Guide: Aziz Al-Sa'afin's tech tips for a productive and fun work-from-home office

"It's your space so make it count, make it enjoyable, and make it fun."
"It's your space so make it count, make it enjoyable, and make it fun." Photo credit: Newshub

Welcome generation work-from-home: This is your new reality and it's time to accept the goalpost boundaries are changed forever.

Yes, despite the world's attempt to edge ever closer to what we thought we knew was normal, this is your new normal. So I'm here to help. 

No, this isn't some philosophical step-by-step guide to breathing and re-centring your chakras. 

I'm not qualified for that.

I am, however, a work-from-home expert with practical tips and device advice. So here we go! 

Let's start with location. 

If you're working from home, chances are the people around you are too - unless you live by yourself, then kudos for being a step higher on the adult ladder than me. 

No-go areas for your new home office: the living room, the dining room, the kitchen bench or basically any communal area. You're setting yourself for a feature on a YouTube Zoom-fail compilation and it's frustrating for everyone around you too. Don't be that person. 

Lockdowns are already hard as it is and the more you can be out of everyone's business, and they yours, the better. Set yourself up in your bedroom, or spare instead. 

Now you could be the person sat in front of a white wall, and look, there's nothing wrong with that, or you can be the person that stands out. I like to be the one that stands out. 

There's so many ways you can do this - from a simple pot plant, a basic K-Mart piece of art (that isn't a dig - I genuinely love K-Mart art) or a vase full of easily sourced home-garden flowers.

Or you could be a little extra and invest in some Nanoleaf panels that double as a great party accessory. 

Photo credit: Supplied

These devices are pure light magic and come in all different shapes and sizes, totally customisable to your liking. They also come in a multitude of settings you can play with, whether it's configuring them to react to music, calibrating them to showcase a particular colour scheme (sunset is personally my favourite), or pulse like paint splatters or a lightning strike.

Best of all, they're easy to use, easy to impress and generally easy breezy fun. No cover girl included. 

I've mounted mine on Perspex which means I can transform them from being a work-from-home office accessory into a party-from-home lounge lighting extravaganza. 

Tip three: Invest in a laptop stand. It makes all the difference. Trust me. 

There's a few out on the market, so it really depends on what works for you. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the 25 degree angle situation. Tres-ergonomic chic. 

I'm currently using the Twelve South Curve for Laptops, which at first glance looks like a piece of art. Your device rests at an ergonomically angle and level to the desk, which means you're not looking down at your screen and messing up all that body-juju. 

Laptop stand
Photo credit: Supplied

If flat is more your cup-of-tea, then look no further than the Satechi Slim Monitor Stand. Yes, it's time to swap out your yellow pages for this game-changer, which not only looks quite cool, but organises your desk instantly. Take that Marie Kondo.

The stand raises your screen, whilst also letting you store your keyboard or papers under. 

Both devices are reasonably priced too, sitting between $80-$90. 

While you're investing in some laptop equipment, also make sure you get some good headphones too. Seriously. Not everyone in your household needs to hear what your colleagues have to say.

It's annoying for all involved, including your company who probably don't want others to hear intimate details of their inner workings too. 

There's no particular product I'm going to recommend here, but just get one. Whether you're sworn to Sony, Apple, Bose, Sennheiser, SkullCandy or whatever, just get them and get them quick. 

And while you're getting some headphones, why don't you also get a proper microphone too?

Depending on what headphones you're using, they might have the perfect audio specs. However, if you're like me and want a bit more grunt, invest in an external device. 

Photo credit: Supplied

If you don't want to jump on the lockdown baking bandwagon, then perhaps this next device will get you on the lockdown podcast bandwagon instead.

Audio geeks, I present to you the Thronmax MDrill Zero Plus. It offers unparalleled broadcast quality for any conference, meeting, or Mariah Carey impression. 

It's USB enabled, comes with two recording patterns (cardioid and omni-directional), and is equipped with a 3.5mm jack. Complete it with a microphone stand and you've officially got a home-recording-studio in the making. 

It packs a mighty punch and is the perfect addition to your work-from-home setup. 

One thing that I have loved having around in my home office too is my wireless charging pad. There's a few you can choose out on the market at the moment, Satechi do a pretty good one. 

This device is the ultimate convenience and perfect for lazy people like me. It's a one-stop shop for charging all your devices, so you're never without a battery.

I usually pop on my smartwatch, earbuds and smartphone all at the same time. One thing I love about this is so simple: Every section has a light to indicate whether that particular device has started charging (you just never know with wireless).

It does sit at a hefty $199.99 but, trust me, it's a good investment. 

Wireless charger
Photo credit: Supplied

So there you go, practical tips and product advice to make your home office sing. 

In general, just be aware and mindful. 

Life is weird at the moment, but that doesn't mean your home office has to reflect that. It's your space so make it count, make it enjoyable, and make it fun. 

If you've got tips or devices that you think the world needs to know about, then get in touch with us and we'll give them a whirl for the greater work-from-home good.