I don’t think working from home is what Dolly Parton had in mind when she penned the immortal lyrics of “9 to 5,” but the home office is here to stay. That’s why we’ve consulted Verge staffers and collected a handful of essentials and nice-to-haves that will turn any home office into a nicer place for you to spend a third of your day, regardless of your job or taste when it comes to all things tech.
Our WFH recommendations range from fancy fundamentals like the Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk ($480) and Apple’s latest MacBook Air ($1,200) to inexpensive items that lean heavily on aesthetics, such as a collection of attractive desk mats from KBDfans ($12) and a genuine leather mousepad from Nomad ($85). We’ve even collected a few items designed to keep your health in check — both physical and otherwise.
So whether you need a suggestion for yourself or want some gift ideas for making the workspace of another juuuust a little extra this holiday season, we’ve got your back.
Every laptop or desktop setup deserves a fun desk mat. They’re comfier on your palms and mouse and even make your keyboard sound better. For the uninitiated, KBDfans offers a variety of cool designs that cater to all types of styles, whether you’re a fan of solid colors and minimalist patterns or something a bit more extra.
Leuchtturm1917 Notebook Classic
The Leuchtturm1917 might be tough to pronounce, but it’s easy on the eyes. It’s also available in more than 20 different colors and can be personalized with your own embossed message. Each notebook comes with its own matching pen and is available with different ruling and sizing options, allowing for a notebook that’s custom-tailored to you.
Anker 341 USB-C Hub
USB-C hubs are an essential accessory for anyone using a laptop with a limited port selection. Laptops like Apple’s latest MacBook Air feature just two USB-C ports, but with Anker’s 341 USB-C Hub, you can expand that selection drastically. The expansive peripheral only occupies a single USB-C port but gives you two USB-C and USB-A ports, an HDMI output, and an SD card reader in return.
This Is Fine Dog Funko Pop
They say that the strongest steel is forged inside of this poor dog’s house. The “This Is Fine” dog has become an endearing (and occasionally macabre) mascot of chaos, entropy, and the inevitable heat death of the universe. This Funko Pop figure of the “This Is Fine” dog is a great deskbound reminder of how to keep your cool, even when your house is literally on fire.
We all know someone who is a sucker for fancy pens, and the Lamy Safari is a refillable fountain pen that’s so fancy, you’ll find an excuse to make out a check. It’s perfect for the obsessive journaler or anyone who just likes to doodle; it’s also available in several different colorways and features a stainless steel nib that lends it an air of sophistication.
Logitech MX Master 3S
The Logitech MX Master 3S remains the gold standard for productivity mice thanks to its 8,000 DPI sensor, variety of buttons, and ergonomic claw-shaped design. It also features a second scroll wheel and a pair of buttons situated beneath the thumb, not to mention robust input customization via Logitech’s Options Plus software.
Vornado VFAN Mini Classic
It can get stuffy in a home office, so investing in an inexpensive desk fan can pay real dividends when you’re burning through spreadsheets and in need of a little circulation. Fortunately, the Vornado VFAN Mini Classic sports multiple speed settings, easy disassembly, and a vintage-looking design that’s far more attractive than the oscillating tower you have stashed away in the closet.
AirPods Pro (second-gen)
The new AirPods Pro have arrived, and with them comes a host of improvements. Not only do Apple’s second-gen earbuds offer improved noise cancellation and swipe-enabled touch controls but they also come with a Find My-ready charging case that features a built-in speaker and pinpoint location tracking that makes them easier to find.
Succulents are all of the photosynthesis with a fraction of the responsibility. The Sill offers a trio of smol leafy bois complete with their own planters that are perfect for adorning your window sill or desk. While you might receive a different assortment of succulents than what’s featured here, The Sill offers a 30-day guarantee that your new plant babies will arrive in happy and healthy condition.
Blue Yeti Nano
If you want to sound better on Zoom calls or simply record better audio, the Blue Yeti Nano is a great place to start. The Nano is a compact condenser microphone with adjustable pickup patterns, which help ensure it doesn’t pick up anything else that might be making noise in your office. The mic pairs with your laptop or desktop via a single USB cable and features a built-in 3.5mm audio jack, too, if you need to preview what you’ll sound like.
Google Nest Wifi Pro
Google’s Nest Wifi system makes it simple to fill in the blind spots in your home network — and the new Nest Wifi Pro is a big upgrade over prior models. The shiny router is great if your internet speed is less than 1 gigabit per second, and it can easily pair with up to three units for up to 6,600 square feet of coverage. Best of all, it provides support for Wi-Fi 6E, Thread, and Matter, letting you futureproof your smart home.
Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm
Getting rid of a monitor stand has a way of making your desk look twice as big. And while there are plenty of articulating monitor arms on the market, the Jarvis Monitor Arm is durable, flexible, and covered under a 15-year warranty. Moreover, the arm can accommodate displays up to 32 inches or 19.8 pounds and is compatible with 75mm or 100mm VESA mounts.
Herman Miller Sayl Chair
If you’re working from home, you’re likely doing a lot of sitting, so it pays to invest in a chair that doesn’t kill your back. The Herman Miller Sayl is the official seat of The Verge‘s New York office, namely because it’s comfortable and features some extensive adjustment options. It also comes with a 12-year warranty and is available in a number of color combinations, allowing it to more easily accommodate your giftee’s office setting.
NovelKeys Wrist Rest
NovelKeys makes a beautiful collection of wrist rests that use a combination of wood and cast resin in a variety of colors. While most wrist rests are made from gel or foam, firmer wrist rests have the added benefit of being easier to clean and, contrary to what you might think, are actually very comfortable.
Fitbit Charge 5
You’d think by spending so much time behind a desk, you wouldn’t need a reminder to get up every once in a while, but hey, sometimes we all need a little nudge. While the Fitbit Charge 5 doesn’t boast the same wealth of features found on more expensive wearables, it’s still a sensible option that can provide your giftee with essential fitness metrics and the occasional reminder to go outside and smell the roses.
Nomad Leather Mousepad
If you want to stop using your mouse on a naked desk, you might want to invest in a mousepad that’s a bit more adult. Luckily, Nomad makes leather accessories for just about every aspect of your home office, including your desk. The company’s leather mousepads are available in 13- or 16-inch sizes and can be treated with brown, black, or beige finishes. They also feature a heat-treated surface that won’t interfere with optical sensors.
Rain Design iLevel2 Laptop Stand
It’s amazing how much better your neck — and shoulders and back — can feel when you’re not constantly hunched over your laptop. Rain Design’s adjustable stand improves on the design of the original model by allowing you to adjust the angle of your machine, thus helping you better position your display at eye level. The aluminum stand is also sturdy, lightweight, and can accommodate laptops up to 17 inches in size.
Sony’s noise-canceling WH-1000XM5s aren’t a massive departure from the prior model, but they remain the best option for staying focused in a world that constantly demands our attention. The superb headphones feature better noise cancellation and sound quality than their bulkier predecessor, in addition to superior voice call clarity.
Opal C1 webcam
Looking your best on Zoom calls can be difficult, but it’s a little bit easier when you’re equipped with the right webcam. Thankfully, one of our favorite models, the Opal C1, offers DSLR quality at a fraction of the price. The well-designed webcam offers excellent performance out of the box, too, with the ability to capture 4K video at 30fps or 1080p video at 60fps.
Cuisinart Electric Kettle
The Cuisinart Electric Kettle features multiple temperature settings for different teas, including white and green varietals, making it an essential appliance for enjoying coffee’s more civilized cousin. The swiveling 1.7-liter device even features a dedicated setting for preparing French press coffee as well as the ability to keep your water at a set temperature for up to 30 minutes.
Logitech MX Mechanical Mini
If you’re looking to spice up your WFH routine with a new keyboard, a mechanical option like the productivity-focused Logitech MX Mechanical Mini will allow you to turn typing into a more tactile experience that conventional keyboards can’t replicate. The Mini has backlit keys to make everything legible, too, and can pair with both Windows or macOS using either Bluetooth or the included 2.4Ghz wireless dongle.
Miir Tumbler (8-ounce)
For a mug that’s almost as unique as you are, look no further than the Miir Tumbler. The double-walled, stainless steel design keeps your favorite beverages hot, while the press-fit lid keeps things where they should be. The classic tumbler is available in a range of sizes and attractive colors, too, and you can even personalize it for an additional fee.
Nanoleaf Lines Smarter Kit
A little bit of accent lighting can do wonders when it comes to breathing new life into your home office. Thankfully, Nanoleaf’s ultra-flexible Lines Smarter Kit provides you with everything you need to level up your backlighting game, including nine 11-inch light bars and their corresponding mounting connectors. You can even control them using the Nanoleaf app or virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The unique shape of the LG DualUp made it an office talking point during our testing. The monitor’s clever display is roughly the same size as two 21.5-inch monitors stacked on top of one another, allowing it to showcase multiple windows without breaking a sweat. It also features an impressive port selection and comes packaged with a phenomenal stand, one that allows you to pivot and orient the display however you see fit.
Monoprice Rotating Surge Strip
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to plug in a charger only to find that it blocks two other outlets. Thankfully, Monoprice’s rotating power strip understands your struggle and has six individual outlets, each of which can rotate up to 180 degrees, in addition to a pair of fixed outlets. The power strip is rated to handle 120V or 1800W, too, and features built-in LEDs to let you know that your devices are grounded and protected.
Apple MacBook Air (M2 model)
The M2 MacBook Air is one of the best laptops available, thanks in part to its amazing battery life, lightweight design, and exceptional performance. It builds on the success of its predecessor with an even slimmer profile as well while managing to pack in a sharper display and an improved 1080p webcam that doesn’t look like it was ripped from the late aughts.
Sensyne 10-inch Ring Light
Besides giving you the soft and even lighting your face deserves, a sensible ring light like this 10-inch model from Sensyne can prove invaluable when taking photos or in any situation that might demand better lighting. The relatively small LED light features adjustable temperature and brightness settings and comes packaged with its own tripod, phone mount, and remote shutter control.
HP Spectre x360 14
HP’s x360 Spectre 14 may not be as exciting as Apple’s new MacBooks, but it remains an excellent 2-in-1 option for Windows users. Not only does the sharp machine feature a convertible touchscreen and all-day battery life, but it comes packaged with HP’s MPP 2.0 Tilt Pen stylus, which gives it some features you won’t find on any Apple laptop.
Fully Jarvis Standing Desk
The Jarvis Standing Desk is the kind of desk we stand behind (no pun intended). It’s a favorite amongst Verge staffers and can be customized with a variety of sizes, designs, and accessories, each of which is intended to complement your workspace. The motorized components come with a 15-year warranty, too, while the desk tops are covered for up to five years.