Of all the disruptions to traditional workplace culture that have taken root over the past several years, telecommuting has become the most popular with workers. Inspired by advances in home office technology, companies have increasingly been promoting the option for employees to—at least occasionally—work from home.
A recent Gallup poll found that 37 percent of U.S. workers have telecommuted at least once—up from 30 percent last decade and only 9 percent in 1995. That’s a seismic shift in the way people interact with their employers. Yet it’s shy of the 50 percent of workers that, according to Global Workplace Analytics, hold a job that is compatible with telecommuting.
So why the discrepancy? Yes, some bosses prefer to keep a close eye on their employees. But the biggest obstacle to working in the comfort of your favorite sweats is a tactical, rather than a strategic problem: workers can’t drag their entire desk or office set-up home with them.
Anyone who’s ever tried to complete a comprehensive project remotely on a laptop understands the issues. Switching between website tabs and programs becomes a huge hassle on a single screen. There isn't enough space for a mouse, let alone extra monitors, speakers or tablets. Productivity plummets and frustrations rise, erasing the benefits of working from home in the first place.
The catch-22 is that more companies than ever are offering their employees laptops rather than desktops. So how can you enjoy the benefits of mobility that a laptop provides without losing the comfort and power of a desktop computer? Fortunately, a small set of dynamic tools can provide the best of both worlds in creating the ideal home office environment.
To start, you’ll need a high-quality display monitor, plus a wireless mouse and keyboard that offer ideal comfort without sacrificing functionality. Our favorite monitor is the Dell UltraSharp 5K Monitor, which delivers stunning imagery with over 6 million more pixels than Ultra HD 4K resolution and comes with a plethora of extra features.
As far as mice go, the Logitech Marathon M705 has consistently been rated highly for grip comfort and tracks accurately on a wide range of materials.
For those with carpal tunnel, or those simply looking for a more comfortable keyboard setup, try the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic wireless keyboard. The Sculpt Ergo places your hands in the most natural position and eases stress on the wrists while spending long hours at your desk.
Putting It All Together
Once these basics have been covered, it’s time to move to the nerve center of any home office--a laptop docking station. Docks drastically increase the connectivity and power of your laptop while improving the management of cables in and out of your device. With a robust dock, you’ll be able to utilize a full-size keyboard, multiple display monitors, a mouse, speakers and any other device that connects with a USB 3.0. These features allow for a seamless transition between your office and mobile work environments and only require that you remove and replace your laptop—everything else stays in place.
The most comprehensive dock on the market is the Henge Docks Horizontal Dock for MacBook Pro Retina. The Horizontal Dock offers 13 expansion ports, including six USB 3.0, one HDMI, a Thunderbolt 2 and a Mini DisplayPort as well as an SD card slot and two audio ports. This allows you to connect far more devices to your workstation and increases the versatility of your MacBook.
Yet it isn’t just about how many cables you can connect—it’s where those cables go. All of the ports are located on the back of the Horizontal Dock, which makes for a much cleaner and less cluttered workspace.
Your laptop is now docked and connected to your monitors--but your home office isn’t complete yet. In order to charge your iPhone as you work and keep it readily available for important calls and messages from the office, you’ll want an iPhone docking station. iPhone docks give your device a sturdy and easily accessible charging station while further reducing cord clutter.
Henge Docks offers the Gravitas for iOS Devices—a compact yet surprisingly solid dock designed to match the color of your MacBook and Horizontal Dock, creating a harmonious pairing for the perfect home office.
With more and more studies showing that listening to music on the job improves productivity, no home office is complete without a top-notch set of speakers. Available at HengeDocks.com, the Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speakers contain a built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and easily connect to your Horizontal Dock or Gravitas.
These seamlessly-connected devices form the core of your new, comprehensive home office. You’re now ready to improve your daily workflow while enjoying the benefits of working in the comfort of your own home.