Some states are in the early stages of reopening, meaning millions of workers will soon be back in stores, hair salons, movie theaters, and restaurants. But one thing that isn’t likely to change any time soon: office workers working from home. And if office workers are staying home to do their jobs, they are going to need to re-create certain elements of their offices to be more productive at home.
Leaders at large companies like Morgan Stanley and Zillow are already publicly discussing changes to office working culture. And experts predict that 25 to 30 million Americans will work from home regularly in the next two years. That’s up from 5 million who did so before the stay-at-home orders.
The Groupon Coupons team put together a list of work-from-home (WFH) tech essentials that will make it easier to do your job no matter where you’re doing it from.
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A VPN acts like a personal security guard for all your online activity. Every time you use public WiFi or access personal and work accounts a VPN cloaks that data in encryption, ensuring hackers and malware can’t see or track it. It is one of the simplest and easiest ways to protect yourself online.
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Working from home is different than being in an office (understatement of the year). It is so much easier to tune out auxiliary noise when you're surrounded by it, but at home with kids or even just a partner, it's harder. TaoTronics SoundSurge BH046 headphones' active noise cancellation technology that reduces low-frequency sound by up to 96%. Add in Bluetooth capability and the extra-long 30-hour battery life, and the $80 price tag is a bargain. Check out our full headphones buying guide.
Laptop keyboards just weren’t designed for the hours of typing that most jobs require. It’s much more comfortable and productive to type on a fuller desktop-style keyboard. We prefer a wireless option because they are easy to pair and you don’t have to mess with wires at all. Make sure to get one with a significant battery life so you can work through the day without worrying about it running out of juice.
Ergonomic: Logitech K860 ($149.99 at Best Buy)
Shoulder, neck, and back pain caused by poor posture is a common complaint for office workers. This ultra-lightweight stand is designed to help you stop hunching over your computer. There are two height choices—one ideal for sitting and the other for standing—so you can find the angle that works best for you. It works with laptops up to 15.6", both Macs and PCs.
Check out our buying guide for the best office chairs if you want more help correcting your posture and easing aches and pains.
I don’t know about you, but I started to notice an ache in my forearm about two weeks into working from home. Just like a laptop’s keyboard, laptop track pads are not designed for the kind of heavy use that a mouse is. A mouse is faster, more accurate, and more efficient than a track pad, making it a must-have for anyone whose job requires anything beyond basic word processing.
Ergonomic: Logitech MX Master 2S, $89.90 at Amazon
You know it, we know it, and your boss knows it. So let's be honest with ourselves and admit there are times when we're going to work from the couch or bed. A lap desk will make that so much easier and more comfortable. Plus it gets the computer off your lap, which reduces the risk of overheating. This one has a built-in mouse pad and a slot for your phone.
Check out our buying guide for standing desks if you're interested in a more permanent desk option.