For many people, working from home means longer hours at the desk. That cushy leather office chair you’ve been eyeing? Think again. You need gear that’s performance-oriented, not driven by aesthetics. Less obvious items like Wi-Fi routers, surge protectors and even your coffee mug could also use a thorough vet. Here’s a list of all the stuff you haven’t thought about yet.
Yamazaki Cable Organizer
Yamazaki is a 60-year-old Japanese furniture and organization company that’s just begun to find an audience in the States. Its very quick and minimal solution to cords hanging all over your desk is neat and unobtrusive. A $5 pricetag doesn’t hurt either.
Not everyone’s work involves state secrets, but confidential information like employee agreements, credit card accounts and money transfers are commonplace. VPNs protect the data entering and leaving your computer from criminal access (or corporate data flubs), and NordVPN, with 900 servers in almost 200 countries, is about as secure as they come. VPN services are especially helpful if you use public Wi-Fi (like at your local coffee shop), as that’s very likely the most vulnerable your data will ever be.
2Koi Lap Desk
Without a daily commute, working from home affords a certain slow wakeup lifestyle unavailable to the many office dwellers of the world. This entails not getting out of bed until you feel like it, which could be 8:30 in the morning or well after noon. For the latter, there’s this minimal lap desk. Other than a sturdy surface to work on, it allows the base of your laptop (where most cooling fans are) to breathe.
Seagate External Hard Drive
Most offices have backup hard drives for important documents, files and other company necessities. You don’t have that at home. An external hard drive is where you put all the files you can’t afford to lose, and it is especially well-suited to carry larger files you’d rather not have weighing on your work computer (think videos and raw images). This one holds up to a terabyte of data, which is plenty for most people.
Twelve South Laptop Arc
Twelve South’s laptop station keeps your laptop off the desk, a really simple feat that accomplishes two things: more space on your desk and less overheating issues. This model is MacBook-exclusive, but plenty of laptop arcs are made for non-Apple products.
Ember’s mug and base pair are the answer to cups of coffee cooling too quickly. Made with a mixture of stainless steel and ceramic, the mug keeps your coffee hovering on the exact temperature you want it at. If you find yourself enjoying the convenience of constantly warm coffee, it comes in a larger travel mug, too.
Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm
For Slack on one screen and your email on the other. Fully’s swinging Jarvis arm clamps to the edge of your workspace and houses all monitor cables inside a sleek powder-coated metal frame. Beyond its explicit function, it serves an ergonomic purpose: keeping your head pointed downward all day puts consistent strain on your neck (your head is heavy) — monitor arms allow you monitors to reach eye-level.
Furman Powerstation 8
Surge protectors shield electronics from damage caused by brownouts and blackouts and should be used in any room with expensive electronics plugged in. Furman’s option is the choice protector for audiophiles and owners of other pricey electronic setups because it’s able to dwindle down ultra-high voltage bursts and, if necessary, shut down the circuit before any components or hardware is damaged. Combined with its sturdy aluminum body and understated looks, it’s the ideal choice to safeguard pricey work-issued computers and monitors.
Peplink Soho Router
This is another option for the data security-obsessive. Peplink’s entry-level router is commercial-grade, meaning it doesn’t utilize consumer-level router technologies like Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), both of which are known to be weak points in home network security. Beyond offering more security, it does the things any normal router does — connect you to the internet, mostly.
Anglepoise Type 1227
The most famous task lamp ever. Designed by George Carwardine in 1935, the Type 1227 balances performance with aesthetics better than any other task lamp out there. It holds the adjustment springs in contstant tension so the lamp is both easily adjustable and firmly in place. Beyond working from home, this is just a lamp you want in a home office.
If you plan to work from home regularly you need a seat that pays more attention to ergonomics than looks. Our Best All-Around Office Chair fits that bill to a tee. Dollar-for-dollar, it’s one of the best-value task chairs you can buy. The breezy mesh back flexes up to 270 degrees right or left. Take a hint from reviewers who recommend investing in the optional lumbar support.