Probably the best home office?

Probably the best home office?

Probably the best home office?

“What kit should I buy my staff to keep them productive at home?” is probably the most popular question we’re receiving from our clients in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, as companies are putting their BCP WFH processes to the test.

Interestingly, many hedge funds allow a lot of their critical staff to work from home as part of the normal course of business, so we are well ahead of the curve – whether it’s a case of enabling clients to work from a cabin in the Rockies, beach house in Hawaii or castle in the Alps – we support hedge fund VIPs working from home in the exotic places you might expect. Often, they have home setups in place to facilitate the long and reserved working hours of trading and operational teams; or sometimes, it’s simply to offer protection against that “snow day” in NYC.

Many other financial firms aren’t as well positioned though, particularly in a BCP situation where their entire middle and back office teams must work from home for a protracted period; the current climate has left a lot of firms quickly trying to figure out what the best kit is to buy to keep staff productivity levels high.

At Options, we’ve a lot of experience setting up remote working for customers, with 10,000 users currently configured on our Citrix Platform, and our own team routinely working from home or on the road.

This week, we conducted a quick team survey to find out what the staff working from home favourites are, and the results are in:

1) It’s All About the Connection. 

Let’s face it, the start and end to any remote working is internet connectivity. Find a router like the Netgear Nighthawk X10 Smart Router that prevents internet lags by allocating the signal far and wide for just £175.

2) No More Disconnects.

A device without internet access can be a daunting prospect. Luckily, for a low cost of £19, the TP-Link AC1300 USB Wi-Fi Adapter can get you online whenever and wherever; even in the good old outdoors.

3) Instant Upgrade. 

The main thing we’ve found in our own WFH-BCP tests is that having a second monitor transforms productivity. The Mac users on the team love Duet Display; turning an iPad into a second monitor for just under £10.

 

4) Windows goes Dual-Screen. 

For Windows users, the ASUS portable monitor is the ticket for any laptop, for just £130. Slick enough to fit into your laptop bag, it’s powered via USB so can even be used on the train.

5) What’s better than 2 screens? Even more screens!

Use the Pluggable 3.0 Docking Station to connect to 4 additional screens, a wireless mouse, keyboard and even your phone. It works with all the newest standards and gives a lot of performance, all for under £80.

6) Invest in Comfort

The more comfortable you are, the more productive you will be. Whether it’s purchasing a new ergonomic chair or our team’s top pick, the Upergo Standing Desk Converter, investing in comfort is worthwhile when working from home.

7) Get Rid of the Noise. 

Smart, high-quality wireless headsets like the Jabra Evolve 65 are the perfect WFH tool, eliminating unwelcomed noise while delivering amazing sound clarity for conference calls – an essential when WFH. This piece of kit comes in at around £100.

8) No laptop budget? No problem. 

No bigger than a smartphone, the Ncomputing Raspberry Pi has been known for its ability to solve various use cases – this includes seamlessly connecting a user back into their VDI environment all for under £150.

9) A Smart Way to Save You Time. 

Got a call coming up? Think of something to do while in the middle of another task? Amazon Alexa smart assistant can take note and remind you later. Alexa can automate a ton of things that will help switch a home environment to a work environment.

10) There is always one…Have a setup like a pro gamer or a PM in $Billions for only £1,050!

Yes, this is an actual picture of one of our engineer’s home set-ups!

11) Don’t forget to tether to your iPhone. 

An often-overlooked benefit of a good enterprise Citrix setup is that it works even when there is extremely low bandwidth.  In theory (suspected but never proven) engineers can perform long shifts from a camper van at the beach by connecting their device to their personal hotspots over 4G.

12) “Bye Bye” Background Noise.  

Be it an ongoing day of conference calls, a voicemail to a client or just wanting a noise-free environment, Krisp, the incredible noise-cancelling app will certainly be a friend. Located on the Android and Apple Stores it supports all microphones, headphones and speakers.

13) Power Cubes. A New Standard.

The Bestek Mountable USB Power Stripe Cube is an ideal blend of efficiency and practicality. Its many sides allow you to plug in multiple devices at once, reducing the need for too many awkward plugs.

As ever, Options are continuing to take strong measures to remain one step ahead of events. Read our most recent COVID-19 strategy update here, and keep up to date with our strategy on our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages.

– Danny Moore, President & CEO

COVID-19 Strategy: Update March 12th

COVID-19 Strategy: Update March 11th

COVID-19 Strategy: Update UK Morning March 9th

COVID-19 Strategy: Update March 8th 

COVID-19 Strategy: Update March 2nd

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