The remote workforce has steadily increased over recent years, but it’s become even more prevalent as the COVID-19 pandemic requires people to shelter in place. Workers who were accustomed to going into the office and completing their tasks on company computers now need to perform the same functions at home on a personal computer (PC).
To maintain productivity, it’s wise to work on a laptop versus a desktop. That way, you can carry it into the kitchen and monitor incoming messages while preparing meals or bring it into the bedroom when you need to retreat and focus.
There are several peripheral accessories you can purchase to make your PC experience much more comfortable and efficient while working from home. They don’t cost very much, and whatever you pay upfront will be worth every penny once you compare productivity levels. Here are three accessories you simply can’t live without.
External Mouse & Mouse Pad
Laptops come with a standard track pad, but you should buy an external mouse (and mouse pad) for multiple reasons:
- A mouse with a wheel allows you to scroll faster.
- The pointer will move with better accuracy.
- Less hand motion is involved when clicking and navigating.
- Ergonomic designs fit naturally to the curvature of your hand.
- Many mouse pads come with a wrist pillow for enhanced comfort.
Installing an external mouse is effortless; simply plug the cable into the appropriate port. However, we recommend purchasing a wireless mouse so you can eliminate messy cables and easily move from room to room.
A wireless keyboard and mouse are the top two peripheral accessories every remote worker should have. Here are a few noteworthy benefits:
- A wireless keyboard allows you to sit back at a distance, which is not only more comfortable but also better for your eyes.
- The screen can be raised with a laptop stand so that it’s in direct line with your eyesight, eliminating the need to look down and the corresponding neck pain.
- Ergonomic designs reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Built-in keyboards can be hot to the touch due to their proximity to the motherboard, but external keyboards are removed from the heat source and therefore much cooler on fingertips.
- Cleaning external keyboards is significantly easier.
- Using inbuilt hardware less frequently can extend the lifespan of the device.
Although you can opt for a wired keyboard, wireless options are much tidier and offer greater flexibility. You don’t have to disable the keys on the inbuilt hardware, so if you decide to move another room, you can leave the peripheral accessory behind and enjoy full functionality.
Pro Tip: If you’re setting up a laptop for a temporary remote work situation, an external keyboard can increase the device’s resell value by reducing the appearance of shiny grease stains on the keys.
Display Monitor & HDMI Cable
A display monitor can be used to extend or duplicate your laptop screen. Extending your display is the best way to maximize productivity, whether you’re working at home or at work, because it allows you to see twice as much and accelerate the time it takes to complete a task. Take a look at a few examples of how you can use this feature to improve your workflow efficiency:
- View Microsoft Excel data on the monitor and run algorithms using your laptop’s core processors.
- Draft documents while keeping an eye on incoming messages.
- Eliminate the need to toggle back and forth between tabs open on your internet browser.
You can also reap the benefits of a display monitor once you’re done working. Stream Netflix on dimensions near the size of a regular TV screen or view 4K wallpaper with crystal clarity. Unless you have a casting device, be sure to pick up an HDMI cable that can connect the monitor to your laptop.
These three accessories are essential to productivity, but depending on your line of work, there are a few additional gadgets that may benefit you:
- An external hard drive can store large company files so you can preserve the storage space on your PC.
- A wireless headset enables you to communicate with your team, even if you have to step away from the device for a moment.
- Screen filters and security locks protect sensitive information from being seen by the wrong person.
Check to see if your company will reimburse you for any of the above accessories. If not, remember to expense them as itemized deductions on next year’s tax return.