I begrudgingly have to revisit the idea of Virtual Network Computing (VNC), which is a way of viewing and controlling a secondary computer over the Internet. It’s a clumsy replacement for X11 window forwarding in many respects, but it’s in a respect more functional and allows you to have complete control of a remote computer. Additionally, it enables you to continue right where you left off in work without having to think about where windows “live.”
The trouble with VNC is that it’s pretty insecure (opening up another port on the server machine), requires a lot of bandwidth (piping graphics and input back and forth), and is generally unencrypted (packets can be picked up or “sniffed” by an intruder). VNC over ssh is a way of addressing both security implications.
There’s a phenomenal article on this topic at Fotinakis.com.