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If you’re like most people, you probably think of remote work as a way to telecommute and save on gas. And while remote work does offer those benefits, there are many other reasons why you might want to consider working remotely. For example, working remotely can help you:
- Avoid traffic jams
- Beat the heat (or cold)
- Work from anywhere in the world
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Take care of personal errands during the day
What Remote Work Tools Do You Need?
Let’s take a look at some of the best remote work tools you’ll need to work remotely. You may not have considered some of these before!
1. Laptop Computer.
If you want to work anywhere you want and you need a computer to do it, it’s a no-brainer that a good laptop should be at the top of your list.
2. PC SSD Upgrade.
This laptop of yours should be a top performer. Replacing your old HDD with an SSD will give you more speed and power to get work done.
3. PC RAM Upgrade.
Along with an SSD, a RAM boost is just as important if you’re working on a lot of tasks or viewing a lot of webpages at the same time.
4. PC Upgrade.
If all else fails and an SSD and RAM upgrade are not enough to give you the performance you are looking for, consider a completely new laptop PC with the newest OS and all of the other things your old laptop didn’t have.
5. Applecare/Extended Warranty.
If you do spring for the latest and greatest laptop, an extended warranty could save your new tool from becoming an expensive paperweight, especially if you use it in adverse environments.
6. Newest Windows/OSX Version.
With a new PC, you’re bound to get the latest version of Windows or OSX for Macs. You’ll also get updates for at least a few years to keep your machine humming along. Even if you don’t get a new PC, it’s usually possible to upgrade your existing OS to the latest version.
7. Infinite Patience.
If you’ve ever used any PC for an extended period of time, you’ve likely seen it develop problems. Slow performance, random crashes, hardware or peripheral incompatibilities, battery problems, you name it. This is where that extended warranty can save you.
Alongside a good laptop, a good smartphone is becoming just as important. Think of it as your personal pocket computer, ready at a moment’s notice to assist you.
9. SmartPhone Case.
Same as laptops, smartphones are becoming more valuable. A good case that protects the touch display and the phone’s beautiful shape is essential. It’s a good cheap insurance policy.
There are times when you can’t move your laptop and a smartphone is too small. For those in-between tasks, use a tablet like an Apple iPad. They’re great for reading e-books too.
11. Tablet Case.
And to protect yet another electronic device, a good case that protects the body and the touch display is a must. Some tablet cases double as stands for hands-free viewing.
12. Multifunction Printer.
The world hasn’t totally gone paper free yet. The Best MFDs can copy, scan and print documents and color photos quickly and cheaply.
13. Printer Ink.
Printers can use a lot of ink, depending on how much printing you need to do. And it can be expensive. Fortunately, there are alternatives to buying new factory printer ink, such as buying refilled print cartridges, large tank printers, and even DIY refill kits.
14. Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Needless to say, remote work requires a good network connection to the outside world. Many public spaces and co-working spaces offer wireless connections, and it’s possible to tether a smartphone via 4g or 5g to get a connection as well.
15. Wifi Router/Access Point.
If you’re working in your home, you’ll need a good wifi router. You’ll be able to connect every wireless device you have to it, and even things you may not use for working such as a smart TV.
16. 5G Wireless Service.
For the road or away from home, you’ll need some kind of 4G/5G wireless provider. You could go with an established name in your country, or try one of the many many new MVNO services for cheaper 5G.
17. Mobile Hotspot.
If your phone can’t serve as a wireless hotspot, you’ll have to get an external unit. A hotspot may need its own SIM card and 5G wireless plan to function.
For videoconferencing with your remote team, YouTube recording, or just plain video calls to grandma, it’s helpful to get a webcam if your laptop doesn’t already have one built in. One advantage to a standalone webcam is it can be pointed away from where your laptop is facing.
19. Video Conferencing Software.
Raise your hand if you recently did a Zoom call. Wow, that’s a lot of you. :^) Zoom is popular, but it’s far from the only player in the videoconferencing world. Choose a service with the features you really need and don’t overpay for what you don’t need.
20. Office Suite Software.
Whether it’s cloud based like Google Drive or the tried-and-true Office 365, a good office suite (free or pay versions) is absolute must-have remote work software. Don’t even try working without one.
Or a kitchen table, or a couch, or a lounge chair; whatever works for you. But if you prefer a desk, there are many choices. Some new gaming computer desks have some unique features that can be useful for working, such as built in wireless charging and even cup holders! Worth a look.
22. Desk Light.
For that new desk of yours. Or your old desk. Get one that puts out the kinds of light that are best for your eyes. Some desk lights can be set at various color temperatures, from bright natural sunlight to a gentle cool reading light.
Check out our detailed guide to home office lighting for more ideas.
23. Office Chair.
Don’t skimp on a good chair. Get the best one you can reasonably afford. Comfort is worth the price. Consider a gaming chair if you like to game when you’re not working.
24. Standing Desk.
If you prefer to stand while working, then forget everything we said about buying a good chair. Some desks can convert and elevate from a conventional sitting desk to a standing desk at the push of a button. Hmm, maybe you’ll need that chair anyway.
25. Noise-Cancelling Headphones.
Yeah, you may end up working in some places that turn out to be noisier than you expect. That cute cafÃ© down the street might be a little too popular. So for when you need to focus, a great set of noise-cancelling cans are a godsend. As a bonus, they work great on airplanes too, for when you become a digital nomad.
26. LinkedIn Profile.
If you’re a worker bee, chances are you already have one. But freelancers and self-employed folks use them too. Check out who else is doing what you do and get on the same page with them.
27. PC Monitor.
Laptops are great, but sometimes you need a little more real estate for your screen. No problem; just hook up a second monitor. Position it to the left or right side of your laptop as you work, or even put it above your laptop!
28. Another PC Monitor.
If one extra monitor helped with your work, why not two? Or three? As long as your PC’s video adapter can handle multiple external monitors, you can create a wraparound display for those really big (and wide) projects.
29. Multi-monitor stand.
If you use your muti-monitor setup often, get a dedicated stand or desk mount for them and plug in the laptop only whenever you really need it. Some stands can support as many as four large external monitors at once.
Check out detailed reviews on some of the best monitor stands you can buy today.
30. Power manager/Power strip.
All these electronic devices around means that they all will need power. To prevent a rat’s nest of cables cluttering up your workspace, consider the simplest power strip style that fits best in your space. Some lay flat on a desk, some are upright column designs, and others can be mounted to the side of desks or on a wall.
31. Uninterruptable Power Supply/UPS.
There’s nothing worse than losing hours worth of work to a power outage. For devices without built in batteries like laptops, you’ll need a UPS. When the power goes out, protect your servers, monitors, printers or whatever you can’t do without.
Here’s the one I use in my own remote workspace: CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD
32. Solar Power Charger.
These are great if you like to get away from it all while working. Drive to the beach and work out of your tailgate with the sun recharging your laptop and phone.
And I’ve done exactly that with my BigBlue 28W Solar Charger. Great for work or play.
33. USB Flash Drives.
Google Docs is great, but sometimes you need a copy of your files in your pocket instead of in the cloud. Fortunately, portable storage has never been easier. Modern flash drives are bigger and better than ever, with most being able to store many gigs of data in your pocket. No external power, no cable clutter, and lots of cool colors and styles to choose from.
34. USB Hub/Port Replicator.
“One USB port is too much, and a hundred aren’t enough.” With more laptops getting thinner and lighter, there’s less room for on board USB ports. You’ll quickly find a need for more ports to use at the same time, so a dongle or USB hub is needed. Many have multiple extra ports, such as SD card readers, ethernet ports, and even external monitor connections.
35. USB Powerbank.
A good backup USB battery is a lifesaver when you’re far from a power plug. Combined with a good USB hub, you can recharge multiple devices all at once.
36. External USB Hard Drive.
Never run out of space to store good ideas. An external hard drive can hold your work items as well as your personal data. You can move a drive between computers for maximum flexibility.
37. Network Attached Storage (NAS).
For REALLY big ideas that require lots of data on a network, a NAS is the best choice. Use it as a data server or as a backup solution. Replace the hard drives when bigger faster ones become available without missing a beat.
38. Wireless Keyboard.
Like you don’t already have enough cables to worry about. A wireless keyboard is a good way to get rid of one of them. Keep a supply of extra batteries, though.
39. Wireless Mouse.
Same goes for your mouse. Lose the cable and gain space in your carry bag. Control your PC from a distance for extra fun when work gets boring.
40. Ergonomic Keyboard.
Some people develop hand and finger problems from too much keyboarding. And let’s admit it, some laptop keyboards suck. But that’s easy to fix. Get a new smooth typing mechanical or ergonomic keyboard and give your wrists and fingers some love.
41. Ergonomic Mouse.
Don’t forget all the mouse miles you’ve accumulated. If you’re going to use a mouse a lot, might as well get the best, smoothest one you can afford.
42. Laptop Bag/Laptop Backpack.
Carry it all with you. That’s the whole point of remote work, right? Get a waterproof laptop backpack with enough space for what you have now, and what you may need later. If you do hybrid remote work between home and your office, get a bag that can carry printed documents, too.
43. Boom Microphone.
If you’re producing a podcast, or a YouTube channel, or just want to look cool for your video calls, get a high quality microphone with a boom arm for your home studio.
Check out my review of the Fifine T669 boom mic if you need a decent one.
44. Podcasting Software.
And if you are a podcast creator, naturally you’ll need the proper software. Make sure it’s compatible with the type of podcast you want to produce.
45. Ring Light.
Or if it’s YouTube you’re into and you get a lot of face time, you’ll need to get your lighting right. Ring lights are easy to use and can be used for other things besides your close-up shot.
46. Video Editing Software.
YouTubers, need we say more. Shooting video is easy, but editing your footage down to a usable length and arranging it into good content is another. Good tools are always a good investment, so get the best software for the kind of content you want to create.
47. VPN Service.
For security, privacy, getting around geolocation or other reasons, a good VPN service is a useful tool and a great way to gain more insight into how cybersecurity works.
48. 4K Video Camera.
YouTubers, you probably already have one of these, so you know how valuable they are. Aspiring YouTubers, listen to what the best YouTubers use. For the rest of us, a 4K GoPro may be all you need.
49. Cloud Storage.
If you’re always on the move between work sites, Cloud Storage such as Google Drive is the best way to keep your data accessible and protected. No more worrying about losing your laptop or external hard drive or flash drive. Redundancy is key.
50. Instant Messaging Tools.
If there’s no need for a full-blown videoconferencing session like Microsoft Teams, a quick IM from PC to PC (or via smartphones) may be just the ticket. Don’t stay on them all day, though. You’ll never get anything else done.
51. Project Management Tools.
If you’re on a team of remote workers collaborating on a common project with remote teams, it’s important to know who’s doing what and when. A good project management tool package with file sharing can be essential to keep everyone pointed in the same direction.
52. Patio Furniture.
Not what you were expecting? That’s how we roll here. :^) What’s the point of remote working if you can’t move around and enjoy it? Bonus points if you can get the job done while working poolside.
53. Paper Notebooks.
The original project management software. Paper will never go away, despite our best efforts to go totally paperless. There’s no substitute for jotting down a phone number in the car or drawing a quick picture of a future product idea, or anything else. Just don’t let the pool get your notebook wet.
54. Multicolored Pens.
With paper come pens. A pen with several colors built in is a great way of separating your ideas on the same sheet of paper. Black is boring, so try red, green or purple to make your to do lists colorful!
Or if you prefer to erase and revise your paper ideas, the tried and true pencil comes in handy. Or if you like to draw out your ideas, a nice set of colored pencils can serve you well.
56. Electric Pencil Sharpener.
Keep those pencils sharp in a jiffy. Enjoy the satisfying grind of a mechanical pencil sharpener putting out a perfect point every time. Keep it away from the pool, though.
If paper isn’t your thing and you prefer to write really large, a big (or small) whiteboard could work for you. Make your text and charts big and bold, take a photo of them, then erase the board and start over.
58. International Power Adapters.
For you digital nomads who like to travel to more business-friendly locales, power plug adapters can help keep your digital tools charged up and ready to rumble. Make sure you get the voltage right for the country’s power you’re in or else bad things can happen. Think POOF.
If you were able to get into another country, chances are you already have one of these. Even if you don’t travel, it’s useful to have a passport anyway. You never know when an opportunity abroad may present itself.
60. Second Passport.
If you already have one passport, you should look into getting another. A second passport gives you more flexibility to travel, and also gives you the option to renounce your citizenship if you come from a high-tax country.
61. Third Passport.
And if you have a second passport, why not a third? Some countries are more agreeable to allowing certain nationalities within their borders. If you live the digital nomad life, travelling between different nations can be easier with multiple passports.
And with all that travelling you’re doing, you’ll need good luggage. If you’re living out of a suitcase, you might as well get a good one.
If you burn the midnight oil working, or if you need to wind down after a long day of working with your virtual teams, enjoy a cup of your favorite warm beverage. Your to do lists will be there waiting for you when you’re done.
64. A Sense Of Humor.
Living on your own working schedule sometimes can be taxing. When people don’t work with you, or when even the best remote working tools inevitably fail you, keep your head and laugh with it. And get more coffee.
65. Bamboo HR.
If you’re coordinating with various remote distributed teams and you need a way to make sure everyone gets taken care of, a virtual HR firm like Bamboo HR can help. They can submit payroll, create compliance documents, do onboarding, and even hiring remote employees!
66. Desktop Fan.
Don’t get hot under the collar. if you’re working someplace warm, it’s important to stay cool. A handy USB fan or even a traditional floor style fan nearby can keep things cool. Just don’t let your papers blow away.
67. Space Heater.
Or if you prefer a colder locale, stay warm with your coffee and a space heater. Random tip: there’s nothing like working fireside! A fireplace is the ultimate space heater. But if you don’t live somewhere with one, a space heater will do.
68. Comfortable Hoodie.
Or if a space heater is impractical or you’re outdoors on battery power, get a good hoodie to keep your brain warm. Hoodies with lots of pockets are great for keeping your tools organized as you move.
If you’re a digital nomad or just like to travel a lot, AirBnB is a great way to stay in some wonderful locations with great local connections. Good for business and pleasure.
70. A Sense Of Adventure.
With travel and remote working comes adventure! Some of it good, and maybe some of it bad. Armed with a sense of humor and your trusty hoodie, you’ll have nothing to fear if a video call goes wrong.
71. Amazon Prime.
Is there nothing Amazon doesn’t sell? Use Amazon Prime to get the tools for remote working that you need, and watch Amazon Prime Video during your downtime.
72. Dollar Store.
But if you need something now Now NOW and can’t wait for Amazon, many places have dollar stores or something similar (such as 100 yen shops in Japan) that sell convenient items for a cheap price. With everything so inexpensive, you can afford to experiment with replacing more costly items you rely on.
73. Accounting Software.
You’re bound to have a need to track income and expenses from a variety of non-traditional sources. Keep track of them all with something like Quickbooks or Bench.co or something similar.
74. Password Management Software.
Yeah, you’ll end up with a ton of different logins and usernames, and you’ll need a way to keep track of the passwords for ALL of them. Get a good password manager software package to cut down on those headaches. It’s one of the best remote work software tools you can have.
75. Team Communication Tools.
If you’re working remotely with a team of other remote workers, you’ll need ways to stay connected to them. Take a look at our article on Team Communication Tools and get the juice your team needs to succeed.
76. AI Tools.
Yep, you knew this one was coming. Now that it’s here, it’s a good idea to get on the AI bandwagon and try out ChatGPT now before your competitors do (Hint: they already have).
But if ChatGPT isn’t your thing, check out some alternatives to ChatGPT.
77. And A Positive Mental Attitude!
If you’re looking to get out of the office for good, whether you choose to just work from home for your current employer or you want to roam the world doing your own thing, make sure your head is with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are two things to consider before working remotely?
First, consider your employerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s policy. Not all employers are open to employees being remote workers. Before asking to work from home, make sure you know your company’s policy on telecommuting and whether or not they would be willing to let you try it out for a certain period of time. If your employer is hesitant about the idea of remote work, ask if they would consider letting you try out a modified version of telecommuting, like working from home one day a week.
Second, establish set working hours and stick to them. When you’re working remotely, it can be tempting to start work early in the morning and continue late into the night, but this can lead to burnout. Try to schedule your day in advance so that you have defined working hours and stick to them as closely as possible. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
What is the hardest part of working remotely?
One of the hardest parts about working remotely is staying connected and organized. Many remote workers find it helpful to have a good remote work toolkit that includes a video conferencing tool, messaging app, document-sharing platform, and time-tracking software.
Another challenge of working remotely is managing distractions. It can be easy to get distracted by household tasks or by working in an environment where there are no clear work hours. It’s important to set boundaries for yourself and to create a workspace that is productive and comfortable.
For employers managing remote teams, it’s important to set expectations for your remote workers and make sure they abide by them. It’s hard enough to manage people all together in an office; having them scattered all over the world multiplies that difficulty.
Are remote workers happier?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the happiness of remote workers will depend on a variety of factors, such as their work style, job satisfaction, and work/life balance. However, recent studies have shown that remote workers are generally happier than office workers.
This may be due in part to the rise in remote work software and tools that allow employees to connect with colleagues and collaborate no matter where they are. These tools allow remote workers to feel more connected to their team and workplace, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and a better work/life balance.
Remote Work Tools: The Last Word
If you have the right tools and a bit of courage, remote work can be an amazing experience. But if you don’t have the courage yet, at least read over this remote tools list (and then read over it again), get the best remote work tools, learn to use them, and the courage will come. We’ll be writing more articles on how to do this, so stay tuned!