Work from Home Standards
Recommended Minimum Hardware & Software Standards
Working from home can be as productive as working from the office in many circumstances. Having the right equipment can make the difference between a great and a poor experience. These recommendations are based on years of experience working with a variety of businesses using a variety of applications.
While they are a good guideline for acceptable minimum standards, these solutions are NOT one size fits all.
Talk to your vCIO or Account Manager about what’s right for your environment and needs.
Workstation hardware should be “business grade” from a reputable manufacturer (HP, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft). These machines will typically have higher quality components and come with a standard 3-year warranty term to back them up.
Common Desktop Series
Dell Optiplex, Dell Precision, HP Prodesk, HP EliteDesk, HP “Z” Products, Lenovo Thinkstation
Common Laptop Series
Dell Latitude, Dell Precision, HP Probook, HP EliteBook, HP ZBook, Lenovo “T” series, Lenovo “X” Series, Lenovo “P” series
Minimum Performance Standards
- Workstations should at a minimum have an Intel Core i3 or Ryzen 3 processor.
A Core i5 or Ryzen 5 is preferred for improved performance.
- It is recommended that all workstations have a minimum of 8GB of Memory (RAM).
- All workstations should be equipped with a Solid State Drive (SSD), preferably an NVMe SSD.
250GB is a reasonable Solid State Drive capacity.
Workstation Software should be “currently supported” by the vendor
At a minimum, employees should be using Windows 8 or Windows 10.
- Ideally, Windows 10 Professional, which will give you the best blend of performance and compatibility.
- Note: Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft and should not be used for business purposes at this point.
At a Minimum, employees should be using Office 2013 or Higher (2016 or 2019).
- Ideally, using the subscription-based Office 365 will allow employees to install the newest version of office on up to 5 total machines inside and outside of the office.
- Note: Office 2010 is no longer supported by Microsoft and has stopped receiving security updates.
At a minimum, employees should use Acrobat Standard DC 2015.
- Ideally the subscription Adobe “Document Cloud” allows employees to have the newest version of Adobe software installed on both their work and home computers.
- Note: Acrobat Pro 11 is no longer supported by Adobe.
AntiVirus Software should be installed.
- At a minimum, Windows Defender (the included AV in Windows 10) should be enabled.
- Ideally using CIO Solutions Managed Antivirus software (Webroot) allows us to provide the highest level of security, support, and automated scanning.
Windows Updates should be enabled.
- At a minimum Windows Automatic Updates should be enabled on your Windows 10 workstation.
- With Windows 10 PRO-
- Ideally installing the CIO Solutions tools allows CIO to test updates and roll them out on your employees machines automatically.
Peripherals can really make or break your ability to work from home. Items like docking stations and multiple monitors can transform productivity and enable an employee’s home to be come an extension of the office.
If your employees have Laptops for portability, a Docking Station can be a great way to transform a laptop into a “Desktop Replacement”.
With a single cable connection docking stations can connect up to 3 Monitors, Wired Network, Webcams, Speakers, Headsets, Charging, and a Keyboard and Mouse.
- Most laptop manufacturers make docking stations designed for their laptops.
- We have good experience with universal models from Startech and Plugable.
Your vCIO can work with you to verify compatibility with your laptop.
Having multiple monitors on your desk has been shown to increase productivity tremendously.
Most employees will benefit from having 2 monitors on their desk and most modern computers will support them.
- Our recommended minimum size for a monitor is 22”.
- The monitor should be FHD (Full HD) resolution of at least 1920×1080.
- Dell, HP, Acer, Viewsonic, and Benq are some of the more reputable brands.
- Many workstations will need an adapter cable for the monitor to connect to the port on the back.
Our vCIOs can help you determine if you need these adapters.
Keyboards and Mice
These are one of the easiest things to customize. Keyboards and mice have a wide compatibility and will almost always work with just about any machine.
Find one that is comfortable for you!
- We recommend models from Logitech and Microsoft.
Having a webcam can allow you to video conference from your PC using applications like Zoom, Teams, goto Meeting, or Slack.
- Logitech makes great webcams that are compatible with just about every computer.
- The C525 and C920 are popular models that work extremely well.
- Many laptops also have built in webcams that can function with conferencing tools.
- It is important to note that many built in webcams may not be functional in a docked mode.
Speakers will enable employees to hear the other participants in video conferences.
- Something like the simple Logitech S150 work well and are relatively inexpensive.
- Logitech makes some other models with higher fidelity and a matching price tag.
Many of our customers would rather a headset for conferences as it allows them to block out background noise in their home environment.
- The Logitech H390 headset is a great option for these users.
- Additionally, most headsets designed for “pc gaming” will work with a majority of conferencing products.
We prefer HP Printers, because they have a great reputation for performance, cost, and compatibility with a variety of machines.
Our recommended models start with the LaserJet Pro M200 series and extend to the 400 series for more demanding tasks (higher volume).
The choices below all support direct connection, wired networking and wireless networking connectivity options making them good options for most home offices.
- Black and White – M203DW
- Color – M254DW
- Multifunction BW – M227fdw
- Color Multifunction – M281fdw
Most of our customers will use scanners that are part of a multi-function printer. However, in some cases In the cases a separate desktop scanner is preferred for high volume or high speed tasks,
- The Epson DS-530 is our go-to desktop device.
- This is TWAIN complaint and works with many medical billing and other software that require direct scanner access.
- In environments where a wireless scanner is needed (non-typical) we would recommend the DS-575W.
Routers / Wifi
- A majority of our customers utilize business class firewalls from Sophos, Meraki, or Watchguard to keep their corporate networks safe.
- These providers also make small “telecommuter gateway” routers that can be utilized in the home.
- The great part is that they can establish a VPN connection directly to your office and maintain high levels of connectivity.
Reach out to your vCIO for more information on what would be compatible for your situation.