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The growing threat of coronavirus has undoubtedly affected many aspects of our lives, from our social lives and hobbies (mask-sewing, anyone?) to our working situations. With much of America’s labor force homebound, those who regularly do business in the office are being forced to adjust as they attempt to be productive from their living rooms in lieu of a nonexistent space that’s dedicated to work. If the couch just isn’t cutting it for you, not to fret: You can easily whip yourself up a small home office in no time.
If you’re looking around your pad and thinking, “There’s no way I can fit everything I need in here,” allow us to reassure you that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are a few helpful home office essentials that will help ensure you have best spot possible:
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Best Home Office Desk
The Coaster Company Ladder Desk
Where to buy: $113, Walmart
First thing’s first: You’re going to need a desk. While there are no shortage of stylish (and surprisingly affordable!) home office desks on the market, we’re partial to this ladder design from Coaster Company which acts as a bookshelf and a workspace all in one. It features a wide, sturdy desktop shelf for your computer, lamp, and calendar, plus a single storage drawer for pens, paper supplies, and more. Need something a little bigger? Check out this Suri corner desk ($149.99), which will allow you to utilize any corner of your room for something more than collecting dust.
Best Home Office Chair
Serta Cyrus Executive Chair
Where to buy: $167.99 (Originally $197.99), Wayfair
If you’re going to be sitting all day long, you’ll want to make sure you have a comfy seat to do it in. Serta’s Cyrus executive chair lets you be the boss of your own domain. Not only does it offer a padded pillow to rest your head and neck upon, it’s got superior lumbar support for those with bad backs. It even has a waterfall-style seat edge to place pressure on the backs of your legs, which in turn will increase your blood circulation! Add in a pair of cushy, padded arms, a swivel seat, and a tilt-back feature, and this compact pick will be just what the doctor ordered to make your work day fly by.
Best Small Monitor
BenQ Eye Care Monitor
Where to buy: $99.99, Amazon
While you probably don’t have room for the type of mammoth monitor you adore at your office for its easy-to-read screen, you can make the most of what you do have room for with this 22-inch BenQ Eye Care monitor. Ringing in at less than $100, this display protects your peepers with its self-adjusting technology, which controls its own brightness to best filter out harmful blue light. There’s also anti-glare properties, an adjustable tilt, and a slim, desk-friendly design to boot.
Best Wireless Headphones for Office
JBuds Air Executive True Wireless Earbuds
Where to buy: $69, JLab
Unless you live alone, chances are, you’re sharing your new “work space” with other members of your household. When you need to stay connected through video chat but don’t want to disturb your loved ones, check out these executive-level wireless earbuds from JLab. With dual microphones that simultaneously work to pick up a clear signal from your voice and cancel out surrounding noise, these tiny buds will never leave you wondering if your coworkers can hear you. They instantly connect to your Bluetooth device, and you can control your own sound preferences through the external buttons (choose from signature, balanced, or bass modes). These buds are both water- and dust-resistant. A two-year warranty is included.
Best Small Laptop
Where to buy: $870 (Originally $1,449.99), Lenovo
This neat little laptop may be incredibly lightweight, weighing in at just 2.47 pounds, and plenty versatile (it can easily transition from a laptop to a tablet for touchscreen performance) but it doesn’t sacrifice size where you need it most: There's a full HD 13.3-inch anti-glare screen. With a 16GB memory and a two-hour charge, the Yoga 730 also just so happens to be a steal at 40 percent off its list price.
Best Lumbar Support Cushion for Home
Everlast Comfort Support Cushion
Where to buy: $24.95, Amazon
If you already have an office chair that you love, but you’re lacking in the lumbar support department, try Everlast’s comfort support cushion. It can be placed anywhere on the back for fast relief from pain in your home office or in the car and comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee. Better yet, nearly 3,500 reviewers gave it a five-star rating on Amazon, with one woman saying she won’t sit without it.
“Was diagnosed with lower back, L4 and L5 disc damage from aggressive running and heavy lifting,” she wrote. “Went to physical therapy twice a week since last Oct. Purchased this item in December. … So far, it [has] saved my life!! With this lumbar support, I haven’t had low back pain due sitting at work.”
Best WiFi Router for Home
Where to buy: $79.99 (Originally $94.99), Amazon
The affordable yet powerful NETGEAR N300 WiFi router has racked up nearly 10,000 reviews Amazon. This discreet, unobtrusive tool can save you up to $156 a year on rental fees and keep you securely connected with its double firewall protection. It even has parental controls, so you can ensure safer web surfing for the younger members of your household. It’s compatible with major cable providers, but be sure to check with your specific provider before you buy one.
Best Small Desk Lamp
OttLite LED Power-Up Desk Lamp
Where to buy: $59.99, Target
Rather than dedicating separate spaces to your desk light and your charging station, why not kill two birds with one stone? OttLite’s super slim power-up desk lamp has a base that’s Qi-enabled (which means it can serve as a wireless charger) for the iPhone 8 and higher. Even better? This five-star rated product features LED technology that will reduce the eye strain caused by the blue light your devices emit by up to 51 percent, according to the brand. The light can last for up to a whopping 40,000 hours. It also has a touch dimmer and a flexible neck.
Best Small Printer
HP Deskjet 3755 Compact
Where to buy: $69.99, Amazon
Billed as the “world’s smallest all-in-one for home” printer, HP’s Deskjet 3755 gives you nearly all the capabilities of your office’s big, old clunky machine at a fraction of the size — it’s only 5 inches tall! Still, this portable beauty prints, copies, and scans wirelessly from your desktop or mobile device. It comes with a one year hardware warranty, and those who sign up for the brand’s instant ink program by May 2 will also receive four months of free ink.
Best Desk Planner
Indigo Blue Weekly Desk Planner
Where to buy: $4.98, World Market
For a schedule-keeper that won't take over your compact desk, allow us to turn your attention to this weekly desk planner by Indigo Blue. Praised by reviewers for its small size, its still large enough to give you a bird's-eye view of your week ahead, with spots to write in your appointments, reminders, and meetings for at-a-glance reminders.
Best Home Surge Protector
APC 8-Outlet Surge Protector
Where to buy: $16.72, Walmart
It’s officially spring, which means rainy season is upon us. Unfortunately, storms can cause havoc in plugged-in electronics if there's a power surge. Keep your devices protected no matter the weather with the help of this eight-outlet protector from APC. Slim and black, it won’t stick out from the wall like a sore thumb. More importantly, it’s rated at 2,160 joules, or units of energy — a measurement that's well above the recommended rating of 600 joules or more. In fact, its makers are so sure of its efficiency, this APC device comes with a full warranty and a lifetime connected equipment protection policy of up to $150,000!
Best Home Paper Shredder
TRU Red Mailmate
Where to buy: $94.99 (Originally $109.99), Staples
Ah, the paper shredder — the eyesore of the office world. While these document-destroying devices aren’t extremely appealing to look at in even the largest of office spaces, they’re less so in a home setup with limited space. At just 12 x 12-inches TRU RED’s square-shaped Mailmate is small enough to fit right on top of your desktop. It also boasts a sleeker-than-average design, so it won’t make guests cringe with the little space it does take up. Don’t let it fool you, however: This thing is powerful enough to cut up everything from junk mail to old CDs!
Best Small Desk Organizer
Kingfom Multi-Function Organizer
Where to buy: From $11.99, Amazon
Just because your desk is small doesn’t mean it has to be crowded! A petite organizer, like this one from Kingfom, has everything you’ll need to keep your space nice and tidy, no matter how minimal. Made from a wood composite and a faux leather cover, it’s sleek, stylish, and has a sectioned design that you can use to store your pens, notepad, phone, and more. It comes in 23 colors and some models also include an added storage drawer.
Best Home Office Lap Desk
Sofia + Sam Lap Desk
Where to buy: $42.96, Walmart
Even the most disciplined of at-home workers will inevitably fall prey to the lure of the cozy, comfy couch at some point or another. When that time comes, you’ll have everything you need to stay productive with this handy little Sofia + Sam lap desk. Its thick, memory foam pad will make for an über-comfortable seat on your lap. It also comes with a USB light.
How to Set Up a Home Office for a Small Space
Consider your outlet situation: Inevitably, you'll probably need to charge your computer/printer/phone/router at some point or another, and you don't want to have to stop what you're doing just to get a charge. Try to set up your work area around a working outlet.
Consider your lighting: Trust us: A little sunlight can go a long way in keeping your workday spirits up. Not only will you see better next to a light-filled window, your mood will be better off for it.
Consider your workflow: If you've got back-to-back video calls lined up, it might not make sense to camp out in a corner in the living room, where your family watches TV, for instance. Where can you go that will allow for as little interference as possible for everyone involved?
Consider your work tools: Apart from a work desk, there are plenty of other essential-yet-compact items that will make you feel like you're right back on the job: think a slim-but-powerful printer ($69.99, Amazon), a great pair of wireless earbuds ($69, JLab Audio) to help you stay connected, and a bite-sized shredder ($94.99, Staples) that will keep your new workspace free from clutter.
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