As businesses grapple with COVID-19, prompt action in moving the workforce to the home wherever possible is not only commendable but becoming imperative. This shift has everyone from the C-suite to the water cooler asking questions about how to adjust. The influence of Silicon Valley work culture has made working remotely an increasingly popular full- or part-time option for many office workers, but now many companies have found themselves unexpectedly flung on the shores of full-scale remote work. As Microsoft partners we’ve helped many teams improve their digital collaboration abilities and enabled business success across remote networks. We’ve also identified best practices through our own experience running a primarily-remote team for over five years. After repeatedly fielding similar questions from our clients and their stakeholders this past week, we’re sharing our insights more broadly in a series of topic-specific posts.
Literally set yourself up for success
Today we’re sharing the equipment we use for creating a functional work space at home, the first step to creating healthy boundaries between work and home life. We’ll share more – physical and mental – tips in a future post. If you are new to working from home, or had previously only worked remote occasionally, then you may find yourself missing your cubicle sooner than expected. While the commute is unbeatable, it can be a struggle to achieve your normal getting-stuff-done flow while sitting on the couch squinting at the laptop screen.
Additionally, The Wirecutter does some pretty good in-depth reviews. I read up on those when I’m considering a new item. I don’t always pick their picks, though; sometimes we value different features.
NOTE: All prices are as of 3/19/2020; these are not affiliate links.
- USB Headset (Wired) – Jabra Evolve 40 UC ($87)
- Wireless – Jabra Evolve 75 UC ($180)
- Wireless – Plantronics Savi ($212)
- This is more expensive than the other headsets, but I can walk all over my home with the Savi
- USB Speakerphone (Wired) – Jabra Speak ($87)
- “Standard” wireless (with USB receiver) – Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 ($43)
- “Ergonomic” wireless (with USB receiver) – Microsoft Sculpt ($87)
- The One Mouse to Rule Them All – Logitech MX Anywhere 2S ($60)
- Bluetooth connectable to three different computers (switch with the select button on the bottom); great optical sensor works on nearly every surface I’ve used it on
- The mouse included with the Microsoft keyboards above is also pretty good, but this is a nice portable option if you prefer to buy a standalone mouse
- Dell UltraSharp monitors
- Really, any major brand 4k resolution monitor with a good warranty is fine, just make sure it has the inputs you need for your computer/dock type.
- Surface dock ($144)
- Only compatible with Microsoft Surface PCs
- Non-Surface dock – CalDigit TS3 Dock ($280)
- Requires a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 connector
- USB-C portable dock ($60)
Other gear to consider
- Laptop stand – Rain Design mStand ($40)
- Printer – Brother HL-L2350DW Wireless laser printer B&W ($90)
- Don’t print if you can avoid it, but if you have to, laser is better than inkjets
- Privacy screen – 3 Panel Wooden Screen ($49.50)
- Useful to block background during video calls or give yourself some privacy if sharing space with others
- Standing desk or standing desk converter
- If standing, get a nice floor mat
- Noise-cancelling headphones – Bose QC 35 ($275) or Bose 700 ($399)
- Especially useful if the kids are around, or if your partner is also working from home!
Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to share what we’ve learned over the last five years to help you make your team’s shift to remote work successful.