Working remotely can be hard if your home office isn’t set up properly. If you’re working from home for the first time, here are 8 devices that will make your home office more productive, efficient, and enjoyable.
To ensure your home office is completely optimized, we recommend getting a Work From Home Setup service from HelloTech. We make sure you have the right equipment and that everything is connected and functioning properly.
A New Dual-Band Router or Mesh WiFi System
These days, the most important device in any home office is the WiFi router. With a good router, you will be able to load webpages faster, and you won’t have to deal with video calls freezing or dropping off.
While most older routers only work on one frequency, newer routers usually have two frequencies that you can use at the same time. That means you can use the faster 5GHz frequency for your work devices, while all your other devices can be on the 2.4GHz frequency.
If you want to learn more about the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and which one you should use, check out our guide on dual-band routers.
However, even if you have a new router, you won’t be able to get a strong, reliable WiFi signal unless you put your router in a good location. Remember, a WiFi signal gets weaker the further away your devices are. Your signal will also get interrupted by thick walls and other obstacles. To get the most out of your router, make sure to place it in a central location or as close to your home office as possible.
If your home office space is too far away from your router, you might want to consider getting a Mesh WiFi system. These routers come with several nodes that are designed to extend your WiFi signal where a traditional router won’t reach. For example, Google’s Nest WiFi mesh system gives you up to 1,500 square feet of coverage for every node. You can get as many of these dual-band nodes as you need to extend your WiFi signal throughout your whole house.
However, if you are in a rush, you can also get a WiFi extender to boost your WiFi signal instantly. Or, if you’re willing to pay a little more, you can get a mobile hotspot, so you can bring your WiFi connection with you wherever you go.
Highly rated WiFi routers:
A Dedicated Work Desk
One of the most difficult parts of working from home is trying to stay focused. Your home is full of distractions that don’t exist at the office, especially if you don’t have a separate room for your home office. That’s why it’s so important to have a dedicated work desk or workspace.
If you have the space to add a computer desk, do it, and keep it clear of anything you wouldn’t have on your desk at the office. If you don’t have room for a new desk, try to create a comfortable, separate space to work without distractions.
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A Second Computer Monitor
If you only have a laptop at home, you can instantly turn it into your work computer by adding an external monitor. This is especially important if you are used to having a big monitor at work. Going from a large monitor at work to a small laptop screen at home will make it hard to get your work done.
Even if you do have a monitor at home, adding a second monitor can increase your productivity and help you stay focused. Having two screens lets you have a video conference with your co-workers on one screen while you work on the other, giving you that “in the office” feel for your meetings.
If you’re in the market for a new monitor, check out our list of the best computer monitors for 2020 here.
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A Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
Once you have a new monitor, you can make your home office even better by hooking your laptop or computer up to a wireless keyboard. This is especially true if you are using a laptop with a small keyboard. You can find lots of full-sized wireless keyboards that have backlit keys and rechargeable batteries.
You will also want to have a good wireless mouse instead of using your laptop’s trackpad.
Having both of these home office devices will also make it easy to take your work with you whenever you travel. If you travel a lot, and you like to use your iPad to work, check out our list of the best iPad keyboards here.
Highly rated wireless keyboard & mouse combos:
Noise-Canceling Headphones or Computer Speakers
Having a good pair of noise-canceling headphones allows you to stay focused, especially if you live with others. Whether you have kids or roommates, you can easily zone them out with a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds.
Many wireless headphones these days also work as headsets, so you can make and receive hands-free phone calls and video calls with the push of a button. Some models even let you talk to your smart home devices, so you can turn down your smart thermostat without getting up from your desk.
If you live alone and don’t want to wear headphones all day, you can get a pair of computer speakers instead. These can help you stay focused, especially if you usually listen to music at the office.
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An External Hard Drive or Thumb Drive
Unless you use the cloud to store all your files at work, you should have an external hard drive to bring your files back and forth. These days, you can get external hard drives that are large enough to store all your work files, as well as your personal files. This makes them perfect for backing up all your data in case something happens to your computer.
These days, external hard drives are usually small enough to fit in your pocket, so you can carry them anywhere you go. However, if you’re only looking for a way to bring a few important files between work and home, you can also get a thumb drive. The tiny external hard drives usually have the capacity to hold several large files, and they are small enough to fit on your keychain.
Then you can format your hard drive to work with both Windows and Mac computers. So, you won’t have to worry if you have a PC at work and a Mac at home.
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An All-In-One Printer
Having a printer at home can save you a lot of time and energy. Instead of driving down to the local print shop, you can get a cheap printer that lets you print, scan, copy, and fax from home. Plus, a home printer can save you a lot of money every time you want to print out a birthday card or a family photo.
Highly rated home printers:
A Webcam with a Microphone
If your laptop or monitor doesn’t already have a webcam built-in, adding one to your setup can help you keep in touch with your team in a way that emails simply cannot. These days, most webcams are very small, but they come with a lot of features.
You can get high-definition webcams that can shoot in 4K, but you only need to look for one that has a resolution of at least 720p to 1080p. You should also look for a webcam that has a frame rate of at least 30fps (frames per second). Otherwise, your video might stutter or freeze more often.
If your computer doesn’t have a built-in microphone, make sure to get a webcam that does. Otherwise, you won’t be able to have a video conference with coworkers or clients. Also, you should make sure that your webcam works with your computer before you decide to buy one. This is especially true for Mac users, as most webcams are made for Windows computers.
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Once you have your home office devices set up, make sure to check out our article on the best work from home apps to install on your home computer here.