The much-vaunted “new normal” for many of us for the foreseeable future appears to be working from home. This being the case, it’s very important to make sure that you are working with the right sort of equipment, and obviously for most of us the computer is our primary tool.
That means it’s important to make sure that you make the right choice between laptop and desktop for the most efficient and comfortable working.
One of the best things about having a desktop is that you can set up a complete home office, everything will be there for you every time you need it, your speakers, your monitors, your peripherals – you can just get straight down to work first thing in the morning. However, especially if your home office is in a cramped guest room, attic, or basement, it might not be long before you are yearning to get out.
Working with a laptop, you can take your work where you want, to the kitchen, to the porch, to the coffee shop… if you’ve got the space, the best option is probably to have a desk set up with extra monitors, peripherals et cetera, but have a laptop to plug into them, then you can get out and about when you’re feeling stir crazy without losing work time.
Another factor influencing the choice of desktop or laptop is performance. If you are working in graphic design or video editing, a laptop probably isn’t going to cut it in terms of your needs. Desktops are generally more powerful and supply better graphics for the same or less money than a comparable laptop. However, be honest about your needs, do you really need that 48-inch monitor? Don’t forget that laptops generally have microphones and webcams built-in which desktops often don’t, which makes them easier to use for videoconferencing etc.
Finally, think about what will be best for your concentration. On the face of it, having an isolated home office with a desktop seems the best option, but don’t forget that you are stuck there if things come along that will be distracting, e.g., construction work outside. With a laptop, you can find your own quiet place. Also, families tend to recognize that a home office is sacrosanct; they might not give you the same peace and quiet if you’re trying to work in the kitchen or sitting in front of the TV.
Overall, unless you have specific needs, the best option for most people would probably be to have a home office set up but with a laptop to plug into it, giving you the best of both worlds, a quiet and well-organized space when you need it but the opportunity to escape when you want.