There is no doubt that in a new era where just about everyone is immersed in technology is changing the way humans operate. On a very basic level, it’s important to understand that human beings were never programmed with the intention of engaging with entirely artificial and digital worlds. But given the complexity and advanced intelligence we as human beings possess, it’s a testament to our ability to adapt and utilize new technologies and stimuli to our advantage.

 

This is why when we look at the modern world, so many people question whether or not technology is reducing or adding stress to people’s lives. As the University of Gothenburg proved in four separate studies recently, there is no doubt that new technologies, both those on and off the internet, are contributing to increased levels of stress. And while sure, there are certain applications that can ease our day-to-day life, overall, the expansion of this technology has opened so many new doors that otherwise present human beings with the psychological exposure that otherwise wouldn’t have been seen in previous eras when this technology didn’t even exist to begin with.

 

We obviously don’t want to belittle and bemoan all tech advances.  In another post I actually wrote about some must-have technology hacks and upgrades designed to ease your workday stress. When we’re done with work and with family and friends however, that’s where the tech should take a bit of a backseat.  Don’t be the guy screwing around with Snapchat when a live body is in front of you trying to have a conversation – that is the worst.

 

The Modernization of Isolation

Undoubtedly, one of the most depressing (literally) aspects of technology is its tendency to force human beings into isolation. And while human beings are willingly accepting this isolation, there is no doubt that by proxy, you cannot operate or utilize a lot of this technology without willingly putting yourself into those situations. For example, in order to play a single player online role-playing game, one must be alone to do so. So while it is a free choice to buy, download, and play the game, the user cannot change the way the game is played. The user has no other option than to play a game that forces them to dedicate a considerable amount of their time and energy into upgrading and improving a fake avatar rather than interacting and facing reality. And just the same, although social media applications feign the interaction with fellow human beings, it is being conducted in an artificial way. There is a screen between the two parties, versus a face-to-face interaction, which itself has become more stress for many people as younger children and adults struggle to communicate as adeptly as past generations.

 

As social creatures this means that we are naturally prone to becoming depressed and stressed out, and for many people, they don’t realize that the progenitor of their stress is their usage of this technology rather than going out for a walk or breathing fresh air. But sure, there are fair arguments to be made to reduce the stress thanks to modern technology. We can order items online rather than having to go out and get them, a mother can check on her daughter as she goes out to the movies thanks to her smartphone’s tracking app, and a myriad of other benefits these technologies can provide. But overall, as human beings continue to interact with new technologies, the growing pains and consequences of enjoying and using them will continue to rear their ugly heads from time to time.

Do you work from home?  Whether you’re a remote employee or in business for yourself, if you’re trying to bang out 8+ hour work days around the kitchen table, clicking away in a low-tech environment and yelling at Skype through your laptop speakers amid a constant stream of interruptions, it’s safe to say you’re never going to see peak productivity.

Act like an entrepreneur for crying out load and upgrade your tech!  We’ll talk about the ideal design from an ergonomics standpoint in another post but for now let’s get into discussing your home office AV needs.

 

Fleshing out your workstation is never as easy as a lot of us think it’s going to be, especially if you are serious about outfitting your setup with all of the audio-visual tools required to be successful in today’s ultra-competitive business environment.

 

Thankfully though, the tech just keeps getting better and better; as long as you’re willing to invest in yourself you shouldn’t have any trouble amassing the short list of must-have AV tools discussed below. This tech is going to give you the kind of competitive advantage you deserve, helping you to get the job done in a quicker and less-stressful manner.

 

Chromecast or Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

 

Having the ability to effortlessly share your screen or “throw” something that you are working on to a much larger screen – like a 55 inch television, for example – will increase your productivity significantly and this is possible courtesy of these two amazing (and ridiculously inexpensive) devices.

 

Both of these allow you to share your screen on your laptop, computer, or your phones or tablets, really extending the amount of screen real estate you have available for complex projects and collaboration. And at less than $50 apiece, you’d have to be at least a little crazy not to add them to your home office ASAP.

 

Ultrawide Displays and Monitors

 

Speaking of extra screen real estate, if you aren’t utilizing larger screens for your laptop or your computer – or (even better) dual monitor setups – you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to boost productivity.

 

Ultrawide displays and monitors provide you with the same benefit that double monitors or dual monitors offer in a single solution, extending your screenage significantly without your having to purchase two different displays or deal with the “split” in the middle of a dual monitor setup.  Split screens are for barbarians.

 

Raspberry Pi

 

A Raspberry Pi device is a tiny, lightweight, and very efficient computer that allows you to create useful dashboards, easy visuals, and real-time updates about your business operations without having to tie up system resources on your main computer – helping you enjoy a true-to-life live updating situation and command center on a separate screen for a fraction of the cost of a complete computer to do the same tasks.

 

These amazing specialized devices are incredibly powerful, super flexible, and adaptable and (provided you’re fairly well-versed on the platform itself) give you a lot of freedom with organizational design.

 

Bluetooth Speakers

I’m assuming that by now you’re already hip to how great Bluetooth keyboards and mice are.  Take it a step further: Bluetooth speakers open up a ton of portability and flexibility when it comes to home office design. You’ll be able to connect a single set of Bluetooth speakers to ALL of your Bluetooth enabled devices, helping you save money on your speaker system while allowing all of your devices to take advantage of your new set up, without your workstation looking like a snake pit with writhing cords strewn all about.

 

Dedicated Microphones and Tripods for Cameras/Smartphones

 

Podcasting, streaming audio, and video production have become such a big part of building businesses today, and you don’t want to miss out on what both of these options have to offer. You’ve got to do it well, however – low production value can kill your credibility.

 

By investing in a dedicated microphone (like the Blue Snowball, for example) you’ll dramatically increase the quality of the sound that you are recording, and while most smart phones and tablets shoot in stunning 1080 P high definition these days a tripod will help add some professionalism to you productions.

 

I want to reemphasize that these items, and others that help you get things done, comprise an investment.  Whether you’re remote, a 1099 employee, or a budding start-up treat your work like it’s your enterprise and get the audio-visual office tools you need to be taken seriously.