No matter how diligently bosses like Tesla’s Elon Musk want their staff to clock in, sit at desks, and stare at their screens, it’s pretty clear to many employees that the future of work will eventually involve a flexible hybrid to both remotely and locally.
After all, it’s not like these bosses say you can stop working when you’re done. Also, after more than two years of the pandemic, people are tuned in to new threats that could potentially disrupt the way work is done.
That means the gear you rushed to buy two years ago — a monitor, mouse, headphones, and tablet — may need a long-term upgrade.
Take it from someone who has worked from home, in coffee shops and on all their vacation trips for the past 14 years: you want to set up your workplace well to do your business.
Here are some gear I’ve tested and gotten my hands on over the past year that I would recommend for the long haul:
Belkin 10W Wireless Charging Stand + Speaker
Yes, there are plenty of wireless chargers out there, but Belkin’s little gadget does it easily. Simply plug in the power supply and place your Apple or Samsung phone on the Belkin charger’s sloping stand to charge your phone wirelessly (assuming it supports it).
Luckily, you can place your phone in any orientation, and the Belkin Charger will always charge the battery before you rush off to a meeting. Got a phone coming? Simply take the call hands-free.
The built-in Bluetooth speaker is also handy if you want some music to accompany a dreary day. Or if you want to boost your boss’s voice a bit in case he’s too soft on a call.
Poly 10 Sync
If you want to slightly improve the sound quality of your conference calls, the professional-grade Poly Sync 10 speakerphone should be on your list. Powered by a USB connection, it also lets you connect your PC or phone via Bluetooth for those important business calls.
Made by the experts in conference calling, the Sync 10 comes with two microphones to ensure excellent sound quality while keeping out background noise. For those important calls, you’d want this.
Water resistant (with an IP64 rating) and weighing just 280g, it can be taken for any impromptu group meeting, for example, to your small service office, perfect for the hybrid future .
Microsoft Surface Go 2 Laptop
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano and Dell XPS 13 are some of the best high-end ultraportable laptops I’ve come across, but if I want an entry-level laptop, I might consider the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2.
Price at an affordable price $1,199 for a model with a Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, it has decent power and is also very portable with a compact 12.4-inch screen. For Windows users, it looks like an Apple MacBook but runs Windows applications.
The only catch is the rather unimpressive 1,536 x 1,024 screen resolution, which is less sharp than your typical phone with Full HD resolution. It’s not that wrong in actual use, to be fair, especially if you’re just typing emails on the laptop.
Plus, there’s a touchscreen, which is great if you’re sharing the laptop with your kids for homework.
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard
Keyboards are personal items – I know friends who spend hundreds of dollars on a custom mechanical keyboard they’d even compile software for – but I’m pretty happy with a simple old membrane keyboard like the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard .
What’s made me buy three of these wireless keyboards over the years is the contoured shape that ensures my shoulders aren’t constricted when typing – I’ve had a disc slip into my neck in my work back typing on a small laptop. Using proper keyboards I have been virtually pain free for 14 years.
The good key trip and the calm here are also important to me. Since I’m typing, I don’t need the keys to be super springy – I just need enough tactile feedback. I also prefer my keyboard to be quiet.
Another advantage is the compact size of the Microsoft keyboard. Since its numeric keypad is separate, it can be moved away from my desk. It’s a great compact keyboard that’s ergonomic without taking up too much space. I have a small mechanical keyboard for gaming, but it’s on this ergonomic version that I spend the most time.
Herman Miller Aeron
Don’t waste your money on “gaming chairs” that look like Recaro bucket seats stuffed with thick layers of leatherette and foam. Get yourself a proper “mesh” ergonomic chair that is comfortable and breathable, which is most important in a tropical climate like Singapore’s.
Arguably the best ergonomic chair of this type is the classic Herman Miller Aeron. With firm yet flexible support for your back and buttocks, it’s still the number one chair you’d want to seek out. Yes, the price tag of around S$2,000 will dent the bank account, but it comes with a 10-year warranty and your butt and back will thank you.
Of course, you don’t have to buy a Herman Miller. There are alternatives that offer some of the features, like lower back support as well as comfortable mesh designs, at a fraction of the cost. Just make sure you get one that’s comfortable to sit on for hours.
Be comfortable working from home
Not everyone has the luxury of a dedicated work-from-home space, it’s true. Many have migrated to their dining tables or set up a desk in a corner of the house, where space is at a premium. A more comfortable chair or a laptop that fits in a small space will help alleviate the difficulties a bit.
While collecting the gadgets, do not forget the coffee (or tea). A Nespresso machine and a few fancy capsules from a small producer could help ease a long day of work at home.
Or, as some have done, brew your own coffee by grinding the beans first. After all, you don’t have to spend so much time commuting or pay exorbitant prices in cafes for an afternoon pick-me-up.