Setting Up A Home Office: Laptop Edition

how to set up home office with laptop

Setting up a home office with a laptop is an increasingly common task, as more people are working from home. A good home office setup is comfortable, convenient, and private.

The ideal home office setup includes a desk, chair, monitor, docked laptop, and wireless printer. It's also important to have a strong internet connection and to separate your workspace from the rest of your home life.

- Choose a desk that fits your space and is height-adjustable.

- Invest in a good office chair with lumbar support and adjustable height.

- Use a laptop stand or external monitor to improve your posture and reduce neck strain.

- Get a wireless keyboard and mouse to save space and improve ergonomics.

- Consider a docking station to connect your laptop to peripherals like an external monitor.

- Use noise-cancelling headphones to block out distractions.

- Set up a wireless printer to print from anywhere in your home.

- Get a high-speed internet connection to support video conferencing and cloud software.

- Use floating shelves or a surge protector to manage cables and power surges.

- Let in natural light to improve your mood and sleep.

Characteristics Values
Space A separate room is ideal, but a niche space will do.
Desk Adjustable height, preferably with a keyboard tray.
Monitor Large, with a riser to ensure proper height.
Chair Adjustable height, lumbar support, and armrests.
Lighting Indirect, with no glare on the monitor.
Internet Wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
Peripherals Keyboard, mouse, and headset.
Printer Multifunction printer/copier/scanner.
Power Surge protector or uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
Backup Cloud storage and/or external drive.


Choose a laptop stand or a separate screen

Using a laptop stand or a separate screen can help you set the right height for your laptop, reducing eye and neck strain.

If you're looking for a laptop stand, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you'll want to make sure it's adjustable so that you can change the height and angle of your laptop to find the most comfortable position. The Rain Design iLevel 2 Laptop Stand is a great option in this regard, as it's easy to adjust and has a sturdy design. If you're looking for something more portable, the Tonmom Laptop Stand is a good choice, as it's lightweight and easy to set up and collapse.

If you want to go for a separate screen, you'll need to consider how much horizontal and vertical space you need, as well as how many your system can support. You'll also want to think about the cost of any additional stands or mounts that may be required. A big-screen monitor is a good option if you like having multiple windows open at once, while an ultrawide monitor can be great for those who want the benefits of a multi-monitor setup but with a single screen.

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Get a good chair

Getting a good chair is essential for your home office setup. A good chair will help you maintain a good posture and prevent back pain. Here are some tips to help you get a good chair:

  • Get an adjustable chair: Look for a chair that is adjustable in height so that you can set it to a height that suits you. Ideally, you want a chair where you can adjust the height of the seat, the armrests, and the lumbar support.
  • Get a chair with good lumbar support: Lumbar support is essential to help you maintain a good posture and prevent back pain. If your chair doesn't have built-in lumbar support, you can buy a lumbar support cushion separately.
  • Get a comfortable chair: Look for a chair with a comfortable seat and backrest. The seat should be wide and deep enough to accommodate you comfortably. The material of the seat and backrest should also be breathable so that you don't get too hot.
  • Get a durable chair: Look for a chair that is made of durable materials and that comes with a good warranty. A good warranty will cover any defects in the chair for a specified period.
  • Test the chair: If possible, test the chair before you buy it to make sure it is comfortable and adjustable to your needs.
  • Consider your budget: Office chairs can range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Set a budget for yourself and look for a chair that offers the best combination of features within your budget.
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Set up a docking station

Setting up a docking station for your laptop is a great way to get the benefits of a desktop computer without sacrificing portability. Docking stations come in many varieties, but connecting a laptop to one is almost always easy. Here's how to set up a docking station for your laptop:

Verify Compatibility:

Firstly, ensure that your docking station is compatible with your laptop. Docking stations come with different types of docking interfaces, such as Dell E-port or D-port, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, USB 3.0, or WiGig (wireless). Check that the docking interface or port available on your computer is compatible with the docking station.

Connect Devices to the Docking Station:

Once you've confirmed compatibility, it's time to connect your devices to the docking station. This includes your keyboard, mouse, external monitor(s), Ethernet cable, and any other external USB devices like a printer, external webcam, or USB drive.

Power on the Docking Station:

After connecting your devices, connect the power cable to the docking station and power it on. Dell recommends using the power adapter provided with the docking station for optimal performance.

Connect the Docking Station to Your Laptop:

Now, connect the docking station to your laptop, ensuring that you use the correct port. The specific connection method will depend on the type of docking station you have. For example, if you have a Dell E/Port docking station, connect it to the proprietary docking interface at the bottom of your laptop. If you have a universal USB docking station, connect it to any available USB 3.0 port on your laptop.

Install Docking Station Drivers:

Finally, download and install any necessary docking station drivers. For Windows operating systems, run Windows Update to ensure your system is up to date. You can also use tools like SupportAssist, Dell Command | Update, or Dell Update to update your BIOS and drivers.

By following these steps, you'll be able to easily set up a docking station for your laptop, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of a desktop setup while still being able to take your work on the go.


Add extra storage

If you're working in photography or design, you'll need lots of storage. Low-cost 3TB high-speed hard drives like the Buffalo DriveStation can help.

If you're using a laptop, you can also expand your storage with a portable SSD. The Crucial X6 2-Terabyte Portable SSD is a good option, offering a fair price for the amount of storage you get. It's lightweight, but it's also a bit plasticky and might not survive many tumbles. If you're after speed, the SanDisk Extreme Portable 2-Terabyte SSD is the fastest portable solid-state storage drive we tested. It's also lightweight and has an IP55 rating for protection against light rain.

If you don't need something portable, a Western Digital 6-Terabyte Elements Desktop Hard Drive will give you ample space for all your files. It's a hard drive rather than a solid-state drive, so it's much slower at transferring data, but it's best for overnight transfers and is still a good option for backing up your machine.

For smaller storage needs, a flash drive will do the trick. The SanDisk Extreme Pro 128-GB Flash Drive is a speedy, affordable, and durable option.

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Find a quiet corner

Finding a quiet corner for your home office is essential for productivity and focus. Here are some tips to help you create the perfect workspace in a quiet corner:

  • Choose a separate room or space in your home that can be dedicated to your office. This could be a spare room, an enclosed porch, a large laundry room, or even a garden shed. If you don't have a separate room, try to find a niche space that is out of the way and provides some privacy.
  • Ensure your workspace has good indirect lighting. Overhead lighting, such as a ceiling lamp, is ideal. Avoid placing lamps directly next to your monitor to prevent glare and competing light sources. Natural light is pleasant but use shades or curtains to diffuse it and minimise glare.
  • Consider investing in a good office chair that is adjustable and provides lumbar support. The Herman Miller Aeron and Steelcase Gesture chairs are highly recommended but come with a high price tag. Alternatively, the Duramont Adjustable chair is a more affordable option that still offers comfort and durability.
  • If you're working with a laptop, consider getting a laptop stand to improve your posture and eye-level when working.
  • To reduce noise distractions, use noise-cancelling headphones. The Sony WH-1000XM3s are a popular option, but there are also budget-friendly alternatives like the Cowin E7s.
  • If you can't find a quiet corner in your home, consider working in a coffee shop or library where you can find a quiet space to focus.
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Frequently asked questions

The key components of a home office setup are a desk, chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer. You may also want to invest in a docking station, external keyboard, and/or external monitor to make your laptop feel more like a desktop.

When choosing a desk, consider the amount of space you have available and whether you'd like the option to alternate between sitting and standing. For a chair, look for one that is adjustable and provides lumbar support.

Look for a monitor that is large enough to work on comfortably and has a high enough resolution to avoid eye strain. You may also want to consider getting two monitors to increase your productivity.

Look for a keyboard that is flat to avoid craning your wrists and a mouse that is the right size for your hands. Wireless options can help reduce cable clutter, but will require recharging or battery replacement.

Consider whether you will use your printer frequently and whether you need it to be wireless and/or have scanning capabilities. Laser printers tend to be cheaper to operate and last longer than inkjet printers.

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