10 Essential Things Every Remote Worker in Africa Should Have

Photo Credit: Nicholas Erwin

The tech revolution has taken off in Africa and along with it is the rise of remote working. More and more people are discovering the possibilities and freedom remote working brings to productivity and project execution.

A sizable number of developers, designers, writers, digital content creators and social media managers, all working from decentralized offices all over the continent. Their tools of trade may differ but their unique role as remote workers means there are basic requirements they can’t do without.

Indeed, a remote worker properly equipped with the right tools and gear will crush his goals and meet deadlines, consistently. So, here’s BuffrSpace’s list of the most integral tools and gadgets every remote worker should have.

  1. A Personal Laptop

If remote workers were Picasso, laptops would be their paintbrush. Therefore, you want to have the most appropriate one that can handle the full range of all your projects. Video editors, animators and graphic designers need a rig with a decent graphics card and lots of RAM, programmers need powerful processors and so on. Battery considerations and weight should also factor into your decision if you plan to be working from several locations.

2. External Storage Space

Every remote worker has two nightmares. One of them is loss of data due to a system crash (I just heard some folks say “God forbid!”). Only those who’ve experienced this know just how excruciating this is. That’s why data backup hardware is among our top most suggestion on this list. The capacity you get depends on the nature of your job. Designers and creators who work with video and audio would definitely have heavier space requirements than writers and SEO experts. The most important thing is to have an external place where you store all your important data, especially the projects-in-progress. The last thing you want is to have to start all over again due to a lost or corrupt file.

3. Cloud Storage

Still on data storage, you also want to subscribe to a cloud storage service, especially for files you access frequently. Hard drives are good and all, but having files stored on the web does two things. One, it acts as a backup of a backup(you can never be too careful, because hard drives crash). Two, is accessibility across teams. Remote workers are usually part of a larger, sometimes distributed, team. Having files in the cloud means collaboration is a matter of an internet connection and link sharing. Dropbox and Google Drive are the more popular options and they offer easy collaboration tools.

4. A Wireless Mouse

In 2016? Yes, especially for digital nomads. Hear us out on this one. Believe it or not, using a mouse is faster than using your laptop’s trackpad. A lot of the operations you use two hands to execute on your trackpad, takes just one with a mouse (e.g. drag and drop, drag-select). For designers and editors, this is a must as drawing with a trackpad is seven shades of stressful and time wastage.

5. An Unlocked Smartphone

So that your clients or employers can keep in touch if they need to talk to you. For remote workers who travel (aka digital nomads) this is strongly advised. Do the maths. You don’t pay extra for roaming charges since you can buy and use local SIMs. And while we understand the appeal of keeping your mobile number during your travels, saving money also has its upside.

6. Extra Laptop Battery

There are periods where you’re away from a power source for an extended period of time. It could be due to a blackout or being on an extended trip, but deadlines do not wait for blackouts or long trips. With an extra battery in your backpack, your laptop can go the extra mile.

7. An Internet Modem

Remember when I said remote workers had two recurrent nightmares? Well, no internet connection is the second one.

Connectivity is the lifeblood of the remote worker’s trade. Without an internet connection, you may not be working remotely for long. There a hundreds of tools that enable you work as though you’re right inside the head office, but they all rely on the power of the internet. For convenience, get a MiFi, those little internet gizmos that come with inbuilt batteries. If that’s outside your budget, your smartphone could double as a substitute modem. Just use the tethering function and make sure you’re subscribed to a great data plan.

Besides, with a solid internet connection, you could Skype with clients and employers, thereby eliminating the hassle of roaming/SIM charges.

8. A Headset (with a microphone)

For those really important calls. If you can afford them, noise-canceling headphones will do you and your clients/employers a world of good as sometimes you may be working in public and noisy spaces.

9. Apps, Websites and Miscellaneous

For connecting with clients and colleagues, apps like Google Hangouts, Slack, Skype, Telegram and WhatsApp should all have permanent residence in your phone. IFTTT is a web service that also comes in handy. It enables you boost efficiency by automating a lot of tasks. For example, you could create a “recipe” to receive a text when you get important emails from your boss or clients.

Let’s not forget some other small but important things — a power bank, to extend your phone’s battery, portable printer to print out important documents and a sizable backpack to lug around all these gadgets and gizmos. And last but not least…

10. A BuffrSpace Account

This goes without saying. All the tools in the world will be useless without a practical workspace to get things done. We all have personal preferences even with workspaces. Perhaps you’d prefer to work out of a coworking space in the suburbs or a small, local cafe/restaurant, or perhaps the terrace of your favorite pizza place just across the street. Or just a quiet, corner of a regular office building just a couple of blocks away from home. There’s no one size fits all to productivity styles and each workspace has a unique effect on productivity levels, motivation and performance.

Regardless of what you may be looking for, a BuffrSpace account grants you access to all the registered workspaces in your neighbourhood, wherever you may find yourself.

BuffrSpace is building Africa’s largest platform of on-demand workspaces for remote workers, business travellers, distributed teams, startups, freelancers and anyone else in between.

Mobile workers or professionals with the need for on-demand workspaces, can join our waitlist and be the first to receive updates. Click here

For businesses or individuals who have surplus office space and would like to list on our platform, fill this form http://goo.gl/forms/TQUS19ORTBLGmN8L2

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