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Last updated June 14, 2021
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A computer is your most essential piece of equipment for performing a work at home job. Even though just about any desktop computer will fit most remote employer’s requirements, few work at home companies specifically require their workers to use a desktop computer because a lot of the recent laptop models perform as well as and, many times, better than desktop computers. In addition, because laptops are portable and take up less space, they are convenient for your home office.
In the post How to Choose Your Work at Home Computer, we discuss the features and requirements that should be considered by selecting this very important tool.
Operating System (OS)
The 4 operating systems from which to choose when looking for your work at home office computer are Windows, macOS (Apple), Chrome OS, and Linux.
The Windows operating system is the most common of the four and the most preferred among companies with remote workforces.
At some point, an OS version is deemed to be obsolete and developers stop providing updates. Obsolete OS versions are not secure and can pose a danger if used to connect to a company’s network. So a remote employer will require its workers to use only computers with an OS that still receives regular updates from its manufacturer.
For Windows, that means getting a computer with Windows 8.1 or higher. I would suggest at least Windows 10.
As the date of this post, the most current macOS version is 11.4. However, Apple computers can be updated to new versions when they become available. You can always find new update information on Apple.com.
Chromebooks operate in somewhat the same manner as Apple. You can find out more about updates on Google.com.
Your work at home computer will need to be able to keep up with having multiple tabs or browsers open and multiple types of software operating at the same time without freezing. I recommend a speed of at least 2 GHz.
For most work at home jobs, your computer’s processor would need 2 or more cores (dual-core, quad-core, or more) to handle multiple software programs operating at the same time. For Intel, that would be an i5 or higher. For AMD, look for computers with an AMD A9 processor or above.
Because any files that a company must share with its employees are usually stored in cloud programs like Google Drive or Dropbox, most work at home jobs rarely require employees to have a lot of internal storage available on their computers as a requirement for employment other than a small amount for loading the software needed for performing your job.
RAM, or “memory”, holds temporary data for your computer and allows for faster processing. RAM is what lets you have multiple tabs or multiple programs open at once without pages and programs freezing or “not responding.”
I would recommend 6GB of memory as the absolute minimum to ensure your job performance is not affected by insufficient memory.
Currently, the standard computer screen resolution is 1366×768 and is sufficient for viewing almost anything. However, consider a higher resolution, such as 1600×900 or 1920×1080 (Full HD), since they offer viewing in much better detail.
Connections and Peripherals
The type and number of ports available on your computer is not a common specification requirement found in work at home job listings. There are two types of ports that are usually necessary for remote positions, though: USB for plugging in wire accessories like a headset, keyboard, or mouse: and 2) Ethernet for connecting your computer directly to your router.
You may also need a VGA or HDMI port if your job requires you have a dual monitor setup.
Below I have listed some of the top computer brands that tend to rank well with the specifications listed above.