Nearly everyone I know that works a traditional office job seems to be working from home right now, including us here at Blair Tech marketing. While the flexibility is nice, the transition from traditional office life to a work-from-home setup can be jarring, especially when it comes to technology. Your setup at work is custom-tailored to fit your every potential need, so why isn’t your setup at home?
Today, we’ll be looking at what the best computer to work from home on is, and why. We’ll also be taking a look at some of the software you might need, some peripherals you might want to make your job a bit easier, and some popular work from home jobs available to apply for right now.
Types of Setups
At work, you probably have a standard
desktop computer paired with a standard monitor. They’ve been the
de-facto standard in the workplace for over two decades now. But
times are changing, and there are a lot of options available now that
just weren’t available in 2002. There are all-in-one desktops, that
have the display and the machine all in one single unit. These are
nice, and they’re perfect for when you’re trying to save space,
but they can be difficult to repair and maintain.
Another option is tiny form-factor desktops paired with monitor docks. Lenovo popularized this trend, and they call them “tiny-in-one’s”. Essentially, a tiny-in-one is a tiny desktop computer paired with a monitor that has a docking station built into it. You can use the desktop outside of the monitor just like you would any desktop, or you can connect the desktop to the back of the display and use it as an all-in-one. This is a great solution to my argument above against all-in-one desktops being difficult to maintain and repair. With this solution, since the computer isn’t built-into the display and is easily removable, that becomes a non-issue. While tiny desktop PC’s aren’t the easiest thing in the world to repair, they’re certainly easier than most all-in-one’s.
Another option for a computer setup at home is a laptop with a portable display. A few of my friends use this setup, and they enjoy it. It saves space and is really easy to carry around with you if you’re someone who is on-the-go a lot or who enjoys working from somewhere other than your home office. While this setup has few compromises, one is that you simply have less screen real-estate than you would with a standard desktop or all-in-one setup. You’re always going to be limited to how large your portable display is.
The Best Option
The last option, one of the most popular today, and my pick for the best computer to use when you’re working from home is a laptop paired with a docking station. A laptop as the base gives you a lot of flexibility. I for one enjoy moving around the home during my day, and I’ll work from the dining room, the couch, my home office, and my bed all on the same day, so I require that flexibility to be the most comfortable and productive as I can be.
But when I want 3 displays, I want 3 displays.
Tech Dell E5440 with an Intel Core i7 and a 512GB SSD
paired with a Dell
E-Port Plus Docking Station from Amazon will do the
This setup paired with a couple of monitors and a wireless keyboard and mouse, for me, creates the perfect work-from-home setup. The Dell E5440 is fast enough to blaze through any office work you need to do and has a webcam for all your Zoom and Google Meet calls. The Dell E-Port docking station has additional USB ports, and most importantly, 2 display outputs to allow you to run a triple-display setup (2 external plus the built-in display). A single button on the docking station allows you to disconnect from your monitors and keyboard and mouse, and go back to living the laptop life you love.
The best part is that this setup is quite affordable as well. The E5440 is only $369 at the time of writing, and the Docking station is only $45, so for just over $400, you can get the flexibility of a laptop and the benefits of a desktop. It’s a no-brainer.
But What About Software?
Every machine sold by Blair Tech
includes a fully genuine copy of Windows 10 installed, and the E5440
is no exception. It comes loaded with Windows 10 Pro, so you can get
all the features you might need when working for a large corporation
like Remote Desktop access and domain registration -- things you
might not get on a standard laptop or desktop.
Every Windows 10 device comes with anti-virus software pre-installed called Windows Defender, so there’s no need to go out and purchase any additional expensive software. Every Windows 10 device with a webcam and microphone is compatible with Zoom video calling, and you can easily download that from zoom.us. We also include the LibreOffice free office suite for all your productivity needs, and if you require Microsoft Office 365, we can get you set up with that as well -- just give us a call.
Peripherals and Accessories
addition to the docking station, there are going to be some
additional accessories you’ll want to make your transition into
working from home as easy as possible. You’ll want a great keyboard
and mouse, and you’ll want to make sure it’s comfortable.
Especially if you do a lot of typing or data entry, an ergonomically
detrimental keyboard and mouse can ruin your day. Logitech has a lot
of offerings, and something like this
MK345 combo for just $35 would be a great option.
Another thing you’ll want are monitors. The E5440 with the docking station supports up to 2 DVI or DisplayPort Monitors, and pretty much anything will work, but these BenQ 24” DisplayPort monitors will work wonders, and at only $118 each, a great bargain.
I would also suggest picking up a printer, because even though you might not be printing many things, you may still need to scan or fax documents depending on what you do in your day-to-day operations. A tank-style printer like this HP model is much more environmentally friendly and wallet-friendly than traditional cartridge-style printers, and it also has scan and fax functionality built-in as well!
Other things to take into consideration
are your desk and office chair if you’re someone who enjoys working
from a home office. Make sure your desk is large enough to
accommodate the setup you’d like, and make sure your chair is
comfortable for long periods of time and has ample support for your
spine and neck so you don’t experience any pain after a couple of
weeks’ worth of tasks.
Work From Home Hiring
Now you know what you should be looking for in a work-from-home setup as far as technology goes, but what about the actual job itself? How do you find work-from-home positions that are hiring right now?
If you’re someone who’s concerned about the current covid-19 crisis and are looking to stay at home as much as possible, there are still options out there for work. Dozens of companies are still hiring even as economic outlooks are grim, and they’re allowing people to apply for these positions from anywhere in the country. This page at FlexJobs.com highlights 30 companies that are hiring right now, or have recently been hiring for work-from-home positions and includes everything from teachers, paralegals, sales positions, and IT positions. Chances are if you’ve got some experience or education, you can find a position at one of these firms.