If there is one positive that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, it’s hopefully a look at the work-from-home model and how it has some serious advantages for certain industries. If you’ve transitioned to working from home — and are set to continue for the foreseeable future — then these accessories and extras might be ideal.
There are a number of things you can do to up your productivity levels when working from home. If you are able, our biggest single piece of advice is to set aside an “area” that you can essentially call your workspace. Just sitting on your couch or just opening your laptop around your house or apartment means that creating a true separation between work and home is difficult.
Before you even consider anything we propose, it’s important to at least try and create this separation for a) your mental wellbeing and b) so that you can at least switch off at the end of the day. As we mention, not everyone is blessed with dedicated office space, nor can they switch off. However, if you are able, this will be a very important tool when making the transition.
Video — Best work-from-home accessories and extras
Keep everything powered on: Multi-port charger
You’re likely to need access to power for more than just a laptop, tablet, or smartphone when working. A multi-port charger can reduce the need for a powerstrip or multiple power outlets you need to access throughout the day.
There are numerous options that you can choose from that cost from as little as $30 and adding up to six USB-A charge ports. However, the Rolls Royce of multi-charge bricks is the HyperJuice GaN 100W USB-C charger in my experience. I have had this for around 12 months and use it daily to charge up to four devices at once. At $100 this is not cheap, but it is rated up to 100W. That means it can charge just about any tech you’ll likely need daily.
The portable office: Apple iPad Pro
Having used multiple affordable Chromebooks, laptops, and tablets, in my own opinion, the iPad Pro gives you the very best of both worlds in one neat package. While I would love to vouch for a high-end Android tablet as a work from home accessory, unfortunately, the lack of solid apps means that they are still really hard to recommend for true productivity.
Unlike many cheap Chromebooks, there is plenty of under-the-hood grunt too, thanks to the A12 Bionic series chipsets utilized by Apple in the iPad Pro series. This is the very reason I opted for the iPad Pro in the first place, as it’s actually possible to edit 4K UHD video and render out with plenty of headroom to spare. Even if you hate Apple, they really do make the best tablets on the market, and the iPad Pro is the perfect work-from-home accessory because of that.
My personal advice would be the grab a refurbished 2018 iPad Pro, which only lacks one unlocked CPU core and the wide and LiDaR cameras. Everything else is practically the same for quite a bit less on sites like eBay or even Amazon — where prices start around $650.
Type in comfort: Bluetooth keyboard
If you are using a smartphone or tablet throughout the day, then a dedicated keyboard is a must. There are plenty of solid options, but the best for multiple pieces of tech in our opinion is the Logitech K780. Don’t be put off by its rounded keycaps, as these are incredibly easy to get accustomed to. The chassis has a nice weight to it for added stability, but it’s the ledge or “lip” that makes this is a true work-from-home essential accessory.
This allows you to prop your tablet and smartphone side-by-side for easy viewing and creates a sort of semi-laptop. Because you can pair with up to three devices at once, you can tap the quick-switch button to control your phone, tablet, or laptop. At around $60, the Logitech K780 is a steal given its functionality and form.
Access everything: USB-C hub
With just about every device in existence — including the iPad Pro series — transitioning to USB-C and simultaneously removing access to vital ports, a USB-C hub might prove to be essential to your workflow. USB-C hubs have become big business, with literally hundreds of options out there giving you specific access to ports and input that you need daily.
For around $25 you can add a number of USB-A, HDMI, and SD card slots to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop without breaking the bank. I would suggest working out just what you need though before just buying the first or cheapest option.
Interruption-free audio: Noise-canceling headphones
Being able to work without distraction is always helped with a pair of headphones or earbuds that include noise canceling. While some people prefer earbuds, I can tell you from experience that when worn for several hours, over-ear headphones are a much more comfortable option as a work-from-home accessory.
At the high end, the Bose QC 35 II are exceptional for all-day comfort, although the legendary Sony WH1000XM3/4 are still the gold standard for noise canceling. However, my personal suggestion is another pair of Sony over-ear headphones — and some that we have reviewed previously. The Sony XB900N noise-canceling headphones are exceptional at just $125. The sound profile is heavy on the bass, but the package is far better than the entry-price suggests.
All three pairs of headphones have full Google Assistant integration, too, making them great for hands-free commands and notification reading when you really need to focus on the task at hand.
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