s start with the basics—how are we going to effectively communicate now that we are no longer in the same room? Don’t worry, speaking with colleagues is still an easily achievable task, it might just take an extra keyboard stroke or mouse click, or two. Conversations that used to take place in person, whether an office meeting or water cooler talk are now taking place virtually using a range of platforms that include Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and the list goes on. What used to be once-in-a-while tools are now a part of our everyday lives, and we’re okay with that.
- Collaboration – Now that your coworker is stationed 40 miles away from you, rather than 40 inches, you won’t be able to simply slide documents across their desk. However, digital services like Dropbox and Google Suite, allow you to seamlessly share your work with colleagues, but instead of moving from desk to desk, your work will move from screen to screen. Added bonus: you’ll save a tree or two.
- Task Management – From calendars to to-do lists, there are a ton of digital platforms available that will help you to stay organized while away from the workplace. Some of our favorites include Google Calendar, Trello and ToDoist. Also, to help you connect with clients or customers without double booking, it might be a good idea to download a scheduling platform. We prefer mobile apps including Square and Acuity Scheduling.
Now that you’re comfortable with all of your digital communication and collaboration platforms, let’s talk gear. Are you frustrated with blurry and echoey video chats? If so, we’re here to help. In addition to a desktop or laptop, there are just a few pieces of gear you’ll need to enhance your virtual communication while working remotely.
- Cameras – We did not have much time to plan before going into lockdown, so we won’t blame you for having to resort to your laptop from 2010, which doesn’t have the best camera. But rest assured, there’s a way for you to be seen clearly without breaking the bank for a new computer—all you need is a new camera. Some of our favorite cameras that can be plugged into any computer by USB connection are the Marshall Electronics CV-610 and the Marshall CV503.
- Lighting – In addition to a high-quality camera, lighting plays an important role in capturing clear video. While working remotely, no longer confined to an office with florescent lighting, you might be in too dark of a space to be seen clearly during a video conference. Lighting is an easy fix, especially with the Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit. Compatible with both laptops and desktops, Lume Cube’s Panel Mini LED light provides soft and professional illumination with fully adjustable controls.
- Microphones – Now we can see you, but the audio isn’t great. At MXL, we understand how important it is to use something other than your computer’s built-in microphone if you want to be heard clearly. Our new AC-44 Conferencing Mic is the perfect solution for your mobile workstation kit. With a compact footprint, crystal clear speech intelligibility, and powered by a USB-C connection, the AC-44 offers a simple plug-and-play solution to enhancing your audio quality on a budget.
To learn more about the MXL AC-44 or for additional tips on how to improve your remote workstation, visit uc.mxlmics.com or feel free to contact us via our contact page or social media.