Since I’ve been working remotely for the past few years, I’ve come to discover through my own research, experiments, and colleagues some tools, items, and gear that make remote work even more awesome. Some I strictly use at home in my tiny house, some I bring with me when working from the road or in another location. Enjoy and let me know if you have any favorites of your own!
Having converted to Apple some years ago, it's hard to go back. The Macbook Pros in particular are slim, lightweight, powerful, and just all around exceptional. I particularly like the 2019+ models as they improved the keyboard. The M1 processor versions I've heard from colleagues have stellar performance. So if you're a coder, designer, video editor, check those out. I tried a 13", but it was just too small for the work I do even though the space and weight savings would be nice. If you're a blogger and/or don't need larger screen sizes or power and looking to save on price, size, weight, check out the Macbook Air and also Chromebooks for the minimalist.
I was provided an iPad for a project and used it additionally as a second monitor. I also have a couple colleagues who do the same, in particular while traveling or working at a cafe. It works seamlessly wirelessly with Sidecar built into MacOS. Also of course doubles as a tablet as its main function. Size and model depends on your budget and preferences.
Depending on your job function, an external monitor is definitely a productivity booster. I like to extend mine and have side-by-side with my laptop screen. It's also really helpful when screen sharing in meetings or presentations when you don't want to share your main screen in case you forget to turn off notifications. Also, you can keep on your main window open with meeting attendees to see people's reactions, joiners, leavers, etc. while sharing your entire second screen and seamlessly switch among windows without disruption. I use this at home only, not while traveling. I opted for a smaller size due to space, but there are more options if you expand the size. Only thing I don't like is that using with a Macbook doesn't give you the same text crispness as the laptop screen. You'd need an Apple monitor for that (or an iPad). Tip: Look for multiple ports, including a USB-C PD charging port to which you can plug in your laptop to keep it charged and connect the video, saving yourself some cable mess. HDMI is also handy. Extra USB-A ports can be useful for charging or otherwise connecting devices.
I picked up the old model wireless keyboard because I found a cheaper used one. Works great. I would probably recommend going with a newer version if you want to spend the money. Easy bluetooth pairing. Note: While you can pair with multiple devices, if both devices are on and within a few feet of the keyboard, pairing will happen on whichever was used last. To use the other one, unpair and then re-pair.
I picked up the old model wireless trackpad because I found a cheaper used one. Works great. I would probably recommend going with a newer version if you want to spend the money. Using a trackpad over a mouse in my opinion is more comfortable and offers more gestures if you use a Macbook. Easy bluetooth pairing. Note: While you can pair with multiple devices, if both devices are on and within a few feet of the trackpad, pairing will happen on whichever was used last. To use the other one, unpair and then re-pair.
I have one of the smaller versions simply due to space available, but this is such a great thing for work or otherwise to be able to cheaply and easily switch between sitting and standing when using a laptop. There's sufficient space for mouse/trackpad, keyboard, and/or extra monitor. You can also use in conjunction with an external monitor arm.
Great design and quality perfect for an external monitor in whichever orientation you need. I use in conjunction with my standing desk converter. Especially useful when table space is limited.
I resisted this for a bit due to price, but it's well worth it. The advantage of a laptop stand is in my mind several things. First, get the screen closer to eye level to avoid slouching. Second, create space for an external keyboard/trackpad/mouse. Third, use with a particular surface or converter to create a standing desk. Super lightweight and folds up tight, easy to pack and transport or stow away when not in use. Note: Link is to newest version, I have the V2.
You may not immediately think of it, but a router is a key component to a speedy and stable remote work setup. Spend the extra money on one instead of what you get from the cable company. They're not that expensive and will improve your Internet life. I upgraded an old router from several years prior, for example, and got 30x wireless speed increase and much better stability where I had to reset my old router all the time. It's well worth it. This one is a few years old now, but works great.
My keyboard and trackpad are older and use AA batteries, so rechargeable batteries are key. Also useful for anything that requires AA batteries like remotes, smart locks, camping lanterns, etc. The Panasonic (vs. Sanyo) Eneloop batteries are the best rated rechargeable batteries, hold charges longer, and have greater longevity. Pick up a charger and AAA batteries too.
This tiny gadget is awesome if you still have USB-A style cords or gadgets to plug into USB-C ports, such as a Macbook.
I don't wear glasses normally. I purchased these because my eyes kept getting dry and I was getting headaches. Like many of you I'm sure, much of my day is spent in front of a computer screen. These help block out harmful blue light and are also great if you're on the computer in the evening to prevent disrupting your circadian rhythm. I don't use them all day everyday, but they do help reduce eye strain and headaches when I do wear them. Of course if you wear glasses, you likely have a blue light filter coating already.
This handy laptop tray is useful if you tend to like to work in different spots or maybe are in a temporary space and need something resembling a table. You can also use this to help create a standing desk on a kitchen counter for example or sit on the floor leaning up against a couch. Helps with posture and eye alignment of the screen. If you're on a road trip, it folds up flat and is easy to transport.
$140 + data
I'm of mixed opinion on this wireless hotspot because it still works off of cellular towers and thus won't work in most U.S. national parks or more rural areas. However, it does work off of multiple cell providers (at least T-Mobile and AT&T in my travels), has different types of data plans for purchase, and is compact for easy transportation. Also doubles as a power bank. You can connect multiple devices and keep it charged directly through your laptop. It can be used domestically or internationally depending on your data plan. If you're frequently on video conference calls (and/or streaming), you'll eat through data pretty quickly. While T-Mobile offers a pretty good hotspotting deal, Skyroam offers some extra coverage and faster speeds. I think it's also good to have a dedicated hotspot if you're using it all the time to preserve the longevity of your phone. Going through T-Mobile if you're in the U.S. may be a more affordable option since they also support international data along with some hotspot options on your phone, or separate hotspot device.