The Best Technical Equipment for Working from Home
If you're going home to work and haven't done much before, there are some technical projects worth considering. In addition to some obvious items, such as an external display (if you are using a laptop), ExtremeTech also has some things that we particularly deserve to consider.

High-quality conference speakers
Although your office can participate well in conference calls, your home office may not. As a reporter listening to a virtual press conference a few times a month, I can easily see when a host is trying to use a laptop's built-in microphone, cell phone, or cheap webcam. In my case, I have both a good Logitech 1080p webcam, which is mounted on the display, and a hands-free phone for audio-only calls.

I'm currently testing eMeet's M2 conference-friendly speaker evaluation unit ($ 199.99). SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET Commerce. It has a UFO-shaped design and a sturdy structure with a machined aluminum chassis. Playback is an absolute step for all the smartphones I have used, but the real advantage of this device is the set of microphones that surround its edges, which provides it with a 360-degree sound field, and has audio processing capabilities that can speak at different distances and have Helps filter out background noise. You can use it via Bluetooth, the included audio cable, or the included wireless USB dongle. I have had success with both voice calls and Skype. Especially if you have multiple people present during a call, this is a better solution than having everyone bend over and sit on the same smartphone trying to hear.

If you don't want to spend money on conference-specific speakers, keep in mind that you can use Google Home or Mini or some other voice assist device as a speaker in an emergency. For this reason, I put a Google Mini next to my home office computer. Speaking of Google, I have been trying to keep my Pixel 3 on file when I dial in. This allowed me to reproduce the content of the call very well, which can be used to support notes. For various applications, there are also special call recording options. I have successfully used Amalto call recorder in Skype. However, the free version has a time limit for the duration of the call. (Remember also that different states have different laws when recording calls.)

Audio headset
speaker phone is not always the best solution. For starters, unless your keyboard is very quiet, it will be very unpopular if you type during a call (this is another thing that happens in an amazing number of news calls). Or, if you are not the only person working from home, you may not be able to unplug the call from the speaker. Finally, with good quality headphones, the microphone can do better than most hands-free speakers. Especially when talking to non-native English speakers, I find using quality headphones particularly useful.

Surveillance lights,
especially if you need to work in the same space as other family members, can effectively illuminate your work area without disturbing them. Just stick the desk lamp next to the computer and usually spill the wrong amount of light in the wrong place. Fortunately, a dedicated surveillance light is a great solution.

My favorite is Benq's ScreenBar series ($ 99 to $ 129). I have been using raw images for years. It provides a targeted dimmable light source from a position on the top of the display. I use it to light up the keyboard and any files I need at work. Their newer Plus model adds a desktop control, which I find more convenient than using the touch controls of the bar itself. It also has very cool features, and its ambient light sensor adjusts its output to give you a constant level of overall lighting.

Internet Connection
Failover Plan The Internet is a great thing-get online whenever you have the opportunity. At the office, your company may have a backup system that keeps everyone in touch if there is a problem with the ISP. At home, you may not know. There are several ways to set this up based on your location and budget. The easiest way is probably to get a phone plan that lets you use your device as a hotspot and has enough bandwidth to handle the device. Or get a dedicated hotspot device with a data plan.

However, if you are likely to work from home for a long time, it is worth investing in a second ISP connection. In our case, our main connection on Comcast was quite fast, while our backup on AT & T was slower. Both are plugged into Synology RT2600ac routers ($ 199.99) that support automatic failover. Most of the time, I guess if I need to pay for two ISPs, but even if our main connection is down for a few hours, we can still pay ourselves once or twice a month.

This is really easy when working out at home to become a couch potato. Walking is great, but not always enough time. Going to the gym is the traditional recommendation, but if you stay at home to avoid excessive contact, this may not be the best option.

Obviously, there are almost countless home fitness equipment to choose from, but what I find particularly suitable for working on my home desk is the "cycle" under the desktop. With a decent one, you can dial in resistance. More expensive models will also track your distance. I have a relatively cheap model-Stamina InMotion E1000 (I spent $ 89.99, now it is $ 104.99)

So far works great. Remember that you will need a table high enough to allow you to cycle under it.

Cooking techniques
I read from a reporter who found himself confined to the family and lamented how much he spent on food delivery services like Postmates and Doordash. For me, this completely misses one of the biggest benefits of working from home-it is much easier to cook for myself and my family. For starters, you may be able to cook while commuting. Alternatively, you can prepare before meals during the day, or even try meals that take a long time to cook.

Assuming you already have some type of stove and oven, to me, the most valuable "next" cooking device is an instant pot. The latest version, such as Duo Evo Plus ($ 109)

I have things that can be cooked slowly, slowly, pressure, and so on. If you want to make yourself more exotic and on budget, check out our review of Brava ovens and Cinder Grill.

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