Now that working from home is the new norm, it's time to gear up. If you've been working from your house for years, you've probably amassed a toolbox of tech necessaries that make it easy to work from wherever. But if you're used to working from an office, you might need some of these work-from-home tech essentials on Amazon.
As a WFH veteran, I would like to emphasize the word "essential" in the phrase "tech essentials." The items on this shortlist are things you will need. Maybe not on the first day, and maybe not even on the first week. But there will come a moment — during a meeting or at the end of a long day — when you'll want them handy. Instead of waiting for that moment, why not stock up and make sure you have what you need when you need it?
I've already scrubbed the meeting, missed the deadline, and been to the chiropractor because I didn't have the right gear. Take my word for it: Your work-from-home experience will go better if you have all (or most) of this tech on your desk.
1. This Earpiece Makes Phone Meetings A Little More Bearable
Whether you're meeting via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or on the phone, you need a headset. It's how you can look at the video on your phone while talking on that phone. And even when you aren't in a video call, it lets you walk around while you talk.
This inexpensive, low-profile, and lightweight Bluetooth solution from New Bee is a great starter headset. It has a long battery life and high-quality sound. No one will notice you're wearing it, either. It only takes 20 minutes to recharge, and it's less than $20.
"I leave it on for the whole day," says one reviewer. "It pairs easily and quickly. The range is as claimed. The call quality is great. The sound quality is good. There is no discomfort to wear."
2. This Cell Phone Stand Makes Your Phone More Useful
A phone that's lying flat somewhere on your desk or lost in the couch cushions is more distracting than useful. You waste time looking for it, missing calls in the process — and when you do find it, you pick it up and get distracted.
Instead, put your phone or tablet on this desk stand where a quick glance is all it needs from you. You'll know where it is and you'll be able to keep an eye on it, but you won't be tempted to play games or scroll on social media. Just tap the screen to answer calls on your Bluetooth headset, or use it to prop your tablet for a video meeting. The stand does its job with gripper feet, a large platform, and a back that you can run a charging cable through.
3. This Laptop Stand Will Save Your Neck
If you set your laptop on the desk to work like they do in movies, you'll need a chiropractor within in a week. And — take it from someone who has been there — fixing that pain is harder and more expensive than preventing it. Prevention is easy, though: Elevate your laptop screen to eye height so you can sit up and un-hunch.
This aluminum laptop stand is sleek and clean looking. It'll fit on a small desk and is easy to put away if you're working on the kitchen table. It's sturdy enough for a heavy laptop and raises the screen six inches above the surface. "My posture is much better now," wrote one reviewer. "Being able to look directly at my laptop is a game changer!"
4. The Keyboard That Releases Your Inner Productivity
You know what doesn't help you focus on work? Hand pain and slow typing, which is what you get from flat laptop keyboards. This wired ergonomic keyboard puts your hands at a natural angle, splits the keyboard to improve your typing, and has a separate number keypad and wrist rest. You'll be amazed at how much your typing speed improves and how relaxed your hands and wrists are when the keyboard is designed for them.
"This keyboard is very comfortable and my typing has improved dramatically due to the ergonomic layout," agrees one reviewer. "The keys are sturdy and the keyboard has a quality feel and looks great."
5. The Mouse That Your Hand Really Wants To Hold
Mousing — even more than keyboarding — can make your wrist pretty sore. It's really repetitive, uses tiny muscles, and requires you to constantly reach. If you want to keep working without the pain, invest in a good ergonomic mouse.
The investment for this Anker mouse is small, but the mouse is nice and big. It allows your hand to relax in a handshake position rather than grip something too small in a pronated position. It's also full of easy-to-use features like a scroll bar, next button, and power saving. It's 2.4G USB wireless, which is the most responsive solution in wireless. (Mouse lags are maddening.)
6. This USB Strip Adds The Plugs You Need
Now that you're plugging all these extras into your laptop, I'll bet you're running out of USB ports. That's easily solved by this 7-port USB 3.0 hub. It uses one of your laptop's USB plugs to put an array of easy-to-access USB plugs right on your desk. It's also adorable, especially when paired with Apple machines.
Turn it into a docking station by plugging all your accessories into it. To restart your home office, all you have to do is plug your laptop in. All the ports support fast USB speeds so it won't hold back your scanner, printer, or anything else.
7. This Monitor Says You're Taking Work Seriously
If you have the space, the next peripheral you'll want to add to your home-office rig is a big monitor. There's nothing like being able to work on two things at once or see that design or document you're working on blown up large. And, when you take a break, you'll love how your video games and movies look on this.
This Sceptre is thin, gorgeous, highly rated, high-speed, and has speakers built-in — and it's only $70. So this is a luxury you can afford.
To connect it to your laptop, don't forget that you'll need an HDMI cable. This screen has two HDMI ports so your laptop could easily share it with a ROKU or gaming device. In that case, get two HDMI cables.
8. These Over-Ear Headphones Help You Focus, Whatever Happens
Your housemate is in a conference call on speakerphone. The kids are watching a movie. The neighbors are screaming from their windows. You need to focus. Having a pair of over-ear headphones charged and ready for these moments is work-at-home 101. You decide whether it's best to hand these Mpows to your housemate or block the cacophony by putting them on your own ears and dialing up some tunes.
The Mpow 059's may not have the audio or noise-canceling specs you want if you are going into a recording studio or need to drown out a machine shop, but they are perfect for working at home. They're affordable, cute, come in many colors, and fold up for storage.
9. This Wi-Fi Extender That Helps The Internet Reach You
Last week, the internet was important. Today, it's essential. You can't work without it. And a weak signal isn't just irritating, it's the difference between spinning your wheels and productivity. Those video meetings are absolutely useless if everyone is melting and unintelligible.
The TP-Link N300 WiFi Extender is a simple way to bring that signal from where it's strong to where you are, even if you set your home office up in the garage, the treehouse, or out by the pool. Just plug it in, connect it to your main router, and you've got a whole new network, right where you plugged in.
"BOOM, full Wi-Fi signal," says one reviewer. "I now have Wi-Fi in every room in the house."
10. The Power Stand That Fits All Your Plugs
Your home office is hungry for power. The phone, headsets, and other peripherals all need USB plugs. Your laptop needs power. And you don't want to crawl around every day looking for a place under the table to connect it all.
This power strip tower sits on your desk turning one wall plug into ten standard outlets and four USB ports. It has a retractable power cord, so it won't add to your cable snarl. Each plug has its own power switch so it's not a power vampire when you aren't working. And you can pick it up and move it if you change your mind next week about the perfect working location.