The Remote Work Must-Haves You Never Knew You Needed

September 12, 2022

It may seem like all you need to work from home is a computer, a good internet connection, and a space you can call your office. But it turns out there are gadgets that can help you take working from home to the next level.

One of the advantages of working remotely is that you can design your workspace from scratch. Sure, the idea of working from your couch seems great at first, but it can eventually be distracting and uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to create a remote work setup that allows you to be productive and suits your physical needs.

We asked some of our fellow team members to share the items that have changed their experiences of working from home for the better.

Two Screens Are Better Than One

Have you ever found yourself lost in a sea of open browser tabs? You’re not alone. 

Having multiple tabs open may seem like a minor issue that doesn’t require a solution, but it can actually make you lose focus and lead to decreased productivity.

A dual monitor setup can make working from home much more effective and organized. It eliminates the need to manage a bunch of tasks on one screen. To reduce tab clutter, you can choose to work one screen, and keep anything you need for reference open on your second screen. 

As our Content Writer Allison Rivers notes:

The biggest help for me is being able to share one screen while in a meeting, and still be able to see the people in the meeting on my other screen. 

Or when I’m documenting something, I can have my draft open on one screen, and be using my test site and taking screenshots on the other screen so I can get the steps exactly right.

And for Content Manager Dario Jazbec Hrvatin, two monitors are a simple yet effective solution:

For me, it’s super simple. When I work on something (i.e. write), I work on the “main” screen (which is more to my center). I have all the “static” stuff on the secondary screen (which is slightly to my right) open all the time. This includes: email, chat, and browser tabs with tickets. While I work, I have my emails and chats at a glance on the other screen and all I have to do is look at it if needed.

Dario’s dual monitor setup eliminates the need to switch between tabs

Ergonomic-Friendly Equipment for the Win

It doesn’t matter if you spend your days creating content, writing code, or exchanging emails with clients. The last thing you want (or need!) are sudden aches and muscle strains. Unfortunately, an incorrectly set up workstation can lead to poor posture and cause you to feel discomfort in your hands, shoulder, and even neck.

By choosing computer equipment that’s been ergonomically designed, you can increase your comfort – and give yourself a cool looking workstation. 

Our Support team member Bruno Kos has been using a vertical mouse for about 15 years now:

The vertical mouse took an hour, or even less, to adapt to. I started using one because I had some pain in my shoulder and attributed this to my hand position. You can actually test the difference in hand tension even if you don’t have a vertical mouse. Just position your hand in a vertical position, and compare the tension of your hand to what you see when you’re using a regular flat mouse.

Bruno’s vertical mouse looks cool and reduces wrist strain

For our Developer Otto Wald, there’s no going back to a standard setup:

When my wrists started to ache, I started looking for an ergonomic setup and I ended with the Kinesis Advantage2 keyboard and its vertical mouse. And I am loving it.

The pain is gone and the cherry switches are such a pleasure. It takes a couple of weeks to get used to it, but then you won’t even think about going back. My kids are astonished by my keyboard – it looks like spaceship gear. They tell their friends about their dad’s keyboard…

Otto’s keyboard looks futuristic and increases the comfort of working from home

Take a Stand

If working from home has caused you to become a bit too friendly with the couch, a standing desk may be the right solution for you.

These types of desks promote well-being by turning your sedentary lifestyle into one with some more movement. Aside from improving posture, reducing back pain, and improving blood flow, standing desks are known to boost mental health.

There are different types of standing desks to choose from, ranging from fixed standing-only desks to standing desk converters, which can be used on top of your existing desk.  

Our UX Designer Katarzyna Janoska went for an adjustable, fully automated sit-stand desk:

For months, I worked from random locations – windowsills, sitting cross-legged on kitchen chairs, and the living room floor. Working this way is fine once in a while, but it definitely shouldn’t be the norm. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital before I turned thirty, so I analyzed the possibilities, asked specialists, consulted friends, and then… I remodeled my office.

I now have a desk with electrically adjustable height in my home office. I participate in meetings and have my brainstorming sessions in a standing position.

And since it’s not possible to stand all day, I also use a kneeling desk chair and exercise ball. Sitting on the ball is my favorite position to work in! The only thing I really have to watch out for is the moment when Spotify turns on some upbeat song and I start bouncing to the beat of it…

Kasia’s automated sit-stand desk…
… and her favorite type of seating

Talk to the Rubber Duck 

Working from home means that you can’t exactly walk over to your coworker’s desk and chat about a task you’re stuck on. Sometimes, all that’s left to do is talk to a rubber duck and hope for the best. 

As entertaining as it may sound, many software developers use rubber duck debugging as a way of finding bugs preventing software from running. The idea is that if you explain your code line-by-line to a rubber duck, the solution will eventually present itself.  

Here at OnTheGoSystems, rubber ducks come in all shapes and sizes – and they aren’t just a developer’s best friend.

Our UX Designer, Katarzyna Janoska confides in her royal, princess duck:

Kasia’s rubber duck is a royal treat

While our Chief Information Officer, Ana Couto says:

Well, I do not have a “normal” rubber duck in the traditional sense. But I use a lego Ahsoka Tano figure in place of the rubber duck whenever I need to talk over a convoluted problem that just looks impossible to unravel!

Ana’s rubber duck is more of a lego figure

Tailor Your Workspace to Your Needs

While remote work gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere, a workspace with tools that allow you to be more focused and productive can elevate your work-from-home game. In the long run, many of these seemingly small and simple tools can help you feel more comfortable and prevent health issues. Above all else, it’s important that your home setup is tailored to you personally and the type of work you are doing.

Come work with us!

Are you interested in working remotely with a great team that encourages growth and advancement? Do you like the idea of getting work done from the comfort of your home? Take a look at our open positions!