The past year has seen more people working from home than ever, but as the world begins to open up again and people transition back to working at the office, a new hybrid workforce has emerged.
Working from the office and working from home some of the time can be a wonderful way to find balance with many jobs, but that can lead to some technological challenges. Here are some of the best accessories for a hybrid workplace to make your work and home life that bit better.
A Good Laptop
If you’re working at home and at the office, and maybe even sneaking in a little work during your commute, then a good laptop is a must. The best laptop for you will very much depend on what kind of work you want to do with it, but there are some excellent all-round laptops that are worth considering.
The latest generation of M1 MacBook Pros offer fantastic performance and the usual Apple build quality, although you can also save a lot on price and weight by opting for the similarly-capable M1 MacBook Air. On the Windows front there’s the Surface Laptop 4 with amazing battery life and a gorgeous screen, or the Asus ROG Rephyrus 14, which has a fantastic processor for general work performance, but packs it alongside a capable graphics chip for some play in the off hours.
USB-C Docking Station
If you’re using a USB-C-equipped laptop when working from the office and at home, then you can make your life far more convenient with a USB-C docking station, like those made by Cable Matters. There are universal docking stations for all sorts of laptops, and any of them will expand the connectivity of your laptop, especially if it only features a limited number of USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports. They can also help you quickly and easily connect to a charger and wide array of accessories at your home or office.
If you have a desk job, it’s all too easy to fall into habits that encourage bad posture, or are so sedentary that you can finish the work day with aches and pains you never had before. Where office ergonomics have improved in recent years to help counter this, home offices could use an upgrade. One of the best solutions for improving your activity levels, posture, and even alertness with a hybrid work life is with a sit/stand desk.
There are all manner of different desks designed for different budgets, but if you get an electric one you can lift it up and down as you need without having to get to work on the crank handle. Make sure whatever you buy can handle the weight of your monitor(s) and any accessories, too.
If your laptop needs extra ports at the office and when you’re working from home, you could opt for a multiport adapter instead of, or as well as a dock. These devices plug straight into the USB port on your laptop and offer additional USB ports, Ethernet connectivity, and some have DisplayPort or HDMI outputs too.
External GPU Enclosure
If you have a decent work laptop and wish it had a dedicated graphics chip so you could play some games with it in your downtime, an external GPU (Or eGPU) enclosure can help. These small, powered and cooled chassis let you plug a desktop PC graphics card into any laptop with a supporting Thunderbolt 3 port for a massive increase in graphical performance. This can turn even the most dull of business laptops into gaming powerhouses, making an eGPU enclosure a great way to use your laptop for a little fun when the work is done.
Just be sure to budget buying a graphics card too, as the enclosure won’t be able to power your games by itself.
If you use multiple laptops, PCs, or other connected devices on a regular basis or even simultaneously, a USB switch can make the world of difference. A USB switch lets you connect a number of peripherals to a number of devices at the same time, giving you the option to change the active device but continue to use the same accessories. This is perfect if you have a favorite keyboard, mouse, or other USB device that you want to continue using on different systems.
This can also be a really useful tool for transferring files between systems, as an external drive can be plugged into several systems simultaneously.
A Comfortable Chair
If you don’t want to use a sit/stand desk, or want to maintain your good posture when you get tired, a comfortable chair that doesn’t encourage slouching or other bad habits is a must. There are a number of great home office chairs to pick from depending on your needs, but the space has become dominated by “gamer” chairs which don’t always offer the features and understated style hybrid workers need.
The top of the pile of home office chairs are made by Herman Miller. Any of them will offer excellent ergonomics, comfort, and airflow to avoid you getting too hot, though you’ll need to pay for the privilege.