The Computer Equipment You Need to Work From Home

You know you need a computer, but don’t forget these other items

You don’t need to break the bank buying equipment if you’re going to be working from home, but there are a few pieces of computer equipment you need to work from home. The thing to keep in mind as you work through this list is the requirements of your job.

This list includes the most common items you’ll need to work from home, but your company may have additional requirements. Be sure you fully understand your company’s work from home policy before buying the equipment you need. 

New to working from home? We've got some helpful tips to help make the transition easier.

Computer Requirements for Work From Home Jobs

Probably the most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a computer. Unless the company you’re working with provides a system for you, you should keep in mind the computer specs you’ll need to meet your specific job requirements.

A woman working from home at her kitchen table.
 Westend61 / Getty Images

For example, if your company require remote workers to use a Windows computer but you go out and buy a Mac, you may find you can’t function the way you need to. You could use an option like Boot Camp to get Windows on your Mac computer, but keep in mind that may eat up a lot of the required resources you’ll need to get your job done.

High-Speed Internet With Sufficient Speed to Support Your Needs

You may not think of high-speed internet as an equipment requirement, but it is. You’ll need to have a modem and a router (or a device that combines both) that meet the specifications laid out by your company.

Some companies prefer that home-based employees have hard-wired internet. That requires very different equipment than wireless internet. Take your time to research and choose the very best internet service provider in your area so you aren't dropping off during video calls or losing connections at critical moments.

Some companies may also have security requirements like a hardware firewall. These security appliances are an additional layer of the home network you’ll create as you get setup to work from home.

You Might Actually Need a Landline Phone

Most jobs don’t require that work from home employees have a landline telephone anymore, but there are some that do. If you’re working as part of a customer or tech support team, you’ll probably need a hardline phone, but those aren’t the only jobs for which that may be a requirement.

If you are required to have a landline, keep in mind that you probably can’t use a software-based phone like Skype or Google Voice. While technology has improved dramatically, some companies still don’t have faith they will perform as they should.

If that’s the case, check with your internet service provider, since they will likely be responsible for your landline phone and most ISPs provide pricing bundles that can reduce your price for adding a landline number to the mix. You’ll still have to buy the telephone, but you can pick up inexpensive phones on Amazon without much trouble.

A Noise Canceling Telephone or Computer Headset With a Microphone

Chances are very good that you're going to have one of two circumstances arise that create the need for a good headset, with a microphone. You're going to need to make and receive calls, whether on the phone or through an internet communication service. You might also find yourself in a situation where you need to block out the world. That's why investing in a good noise canceling headset is essential to getting your work done. Bluetooth headsets are very easy to set up, so don't let that keep you from trying it out.

You can use wired or Bluetooth headsets, but if you happen to have a good set of noise canceling earbuds with a microphone included, those will usually connect to your computer (and sometimes even to a regular telephone) either wirelessly or using the headphone jack.

You May Need an External Webcam

Some computers don't have built in webcams or you may have a webcam that doesn't work. Either way, you can purchase an external webcam that plugs into a USB port on your computer.

There are a few important features to look for in a webcam and they run the gamut of price ranges. In most cases, a middle of the road webcam will do all you need it to do, unless there is an overarching reason you would need to connect in HD.

Paper Still Rules: You'll Need a Printer and Scanner

We still live in a world where paper often rules, which means it's likely that you'll need to invest in a printer or printer/scanner combo if you're not provided one by the company you work for. There are numerous inexpensive models on the market now, and if you don't need to print in color; buying a black and white printer can reduce the cost even more.

When considering printers, keep the cost of the ink or toner needed to operate the device in mind. For some models, it's cheaper to buy a new printer than it is to buy the ink or toner required to keep it running.

Peripherals such as USB Hub, Wireless Keyboard & Mouse (and more)

Peripherals are sometimes hard to decide on, but if you're in the market to add to the capabilities of your setup, a wireless keyboard and mouse are a good investment. These allow more freedom of movement and are often far more convenient to use than their wired counterparts. Just keep in mind that the wireless variety use batteries, which you should dispose of properly.

In addition, there are a few other peripherals that may be useful as you try to carry out your normal workday:

  • A battery backup unit so you can keep working in the event of a power outage.
  • A USB hub to help manage all the various devices you're using with your computer. Here are our recommendations for best USB hubs.
  • An external hard drive to provide plenty of storage for all your work.
  • A flash drive for portable storage if you're moving between your home office and a more traditional work location.
  • A second monitor to help you gain up to 50% more in productivity.

Once you're all set up, you can work confidently and effectively from home. You've got this!