How to Get Started Working from Home
Working from home may sound glamorous, but it's actually a lot harder than it looks. Of course, you can wear pajamas all day, jam out to your favorite music, and take snack breaks whenever you like, but there are plenty of potential pitfalls with the WFH lifestyle. To help you stay focused, we've designed this handy guide to working from home with some smart routines, tools, and technologies.
Challenges of Working from Home
It's not easy staying disciplined when you work in the same space where you sleep, eat, and play. Below, we've shared some of the biggest challenges with WFH life, as well as a few suggestions to stay productive:
Keeping to a Set Schedule
Most people who work in an office have to wake up at a reasonable hour, get dressed, eat something, and leave enough time for the commute. When working from home, however, the lines between work and home life can get blurry. To avoid building bad habits, we recommend setting a regular work schedule and sticking to it. Of course, the WFH lifestyle can come in handy when you need flexibility with a doctor's appointment or a dinner engagement, but you should try to account for those hours so that you stay consistent. For instance, if you work a longer day than usual, then maybe try to sleep in a little longer the next day so that you stay well-rested.
Maintaining a Dedicated Workplace
In theory, working from your bed or couch sounds like heaven, doesn't it? Unfortunately in practice, these areas are not conducive to getting work done, and you'll just want to nap or watch TV all day. It's extremely important to create a dedicated workspace – whether it's a home office, a corner desk in your bedroom, or a kitchen table. Having a dedicated workspace tells your subconscious that it's "work time", whereas the couch tells your brain that it's "relaxation time". Everyone has different needs, so there isn't a perfect workplace setup, but it's worth taking the time to create a space that sets you up for success.
Getting into a Productive Mindset
To stay productive without a manager looking over your shoulder, you have to trick yourself that you're actually at work. One of the best ways to do this is to dress the part. Just like when you make the poor decision to work from the couch, wearing sweatpants and slippers might feel more comfy than pants and shoes, but your productivity will almost certainly suffer. We're not saying you need to wear slacks and dress shoes, but slipping on some comfortable sneakers and jeans will put you in a more work-friendly mindset.
Taking Enough Breaks
When the lines get blurry between work and home life, it's easy to forget that you still need to take breaks. For your own health and sanity, make sure to leave the house at least once a day, get some fresh air, go for a walk, and socialize with a loved one. If possible, avoid the temptation to eat lunch at your desk, and take an actual lunch break away from your computer. In fact, if you work on a computer, it's a good idea to rest your eyes during these breaks and limit screen usage. These breaks will keep you more refreshed and healthy in the long run.
Having the Right Tools
Finally, it's crucial to have work tools that facilitate productivity. For instance, some people love working at a standing desk, while others need a comfortable office chair that encourages good posture. At a minimum, you'll need a decent wireless connection, a reliable computer (ideally a laptop) and monitor, and a pair of comfortable headphones for when you want to block out distractions.
What You Need Your Work-from-Home Laptop to Do
The best laptop for working from home should be fast enough to handle your daily workload, with a speedy processor and plenty of RAM for multitasking. You should be able to video chat, surf the web, and edit documents without skipping a beat. The laptop should also have enough ports to plug in peripherals and an external monitor. And if you decide to take an afternoon trip to a cafe for a change of scenery, the laptop needs to be thin and lightweight enough to easily fit in a backpack or briefcase. Of course, it doesn't hurt if the laptop also has a gorgeous display, excellent battery life, a solid-state drive, and some productivity software as well. One can dream, right?
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Fortunately, that dream laptop is within reach. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers a premium laptop experience that's perfect for the work-from-home lifestyle. Measuring just 14.9mm thin, this ultra-slim laptop boasts up to 18.3 hours of battery life, which is great for marathon work sessions while on-the-go. Powered with the latest Intel® Core™ processors, plenty of RAM, and a solid-state drive, you can enjoy amazing performance anywhere. Meanwhile, you can choose between a range of vibrant displays, including an FHD panel with PrivacyGuard for extra security in public, or a 4K Dolby Vision™ panel with HDR technology that makes your work pop off the screen. Finally, the built-in suite of ThinkShield security features can help secure your confidential data while working on public Wi-Fi networks or at home, with a fingerprint reader for extra protection. It's the best laptop for working from home, bar none.
Lenovo Yoga 940
For a more accessible work laptop, look no further than the Yoga C940. This ultra-light PC weighs less than 3 pounds, but it definitely doesn't compromise on performance, with 10th Gen Intel Core processors driving an available 4K VESA display. Designed to optimize battery life based on your work habits, the Yoga C940 can last up to 15 hours on a single charge, and its Rapid Charge battery only takes an hour to power up to 80%. There's also a garaged digital pen for people who need to quickly jot ideas on the 14" touchscreen. And for optimal privacy, you can close the TrueBlock Privacy Shutter to hide the webcam, and log into your work profile using the built-in fingerprint reader.
Lenovo IdeaPad S540
Finally, this budget-friendly laptop has everything you need to stay productive at home or on-the-go. With up to 10 hours of battery life, an FHD touchscreen display, and up to 10th Gen Intel Core processors, the IdeaPad S540 offers a premium work experience at an affordable price. It also boasts an immersive Dolby Audio™ system that's perfect for video conferences or work-friendly playlists. And the IdeaPad S540 has the same privacy protections that make Lenovo a top choice for business PCs.
Completing Your Work from Home Setup with Essential Accessories
The right operating system
No matter which laptop you choose as the heart of your home office, one of its most important features will be the operating system. All of the laptops described above and many others Lenovo offers feature Windows 10, the most popular OS on the market today. Windows 10 offers a variety of powerful tools to help you be more efficient, including advanced security, blazing fast speed, top-tier service and support for virtually all productivity software packages. The latest version of the Edge browser includes a host of business-oriented features, including enhancements to its handling of multiple profiles for those who use their laptops for both business and non-business activity. And with the Windows-as-a-service model, you’ll never have to pay for an upgrade, meaning you’ll always have the latest Windows features and you’ll have more capital to invest in your business.
Let's focus also on the other supplies, like a 2nd monitor, and other things that will help maximize WFH productivity.
Once you've invested in a work-from-home PC, it's time to round out your home office with a few choice accessories.
First on the list is an external monitor. With a large second screen, you'll be able to multitask more effectively, maintain better posture throughout the work day, and put less strain on your eyes.
Next, you'll need a wireless mouse and keyboard, so that you can work in a more comfortable position and quickly navigate applications on your external monitor.
Meanwhile, if you work in a loud or distracting environment, we highly recommend a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to quiet the outside world. These active headphones filter out noise in real time, so you can focus on the task at hand.
Finally, if you work in an industry where paper documents are kept and sent on a regular basis, then it's a good idea to get a multifunction printer with scanning capabilities.
In so many industries, the work-from-home phenomenon is quickly becoming normal, with companies allowing employees to "clock in" virtually and attend meetings via videoconference. If you're one of the lucky people who can work remotely, you should take the time to set up your home office and get into the right mindset. It'll pay off in the end. And we're always here to help along the way.