Buying a Work from Home Setup (Early 2021)
With so many of us working from home, sometimes it’s worth considering getting your home a little more productive. Below are some great ideas to make your home workspace more enjoyable and also, more productive.
Desks, Tables and Chairs.
This is often a personal preference but before investing in an new table consider the following items:
- Will the table be at a comfortable height for me? Can I address by adjusting the height of my chair.
- Is the table large enough for my stuff? While bigger may seem better sometimes a smaller more optimal minimalist space can also work well.
- Do I want to consider a standing desk?
- Is there enough depth in the desk to have monitors at a suitable distance?
- If getting monitor arms, is there a suitable place to clip them on?
Getting a chair that’s comfortable and adjustable is also very important, it’s often worth going to an office works that has a few on display to try out before buying. Quality office chairs may seem expensive but they last a long time, and we do recommend considering your comfort a higher priority than the aesthetic
Docking stations allow you to connect your laptop (if supported) to your work from home setup with a single cable. This single cable will connect the screens, keyboard, mouse, headset and also provide power, saving you time having to plug and unplug your power adapter. It also looks nice and neat if your desk is in a public area.
Most modern laptops support docking via a USB-C connector, not all support charging via USB-C but this is becoming more and more common. Check your specific model has USB-C and if the model mentions charging via it.
While there are brand specific docs, USB-C docks are fairly universal. Our current favorite pick for compatibility and futureproofing is the Dell D6000 dock.
It has impressive compatibility with it’s ability to dock with older laptops over normal USB 3 (no power charge however), thought it also support the newer USB connector (with power charging). One of our staff is using one and has testing it with a HP laptop, a Lenovo laptop and a Microsoft surface tablet with no issues. It can support output of 3 4K screens, while not common now it means this dock will be useful even after your next big upgrade. It also have ample power for laptops that need it.
There are cheaper docks but they often compromise how what resolution of screens they can connect to or how much power they can provide the laptop.
For those specifically with Surface Pro’s and no requirement to use other brands, Microsoft Surfaces have a proprietary docking connector and dock that works best for them. You can use the Dell dock with them for the best compatibility the surface dock is best. There are two versions with the current Surface Dock 2 supporting higher resolutions and better future proofing with newer ports (such as USB-C), if you have an older surface and only need the dock for a few years you may be able to get away with the lower features of the older Surface Dock,
Monitors / Screens
We recommend 27″ 1440p(QHD) screens with a height adjustable stands for business and home users alike.
For desktop users or those with laptops that support connecting two screens, we recommend getting two. Laptop users may also prefer to buy one screen and use their laptops built in screen at the same time. For those on a budget a 23″ 1080p monitor with a static stand can work well, and you can always prop the monitor up on a stack of books. Monitors are normally are in use for over 5 years so if it’s not too much more to get a 1440p screen, we strongly recommend considering it.
Monitor arms can make a desk feel much larger, provide better screen positioning and make your work from home setup look neater so consider. These can either have a large single base, or can clip on to the back of the desk, if your desk is suitable, the latter being the preference.
While you can use your laptop camera still and it’s built in microphones, a correctly positioned USB webcam and quality headset can make you look more prefessional in your next video conference meeting. A webcam on the top of a monitor provide a much nicer angle and is easier to adjust.
We recommend the Logitech C922, It supports 60 frames per second recording and also full 1080P video calling. Webcams last a long time and getting a camera that performs well keeps you looking professional in business meetings. However regardless of what webcam you get, make sure you’re working in a well lit room.
Headphones, Earphones & Headsets
For headsets, we’re not going to provide any recommendations as this is a very personal decision. You can get away with cheaper phone earphones but it’s important to record yourself in your work from home setup to see how good the audio quality is and how much background noise it’s picking up. If background noise is an issue a headset with a boom mic and noise cancelling can make sure your colleagues or clients can always hear you clearly.
Keyboards and Mice
Once again, this comes down to preference, we recommend a well known brand and generally suggest a full-size keyboard. The mouse you go for should ideally be large and more comfortable, some of the smaller wireless mice can become uncomfortable if using all day long.