From An IT Professional!
For those of you who are unaware, I create content part-time alongside a full-time 9-to-5 job. In that full-time job, I am an IT engineer specialising in various fields, so I think setting up my workspace correctly comes second nature. That’s why I decided to share some of my favourite tech items to help you set up your working-from-home spaces.
I will mainly be focusing on the tech side of things, but it’s worth mentioning that you should be looking at investing in a decent desk and chair as well as decent lighting. You should also consider setting up your workstation the correct way to eliminate any future health issues. I’m no specialist when it comes to desk ergonomics, but this post by Jordan Gregory from Chiropractor Bramhall explains how you should set up your desk very well.
I think it’s fair to say that we all work in different ways and with different equipment. Some of us use desktop PCs, and some of us use laptops, but in this article, I will be talking from the point of view of a laptop user who already has a laptop.
So without any further ado, let’s get started…
A Decent Monitor or Two
Let’s start by talking about the monitor or monitors, depending on how many you plan to use. Personally, I use two 24-inch monitors which are connected to my gaming rig. I also have both of them connected to a universal laptop docking station which will discuss further in this article.
The monitors I use are the BenQ GW2475H and they are great for work because they feature Eye-Care technology which is flicker-free and can be set to emit low blue light which can effectively diminish eye fatigue and irritation. If you plan to work for extended periods of time, I highly recommend for looking monitors with this sort of technology built-in because it does help.
If you already have a monitor, it’s worth checking the options menu to see if you can set your monitor to emit low blue light or to office mode as it really does help. If your monitor doesn’t have these options, that’s not an issue as there are software-based alternatives that you can use. One of my favourites is F.lux which I use anyway with my monitors set to normal. I find that F.lux gives me more control over the colour and temperature of my screen.
It’s also important to consider the way you set your monitors up. For me, it depends on what device I am using. I’ve set up my desk so that I can comfortably work on my PC, laptop and iPad. So I just use the two monitors for working on my PC and I don’t use my monitors at all when working on my iPad Pro. But when it comes to working on my laptop, I use 3 screens! I obviously use the main two monitors, but I also use my laptop’s screen as a third monitor.
A Docking Station
With monitors in mind, let’s move on to laptop docking stations. In my time working with laptops, I haven’t come across many laptops that support more than two monitors being connected, particularly when it comes to low and mid-range laptops. That’s why I recommend investing in a docking station.
Docking stations are an excellent solution if you plan to use more than one monitor with your laptop, but if you are only planning to use one extra monitor, a single HDMI cable is perfectly suitable for the job. If your laptop doesn’t have an HDMI port but has a USB-C port, you may need to purchase a USB-C hub, but I highly recommend checking with your manufacturer whether your laptop supports display over USB-C.
Now when it comes to docking stations, I would recommend choosing one that is designed for your device but not all brands and models have matching docking stations available that’s why universal docking stations such as this StarTech one are a great choice.
However, from my experience, purchasing dedicated docking stations is more beneficial, particularly as you can get ones that will keep your laptop charged, something that a universal docking station may not be capable of depending on the actual device itself.
A Reliable Mouse and Keyboard
When working on your computer for extended periods of time, it is essential that you use a comfortable mouse and keyboard. I tend to recommend using an ergonomic mouse and keyboard that is rechargeable because you don’t want to be buying batteries all the time and fewer cables mean less clutter on your desk. Whilst wired keyboards and mice tend to be more reliable, I feel that going wireless is better because if you need to make room on your desk for paperwork, it’s much easier to move a wireless set.
When it comes to peripherals, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Logitech, and no I’m not sponsored to say this. Having used several brands both at home and in business environments, I find Logitech devices to have better quality and be more reliable than other devices.
Logitech MX Master
I use the Logitech MX Master 3, which is arguably the best mouse I ever had. You can check out my review here. One of the key features of this mouse is its ultra-comfortable design which is hand-sculpted to fit your hand naturally.
The mouse also has two scroll wheels, the main one which features ultrafast scrolling and the side scroll wheel which is perfect for long spreadsheets as well as video editing.
Logitech MX Keys
With its flat design, the Logitech MX Keys is a very comfortable keyboard to type on for extended periods of time. I find the keyboard to be the perfect size for my desk and my hands.
The keyboard itself has some pretty cool features such as smart illumination which works by the keys lighting up the moment your hands approach depending on the lighting conditions. The keyboard also features some pretty useful shortcut keys including your multimedia keys as well as a calculator key.
The Logitech MX Master 3 and MX Keys Combined
If we combine the two devices together, they are the perfect match. Not only can you pair up to 3 devices with them, but both also use Unifying technology, which is actually quite cool. It allows you to pair up to 6 devices to one receiver. To be honest, you don’t even need the receiver because both can also be used with Bluetooth.
This is a huge advantage for people who use multiple devices because you can pair and switch between them using the buttons on the keyboard without the need of pairing them again.
A Decent Webcam
If you are planning to use an external monitor with your desk setup, I recommend purchasing a webcam which you can mount on top of your monitor. At present, I use the Razer Kiyo Pro, which is a very good webcam that offers a great quality picture and many options. But this model is a bit of an overkill for Teams or Zoom meetings. That’s why I recommend my previous webcam, the Logitech C920, which also offers great quality for a fraction of the price.
If you don’t mind what the video quality looks like, the Logitech C270 is a great option for a budget webcam and it’s a model I used prior to the C920.
A Good Headset
Moving on the last thing I wanted to talk about in this article, the headset. At present, I use two headsets depending on the circumstances. My main go-to headset isn’t actually a headset, they’re actually active noise-cancelling headphones, the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2. These are great if you live in a busy household as they have the ability to block out noise allowing you to concentrate and get on with your work. They also have decent sound quality making them great for listening to music whilst you work. You can check out my full review here.
My second go-to pair is; surprise, surprise the Logitech H390. This is a wired USB headset which offers quality at a very reasonable price. The headset has an active noise-cancelling microphone which will allow others to hear you better on the other end. It also has in-line controls which will allow you to adjust the volume on the actual cable.
Both of these are comfortable to use for extended periods of time and are perfect for use for work-related purposes. I tend to use the Logitech one for meetings and calls and the Surface Headphones when I just need to settle down and get on with work. In these circumstances, I tend to listen to the Work Vibes playlist by Thomas Frank.
To summarise this article, there are many things I would recommend for your working from home setup, but I guess it’s too much to cover in a single article. That’s why I decided to pick out some of the most essential items.
I also want to mention that the items I mentioned in this article offer great value for money, but may not be for everybody’s taste, particularly when it comes to the mice, keyboards and headsets. I recommend finding an electronics store that sells these items and asking whether you can try them out in the store for yourself. You need to make sure that they are comfortable as you will be spending long periods of time working with them.
Since we’re living in the cost of living crisis here in the UK, I wanted to remind you that you don’t need to buy any of these devices brand new. I certainly didn’t get everything I mentioned in this article brand new! I was able to find a very good deal on the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 and the Keychron K2 Keybaord at my local CEX store and they were practically half-price! But it doesn’t stop there, I always recommend checking out eBay and your local thrift stores as you call them in the United States. You never know what bargain you can find!
I’m a Tech Enthusiast, IT Specialist and Coffee Lover. This is my personal blog where I write about my experience with technology, tips, guides and more.