More and more professionals and small businesses are discovering the joys (and challenges) of performing their duties from home, and while the concept of remote work has been thrust into the spotlight lately due to recent events, it has been a burgeoning trend for years. But whether you’re setting up a remote office for yourself or your employees, you’ll need the right equipment to do it,
You don’t have to spend a fortune to build a good setup, either. Below, we’ve laid out two different guides on how to build a remote office: One with a budget limit of $550, another with a budget of $1,000. Each setup gives you and your employees everything needed for professional remote work. If it’s also time for a new PC or two, we’ve included a couple of our favorite laptops from Dell Technologies.
For more basic and straightforward professional applications, you can easily build a remote home office for around $600 or even a bit less for a single person (assuming you already have a suitable laptop). All you need to add to a computer to create a remote workstation is a monitor, mouse and keyboard, printer, and a headset for video and audio calls. Sync these up with a laptop and you’ve got a full setup that’s perfect for remote work, and this can easily be scaled up for multiple employees as well.
— $180, was $239
Laptops are great for portability, but for remote work, a proper full-sized desktop monitor always beats a laptop display. You don’t need a desktop PC to enjoy the extra screen real estate, though, as almost all laptops today come with HDMI ports or even DisplayPort connections to interface with modern monitors like the Dell S-Pro 23. This 23-inch widescreen display features a 1080p Full HD resolution and an IPS panel (widely regarded as the best panel type), making it perfect for a professional remote office. You can score the Dell S-Pro 23 for less than $200, too, after a $60 discount knocks it down to $180.
— $43, was $50
The next step in assembling a remote office is getting a proper keyboard and mouse, which are more comfortable for extended work sessions than a laptop keyboard and touchpad. Even better is a wireless setup like the Dell KM636 bundle which includes a full-sized keyboard (complete with numpad for data entry tasks) and a three-button mouse. Both devices connect to the same USB receiver and come with the necessary batteries, so you’re ready to go right out of the box. This is one of the easiest and surest ways to increase the remote work productivity of you and your employees, all for just $45.
— $76, was $80
More and more people are discovering the utility of apps like Skype and Zoom, and a good headset is a better way to do online calls and video chats than the (probably fairly lousy) built-in mics found on most laptops. The Dell Pro stereo headset lets you focus entirely on your call with its comfortable on-ear pads, while the built-in noise-canceling microphone features HD wideband for improved voice clarity when you’re speaking. The Dell Pro headset rings in at $80.
— $209, was $299
Whether it’s only for one person or it’s for a remote office with several employees, any professional setting needs a fast high-volume printer — which means a laser printer rather than a standard inkjet. Thankfully, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a good professional-grade printer nowadays. Even color laser printers like the Lexmark C2425dw are reasonably priced (and don’t take up too much space, either, which is an important consideration for remote work). The Lexmark C2425dw color laser printer can print up to 25 pages per minute and features built-in Wi-Fi so you and your employees can connect it to the local office network and print wirelessly from computers and other devices. It can also create two-sided documents thanks to its duplex printing capabilities. A $90 savings lets you grab this great laser printer for $209 right now.
— $479, was $756
Our $550 budget limit doesn’t include a laptop, but if your PC could use an upgrade or you’re looking to outfit an office with affordable computers for multiple employees, then Dell makes some of the best workhorse computers, and the Dell Vostro 15 fits that bill perfectly. It’s packing one of the latest 10th-generation Intel Core i3 CPUs along with 4GB of RAM and a high-speed 128GB solid-state drive. If you’re looking not only for a remote office setup but a good no-nonsense Windows PC to pair it with, then the Dell Vostro 15 is a fine choice that starts at just $479.
For a more advanced remote office, a budget of $1,000 is a good price limit that allows you to add and/or upgrade some equipment. This setup includes the same core components as our $550 build — a monitor, printer, mouse and keyboard, and headset — along with the addition of a docking station (similar to the one we suggested above but did not include) and a surge protector. All of the products for our $1,000 remote work setup are upgrades over the ones above, except for theand , which are still great picks that allow us to stretch our budget for the other essentials.
— $240, was $320
The Dell S-Pro 27 is a step up from our first pick, featuring a larger 27-inch display which is about as large as you want a workstation monitor to be (unless you’re going ultrawide, but that would take us well beyond our $1,000 remote office budget). It features the same sturdy build quality, HDMI and DisplayPort connections, and slim bezels as its 23-inch counterpart, as well as that great IPS panel technology that delivers improved colors and better viewing angles. At 27 inches, it’s a better choice for multitasking with several windows open on the screen — something that’s a pain to do on any laptop — and an $80 discount means you can upgrade to the S-Pro 27 for a pretty affordable $240.
— $280, was $347
As mentioned above, a docking station is a very handy addition to a remote office as it frees up your laptop’s connections and gives you and others more ports (including ones that many laptops might not even have). This Dell Thunderbolt dock features USB-C, USB-A, audio in/out, HDMI, DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, and Thunderbolt 3 ports, providing connection points for just about any peripheral or accessory you and your employees are using at a remote work station. It can also be used to charge up other devices while you work. The Dell Thunderbolt dock is on sale right now for $288 ($69 off).
— $90, was $100
A dedicated mouse and keyboard are essential for getting the most out of a remote office, but if you want something a little nicer than our first pick, The Dell Premier KM717 keyboard/mouse bundle is a worthy upgrade. The full-sized keyboard features a brushed metal finish, and the optical laser mouse features a 1,600dpi sensor that works great on almost any smooth surface. Perhaps the best feature of the Premier KM717 setup is that the included PC dongle features built-in Bluetooth connectivity that lets you sync a tablet, smartphone, or other devices with the mouse and keyboard thanks to the Dell Universal Pairing function (note that Bluetooth 4.0 is required, older versions won’t work). You can grab this wireless keyboard and mouse combo for $90 from Dell.
— $76, was $85
A surge protector is a good idea for any expensive electronics, but it’s a must-have for a remote office considering you’ll have at least a computer, monitor, and printer plugged into an outlet (and more than that if you have employees). The APC Back-UPS pulls double duty as both a surge protector that guards sensitive tech against sudden power spikes, blackouts, and other disruptions, and as a battery backup, providing just over three minutes’ worth of juice — enough time for you to save your data and shut down properly during an outage. The APC surge protector features eight outlets in total, four of which feature battery backup, and comes in at $76 right now.
— $1,029, was $1,470
As with our first remote office build guide, this one doesn’t budget for a laptop. If you or your employees need a new one, however (and the Vostro 15 didn’t whet your appetite), then the Dell Latitude 3390 is a fantastic 2-in-1. Under the hood, it runs on an Intel Core i5-8350U processor paired 1ith 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and for storage, you’ve got a nice fast 256GB SSD. The 13.3-inch 1080p touch display folds flat on its hinge as well, allowing you to run the Latitude 3390 in tablet mode for added versatility — it’s a great choice for a remote workstation as well as a for use as an all-purpose laptop when you’re back at the office. And, at $1,092 after a $441 discount, this excellent 2-in-1 is pretty well-priced for a premium laptop.
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