It’s been over a year now since many organizations made the transition from the office to being fully remote. Some have transitioned to a hybrid form of working; but regardless, it’s evident that the right home equipment is essential for cultivating a productive workspace. Even with limited space, you can still have a productive work-from-home setup. In addition to your ergonomic chair and a desk of some sort, the key to success relies on a boost in tech.
The main tech essentials everyone needs to work remotely are reliable internet and a laptop, but we also recommend getting a monitor so you have a bigger screen for visuals.
What to look for
- Screen Size- Most monitors tend to range from 23 to 32 inches, but you can find options both under and over that range. 27-inch monitors are a sweet spot for a lot of people, as they offer decent-sized screens and tick the midrange price tag in most cases. However, 32-inch monitors are great if you need more screen real estate, and 23-inch monitors are great budget options that can also fit in small spaces.
- Resolution- 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. These three are all well supported nowadays. It’s also important to keep in mind your monitor’s size, as smaller displays can get away with using lower resolutions while keeping a sharp image. 4K is the best looking, ideal for larger monitors, and usually comes with other benefits like HDR. 1080p looks good (especially on smaller screens), is the most supported by media and software, and is more affordable. 1440p offers an interesting middle ground—while not as sharp as 4K, is less expensive and still looks better than 1080p. Regardless, 1080p is usually sufficient for most things.
- Panel Type- The panel your monitor uses will determine how the image comes across. Most monitors use LCD panels nowadays, but there are different types of LCDs out there. Click here to see which display panel is right for you.
- Refresh Rate- The refresh rate is how many times a second your monitor updates with new images—this is measured in “Hertz” (Hz). In practical use, this affects how smooth movement looks on your screen.
- Ports- When it comes to ports, the more the merrier—whether it’s DisplayPort, HDMI, or USB.
With a wired mouse or keyboard, you won't have to worry about batteries or receivers because it will draw power from your USB port. If you go wireless, you're going to be replacing batteries from time to time, but it’s still the preferred option. To extend the battery life, look for options that come with an on/off switch.
What to look for
- Connectivity- Wireless keyboard or mouse can connect to your computer by using either Bluetooth or Radio Frequency receiver. The advantage of Bluetooth is that you do not need any special kind of receiver to plug in to your laptop or PC, and you can also use it with your other devices like tablets and smart phones. The other advantage of Bluetooth is that it does not interfere with your other wireless devices operating in your home or office, e.g., Wi-Fi Router. The advantage of RF based devices is its longer range as compared to Bluetooth devices.
- Battery Life- Look for a model that consumes less battery and has automatic power saving or sleep feature to save battery.
- Ergonomics- Undoubtedly the most important factor in choosing a mouse is how it feels. While you can prevent a lot of strain by merely rearranging your workspace, it’s important to consider size and grip.
Three main factors impact the speed of your Internet connection—the placement of the router, the technology, and the devices that are connected to it.
What to look for
- Placement- For the best signal, put the wireless router out in the open on the main floor of your house, away from walls and obstructions. Ideally, you’ll want to position it off the floor, above the furniture. Keep it away from other electronics that might cause interference, like microwaves and baby monitors.
- Limit Devices- Playing online games, conducting video chats, and streaming movies and videos take up a lot of bandwidth, and they can slow down internet speed and access for everyone connected to that Wi-Fi network. Some routers have a Quality of Service (QoS) setting that lets you control which apps have priority access to the Internet bandwidth. For example, you may want to prioritize video calls if you have a lot of meetings and deprioritize file downloads from the cloud. You can always get your files later, but you don’t want to drop a call with an important client or family member.
- Use a Wireless Range Extender- While this may not speed up the connection, it can boost the signal into the dead spots of your house or office. For example, if your router is on the first floor of your house, you may want to add a wireless range extender on another floor to boost the signal. It can be a big help in areas with thick walls or other physical structures that can impede a wireless signal.
Use the power of your voice to play music, turn on lights, adjust the thermostat, and check the weather from the comfort of your workspace. Whether it’s an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, one of the greatest things about smart speakers is that they bring a new level of control to allow you to focus on your work.
What to look for
- Ecosystem- Think of a smart speaker as main hub in a larger digital environment throughout your household. With most models, you’re going to need a mobile app on a smartphone or tablet to perform basic setup. And all models work in concert with cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI), which controls everything from streaming music to the speaker’s ability to interface with other smart devices, ranging from smart lightbulbs to internet-enabled refrigerators. But speakers work best with other products. Before you decide on a speaker, you need to decide which digital tribe you belong to: Amazon, Apple, or Google?
- Specifications- The rise of the smart speaker allows us to take our knowledge to the next level with our own personal assistant who has the answers to almost everything. One thing to remember when choosing a smart speaker are specifications that are important to you. Looking to make calls using Alexa or Google Assist? Then the Sonos One is not for you. Is a mute button a must? Then the Apple HomePod mini is not the right option. With so many options on the market, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect smart speaker that follows your command, so you don’t have to leave your comfortable workspace.
Lloydians are tech-enthusiast that thrive on providing the best solutions to our community. Whether in office or working remotely, chat with us today to see how we can boost your work experience.