Working from a remote location has its share of pleasures and difficulties to be sure, but you’ll never get the most out of your remote home office and the challenges will only be more difficult if you and your employees don’t have the right equipment. A laptop alone isn’t enough for a proper remote work setup, but Dell can help you fix that and save some money in the process.
Whether your circumstances have changed due to recent events or you’re just setting up a home office by choice, Dell Technologies has everything you need to get started no matter what line of work you’re in. Below, we’ve put together a couple of guides on how to build a remote office for you and your employees. Whatever your professional duties are — be they administrative support or creative work like graphic or web design — Dell Technologies has you covered.
How To Build The Perfect Remote Office for Admin Work
Your remote office needs should be fairly straightforward for more traditional administrative support work. Along with a good laptop (which this guide assumes you and your employees already have, but if you don’t, or if you need a new one, we’ve picked a couple out for you), a proper remote workstation needs a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, along with a communal laser printer. We’ve also included a couple of other productivity enhancers from Dell Technologies, including a headset for calls and voice chats along with a compact docking hub that serves as a handy connection point for all of your devices and components.
— $180, was $239
If you only get a single item to turn a laptop into a remote workstation, make it a monitor like the Dell S-Pro 23. The vast majority of modern laptop computers come with ports for connecting an external display (typically via HDMI), and this greatly enhances your workspace to allow for better multi-tasking and more detailed work. It can also give you two displays since you can keep your laptop open and continue using it — however, if you want a properly extended desktop, this 23-inch 1080p Dell S-Pro is the ideal size for a dual-monitor setup. And at this price, even buying a pair of these displays (or even more for multiple employees) won’t break the bank.
— $45, was $50
With a laptop hooked up to a monitor and converted into a remote workstation, you’ll want a separate mouse and keyboard to take that productivity further. The Dell KM636 bundle gives workers the comfort and convenience of a full-sized wireless keyboard and mouse while still keeping a relatively small desktop footprint thanks to the model’s sleek, low-profile design. The wireless devices sync with a computer with a single receiver, and the AA and AAA batteries are included (we also recommend getting some good rechargeable batteries if you don’t have some already, especially if you’re outfitting remote workstations for several employees).
For VoIP calls and video chat, the Dell Pro headset is a must. For starters, an on-ear headset reduces distractions while you and your employees are busy working; secondly, the noise-canceling headset microphone’s high-definition wideband voice is almost certainly going to sound clearer and better than the little built-in mic on most laptops. There’s no reason the Dell Pro headset can’t be used for listening to music, too, and the included desktop control hub makes it easy to unplug the headset from a PC and into a mobile device when necessary for taking phone calls. If you want an over-ear headset that’s better for music, though, then check out our upgrade pick below.
— $209, was $299
For professional use, you’ll want to upgrade that standard inkjet printer and replace it with a laser model. Thankfully, laser printers aren’t prohibitively expensive anymore, and even color laser printers like the Lexmark C2425dw are offering a lot of value today. Along with high-volume monochrome printing (the typical function of a traditional laser printer), this Lexmark unit can pump out color prints at rates of up to 25 pages per minute, while toner cartridges deliver up to 6,000 monochrome prints or 3,500 color prints. Wireless connectivity also makes it easy to install this printer on your remote office Wi-Fi network for wireless printing — allowing you and your employees to easily send jobs right to the printer from a PC or mobile device.
— $80, was $100
Since a remote workstation involves hooking up a handful of different devices, it’s not a bad idea to have a few extra connection ports handy. This Dell USB-C Mobile Adapter serves as a hub for syncing a laptop with other remote work peripherals: Simply connect the hub itself to any laptop with a USB-C port and you can use the adapter’s HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, Ethernet, USB-C, and USB-A ports for the rest. This frees up the laptop’s other ports, prevents workers from having to unplug everything when they need to take their laptops on the go (since everything is hooked up to the adapter), and provides extra connections, such as DisplayPort, that a laptop might lack.
— $849, was $1,427
This guide assumes you and your remote work team have laptops already, but if not (or if it’s simply time to replace one that’s feeling a bit dated here in 2020), then Dell Technologies has some very good budget-friendly machines that are all business. The Dell Vostro 14 5490 is one such example, featuring a 10th-generation Intel Core i7-10210U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Those are great specs for everyday work, browsing, and general use. The 14-inch display also doesn’t cut corners with its 1080p Full HD resolution, and its USB-C port — often missing from sub-$1,000 laptops — works great with the Dell USB-C hub for hooking up all the above peripherals.
How To Build The Perfect Remote Office for Creative Work
Creative professionals such as graphic artists, web designers, musicians, and video editors have a different set of needs when it comes to remote office equipment. Such teams of professionals also tend to have (quite understandably) higher demands for their equipment, so our second set of picks for a remote workstation from Dell includes some monitor upgrades along with other worthy additions. This isn’t limited only to creative applications, however, so even if you’re building a remote office for more traditional work, these might be worth considering if you’re willing to stretch your budget. We’ve included a 2-in-1 laptop if you’re also in the market for a new computer.
— $240, was $320
For creative work, you might want to consider upsizing to a larger display like the Dell S-Pro 27. With a 27-inch 1080p IPS panel, it provides superior color accuracy and viewing angles to the more common TN and VA panels — and, like the Dell S-Pro 23, the S-Pro 27 would be a good choice for dual-monitor extended desktop setups. It can also be flipped vertically on its sturdy base. ComfortView technology reduces harsh glare from blue and white light, too, which is easier on the eyes for long viewing sessions, something that is particularly helpful in the evening when this light can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm.
— $400, was $500
Full HD resolutions are good at 27 inches, but that’s the upper limit for 1080p; at this size, a Quad HD monitor like the Dell UltraSharp 27 might be worth the upgrade depending on the remote work needs of you and your team. This one features an IPS panel with a crisp QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440, making it ideal for sensitive visual work like drawing and graphic design. It wouldn’t be a bad primary monitor for a dual-monitor remote office setup, either, and would pair nicely with either of the Dell S-Pro displays for that purpose.
If music is what’s needed to get those creative juices flowing, then a good over-ear headset is better suited to hours of listening than standard on-ear models. The SteelSeries Arctis 5 is one of the best at this price point thanks to its S1 drivers that deliver great sound quality along with its plushy ear cups and suspended headband design that make it comfortable to wear for extended periods. A retractable ClearCast microphone means you and your employees can use this for voice chat and calls when required, then tuck the mic out of the way when it’s not. Finally, the on-ear controls make it easy to quickly adjust the volume and mute the microphone on the fly.
— $278, was $347
A dock is a very handy thing to have on any remote work desk, and the Dell WD19TB is the first modular dock to feature a highly versatile Thunderbolt 3 port. It also features two USB-C, three USB-A, one 3.5mm audio, one Ethernet, one HDMI, and two DisplayPort connections, providing enough ports for every part of your remote office (including dual monitors) and could even be shared by multiple workers. Added technologies like Dell ExpressCharge Boost can also be used to juice up any connected devices quickly, and since the Thunderbolt dock is modular, you can swap out components if your needs change in the future.
— $90, was $100
The Dell Premier wireless keyboard and mouse bundle is a nice upgrade pick over the KM636. The wireless KM717 keyboard features a full-sized layout with a sleek metallic finish, and the five-button mouse has a unique arc-shaped design that fills the palm along with a 1,600 dpi laser sensor designed to work on any smooth surface. What’s unique about the KM717 combo is that the wireless keyboard and mouse share a receiver that’s Bluetooth-capable, allowing you to sync them up with other devices that have Bluetooth 4.0.
— $76, was $85
A surge protector is a must-have for protecting pricey electronics from power spikes, but the APC Back-UPS takes that one step further by standing in as a backup battery that keeps everything on for a few minutes during brief power outages (or at least giving workers enough time to save their work before shutting down in the event of an extended blackout). This is vital for creative professionals, as there’s nothing worse than the power going out in the middle of a task such as video rendering and wiping out hours’ worth of progress. The APC Back-UPS surge protector features eight outlets (four with battery backup), giving you and your team enough real estate for your remote office devices with outlets to spare.
— $1,699, was $1,760
For creative work, you should be looking for a 2-in-1 like one of our favorites, the excellent Dell XPS 13 7390. These convertible touchscreen PCs have become incredibly capable in recent years and the XPS 13 has only gotten better: It runs on one of the new 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processors along with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which provides plenty of juice for multitasking and resource-heavy jobs like video editing. It has a nice snappy 256GB SSD for storage (and with a high-speed SSD, it makes it easy to work with big files right off the drive). Its 13.3-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen also folds down for use as a tablet, perfect for artists and graphic designers, although you’ll have to buy the Dell Active Pen separately.
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