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The Essential Tools of a Remote Worker

Credit: Dice Insights

Have office, will travel.

If you’re one of those people who can get work done no matter where you set up shop, then you have my envy. It takes a very particular mindset to just plop down in a cafe, open up your laptop, and spend your whole day there. I can’t even stand to look at a computer without a proper office chair. But in addition to a mindset, you also require a very particular set of tools. One of the main differences between working on your own and in an office is that in an office, there’s usually machines and equipment lying around for everyone to use. If you’re on your own, you’ll need to provide that stuff yourself. If you’re interested in becoming a remote-worker, you’re going to want these five tools (in addition to a good laptop, obviously):

  1. Lap Desk: You’re not always going to have a flat surface like a desk or a table to work on. If you’re, say, lounging on a couch or on a lawn chair, there’s nowhere to set your laptop but your own lap, and I can tell you from experience that that gets really hot and uncomfortable. Lap desks give you a nice, ergonomic space for your computer, plus room for stuff like your phone or a mousepad. Plus, some of them have arms or latches that you can use to balance them on armrests, so your lap doesn’t have to hold it up.
  2. Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Having good hearing is a curse sometimes. When you can hear everything, it becomes difficult to tune things out. This is why you want a quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones. If you’re working in a public place (or home is louder than you’d like), just flick that ANC switch and let the sound of silence consume you.
  3. Power Strip: There’s two main reasons you should bring a power strip if you’re working in a public place. The first is the most obvious; if you need to charge multiple things, like your laptop and phone, now you can. “But why,” you may ask, “don’t you just use multiple outlets?” Well, that’s the second reason: courtesy. If you’re using outlets in a public place, it’s bad manners to hog all of them. Plug in a strip so you only use one.
  4. Portable Hotspot: Speaking of manners in public places, some places don’t appreciate heavy use of their complimentary wi-fi. They’ve got to pay for that stuff, after all, plus you’re sucking up bandwidth from other customers. Instead, get a portable hotspot. You get all the bandwidth you need for work while maintaining good graces with your public workplace of choice.
  5. Portable Scanner: Considering the modern conveniences of email and Google Docs, this may seem like an esoteric choice. Remember, though, if you’re working in an office and someone hands you a physical form to fill out, you can just give it right back to them. If you’re remote, you don’t have that option. Luckily, there exist scanners small enough to fit in a messenger bag, so if you’ve got any physical forms that need to go out right away, you can send them easily.