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As with most people, 2020 may have thrown you for a loop. If you're a parent having to navigate virtual schooling, AND working from home. If you're not, then you're having to motivate yourself every day to work from home, self-isolate, and stay connected. Most lists like this make suggestions for desks and office chairs... while that is traditionally what's needed to make a home office functional, the last year has taught us that we can work from anywhere with an internet connection and a laptop.
If you're looking for ways to make your life easier as you are navigating the work-from-home situation, then we have suggestions for you! This list comprises 10 of the work from home essentials my team or I have needed to navigate the last 12 months.
1. Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook
The Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook keeps you organized and GREEN. No more wasting paper with this notebook. Simply write on the pages, and send the handwritten notes via PDF or JPG to cloud services like Google Drive, Evernote, OneNote, and more! The pens are also inexpensive and come in a variety of colors. They even make highlighters! You will have to spend a few seconds allowing the ink to dry, but it's worth it with the convenience of this notebook.
If you need to take your notebook and pens on the go, then you'll want to check out the portfolios available. They have a lot of different styles. I prefer this portfolio option, as it keeps the pens organized, too!
I've found that even if I just make a list for the grocery store, I never forget it. Certainly makes life easy!
2. Anker Wireless Chargers Bundle
If you're like me, you're always 15% away from your phone no longer working. Is there anything worse than not having a charged cell phone?
Or course there is, but it's incredibly necessary to always have it charged. To help me with that, I find having these wireless chargers around the house, or on my desk as I work from home to be a lifesaver. I can just prop it up while I'm working and it's charging!
3. Plugable USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station
As I work from home, I have a business laptop, two monitors, a mouse, a microphone, a video camera, Bluetooth headphones, and a wireless keyboard. It's a LOT for my little laptop powering my working station to handle. This docking station has made it super easy to set everything up and have a working space that's organized and easy to connect/disconnect to move around when needed.
The best part of this station is that the HDMI ports are in the back, so the clunky plugs aren't taking up too much desk space and that there are usable USB ports in the front to help with any additional items that may need to be plugged in.
*Make sure you check the specs at checkout, this brand has different docking stations available for different equipment. You'll want to get the one that makes sense for you!
4. & 5 Fifine Metal Condenser Recording Microphone for Laptop & Anivia 1080p HD Webcam
When we began working from home, we quickly identified that the microphone available on the laptop was subpar. It's okay - the laptop is good for a lot of things, but the sound quality is not its strength. With the immediate need of having something that would work for calls, plus needing something quickly to begin recording tutorial videos, there was a need for a USB Microphone. Fortunately, we found this one to suit all of our needs. It can be overwhelming when you're searching for an affordable microphone option. This is easy to use and has great sound quality. For our needs, this was just perfect!
While we immediately noticed the sound, it wasn't long before the video quality was also a problem. We found this camera to be exactly the right fit. It has clear videos for video conferencing and recorded videos. The widescreen high-resolution lens makes it easy to capture everything, very easily and clearly. It plugs directly into the laptop or Plugable docking station very easily. It has a lens cover that also gives peace of mind. While it also comes with an audio microphone built-in, it wasn't a function that I found incredibly useful. Mainly because I purchased the microphone first... but when I compared the two, the sound quality for the individual microphone was superior.
6. Consciot ATL002-US-V1 12W LED Desk Lamp
This might be one of those personal preference things, but the interior lighting in my house is so... yellow... I changed the bulbs. I tried natural light through the windows. All of it just didn't cut it. The videos I was taking with our awesome USB video camera weren't bright enough. So, this LED Desk Lamp was a great decision. It not only provided an affordable lighting "fix" but it is also dimmable but it is also flexible with a full-tilt upwards in any direction 350-degree spinning base, and 300-degree rotatable head. It also has a USB port for fast cell phone charging! As I said before, I prefer a wireless charger, but this is a great alternative!
7. Cam-A-Lot Work from Home Video Conferencing Dual-Sided Webcam Background Privacy Green Screen
If you're unable to have a dedicated office, or you have trouble finding privacy for your virtual meetings, then you may consider a green screen for your virtual meetings. The team has had success with the Cam-A-Lot. It's convenient. It can move with you. It easily attaches to your chair and can help give any space a little privacy when you're on camera.
8. Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse
I have been through a number of USB mouse options, but the Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse has checked all of the boxes. It's nice and light, which I consider weighted properly. It has a nice design that fits comfortably in my hand. The scrolling function is really quiet, not like other mouse options that make a clicking noise as you scroll. It is also USB-c rechargable! No more changing out batteries regularly, this will charge in 1 minute and give you 3 hrs of use or full charge for up to 70 days! It's amazing. The Logitech also has app-specific profiles with customization. If you share your computer with someone else in the house, you don't have to worry! Keep your favorite settings for yourself.
9.Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Seat Cushion and Lumbar Back Cushion Combo
We know that you can't always sit at your office chair. Or sit in a comfortable location when working from home. The team recommends this pack of memory foam cushions that can be moved around to different locations. The lumbar support cushion and back support cushion will keep your back and hips feeling good with all the sitting in front of the computer. Whether you're in a dining room chair, an office chair, or on the couch you'll have the support you need with this lumbar support combo.
The main reason we recommend the combo is because it was split 50/50 on who preferred the back cushion or the seat cushion. Everyone on the team found something useful. So be sure to think about your specific needs.
10. Moleskine 12 Month 2021 Weekly Planner
Having an annual Weekly Planner is essential to keeping work life/home life organized. Having a space to organize your weekly meetings and your month at a glance is critical to staying organized when you work from home. This weekly planner that we're recommending comes in 3 different colors, has a bookmark to stay on the current week, and thick pages! The project tracking feature is also really helpful for staying on task. This one fits comfortably in my purse, diaper bag, and laptop case. It's easy to keep it with me, and it made for people who aren't ready to solely rely on digital calendars to run their life!
I may have to do a blog reviewing weekly planners because I currently have 3 that I'm using. I know that's crazy, but office supplies are a weakness.
The team or I have used the items personally and are recommended as we've had great experiences with them. What is your go-to, must-have, essential home office item?