Working from home was a dream for many. Before Coronavirus, or COVID, many of us looked forward to the convenience of working from home. Not having to commute, not having to spend money on fuel and there is just something about the familiar warmth of a home. But with the pandemic switching things around rather rapidly, work from home, or lovingly known as WFH, has become a dream come true for many. Yet, a lot of us remain unprepared. The thing is, with the pandemic still showing no signs of going away anytime soon, you need to be prepared about this for the long haul. You might be working from home at least this year, and that’s true for most organizations in most parts of the world. Some forward-looking companies, such as Facebook, are already clear that no one returns to office before July next year, at the earliest. This basically means you cannot sit around the bed with your laptop in your lap and expect to not have back pain and eye strain.
Get on a proper workstation table, set it up nicely with the gadgets and accessories that you need and get down to serious work and to make the entire routine comfortable for you. We do not know how for how much longer we will be working from home, so get yourself whatever you need to make life easier. You need to be efficient, yet you need to make things comfortable for yourself. And perhaps a dash of luxury too, if the budget allows. This is our handy guide to some of the must have accessories for making work from home and remote work comfortable, productive and cool.
Turf Vegan Leather Desk MatRs 2,499; Dailyobjects.com Desk mats add a sense of class and luxury to the otherwise stressful and often mundane task of working from home. It doesn’t really get much more sophisticated than the Turf Vegan Leather desk mat available on Daily Objects. All the better if it is made of leather. Vegan leather mind you, tan colour that goes with most interiors, handcrafted and made in India. The Turf Vegan Leather Desk Mat is water resistant, which means even if you accidentally drop water on it, the leather will not get damaged. It can be easily cleaned too. It is reversible as well, which means you can use either side on top. The dimensions are pretty large too, measuring 85cm x 45cm and can easily fit your 15.6-inch laptop along with your phone, your notepad and a nice cup of tea or coffee, whatever catches your fancy—though do check your table’s dimensions beforehand.
Desk mats are also a great way to hide a workstation table that may not be in the best of visual health. Get one, they feel great. This Turf Vegan Leather Desk Mat from Daily Objects particularly feels very well made.
AMX XP50 charging hubRs 1,199; Amxindia.in Multiple devices to charge? Probably more than one phone? A smartwatch? A tablet perhaps? Now think—how many wall sockets do you have. If you are someone who likes to keep away from cable clutter and don’t want to be seen dragging power strips all over the place, simply get one of these. Indian tech company AMX has the XP50 smart USB charger which can charge up to 5 devices at the same time. This is rated at 40-watts and has 5 USB ports. Depending on how many devices you have plugged in for charging at the same time and their charging capabilities, you will get up to 2.4A per port or a maximum of 8A in total. The AMX XP50 smartly analyses the plugged-in devices to understand their charging prowess to ensure each gets the maximum power possible to allow for quick charging. The convenience of a USB charging station on the desktop or even the bedside, is priceless.
The AMX XP50 charging hub also costs significantly lesser compared with similar charging stations from brands such as Anker, and the very approachable service is just another strong point of AMX India.
Belkin Kakao Friends wireless chargerRs 3,499; Amazon.in Kakao Friends are all about bringing cheer to your life. They are very popular emoticons made by the Kakao Friends Corporation for KakaoTalk, and they are all about positivity, fun and colour. Belkin has a wireless charging pad for your work desk at home, with Ryan, a lion who is all about strength and independence. As for the wireless charger, this will deliver fairly fast wireless charging up to 9W to Samsung smartphones and up to 7.5W for Apple iPhones. All other Qi standard devices will get speeds up to 5W for wireless charging, and that includes the Apple AirPods 2 with the wireless charging case.
This is a very simple slab or table coaster like design, and wireless chargers are incredibly convenient to have anyway.
É by Nescafé smart coffee mugRs 6,095; Enescafe.in Coffee mugs usually aren’t the smartest. And coffee makers for homes can be quite frustrating. The thing is, both of those come together in the sort of way with the É by Nescafé that it should certainly take up a space near your workstation. If you are a coffee drinker, that is. This is a coffee maker and a cup all in one, and not very big either. It has Bluetooth and connects with the É by Nescafé app (free for Android and iOS). The mug sits on the dock and you can configure it to make hot or cold coffee.
Café Latte with hazelnut or Caramel coffee probably never tasted this good.
Marshall Acton IIRs 24,999; Avstore.in Many of us believe listening to music makes us work better. Some of us don’t. The University of Miami research says that if you are not listening to music while working, the quality of work is low, and the time taken to finish the task is longer—as compared with if you are listening to music. Convinced? Now count the pennies, put together enough and splurge on the Marshall Acton II speaker. Sound doesn’t get much better than this. In each Acton II, there are two 15-watt Class D amplifiers for tweeters and one Class D amplifier for the woofer. You get the retro touch with knob controls for bass, treble and volume.
All that in the iconic Marshall design, and this will look good somewhere around your workstation.
Amazon Echo Dot with ClockAround Rs 5,499; Amazon.in You will thank us for this. A digital assistant can really help you keep tabs on a crazy workday at home, with multiple video meetings and deadlines vying for your attention. If you have an Amazon Echo Dot on or near your desk, you can simply call out to it to set a reminder for a deadline or add a video meeting to the calendar. And the Alexa virtual assistant will let you know well in time. You can also call out to Alexa for the latest news updates, stock prices or to control the smart lights, for instance, without having to get up from your desk.
The bonus benefit—connect it to your Marshall Acton II and use the voice commands to play music from Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon Music.
Halo Apple iPhone and Watch StandRs 1,499; Dailyobjects.com Video calls. Video meetings. Notifications on the phone screen. If work from home is all about being inundated with a phone that is perpetually pinging to indicate a never-ending flood of new messages or you have to keep it docked for video calls often, you might want to get a dock. The Halo dock available on Daily Objects does very well when it comes to simplicity, as long as you have an Apple iPhone. Even better if you have an Apple Watch. You take your existing iPhone charging cable and the Apple Watch magnetic charger and thread both of them through the skeleton of the Halo dock as directed. You get a two-in-one system—to keep your iPhone docked and charged, as well as your Apple Watch charged too.
The finish is soft touch and it has a solid steel base to give the Halo a solid footing.
Modern Art Lap Cushion DeskRs 1,999; Theartment.com You don’t always want to sit at a table. You probably get tired of sitting in the same position on the chair for hours. This Modern Art Lap Cushion Desk could just be the solution. This is basically a very thick and luxurious cushion with a thoughtfully added wooden top. That makes it a table, and this is very good quality wood too. You can sit on the bed, keep this on the bed or in your laptop, place your laptop on it and continue working. Posture problems, back stress and general discomfort are significantly reduced if you sit properly. This is 15-inches wide, which means it can fit most laptops up to 14-inches with absolute ease and the 15.6-inch laptops if you are careful. It is 10-inches deep and 4.5-inches from the base to the tabletop. Sometimes you don’t need tech to solve everything—the simplest of ingenuity does the job.
Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi SystemRs 6,999 onwards; Amazon.in You can buy the Linksys Velop Wi-Fi Mesh system in dual-band or tri-band avatars depending on what sort of range you need to cover your home with the goodness of uninterrupted Wi-Fi. No longer will you have to deal with Wi-Fi drops, a Wi-Fi dark zone in some part of your home and be unable to video chat or stream Netflix properly in your bedroom. What you get is coverage of up to 3,000 square feet of indoor space with the dual band setup. This dual-band setup offers the 2.4GHz band that goes up to a maximum of 400Mbps speed and a 5GHz band that does up to 867Mbps speed. Good for internet lines around 500Mbps speeds. The tri-band Velop combines for 2200Ghz (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 5GHz) and can cover up to 6,000 square feet of indoor home space. The Linksys app (free for Android and iOS) is quite slick to use as well. Your high speed internet deserves a mesh, and this is as cost effective as any.