It’s been over two years since many of us started working from home due to the pandemic, and if you haven’t adapted your workspace to your needs, it’s probably time to get started.
Whether you’re sitting in the guest room, on the living room couch, or in a walk-in closet, you may need a little extra effort to comfortably type, hold online meetings, or just concentrate. Sometimes that means buying a new desk, lamp or monitor; sometimes it just means finding a household item that makes life a little easier.
We asked the staff of The edge what they have used to make their work-from-home situations more practical, enjoyable or simply more possible. Here are some of the answers we got.
I actually live in my AirPods Pro during the day. They let me listen to music, catch Slack pings and take calls, all with the added benefit of some noise cancellation to help drown out the noise from outside. Their range is also great for my apartment – I can be anywhere in the house without losing connection to my computer, which is great when I have to get away from my desk to put my second cookie of the afternoon in the microwave, for example. †Jay Peters, news writer
Phone as webcam
It won’t be hard to find webcams anymore in 2022, but if you’re looking to save money, it’s surprisingly easy and cost-effective to turn your phone into a fully-featured webcam, and it can yield good results. I already had a Nexus 6P, and with these steps that work on most Android and iOS devices, I now have a phone-meets webcam. It has image quality roughly equivalent to a standalone webcam, which could cost you around $100. If you want a stand that can tilt it during calls, I recommend grabbing one of these Joby GorillaPod tripods with a phone clip. †Cameron Faulkner, reviewer
While working on a MacBook, this Satechi hub has been a lifesaver for connecting podcasting mics and other equipment that I suddenly use alone. †Adi Robertson, senior reporter
I use tons of batteries with my flash when shooting at home, and I find that these rechargeable batteries last so much longer than regular single-use batteries. Not only do they save me trips to the store and keep more batteries out of landfills, but they also save me money in the end. †Amelia Holowaty Krales, senior photo editor
With this Thunderbolt 3 dock, I can switch my entire desktop setup (keyboard, mouse, speakers, Ethernet, display, external storage drives, and microphone) from one computer to another with just one cable to move. I plug all my peripherals into the dock, then just use that one Thunderbolt cable to hook up my Mac or whatever Windows machine I’m testing right now. It also has a very handy high-speed SD card slot on the front, which is great for when I need to dump images from my camera onto my computer. [Note: the CalDigit TS3 Plus is no longer available; it’s been replaced by the TS4.] †Dan Seifert, Deputy Editor
Last year I installed a Google Nest Wifi router with a mesh tip. I’ve owned a lot of networking equipment over the years and this one was the best. And it was very easy to set up. A year later my system with one router and three points is still working fine. †TC Sottek, Executive Editor
An ultra-wide monitor is the best purchase I’ve ever made for working from home. It’s so big I have to physically lean back and forth to see it all. I can have three full size windows at the same time or numerous overlapping windows. (Right now I have nine different windows open and it doesn’t feel cramped at all.) Mine is an old LG 34UM94-P that they don’t make anymore – looks like there’s an updated version, the LG 34WN80C-B. However, I recommend any monitor that is at least 34 inches in size with a resolution of 1440p or better. †Dan Seifert
Home office helpers
We heard about this agency from two employees:
I love my Jarvis desk from Fully. It’s a solidly built desk that looks great in my office, and it’s very useful to have the ability to sit or stand while working. If you’re considering one, I highly recommend spending the extra money for the extended height, which makes the desk lower for sitting and higher for standing, and the programmable height switch, which allows you to adjust preset heights. which you can switch back and forth to just by pressing a button.
I also jumped for the $29 wheels so I could drive the desk around my apartment, allowing my wife and I to use it as a mobile entertainment system. When we’re done with work for today, we can roll the desk to our comfy chairs and watch or play Netflix Animal Crossing on the desk monitor. †Jay Peters
I have the Jarvis too, just in a larger size. It has served me well for about four years now. It’s a comfortable, stable, spacious desk that’s more versatile than the usual desk options. †Dan Seifert
I should work more at a desk, but I work a lot from the couch. It’s bad for me, but also very comfortable. Using a lap desk like this helps me at least pretend to be a little more conscientious about my attitude; in addition, it is useful to write on physical paper (or when my laptop gets too hot). †Chaim Gartenberg, senior reporter
This monitor mount raises my screen to a nice height so I don’t lean forward, and it’s the tallest I’ve found. Other monitor arms I tried just weren’t long enough for me when I stood up while I was working — and I’m not that tall at 5 feet, 11 inches. With the bracket I can also set my monitor to exactly the right height for movies or Animal Crossing when I use my desk as a mobile entertainment center. (Note: This monitor mount is no longer available; however, there is a similar model.) —Jay Peters
I am hopelessly addicted to iced lattes and with my stimulus check I finally invested in this espresso machine. It makes waking up in the morning a little more exciting when I don’t have to French Press my coffee. And it came with a milk frother! †Makena Kelly, reporter
I never drink enough water. I just seem to forget, and I get a headache from dehydration, but something about this bottle helps remind me. Maybe it’s the design? I love it! †Amelia Holowaty Krales
The desk chair I use is the Herman Miller Sayl, which used to sell for about $500 — the low end of that company’s lineup, believe it or not. I bought this chair almost in mid-2020, when the chair I had was causing me real physical pain, but Vox Media allowed me to borrow it from our NYC office. So I drove right there, put it in my car and brought it home. My cats and I love it. (Note: The seat now costs over $900, but you can still get it for around $600 if you eliminate some of the adjustable features.)Cameron Faulkner
Notebook and pen
While all my work and most of my writing is done on my computer, sometimes it’s easier (especially for sudden phone calls or when I don’t want to turn off a video) to just go to the notebook I keep next to my laptop and jot down a few notes. And I’ve found that using a stylish pen not only boosts my morale, but also makes it much less likely to run out of ink (or cramp in my hand) if I need to get something important written quickly. I currently use a Levenger True Writer ballpoint pen that I got as a birthday present, but any pen that makes you feel good will do. †Barbara Krasnoff, Review Editor
Update May 16, 2022, 5:30 PM ET: This article was originally published on April 28, 2020 and has been updated several times to include price changes and add some new models.