With 2023 upon us, you have to ask yourself, should you spend another year hunched over your dining room table while working from home? The correct answer is no, no you shouldn’t. Instead of committing to sudden life-changing resolutions, taking smaller steps to make your everyday spaces just a bit more comfortable could be much more impactful. This list will make your work-from-home space more productive, practical, and peaceful. Most of these items have been personally tested to ensure you can get the most out of each one, whether you’re in a hybrid work environment or a fully remote position.
First up, a little visual upgrade can go a long way toward elevating your work experience. If you’ve been looking for a budget-friendly 4K display, the AOC U27 monitor is a fine choice. The U27 comes packed with ports, including DisplayPort 1. 2, HDMI 2. 0, and HDMI 1. 4. And while locked at 60hz, this 16:9 LED display offers a crisp image that won’t disappoint, especially at $US239.99 ($333). I looked at the AOC U27 as a great (and cheap) way to experience 4K, and haven’t been disappointed. This monitor is also VESA compatible, meaning it’ll pair perfectly with our next recommendation.
Clutter may seem like a minor issue, but during a busy work day, it’s the last thing you’ll want to deal with. Clear up some desk space by mounting your monitors! The Hanuo Dual Monitor Stand will hold up even the heaviest of displays, with a weight limit of 12 kg and accepting sizes ranging from 13” to 35”. The gas spring arms reduce monitor wobble while retaining swivel, tilt, and rotate capabilities. My favourite feature? The dual USB passthrough ports built into the base of the monitor stand! If you’re concerned about heavier, or even curved monitors, I’ve put my MSI Optix MAG341CQ 34″ on this bad boy without it breaking a sweat. Pick this up for $US139.99 ($194).
This head-shaped lamp is both a conversation piece and a pretty cool way to store some accessories, reducing even more clutter. I use it to store my VR headset, but this LED lamp could also be a comfy home for your over-ear headphones. The LED light source can cycle through various hues, or be set to a specific colour. IKEA boasts a lifetime of approximately 25,000 hours. Snag an Iskarna Lamp for $US35.99 ($50).
For those with hybrid work arrangements, or who are totally NOT taking a working vacation their boss doesn’t know about, the Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive is as reliable as it is portable. The sleek and stylish external drive comes with a USB 3.0 cable for speedy transfers. Users can schedule automatic backups as well, which is extremely useful when you’re away from your main PC. Secure your most important files for $US147.99 ($205).
The crown jewel of my remote work setup is the WORKLOUDER Creator Board. This eye-catching “keeb” features five rotary dials, perfect for the creative in your life. The board itself is compatible with a variety of software suites and boasts 236 programmable keys spread across 4 separate key layers. Like the keyboard’s look, but not its 60% layout? WORKLOUDER offers an XL version that packs all of these features, along with a full Numpad!
If you want to save quite a bit and test the waters, WORKLOUDER also has a macro Pad on the way for $US129.00 ($179). This is definitely a statement piece and the first thing most people ask about when they see my desk. But not only that, it’s an indispensable tool that I don’t think I can work without. Whenever I try to use other boards, I find myself reaching for dials that just aren’t there. I’ve been spoiled by this thing.
The NZXT Capsule Mic is an elegant choice for anyone looking to improve their mic quality, a must for those important work calls or some late-night streaming. The Capsule boasts high-res voice pickup while eliminating background noise and those pesky plosives, which can ruin the quality of any recording or streaming you may be doing. And with the pop filter being built in, that’s just one less thing to worry about. With this microphone being USB-C, you’ll enjoy a smooth plug-and-play experience. While this microphone is advertised for gamers, its bespoke design would make it fit in nicely in any setting. And hey, maybe you can get that Twitch career started. Grab an NZXT Capsule for $US116.49 ($162).
Now that your audio quality is taken care of, it’s time for a new camera. Anything that will make that end-of-the-year review go smoother. The Logitech Brio Webcam offers 4K resolution at up to 90 frames per second. Logitech’s RightLight 3 tech helps deal with low-light and backlit settings. The Brio packs 3 FoV presets, including 90°, 78°, or 65°. The best feature, in my opinion, is the Windows Hello integration. This will allow you to log in using facial recognition, so users are ready to go as soon as they sit down. Try the Brio out for yourself for $US132.94 ($185).
It’s essential to prioritise accessories and tech that can help you manage or defeat stress. The Ember Mug² can help you do just that. This smart mug will keep your warm beverage, such as tea or coffee, at the perfect temperature. It features an LED that will let you know when your drink is safe to sip and can last all day when paired with a charging coaster. Even if you don’t take advantage of some of the other smart features, having your coffee or tea last longer is worth every penny. If you’re anything like me and you just forget that your coffee is there because you’re so engrossed in your work, you can grab the perfect cup for $US129.95 ($180).
Stand-Up Desk, Legs and Countertop
While many have gravitated toward the tried and true IKEA desk and drawer combo, motorised desks offer a range of benefits in their own right. Being able to change work positions can relieve stress on your back or help creative juices flow. And though you can buy an all-in-one motorised desk, buying the legs and table top separately can yield the best results. Going this route allows you to find the desk surface that fits your style, and something like butcher block can be much more durable than the particle board that is used in most desks. The Fezibo adjustable legs can hold up to 176 pounds and accommodate desktops from 27.2” to 44.5”. Pairing these legs with a kitchen countertop from IKEA, such as the Karlby, and you’ve got a high-quality workspace that will last.
Whether you’re editing video at your desk, enjoying some YouTube videos on your lunch break, or bumping some lo-fi beats to get through your work, speaker quality is vitally important. The Kanto YU2s are a solid pair of speakers that will last you quite a long time. They pack 3″ composite drivers that provide distortion-free sound while 3/4″ silk dome tweeters offer heightened clarity. Even at just under 6” tall, they pack more power than you could ever ask for sitting at your desk. The premium build quality and understated design ensure that these will serve you for years to come, all for just $US269.99 ($375).
And there it is! A range of items that are sure to turn your work-from-home setup into a paradise that you won’t mind clocking into every day. For preserving comfort and productivity, setting up a suitable work-from-home workstation with the appropriate tech is essential. Don’t let a subpar setup prevent you from working from home effectively. And definitely don’t let 2023 be yet another year that you work from home uncomfortably.
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