MBU just launched ShopMBU.ca, our direct-to-consumer e-commerce portal that provides all our customers with wholesale savings on tech products of all kinds. That means everyone can equip their home office with exactly what they need to boost their productivity. But just what goes into the perfect work-from-home environment? We called up our friend, tech expert Marc Saltzman, to get his guidance.
STEP ONE: IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF HOME WORKER YOU ARE
As an independent entrepreneur, Saltzman has been working from home for 25 years. He believes home office workers fall into one of two categories: Integrators or segregators. “Integrators thrive on the energy of a busy household and are happy to be working amid the chaos of kids and dogs,” Saltzman says, “while segregators need to be in a quiet place, away from it all, to concentrate.” Which one you are will dictate where in the house you situate your home office.
STEP TWO: SELECT YOUR DESKTOP
Regardless of where your workspace is located, a great home office requires similar elements. Task lighting, great WiFi, a comfortable chair—they’re all crucial. Saltzman also suggests having a desktop, rather than a laptop, computer as your go-to workstation, because desktops provide more power for the price and can incorporate purpose-built external tools, like trackpads and bigger displays.
Two desktop computer solutions:
STEP THREE: BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT YOUR KEYBOARD
Laptop keyboards require their designers to make concessions to get all those keys into a limited space. So if you’re ever typing for any length of time, Saltzman suggests opting for an external keyboard. Split designs that allow you to type while keeping your wrists straight might require some time to get used to, but they’re also the most ergonomic.
Two input solutions:
STEP FOUR: DON’T SHIRK ON THE MONITOR
You don’t necessarily need a 4K monitor that costs $4,000, but you should devote some thought to your computer display as well. Situated incorrectly, work screens can create neck and back strain that leads to productivity-limiting fatigue. “Position the displays at eye level,” Saltzman says, “immediately in front of your eyes so that you don’t have to twist your neck to the left or right to see what you’re doing.”
Two display solutions:
STEP FIVE: REMEMBER CYBERSECURITY FOR HOME
Cybersecurity is as important on a home network as it is at the office. “Bad actors are out there trying to exploit the new normal,” says Saltzman. “So be extra vigilant. I always say, do both offline and online storage. I back up every couple of days to the cloud and to external hard drives, just to hedge my bets.” After all, Saltzman says storage prices are becoming more reasonable all the time. And, he says, install those software updates! “I have my system set for automatic updates every night.”
Two storage solutions:
The point of all Saltzman’s advice is to invest some time and money in thinking about your work-from-home environment. Creating a great workspace requires some time at the beginning, but it’ll pay off down the road with greater productivity. Finally, Saltzman also suggests investing in a good, high-def webcam and a USB microphone to provide great video and audio for videoconferencing. “A lot of people focus on the camera,” he says. “But great sound can be just as important for those video calls.”