Home Office Hardware

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Updated March 23, 2023

You’re reading an excerpt of The Holloway Guide to Remote Work, a book by Katie Wilde, Juan Pablo Buriticá, and over 50 other contributors. It is the most comprehensive resource on building, managing, and adapting to working with distributed teams. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, 800 links and references, a library of tools for remote-friendly work, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

The hardware you choose to work with can make a huge difference to your productivity. While your business may provide hardware to you, it’s also worth investigating upgrades as they can have a dramatic effect on the speed and efficiency of your work.

  • Fast computer. A fast, up-to-date laptop or desktop computer can shave a few seconds off of the hundreds of tasks you perform daily—and could save you a few hours every month. A better computer with more memory makes it easier to start up your software, keep multiple applications open, and switch between them in moments. If you are considering working remotely for a new company, you may wish to ask in the interview process whether they provide one for you or offer a stipend for you to purchase one yourself.

  • importantLaptop accessories. If you have a laptop, we strongly recommend an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, and laptop stand. If you’re working outside the home, something like the Roost Stand can also be a great option.

  • Large monitor. Get as big a monitor as you can afford and realistically fit on your desk. More screen real estate means you can have more windows open side-by-side. This makes it easier to gather information and work efficiently.

  • Quality keyboard. A good keyboard will make a subtle but helpful difference in terms of your speed and quality of work. Mechanical keyboards give you a more positive “response” to pressing keys, and moving from a laptop to an external keyboard gives you more space to work.

  • Reliable router and wifi. You will be completely dependent on your internet connection when working remotely. Getting a fast, reliable router for your internet and wifi means you’ll get better responsiveness and experience less downtime, and will be far less likely to have quality issues with video calls.

  • Comfortable headset and high-quality webcam. It’s likely you’ll be spending time on conference calls, so buying a good audio headset and microphone will make those meetings easier. It’s also worth checking the quality of your built-in webcam, and buying an external one if you think it’s needed.

Get an external monitor and a good set of earphones with a really good microphone. A lot of people don’t pay attention to audio quality on calls, but it’s critical in remote teams.Liam Martin, co-organizer, Running Remote*

Other Hardware

Other, minor hardware upgrades can provide additional benefits:

  • External speakers. A decent pair makes for better background music while working.

  • Comfortable mouse. Some people prefer more ergonomic versions for more accurate screen navigation and less strain on your hand and wrist.

  • A decent printer. Should you need to print anything, quality makes a difference.*

Home Office Software

There are thousands of options in the software that remote employees—and the businesses that employ them—choose to use. We think it’s important to keep a few principles in mind when choosing the right software for you:

  • Employer restrictions. Before you start looking into software alternatives, it’s important to understand your employer’s policies and guidelines. They may insist you only use certain types of software, for privacy, security, quality, or other reasons. You’ll need to learn about any restrictions they have in place, and talk to your supervisor if you have any questions.

  • Individual needs. Because you’re a remote worker, you have slightly different needs than people who work in a traditional office. The right types of software can help you manage your tasks, stay in touch with colleagues, and maximize productivity.

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