Ironically, working from home during the pandemic has contained some silver linings. But not having access to a fully decked-out office computer station with multiple monitors can be limiting.
So, I bought myself a new second monitor for my home office. It paired up with my work PC laptop’s screen to provide more room for all of the open windows that collect throughout the work day.
During the early months of the pandemic, I repurposed my old Sony 21” LCD TV and connected it to my laptop via an HDMI cable. I thought I was so clever MacGyvering it, but its non-HD resolution wasn’t doing me any favors. Sure, I could extend my laptop’s screen, but the clarity on the Sony wasn’t there. If I came across small text, I often had to move it over to my laptop screen to be able to read it.
Favoring one screen over another adds unnecessary complexity.
Though I did eventually have another monitor solution temporarily in place, it was clearly time to upgrade my own gear. Not to mention a long-overdue reset surrounding my mindset over these many months.
Post Pandemic Mindset
The pandemic forced me and so many others to instantly adapt to a 100% work-from-home lifestyle. There were inevitable compromises where functionality trumped form.
- Were you connected?
- Did you have a comfortable location to do your home video conferencing?
- Could you simply get your work done?
It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t matter. My laptop’s second screen wasn’t great, but I didn’t feel it was an important enough limitation. (So I needed to squint a little.)
But thankfully, we’re moving away from that bunker mentality as life begins to return to normal in the US. Coming back to the office is on the horizon for many. But it’s going to be different.
Band-Aid Solutions No Longer Needed
Hybrid work will include working from home as a new norm as opposed to an occasional convenience. Even though remote work existed long before the pandemic, I think many of us viewed it as an infrequent arrangement that didn’t require fully-built-out technical solutions. Again, function over form.
But the pandemic forcibly evolved the very concept of working from home as a new standard. New hybrid work schedules are on the horizon. So, if you haven’t already done so, it’s probably time to finally focus on form over function when working from home.
For me, that meant upgrading my second screen for today and into the future.
The Power of a USB-C Connection
My first thought was to simply purchase a computer monitor with 1080 HD resolution and connect it via HDMI. That’s a cost-effective strategy to get the job done. But it’s based on older tech.
Newer computer monitors include a USB-C connection. Sure, that makes the screen more expensive, but it opens up a huge opportunity for your computer.
Laptops are notorious for not having enough outputs for peripherals. But if there’s a UBB-C port, that connection can do much more than simply connect to a monitor.
You can multipurpose one USB-C connection:
- Feed your second computer screen
- Power your laptop through that same USB-C feed
- Connect an external keyboard and mouse via the monitor’s USB-A ports
It’s a no-brainer.
After I came to that conclusion, my next challenge was figuring out which monitor to buy.
Billions of Choices
I’d like to say that I combed through every option on the market. I didn’t. That’s an overwhelming exercise. Instead, I called B&H and asked for some help. And I got it. The affable sales consultant and I agreed on these specs:
-27” screen size (based on my own workspace)
-4K (Future-proofing choice)
-USB-C input (the golden connection)
Then, he offered me a few options, and we quickly landed on this LG 27” 4K screen:
- LG 27BL85U-W 27” 4K IPS monitor
The LG had everything I needed, and I liked it because it has built-in speakers. (The B&H consultant also mentioned he was partial to LG monitors.)
I said, “Let’s do it!”
And my new LG screen arrived two days later.
You’ve Got to Have Some Trust
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Barrett blindly took a salesman’s recommendation. Ha!
Well, not entirely. The LG does get good reviews. But yes, I followed the salesman’s lead.
You can’t be an expert on everything. There’s simply not enough time. Instead you’ve got to find some trusted support systems to help you along with certain decisions.
B&H has always offered me great advice and customer service. I’ve been buying my tech there for years. I trust their recommendations.
Multi-screen Home Office for your Hybrid Future
Adding the right monitor for a multiple-screen setup instantly creates a more effective home office workstation.
After I plugged in my new 27” LG computer monitor and connected it via the USB-C port, I felt like I had just bought a new pair of glasses.
Perhaps it’s also time for you to have a larger and clearer digital canvas to work on at home, even if your new hybrid work schedule means it won’t be used every day.
Not to repeat the term, but consider all of this as part of the new normal.