The best home office setups are comfortable, convenient, and private. You need to be productive, but you don’t have to shell out lots of money to do it. Working from home is the wave of the future, and both you and your employer can benefit if you’re on the forefront of this trend.
The benefits of telecommuting include ditching the commute, better workflow, and a higher quality of life. Given that you’ll use your work space for a long time, you need to make sure it’s the right pick.
If you’re about to start working remotely or need some tips to improve your home office space, our guide can help.
The best home office setups for telecommuting
The best work from home setups include some standard items like a desk and chair with comfort-boosting ergonomics. They also include a productivity-enhancing monitor setup, docked laptop, and wireless printer in the right spot to cut distractions.
Finally, source a business-friendly internet connection and take steps to divide your workspace from your family.
Here are our recommendations for workspace options:
1. Telecommuting desk
The best desk choice for telecommuting depends on whether you’re more Mike Brady or Phil Dunphy. Are you looking to save space with a low-profile corner desk or do you want to rule the world with something from the pages of Architectural Digest?
There are gaming computer desks that don’t look too flashy, or you can buy anything from wood to glass-topped. Of course, you can spend a fortune if you want, but we’ve zeroed in on some great options in the $100 to $600 range.
Upscale desk: The Sauder Harbor View desk’s finish hides lots of storage. It’s among the best work from home options for executive telecommuters, and it costs around $300.
Sitting/standing desk: Why choose between sitting and standing? The ApexDesk Elite goes from short to tall at the touch of a button, but it’s on the pricier end of our selection.
Small glass and wood desk: With the space-saving bonVIVO writing desk, small is beautiful. A designer wood-and-glass look fits any space with a 22 x 30 inch desktop.
Budget corner desk: The Soreno L-Shaped computer desk is an elegant budget option at around $100. Plus, it gets rave reviews and you can fold it for storage.
2. Ergonomic chair
You’ll spend long hours in your chair, so get one that doesn’t wreck your back or neck. Office ergonomics are vital, so pick a chair that lets you adjust its height and lumbar cushion. The best options have adjustable head and neck support. They can also recline up to 110 degrees and come with “4D” armrests that move up, down, side-to-side, front and back, and tilt.
Telecommuting warrior: The Autonomous ErgoChair’s Italian-design tilt is a hit with owners for its maximum adjustability, headrest, lumbar support, and 110-degree recline.
Budget chair: The best budget ergonomic chair is the Duramont Adjustable. It gets high marks on Amazon for comfort and durability, and it costs around $250.
3. Docked laptop
Laptops are great for trains, coffee shops, couches, and conference rooms. And with the full-size island-style keyboards in machines like the HP 250 G7 notebook PC, you can model data or build PowerPoint decks all day in comfort.
But there’s no doubt it’s easier to breathe with a full-sized monitor and external keyboard. You can find peripherals at entry-level prices or go whole hog for ergonomics. Consider these picks to make your best home office setup feel like brick-and-mortar.
Extra storage: If you’re working in photography or design, you need lots of storage. Low-cost 3TB high-speed hard drives like the Buffalo DriveStation can help.
4. Two monitors
The best home office setups for telecommuting have two monitors with good reason. They let you run more applications at once instead of mousing between tabs and programs. One screen keeps your primary program in view, while your second screen runs your add-ons or allows you to keep your email and chat programs open so you can stay in contact with your team.
One important tip; be careful how you set them up. For best workplace ergonomics, put your primary monitor slightly to one side. Place it at arm’s-length, with the top at eye-height. Put your second monitor beside it, angled slightly toward you. Most of the desks we mentioned above will fit two monitors.
You can’t work without a printer, and getting one with a scanner can be a lifesaver for those hardcopy-to-digital moments. Also, wireless is ultra-convenient for printing from the kitchen or the living room on a laptop, phone, or tablet.
If you use your printer-scanner infrequently, locate it in a spare bedroom or a central location like an alcove or hallway. That way, if your spouse or kids need to print something, they don’t have to whisper, “Sorry,” as they tiptoe through the room behind you during a video conference.
Pro tip: HP Instant Ink is an amazing service that takes away all your printer supply headaches. How does it work? By automatically tracking your ink levels, then ordering refills in the background at surprisingly low cost. Try it for a month. You’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without it.
5G internet is best for telecommuting. It’s the new wireless cellular standard and it’s clocked at up to 10 Gbps - 70 times faster than 4G. Estimates say we’ll see widespread coverage in most big cities by the end of 2021.
Can’t wait? The fastest home internet providers today reach speeds of 1 Gbps. That’s zippy enough to download a 2-hour HD movie in 18 seconds. Having a fast connection helps for remote collaboration, desktop sharing, telemeetings, and robust cloud software like Adobe Creative Cloud.
Screaming kids, barking dogs, the UPS delivery person ringing the doorbell; these distractions are not conducive to powering through the day’s project list. Of course, even if you pick the most private room in the house for your work from home setup, that doesn’t always help.
Noise-canceling headphones to the rescue! Pop a pair of these bad boys on and you’ll work away while Alex and Alyssa chase each other around the living room with lightsabers. They block sounds even when they’re turned off. The Sony WH-1000XM3s are our top pick, although they can be pricey. On a budget? Try the popular Cowin E7s for a lot less.
Also, give serious thought to your choice of laptop vs desktop computer configurations. If you have a home office that is quiet and removed from the day-to-day activities of the house then a desktop may be a great setup for you. You’ll need a spot where you can close the door and focus for maximum productivity. If the walls are thin or the kids especially loud, you should work on a laptop connected to an external monitor and keyboard at home. Then you can bow out to a coffee shop in case of a loud play date or a violin lesson.
More home office setup ideas
Here are a few more telecommuting ideas for the best home office setups:
Staying productive: It’s hard to stay on-point when your couch is in the other room. A strict schedule or a Pomodoro timer app can keep you focused.
Moving and grooving: Sedentary workers risk cancer, heart disease, and early death. Keep moving with a Fitbit or apps that give you a nudge to get up and stretch.
Floating shelves: Need space? Look to your walls. You can fit 10 floating shelves on a single deskbound wall. That holds a lot of manuals, external hard drives, or models.
Surge protector: Power surges happen every day. Over time, they’ll grind your perfect home office setup to a halt. Stop them in their tracks with a good surge protector.
Natural light: Daylight sets your circadian rhythm up to give you better sleep at night. It also brightens your mood. Can’t get it? Use daylight bulbs.
The perfect home office setups
The best home office setups give you all the advantages of telecommuting without the headaches. The right docked laptop, ergonomic chair and desk, internet speed, and privacy can create a fortress of solitude around your work time.
Among the best work from home options we recommend are noise-canceling headphones, a full-sized keyboard, and the ApexDesk sitting/standing desk. Spring for a 5G internet connection or gigabit fiber if you can get it in your area so you can screen share and teleconference like Tony Stark at his best.
Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
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