Working from home isn’t just a way to work; it’s now becoming a way of life. And yet, so many professionals are still figuring out the ideal remote work setup because they’ve realized that kitchen tables and couches aren’t the posh home offices they envisioned. While practical in a pinch, they’re a far cry from the long-term solutions they need to maintain high levels of productivity.
Fortunately, there are plenty of products that make working from home more enjoyable, many of which are clever solutions to everyday problems. After all, who doesn’t want a state-of-the-art workspace outfitted with cool stuff? Before you grind out another day’s work, dive into our updated list of products that take WFH life to the next level.
There’s an old saying by John Wildsmith that goes, “You are either in your bed or your shoes, so it pays to invest in both.” While you may spend eight hours in each of those, you’re likely spending the remaining eight hours of the day in some type of seat doing work. Instead of simply upgrading to an ergonomic office chair, take a hint from the pros — professional gamers, that is — with a next-level option. Secretlab is known for their premium gaming chairs. Their ergonomic designs are supportive, comfortable and have curb appeal. The company’s latest design, the 2022 Titan Evo, features an adaptive lumbar support system and a retooled seat with enhanced support. The Titan Evo is all business, but when you need to take five, it reclines to 165 degrees and has a gel-filled head pillow. Hey, those gamers were onto something.
Today’s keyboards haven’t changed too much from typewriters of yesteryear since they still have tight rows of keys in the same layout. They can kind of cramp your style, literally, by leaving you with sore hands and wrists after long periods of typing. Logitech presents a viable alternative: an ergonomic keyboard with a split layout that places hands and wrists in more comfortable positions. The modern design, which features a wrist rest and adjustable palm lift, promises 54% more support to mitigate fatigue, aches and pains. Hands down, it might be one of the best investments you can make in office ergonomics.
Kitchen tables and lap desks aren’t ideal home office setups because you need to pack and unpack your office setup twice a day. It’s a tiresome, tedious activity, but for those short on space, it’s just part and parcel of working from home. A peaceful alternative to the dreaded daily shuffle is a permanent workstation, like this Foxemart computer desk. It’s available in four lengths, including a space-optimizing 32-inch design. It’s a relatively durable desk for the price, and it even has a waterproof desktop that wards off coffee ring stains— and that alone is worth the investment.
It’s easy to feel underserved by a low-quality webcam that turns you into a grainy apparition, or whose microphone picks up peculiar white noise. Basically, you need a webcam that won’t make you seem like a character from a Stephen King novel during Zoom calls. Instead of shelling out big bucks for both a selfie ring light and a webcam, pick up Razer’s 2-in-1 Kiyo Streaming Webcam. It has a daylight-balanced ring light around the camera to offer true-to-life illumination without washing you out. The microphone picks up quality sound when you’re not using headphones or earbuds, and the compact design makes the Kiyo ideal for on-the-go use.
Working from home blurs the home/office boundary because you’re essentially giving coworkers a glimpse into your life during Zoom calls. And if you don’t want to clean up the laundry mountain behind you, or need to conceal your extensive collection of Star Wars figurines, it’s a good idea to pick up a full-size green screen. Elgato’s retractable ceiling-mounted green screen offers speedy deployment and packs away within seconds. It’s made with Premium Dacron, a professional-grade material that remains smooth and wrinkle-free. The sky’s the limit with the green screen, and if you want to broadcast from the Eiffel Towel during your next Zoom call — carpe diem.
Floor and desk lamps are so last year, not to mention they tend to have large footprints that monopolize valuable space on desks. Overhead lighting works sometimes, but still, it leaves you in the shadows when you need direct light over your workspace. We have no choice but to spotlight this ultra-modern architect LED clamp lamp, which is currently a Best Bang for the Buck selection. Its sleek, slender design reaches overhead with a rotating body and 180-degree swivel head. The LED lamp adjusts between 15 and 100% brightness and even has programmable memory functions so your optimal brightness level is easily accessible. We’re giving it bonus points for futuristic curb appeal.
If your wires and power cords look like a snake pit from an Indiana Jones movie, it’s time to find a better solution. While zip ties are one way to keep cables organized, they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing way to handle the situation. A cable management system, such as this Bluelounge box, makes quick work of hiding the eyesore on the floor (or your desk). The box holds several cords and long surge protectors, and once it’s in use, it’s shocking to see how much space it frees up. Made with flame-retardant materials, it’s also one of the safer options on the market.
Many professionals have embraced the convenience of Instant Pots because they take the hard work out of cooking on busy days. Lauded as appliances consumers didn’t know they needed so badly, they’ve become something of a work-from-home lifestyle essential. The Instant Pot truly lives up to its name, considering it cooks food nearly 70% faster than traditional cooking methods. One of the bestselling models, the Instant Pot Duo, is feature-rich with 13 one-touch programs that include stew-, yogurt- and rice-making. You can “set it and forget it,” leaving more time to focus on workflows and spreadsheets instead. Breakfast, lunch and dinner have never been easier— or more enjoyable.
There is a pivotal moment in a WFH professional's life when they realize that two monitors are better than one. It’s infinitely easier to manage digital workspaces when you can keep Slack and email on one screen while you work on the other. Traditional monitor stands, however, are too bulky for many desks. Instead, this dual monitor stand is a space-savvy alternative. The arms, which fit monitors up to 27 inches, offer 90 degrees of tilt, 180 degrees of swivel and 360 degrees of rotation. As a result, you can customize your monitor arrangement to achieve the NORAD-style setup you’ve always dreamed of. Best of all, because it’s a desk-mounted apparatus, there won’t be any banging or drilling into walls for installation.
For many people, brainstorming and story mapping are essential to project development. Good ideas arrive quickly, and if you don’t get them down on paper soon, they’re gone forever. If you’re still using legal pads or notebooks, we don’t need to tell you they're rather limiting. And let’s face it: you need a wide berth when you get a good idea. A whiteboard, on the other hand, is the tabula rasa you’ve been looking for. This Lockaways model is 36 x 24 inches and offers plenty of space to write, draw, map or just doodle. The whiteboard functions as a screen-free and distraction-free brainstorming space, and for those who need a mini digital detox to get some deep thinking done, it’s a smart investment in basic productivity.
How clean is the air in your home? If you’re not sure — or if you’re willing to admit it could be cleaner — it’s time to improve indoor air quality. Air purifiers are one way to do that, but many of them are bulky, expensive and downright weird-looking. This Blueair model, however, comes up clutch when other air purifiers fall short. Equipped with an advanced HEPA filter, it purifies air in rooms up to 185 square feet and removes over 99.97% of dust, allergens and other particles. Thanks to whisper-quiet operation that won’t exceed 46 dB on high settings, it’s perfect for home office spaces. The cool, futuristic device is affordably priced so you can breathe easy on a budget.
Ever make a cup of coffee and don’t get a chance to drink it because of a Zoom meeting that runs longer than it should? By the time you get to it, it’s stone-cold, and we all know that cold coffee kills productivity. Swap your porcelain mug for YETI’s 20-ounce Rambler, an insulated tumbler that promises to keep coffee hot for hours at a time. The rugged design also happens to be low-maintenance because it’s dishwasher-safe and has a fingerprint-resistant coating. It’s heavier than most tumblers, so it might be harder to knock over and fry your keyboard. And that’s the kind of risk-averse product we all need to have as avid coffee drinkers.
Smart home devices are popular investments for work-from-home professionals, mostly because they add convenience where it’s most needed. While they’re much cheaper than they used to be, investing in a couple smart products can cost you several hundred dollars. On the other hand, you can make your existing electronics work smarter, not harder, with this budget-friendly smart power strip. It features six individually controlled smart outlets for easy hands-free control over all your desk devices through Alexa, Google Assistant or Cortana. It displays energy consumption in the Kasa Smart app, a feature that may pay dividends if you’re looking to monitor consumption to save on energy bills. So if you have a burning desire to turn on your desk fan without lifting a finger— have at it.
If you can have a smart TV, why not have a smart monitor, too? The sheer thought of being able to voice control the screen you spend the most time with is simply exciting. Take the Samsung M7 Smart Monitor, for example, which will probably become the best listener in your professional life. It’s simple and seamless to transition between apps through Voice Assistant and SmartThings, which means your workflow remains uninterrupted. The monitor lets users work remotely on office desktops through Microsoft 365 and offers an intuitive, mobile-esque user experience— making it ideal for hybrid work-from-home arrangements. Consider us impressed.
One of the drawbacks of working from home is missing out on your favorite café’s barista-crafted beverages— or is it? Coffee makers have advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, and it has inspired many java aficionados to take morning brew crafting into their own hands. It’s hard to beat the capabilities and convenience of Keurig’s all-in-one barista station, froth and all, which uses K-Cup pods to brew coffee, cappuccinos and lattes. The unit is designed for busy professionals on the go since it accommodates travel mugs up to 7.2 inches tall.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.