The 11 Best Work-From-Home Essentials of 2021
Upgrade your home workstation setup
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Working from home has become the new normal in recent years, whether you freelance for a living or you’re recovering from a weekend cold. Still, making the adjustment from the office to your home can be challenging—there’s the temptation to stay in bed and lounge around in your pajamas. While you may not need to invest in an office desk or file cabinet, there are other must-haves that’ll make your living space feel more work-friendly. Here are the best work from home essentials that’ll boost productivity (and keep you sane from staying inside the apartment all day).
Best Desk Lamp: Markey Desk Lamp
Good lighting is key to any work-from-home desk setup, and this Markey Desk Lamp offers form and function at a reasonable price. Sleek, yet practical, the LED-compatible lamp features a metal body and black finish, along with an adjustable arm and shade for getting the best light out of your living space or bedroom. You can even charge your smartphone, laptop, or tablet within arm’s reach with the lamp’s built-in AC power outlet. With an overall height of 20.75 inches, this modern-looking lamp will help keep you focused (and your eyes protected).
Related: The Best Desk Lamps
Best Coffee Maker: Cuisinart Glass Carafe Programmable Coffeemaker
Instead of shelling out $5 a day for lattes at your local cafe, invest in this programmable coffee maker from Cuisinart to get your caffeine fix. The 14-cup glass carafe means you can make enough cups to get through the workday (and even for your roommate or partner). Its control panel also has a self-cleaning feature, auto-off function, temperature control, and 24-hour programmability so your cup of joe is ready first thing in the morning. Best of all, this coffee maker ensures you’ll get the perfect brew with its bold or regular coffee flavor selection.
Related: The Best Office Coffee Makers
Best Oil Diffuser: InnoGear Aromatheraphy Essential Oil Diffuser
De-stress from all the work that’s ahead of you with the InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser. This top-rated, best selling diffuser boasts an array of features in a compact, palm-sized body. With its two misting modes, you can set it to intermittent mist (lasts for six to eight hours), which mists and pauses every 30 seconds, or continuous mists (lasts for three to four hours), which mists until water runs out. Enjoy relaxing scents even after you finish working, as the 3.9 x 5.5-inch oil diffuser functions as a night light with eight color options. Safety-wise, it has a waterless auto-off, so you can keep the diffuser on at night without it overheating.
Best Speakers: Bose SoundLink Revolve Speaker
Take a break from working at home in silence by splurging on the Bose SoundLink Revolve speaker for high-quality sounds throughout the day. Whether you prefer to listen to podcasts or your favorite tunes, the speaker can play up to 12 hours of media from its rechargeable, lithium-ion battery. Even more, its wireless Bluetooth pairing means you can take business calls via Siri or Google Assistant. The speaker is also waterproof, while its True 360-degree coverage elevates its sound. All that, and the speaker is compact at just 3.3 x 3.3 x 6 inches so you can easily carry it from room to room.
Best White Noise Machine: Dohm Classic White Noise Machine
Alternatively, if your work from home space comes with a few hiccups (construction work outside, loud neighbors, and the like), you’ll need a white noise machine to cancel out those pesky sounds. Enter the Dohm Classic White Noise Machine, which was first created in 1962 and is marketed as the “original fan-based machine.” Easy to use, there are just two volume options (high or low). You can then twist the top of the machine to adjust the tone or pitch, so you can find the best white noise for your needs without any looping. Beyond work use, this compact machine also helps ensure a better night’s sleep. Try it out for 101 days with the brand’s trial period.
Best Chair: Mila Task Chair
At some point, working from your bed can hurt your posture (and get a little too relaxing), so a decent office desk chair is a must. The Mila Task Chair is both elegant, yet comfortable to get you through a productive workday—covered in velvet with a chrome metal base, the chair features armrests and an open backrest for ergonomic seating. With a center tilt for maximum support, the height-adjustable, swivel chair also has a tilt lock for safety. Choose from a variety of stylish colors, including rose, aqua, canary, or dark grey.
Related: The Best Budget Office Chairs
Best Seat Cushion: ComfiLife Gel Enhanced Seat Cushion
Whether you’re using a proper office chair or your bar stool to work on, comfortable seating is essential to prevent any lower back or body pain. This ComfiLife Gel Enhanced Seat Cushion will add premium comfort to any seat, thanks to its gel memory foam construction, non-slip rubber bottom, built-in handle for seamless travel, and a machine-washable velour cover for easy cleaning. Better yet, the ergonomically-designed cushion provides support and helps reduce pressure on your tailbone. Take it from your desk chair to the car, airplane, and more for better posture wherever you’re seated.
Related: The Best Seat Cushions
Best Plant: The Sill ZZ Plant
Though not a complete necessity, plants do reduce stress and can boost one’s mood—fostering a happier, better working environment at home. The Sill, an online plant delivery company, offers a wide selection of affordable, indoor plants from pet-friendly options to plants for low light. The site helps you navigate which plant best fits your needs, complete with care instructions for each plant and its bio. For the beginner green thumbs, the ZZ plant is the perfect addition to your work-from-home set-up. This air-purifying succulent requires low maintenance and comes in stylish pot options and colors, like blush, terracotta, and mint.
Best Laptop Table: TaoTronics Laptop Desk
While it’s convenient to work from your bed or couch, there’s the danger of falling asleep or experiencing sore backs. With a laptop desk, like this TaoTronics option, you can work comfortably without feeling too sluggish. Adjust its height to five elevation levels, or from 9.5 to 12.6 inches, so you can use it on your desk as a laptop stand or on your living room floor with a mug underneath. This angle-adjustable laptop table tilts to 0-, 15-, 25-, or 35-degrees and has retractable blockers, so you can work on your sofa without your laptop falling off. Plus, the wrist rest helps reduce strain.
Related: The Best Laptop Stands
Best Headphones: Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you’re working at home with kids or other distractions, these noise-canceling headphones from Sony are ideal for ensuring absolute concentration. With industry-leading digital noise cancellation, the headphones are packed with convenient features: the smart listening adjusts noise-canceling levels based on your activity, touch controls easily let you control music and volume, and a single charge has up to 30 hours of battery life. For work-related matters, these headphones have Alexa built-in, so you can ask for information or take calls without using your hands. They’re also comfortable to wear and are foldable, so take them out during your walking breaks.
Related: The Best Headsets
Best Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 24-Inch Screen Monitor
Take your home workstation to the next level with a computer monitor, like this Dell UltraSharp 24-Inch option. See all of your spreadsheets, design work, or other files in a large, clear display, which boasts a 16:10 aspect ratio, 1920 x 1200 resolution, and ultra-wide, 178 x 178-degree viewing angle. You can upgrade your setup even more by connecting it with another monitor, thanks to its thin, 6.9mm bezel that allows “borderless” viewing. The monitor sits on a height-adjustable stand of up to 115mm and can pivot and swivel depending on your work needs. You can also connect other USB devices to the monitor for convenient charging.
Meet the Expert
This roundup was written by Hana Maeda, an associate commerce editor for The Balance, The Balance Small Business, and The Balance Careers. She has been with Dotdash for over a year and proudly owns a number of work-from-home essentials, including an oil diffuser/humidifier and coffee maker.