The work flexibility offered by the advances in technology is a brilliant thing. With the advent of readily available high-speed broadband, cloud-based software, video chat and workplace instant messengers, working from home is just like being in the office – only you get to switch your suit for some jogging bottoms.
To successfully and comfortably work from home you need the right equipment – simply having a laptop or desktop PC isn’t going to be enough to truly maximise your home office potential. There’s a number of inexpensive and quick additions that can be made to your set-up that'll have a hugely positive impact on your workspace and workflow. We’ve had a look around and, using our own home working experience, selected a number of essential products we trust to assist our day working from home.
One of the more obvious recommendations is a widescreen PC monitor which can be plugged into a laptop (or as an addition to a pre-existing desktop setup) - these screens offer up a greater amount of on-screen working space and a better viewing position for extended periods of use. For laptop users, we’d also recommend an external keyboard, mouse and stand – the home office isn’t the 0730 commuter train, so an ergonomic and more relaxed seating position will really help you endure a day in front of the screen. For those who are at home but need to keep up with their appointments, a webcam and microphone headset is going to afford you a crystal-clear presence in the next video chat or remote meeting.
Beyond this, we’ve included a few of the things you might not think about until you realise you don’t have them – we’re taking main extension leads, HDMI cables and the humble LED desk light.
Here’s a selection of the best, and most budget friendly, solutions for levelling up your home office and working from home potential. At the end of the list we've also put together an extensive list of our available tech guides, offering advice on additional items that you may find yourself needing while working from home.
Must-have working from home tech
Netgear Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6120
Logitech MK540 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Microsoft Wired Desktop 600 for Business Keyboard
Samsung Space Monitor 32-inch
Logitech M330 Silent Plus Wireless Mouse
Logitech C270 HD Webcam
TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
SanDisk 64 GB Cruzer Blade USB Flash Drive
WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive 1TB
AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI 2.0 Cable - 0.9m
Rankie VGA to VGA Cable, 1.8m
Sennheiser PC 3 CHAT Lightweight Telephony On-Ear Headset
AmazonBasics Aluminium Foldable Laptop Stand
MiiKARE Extension Power Socket with USB Ports
Samsung SmartThings Energy Control
Working From Home Tech
1. Netgear Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6120
This budget-friendly Wi-Fi range extender is ideal for giving your home office connectivity a signal boost. The unit plugs into a UK wall plug, takes the signal from your standard home Wi-Fi and gives it a bit of a boost, extending the working range and helping you access a solid connection even in the corner of your house. It's easy to set up and can connect with up multiple devices (one connection can be wired). You can read more about Wi-Fi extenders and boosters here.
2. Logitech MK540 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
This wireless keyboard and mouse bundle is designed to increase you working comfort, while reducing the clutter of your workspace. It's plug-and-play, so there is very little set up required, and the battery life will keep you typing for weeks.
3. Microsoft Wired Desktop 600 for Business Keyboard
This budget bundle is a great deal. The keyboard and mouse do exactly what you need them to – it's reliable and comfortable. For the average PC user, this is a more than adequate purchase.
4. ASUS VZ249HE
This slimline HD monitor offers up a large and crisp screen, ideal for working on multiple documents. Asus's Eye Care feature is included to control light frequencies and reduce eye strain – perfect for a long day in the home office. The VZ249HE can be connected to via a HDMI lead or VGA cable.
5. Samsung Space Monitor 32-inch
Maximising desk space and working comfort is a top priority when working from home. Samsung's ingenious Space Monitor clamps to the edge of a desk and can be pushed to sit flush against a wall when not in use, and pulled forward into a floating, non-intrusive viewing position as the user sees fit. The screen here, too, is something to get excited about, as it boasts an impressive 4K UHD resolution (3840x2160) with a four second grey-to-grey response time and 60Hz refresh rate. This truly is one of the best monitors on the market.
6. Logitech M330 Silent Plus Wireless Mouse
The Silent Plus from Logitech offers up the basic functions you need from a mouse, but with the addition of wireless, a really quiet click and ergonomic shaping. Plus, it's available in number of natty colours.
7. Logitech C270 HD Webcam
Video chats can't happen without video. The C270 will capture the picture in clear and stutter free 720p HD at 30fps. The camera auto adjusts the lighting balance of an image to guarantee you can always be seen. The universal clip mount offers versatile placement.
8. TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
The TaoTronics desk lamp has five light colours and seven brightness settings, allowing you to select the combination that works best for your setup. The LED lights are flicker-free and help to reduce eyestrain.
9. SanDisk 64 GB Cruzer Blade USB Flash Drive
If you're not on the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive), a memory stick is quick and convenient method for backing up and switching files between devices. 64 GB is going to be ample space for all of your document, photo and video needs.
10. WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive 1TB
The WD Element Portable Hard Drive is an easy way to add additional storage to your PC. It'll allow you take backup and transport your files between the home office and work with ease.
11. AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI 2.0 Cable - 0.9m
The cable you'll need to connect a computer's HMDI output connection to a monitor's HDMI input connection.
12. Rankie VGA to VGA Cable, 1.8m
The cable you'll need to connect a computer's VGA output connection to a monitor's VGA input connection.
13. Sennheiser PC 3 CHAT Lightweight Telephony On-Ear Headset
In this modern world of video conferences and Skype meetings, a headset is a necessity. Sennheiser's headset ranks among the best, and will make sure that you can hear and be heard in professional clarity. The microphone is noise cancelling, so background noise is reduced, and the speakers are tuned to increase audio clarity.
14. AmazonBasics Aluminium Foldable Laptop Stand
If you're working all day on a laptop, it's time to give it a 7.5cm lift. This stand raises the screen, reducing the strain on your neck and back attributed to a laptop's low screen position.
15. MiiKARE Extension Power Socket with USB Ports
Anyone who has ever worked from home knows the struggle of finding enough plugs. This 2m surge protected extension bay will provide eight plugs and three powered USB connections for smartphones or tablets.
16. SmartThings Energy Control
The advent of the working from home situation has brought with it an increased strain on the home's power consumption, bringing with it concerns regarding its financial and environmental impact. Samsung's SmartThings Energy Control application allows people to take back some control over their power consumption via smart device control and power use mapping. Providing minute-by-minute analysis of the power used by devices from Samsung, Hue, Bose, Ring and more, the app allows user to make the decisions they need regarding their own energy usage.
Essential guides for home working equipment
Once you make the jump from office working to home working, whether temporarily or permanently, you’re bound to notice that some things are missing from your setup. From big-ticket items like suitable seating, through to printers, and even on-desk décor. What’s The Best has a large back catalogue of expert guides relating to all matters tech, office and convenience. Read on to see the guides available.
While some are fortunate enough to be able to take their work laptop or PC home with them, some will need to use their peronal equipment. Whether for work, school or university study, these four guides will help you find the laptop you need:
Safety online isn’t just something that you should consider while working from home. It’s a 365-day concern that should be treated with the seriousness that it deserves. Thankfully you can outsource much of this concern to a dedicated internet security provider and VPN provider. Read our guides below:
Lighting is something that everyone needs to consider. The right lighting helps to reduce eye strain and improve your mood (especially with a SAD lamp going into the darker months). Here are our guides on the best lights you should consider for you home workspace:
Seating and desks
Are you sitting comfortably? Kitchen chairs and tables are okay for the odd WFH day, but on a more regular basis, they're going to play havoc on your posture and musculature. An office chair and desk is the solution, and they come in all shapes, sizes and, importantly, price ranges. Read our guide to the best office chairs and desks to find the right one for you:
The right monitor can help you up productivity and reduce eye strain, and adding a second monitor to your home office can improve things considerably, too. Our experts know a thing or two about PC screens - you can read their guides below:
Keyboard, mouse, headset, hard drive
The right keyboard and mouse can improve your comfort when working at a desk. Even if you already have a keyboard and mouse, it’s worth looking at upgrading. Laptop users can also greatly benefit from using an external mouse and keyboard, as they can vastly improve posture.
Regularly on video calls? A good headset is going to help you hear and be heard in the next conference call.
Backing up data, personal or professional, is an excellent habit to get into. It’s a process that’s easy to setup and provides a welcome peace of mind. External hard drives provide this function and are great value for money.
Here are What’s The Best’s guides on keyboard, mice, headsets and external hard drives:
Much of the world has gone paperless, however there are circumstances (or even whole professions) where a printer is needed. While it’s unlikely that you’ll need to set up a large office printer in your home, a small affordable option is going to be a welcome tool. Read our guide to the best home printers here:
Make your workspace your own
Making sure that your home workspace is right for you is hugely important. It provides you with a comfortable dedicated space, allowing you to turn up and focus on your work projects.
Whether this means setting up a really clean, clutter-free desk or piling on the greenery and office décor, it doesn’t matter. It just needs to work for you. We’ve got a few guides to help everyone maximise the potential of their home working space: