Working from home (or at least in a remote location) has become the new normal. While it has its cons alongside the pros, one of the nicest parts about this workplace revolution is that you can customize your workday setup to your heart's content. No boss or snotty coworker to make snide remarks about your pretty pink earphones or insist you turn down the music from your sweet new speakers. While it’s always fun to play with new equipment, many of these essential tech gadgets for remote workers, which we have rounded up, will also help you establish a stronger workflow and keep your productivity high. So whether you’re an all-out gadget guy, or just want some ideas for a smart basic setup, you’re sure to find what you need on this list.
1) A Mechanical Keyboard
If you haven’t ever felt the difference between a mechanical keyboard and the standard membrane style, you’re missing out. Mechanical keyboards have a better tactile feel when typing, and they wear better over time, too. Membrane keyboards cannot replace worn or scratched caps, and you won’t get one that comes off back on either. Many higher-end mechanical keyboards have replaceable caps, so you can keep your work gear looking as well as feeling great.
But don’t stop there. Not all keyboards are created equally. You may benefit from a design that has certain extra keys- like media keys- to offer, and everyone would do better with an ergonomic design that helps support your wrists properly as you type.
2) A Multi-Port Adapter
Sick of having to plug something out just to plug another thing in? This becomes especially frustrating if you’re running an external mouse and keyboard, but everyone can benefit from more ports. Especially as modern laptop design leans towards units shipping with less.
Multi-port adaptors, the next evolution of the good old USB hub, allow you to connect a wealth of devices to one port on the laptop. Many modern ones allow for different cables, too, from AUX and HDMI input to charging ports for mobile.
3) The Right (Read: Big) Monitor
If you’ve been looking for a reason to splurge on a fancy new monitor, we’re here to give you three:
- Vision Problems
Using a built-in laptop or smaller screens will quickly lead to all three issues. We tend to narrow our eyes and squint to use them, primarily because of the combination of small icons, fine font, and the backlight hammering our eyeballs. Nor is it easy to be productive when you have to tab between windows to find what you’re working on and can’t get your desktop well organized. Most of us are running multiple programs for our work environment, and probably an email suite, Zoom, and the browser too.
While some people might benefit from split-screening over several monitors, an ultrawide monitor gives you extra clarity, reduces eye strain, and gives you more screen real estate to use for apps.
4) Smart Speakers
Virtual assistant hubs have become incredibly popular, and work as well in a home office setup as they do for those of you building an IoT-enabled home. Think of them as tiny versions of Siri or Cortana. You can schedule items to your diary, turn things on and off, and even buy products or ‘type’ via voice with these beauties in the bag. They may not be one of your true tech necessities, but they will help a bunch!
5) Upgrade your Webcam
Move beyond the default camera that shipped with your PC, and make sure you always look as professional as possible on Zoom calls. Whether you’re client-facing, or simply always in meetings, a top-quality webcam is a must.
Look for features like HD video, automatic adjustment of lighting conditions on the screen based on your ambient light, autofocus, and possibly onboard lighting, so you always have a superlative video experience.
6) A Laptop Stand
If you’re working with a laptop, a good stand, cooling pad, or dock could be the added tech gadget you’re looking for. Firstly, these typically elevate the back of the laptop higher than the front. This helps reduce the strain of the ‘tech neck’ and better position both the screen and keyboard for long-term use. That’s not all, however.
With additional air circulation under the laptop- especially if bolstered by additional cooling- you will help preserve the effectiveness of your laptop, prevent overheating errors, and make the PC last longer.
A good laptop dock, often available by brand, can also bring you extra integrated charging, more ports, and other little conveniences that make your life easier.
7) A Wireless Phone Station
Sick of cables? We feel you. Sometimes it seems like half of the real estate of your desk is wasted on the cords to power the rest of your setup. While some people don’t like the fractional lag of devices like Bluetooth speakers and mice, using a wireless phone charger makes sense- and it is one cable you can banish for good. Additionally, most models serve as a point to prop your phone, making it easier to access simple functions like text messaging. And, of course, remember where you put it when it starts chiming madly!
8) Wifi Boosters
The ideal spot for your office may not be the best room in the house for signal. And the one thing no modern worker can do without is a completely reliable wifi signal. Luckily, there’s a host of wifi signal boosters on the market that will help amplify and strengthen your existing wifi and ensure you never lose signal in the middle of a meeting, or miss an important notification because it didn’t get delivered.
From tech necessities to nice-to-haves, these remote working essentials will transform your workday, help you put your best foot forward at work, and even make your downtime at the PC a fun and creative one. Which is your favorite? Did we miss a gadget off the list? Be sure to let us know!