Regretting your ill-judged lockdown purchases? Time to make things right by following our guide to home office gadgets you really will love.
Whether you were forced to work from home during the pandemic or were already doing so, it was a time in which we all started to think about making our home setup more ergonomic and comfortable.
But at the same, the general lethargy those lockdowns generated meant that many of us never actually followed through. Or, worse still, we hastily purchased things that didn't quite work. And we've been stuck with them ever since, either cluttering up our home office, stuck in the basement, or given away on Freecycle.
Either way, it's a good time to reflect on whether your home office is really working for you or whether there are some smart purchases you could make to reduce the toll on our necks and backs and make us more productive into the bargain.
So in this article, I'll share some ideas for improving your space. From standing desks and chairs to lighting solutions, webcams, and headphones, here are some enduring and effective home office gadgets you won't regret investing in.
Investing in a standing desk is one of the best things you can do for your health and productivity. Standing desks allow you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, which can help to reduce back pain, improve circulation, and boost your energy levels.
A good place to start is the E7Q Standing Desk by FlexiSpot. It's the latest in their industry-leading standing desks. I'm actually writing this article right now on an earlier model in the series, the E7 (now discontinued). Before I got one, I thought of standing desks as flimsy things: some of the cheaper ones are. But this one is really solid and sturdy.
A big myth about standing desks is that they're for people who want to spend all day standing up: that's definitely not me. I'll probably only stand for around an hour a day, but breaking up your sitting really makes a difference to my back, neck and shoulders.
A good complement to this standing desk is FlexiSpot's latest BS11Pro office chair, which provides a strong level of comfort and support. Both the chair and the desk cost a fair bit, but when you consider how much of your life you spend working and how debilitating a bad back can be to your life, I'd say it's a good investment. And if you're counting the pennies, don't miss FlexiSpot's upcoming brand anniversary sale on 25 May, where you can enjoy up to 33% off sitewide on all their products.
A Diversity of Desks
Alternatively, if you prefer a desk that can be adjusted to fit your existing setup, consider the Harmoni Standing Desk. Its versatile design allows you to transform any regular desk into an adjustable standing desk, promoting healthier posture and reducing the strain on your body. I'd also personally recommend the Jarvis Bamboo standing desk, which offers a simple, classic and robust design that I've enjoyed using for some years now.
Not stylish enough for you? Then check out the Hay Desk and accompanying Hay designer chair which have sleek, streamlined designs that any lover of minimalism will adore. Or, if you're a back pain sufferer, consider investing in the Aeron chair by Herman Miller, which is renowned for its ergonomic design and spinal support. If that's too rich for your blood, though, John Lewis offers a cheaper alternative that doesn't compromise on comfort in the form of the Dorsal Office Chair.
Standing desks and chairs aren't the only way to enhance the ergonomics of your home office experience. You should also think about addressing the strain on your wrists and arms. I'm a big fan of Kensington's mouse and keyboard rest pads, which provide cushioning and support that will help reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries, for a relatively small outlay.
A good mouse is also important. While Apple's Magic Mouse is pretty decent, I'd argue that Logitech's MX Master series edges it for features and flexibility, and they work with Windows laptops as well as Macbooks.
You also don't want to be bending over and staring down at your laptop screen, which is bad for both your eyes and spine. The Rise Laptop Stand by Native Union offers an adjustable and portable way to elevate your laptop to eye level and promotes better posture.
Light and Sound
With video calls so important to our workflow today, good lighting is vital. You wouldn't turn up to a physical office meeting with your hair a mess, so why would you present a poorly lit image of yourself on screen? The Elgato Key Light gives you the professional lighting setup you need to look your best on camera, with its wide colour temperature range and easy-to-adjust brightness. The Razer Ring Light is another strong option worth considering, offering superior light quality and a fantastic tripod.
By the same token, you want a proper webcam as well because the inbuilt one is usually pretty duff, even on expensive laptops. If you can afford it, opt for a 4K one, such as the Logitech Brio Ultra Pro, Obsbot Meet or the Dell UltraSharp.
Investing in high-quality headphones is obviously essential if you work with audio, video or music. But even if you don't, enjoying your tunes in high-fidelity quality will boost your enjoyment of your working day and help improve your productivity.
In my experience, you won't find much finer than Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay HX headphones for sound quality and comfort. If you're short of cash, though, you can still get some pretty nice sound out of some relatively cheap earbuds. I can personally recommend Majority True Bio Earbuds, which provide a crisp and clean sound despite costing under £35. A much better audio experience than listening through my laptop speakers, and because I'm immersed in the sound, it helps me focus on work too.
All these things will be pointless, though, if your home office remains messy and disorganised. IKEA is the standard place to go for shelving, but if you'd prefer something a bit more stylish and innovative, there are other options. Check out the Rachele Modern Bookcase by Mobilifiver: with an elegant ashwood and white design it provides ample storage space for your books, folder and documents, helping keep your home office streamlined and clutter-free. There's also the Clara Drawer Unit, which offers a practical solution for tucking your office supplies away tidily.