Sitting at the kitchen table hunched over a laptop screen is not ideal, but it is the situation many are in after the shift to remote work. Based on our experience the four hardware investments below will increase your productivity and comfort while working remotely.
Laptop with decent camera and microphone
Most laptops produced in the past two years have good quality camera and microphones. If your laptop supports Windows Hello (and it should) then you know you have a quality camera setup. All Microsoft Surface, Apple, and most business class Lenovo and Dell laptops will have quality cameras. At least 720p or better is what you are going for. If you are working from a desktop or older laptop, invest in a quality webcam you can clip on to one of your monitors. Position the webcam so you are in focus and the proper lighting is in the background. You may need external lighting to help, but start with adjusting your camera angle first.
Sound is still the most important part of communication and is often overlooked. To test our your microphone open up the Camera app, switch to video and then record a clip of you talking as you normally would on a video call. Is the audio and picture clear? Often we are "talking" to a screen and not towards the actual mic. Most laptops have the mics setup right by the camera, so talk directly to the camera if you can. If that's not possible invest in a USB microphone that you can position correct. All the YouTubers and podcasters have one, maybe you should too!
At least two external monitors and laptop screen
Nothing helps you work more productivity than external monitors. A dual-monitor setup makes an user 300% more productive than working with a single screen (nobody wants to deal with having to constantly open and close applications!) And, better yet, throw in an additional laptop screen and now you have a screen to dedicate to your music app! There are even portable external monitors that can connect to your laptop on the go.
If possible, avoid mix-n-match for your external monitors. The brightness, color, and resolution should match between them to reduce eye strain.
Wireless mouse and keyboard
A wireless mouse and keyboard will keep your workspace free of wires and give you the ability to move around and reposition if needed. For an external keyboard, you’ll want to make sure you find an ergonomic one that will allow allows your hand and wrist to function properly. Some of the portable smaller ones are harder to use on a daily basis.
Monitor stands – neck strain is real
Lastly, a monitor stand is necessary for minimizing neck strain. Avoid this by getting a decent monitor stand that can be elevated to suit your eye level. This will prevent you from looking down at your computer and staring at the screen all day. Plus, this will save a ton of space on your desk. To further improve this setup, make sure your desktop monitors are positioned in a way that you can be seated further away without having to squint your eyes.
By implementing a few or all of these setups, you’ll have the ideal remote office setup to assure you can be comfortable and stay productive.