What to Buy with Your Work from Home Stipend

Author: Gina Cunsolo

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So your company moved to a remote workforce during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world begins to return to some sense of normalcy, it's decided to allow some workers to continue the practice and may benefit from a work at home stipend. It could be that the company let go of unused office space during the pandemic and wants to hold on to the savings. It might be that staff enjoy working from home and want to continue doing so, or it could be that gains in productivity by allowing employees to work remotely are too beneficial to let go. It could be a combination of all three and might include other factors as well.

A recent survey conducted by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers shed some light on how companies plan to operate in a post-pandemic world. More than a third of companies will run with a mix of in-person, hybrid (spending part of the week in the office and working from home), and fully remote staff. Eighteen percent are planning a combination of in-person and hybrid workers, with no fully remote workers, and another 18% are considering an all-hybrid workforce. Just 19% are planning to bring all their workers back to the office full time.

Whatever the reason, many companies are allowing those who can do their jobs from home to continue doing so, and some are even offering a work-from-home stipend to help cover the cost of tools remote workers need. 

But having your employer pay for home office tools raises a question: If my company offers a home office stipend, what should I spend it on? Here are some considerations:

Your computer

For most of us, our computer is the focus of our work life. Issues with multitasking, lengthy startup and shutdown times, and delays when loading files or launching applications are all signs it is time for a new computer. Many experts estimate a laptop's lifespan to be three to five years, while a desktop's lifespan averages about five to eight years. If your computer is approaching the end of that range, a new laptop or desktop might wisely use stipend funds.

Your Internet service

With activities such as Zoom video conferencing and remote file access now a regular part of the workday for a small staff, upgrading to faster Internet speeds might be called for. If you experience lagging or stuttering with audio and video during video conferencing sessions, or you're often twiddling your thumbs while waiting for files to download, see if faster Internet is available where you live.

Your furniture and office supplies

Of course, mundane items such as printer paper, envelopes, stamps, and the like will be necessary to keep your home office running smoothly. And since you'll be spending the day at your desk, a comfortable chair and adequate desk space will be important as well. Consider an upgrade if your back aches at the end of the day or if your desk doesn't provide enough space for you to work comfortably.

Your communication tools

Even if your computer is relatively new, chances are its built-in webcam, microphone, and speakers aren't top of the line. The importance of crystal-clear audio and video can't be understated. If you're spending a good part of your day on Zoom calls, it might be worthwhile to invest some of that stipend in a high-resolution webcam and an external speakerphone.

Consider, for example, the YVC-200 Personal or Work-From-Home speakerphone. Its built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours of complete portability for up to 10 hours, making it the ideal device for open workspaces, huddle rooms, home offices, and travel. This plug-and-play device easily connects to your phone or laptop for a high-quality video conference experience.

If reducing background noise when working from home is important to you, the YVC-330 Portable USB & Bluetooth Conference Phone is built with SoundCap technology, which includes microphones designed to pick up human speech, not noise. Plus, it’s Zoom Certified, and works seamlessly with the popular video conferencing software to provide excellent audio quality during remote meetings. These are just a few of the possibilities for how to spend your work-from-home stipend. No matter what you decide, Yamaha Unified Communications is ready to assist with the equipment you need. Click here to learn more!