After working at home for many years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are specific devices and technologies that make all of the difference. Of course, there are a few best practices you may already know — such as finding a quiet place to work.
However, there are a few important gadgets and products that can improve how you work and will help you focus on the actual work — not making the gadgets work correctly.
1. Use a high-powered laptop
It’s tempting to stick with a low-end laptop that you normally carry around to meetings or use at a coffee-shop. However, when you are cranking to Word documents all day, keeping umpteen tabs open in Chrome, or working with rich media you need power. I recommend a laptop like the Dell XPS 13 because it is snappy and powerful (if you choose the high-end specs). Choose the Intel Core i7 processor and at least 16GB of RAM if you can. The cost is about $1,900. Buy here.
2. Go big with your monitor
If you are new to working at home, it might also be tempting to choose a smaller monitor like the one that a company issues in the office. Keep in mind that you will be using that monitor at home all day long — no meetings to get a break, no laptop to carry with you to the breakroom. You will likely run multiple apps at once with multiple tabs open in your browser. For Zoom or Skype video chats, a bigger monitor means you can have a window open for the video but keep your documents up at the same time. And, a big monitor is easier on the eyes. I like the Samsung Space 32-inch monitor because it folds down out of the way. Buy here.
3. Use a precise laser mouse
It’s interesting how we sometimes use a low-cost mouse from a budget electronics store because it’s the last thing on our minds. Yet, it’s the first thing we touch. A mouse is our controller all day long, and if you use a low-end model it will likely jump around, not move to the precise location you had in mind, or even lose a charge or quit altogether. Of course, that will happen right when you are finishing up an important document. I use the Logi MX Master 3 because it feels solid in my hand and just performs perfectly — all day long. Buy here.
4. Think about the atmosphere and get a quality speaker
Do we complete more work when we listen to the sweet sounds of Panic! at the Disco — yes we do. It pumps us up, provides some stress relief, and can literally make you type faster. My personal favorite right now is called the Denon Home 250 speaker. The luscious sound quality is inspiring, even if you have to deal with a thorny spreadsheet. The speaker also works with
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa so you can control your music playback by voice. Buy here.
5. Upgrade your desk, pronto
You have probably heard people say — a good desk will help you work more efficiently. It improves how you view your job. Unfortunately, they might be saying that when they have a vintage model they bought at a garage sale. I’m a big fan of the Teknion models, including their height-adjustable desks. They look cool and can inspire you to work harder. (No, really — because a good solid desk helps you view your work differently.) Your monitor will stay stable throughout the day, you’ll have room for your laptop and a few ornamental objects. Buy here.
6. Add some accents
You know the laptop is important, and the desk, and the mouse. Now, go for some accents to improve aesthetics. I like the Grovemade products, including a new shelf for stashing a phone, an iPad, or a few cords you’ll need for your day. The products are handmade and look rich and inviting, improving once again how you view your home office. If I had to choose between some
fancy new desktop printer and some Grovemade products, I’d pick the accents because I like pleasing decor. (Although I don’t actually print documents that often.) Buy here.