If you find yourself in the remote or hybrid working space, one of the first questions you might ask is, “What equipment is needed to work remotely?” With so much tech gear nowadays, choosing the ones that will suit you and your team best is difficult. That's why we’ve rounded up some of the best tech gear for remote leaders and hybrid teams to help you stay on top of things, build better relationships with your team, and stay productive. In this article, we’ve included laptop and mic recommendations. Plus, other gadgets and apps you might not think of buying, but are excellent additions to your toolbox as a remote leader.
An essential piece of your remote workstation is your laptop. What is the best laptop for working from home? A general rule when picking your laptop is to choose a powerful yet highly portable one that fits your budget.
I’ve been working remotely for 11 years and have used a bunch of MAC and Windows laptops. My recommendation for the best laptop for remote work—which I’m currently using—is a Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (or any newer model). Because of its ultra-slim physique I was surprised as to how powerful it is. It also works as a tablet if you remove the keyboard.
Besides using it for writing, I also record and edit simple videos and do live streaming on it. The computer has a 1080p front camera, so I can still stream or join Zoom calls with fantastic video quality when I’m traveling and don’t have my Logitech webcam with me. However, if you’re working as a graphic designer or videographer, you might need something more powerful.
Elliot Grove, screenwriter and Founder of Raindance, has the perfect laptop recommendations for video editors. He recommends the MacBook Pro 16 (2020). While it is not the most powerful under the hood, he says it is the most reliable.
“The build quality of their chassis, the color accuracy of their screens, and the reliability of their OS are second to none. Macbook video editing is as good as it gets for editing on the go and there’s no better option than the 2020 16-inch model.”
The MacBook Pro or MacBook Air M1 are also popular recommendations for the best laptops for working from home. This is Justin Vawter’s, Chief Designer at Studio Vawter, recommendation for the best computer for remote work.
“If you’ll have a work-at-home station, a gaming laptop like MSI or Alienware with high GPU is an ideal choice. But if you need to go out every now and then and portability is a factor, definitely go for a MacBook.”
Another portable option for remote leaders is the Chromebook. The bad news: There are tons of Chromebooks available right now, and it’s also going to be hard to choose which is the right one for you. Chromebooks are highly portable, but many people are concerned that they might not be powerful enough for day-to-day work stuff. The good news: We might have the best recommendation for you.
Fintan Murphy, Damson Cloud CEO, recommends the ASUS C436FA. In his YouTube review, he said this ASUS Chromebook is “perfect for someone who wants to use this as their primary device for work and/or consumer use.” It has a 13-inch screen, a 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, and even an integrated fingerprint scanner. ASUS claims it has up to 12 hours of battery life, but it can drain very quickly. Another issue is that it has limited USB-C ports.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect laptop, it might be a good idea to invest in a laptop stand, too. Tamara Anderson, Co-founder at Remote Works, recommends a few options, such as the Roost. Roost has a sleek and adjustable design and costs $89 on Amazon. Anderson also recommends the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to complete your laptop setup. Having an external keyboard and mouse would give you a more ergonomic setup when working at home for long hours.
Another essential device for remote leaders and professionals is an external mic. Yes, your laptop has a built-in mic, but it’s not ideal for Zoom calls or when you’re live streaming or doing demo calls. A built-in mic picks up a lot of background noise. Ideally, you should be 4-6 inches from your mic when you’re recording audio or during a call.
Here are a few recommendations for the best dynamic mic for streaming:
My personal favorite and recommendation, the AverMedia USB mic, is an excellent dynamic mic for streaming. It’s a cardioid type, which means it picks up sound from the front and doesn’t pick up the background noise. It’s great for Zoom calls, live streaming, and even podcasting. It's not just a good dynamic mic for streaming, some claim it's one of the best.
If you’re willing to invest more, you can never go wrong with this USB mic, according to Dan Bennett, founder of The Antipreneur. Yeti mics cost between $100 to $200, depending on the model. It’s also a USB mic that’s very easy to set up and use and arguably the best streaming dynamic mic, as YouTubers and podcasters recommend it. I believe that it also serves as a stylish edition to your home-office decor with its classic microphone look.
If you don’t want to be tethered to a mic wire and are willing to invest more than $200 for a noise-canceling wireless headset, then the Jabra Engage 75 is your best bet. Julie Schiro, marketing professor and tech nerd, says that it’s expensive, but its noise-canceling feature is extremely impressive. It can even drown out the sound of her clapper, which is just a few inches away when she was recording.
You might often look for a headset with built-in active noise canceling app technology, but what if you want to use the headset you already have but still want to cancel that noise? That’s where an active noise canceling app comes in handy! And for remote leaders, Krisp has become the go-to software because of its flexibility. It can work with practically any meeting software from Zoom to Google Meet to Teams. Once installed, all you have to do is turn on Krisp, and it will work in the background. Plus, it comes with a free option. Laraine Zyreen Marcelo, Digital Learning Leader, highly recommends it for remote professionals, teachers, and students.
Not a fan of Krisp? Here are other alternatives:
Once you’ve got all your necessary tech tools, you might be thinking, what’s next? What other remote working technologies can you use to improve your productivity? For the best versatile gear for working remotely, we’ve got you covered.
Kathyrn Rose, wiseHer CEO and Founder, recommends the Targust Portable Keyboard. Here’s why she loves it:
"This is very helpful when I find myself at a coffee shop or a lacrosse practice and the table or car isn’t big enough for me to use my laptop. I pair it with my phone or my tablet to type notes, take care of emails and more. Having an external keyboard is so much easier than me typing it into my phone myself."
☝️Perfect for busy remote leaders who want to take advantage of unexpected downtime. If you’re meeting someone in a coffee shop and they’re running a little late, you can bust out your portable keyboard and crank out an entire blog post.
Ryan Swanstrom, a remote leader who is an expert in recommending tech tools for remote workers and hybrid professionals, takes the cake with these two high-tech recommendations:
Powerbanks are necessary for every remote leader. You can use it during a power outage or when traveling to juice up your tech gear. Jason Wong, CEO at Omnicharge, shared in his LinkedIn post:
"Unlike cheaper portable chargers that power up phones only, Omnicharge is a one-stop power hub suitable for charging smartphones, laptops, cameras, drones, and any other device you have."
Of course, cheaper portable chargers are an option, and there are tons of amazing brands that you can choose from, including Anker.
You’ve got the perfect and the coolest tech gear. Now, it’s time to choose the apps that can help you produce your best work. Here are a few recommendations from hybrid and remote leaders:
Ann Handley, author and marketer, recommends Hemingway for checking your sentence construction. She wrote in her article:
"A human editor is key to creating good content. But for a first pass after writing, I use either of these tools to flag not just spelling errors or typos and punctuation problems but also weak construction, passive voice, or sentences that are difficult to understand."
Vartika Kashyap, CMO at Proofhub, believes that some employees don’t feel heard. That’s why they work hard at Proofhub to make sure that communication is a two-way thing. Proofhub is a communication and task management tool that’s perfect for remote and hybrid teams.
Kevin Kolbe, content creator and video marketing consultant, swears by OtterVoice. Taking notes is a time-consuming yet necessary endeavor for any effective meeting. Otter AI makes the process easier by using artificial intelligence to transcribe your meetings in real-time so you can be more productive with less work!
As a remote leader, don’t underestimate the power of quality tech that can help keep your team well-connected. This article only scratched the surface of all the amazing tech gear out there. If we missed something, let us know on LinkedIn and tag us! Share with us your favorite gear and why.