If you’ve recently been forced to work from home for the first time, you are likely discovering there are countless pros and cons to that situation. One big advantage is that you can use your new freedom to create an ideal workflow. As you’re working in your own environment and with no desk buddy to bump elbows with, it’s up to you to decide how you want to organize your day and which productivity gadgets can help you get more done.
This is a big deal, seeing as the right productivity gadgets can perfectly complement your workflow and even automate some aspects of your to-do list. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Top productivity gadgets for working from home:
A tablet can work wonders for your productivity by giving you the option of upright computing. To me, that means being able to check emails, chat on Slack, and browse Asana while relaxing on the couch with a cup of coffee. I can even check a few things while I’m making said coffee. It also means being able to sketch out ideas for thumbnails in the evenings without it feeling like work.
A tablet can likewise act as a second screen for answering emails while you’re working, providing you with more real estate for productivity. Tablets are, of course, more limited than computers in terms of what they can do. Still, that form factor makes them so accessible and ideal for specific types of work (predominantly media consumption).
Then there are all the other things you can do, like using a tablet to extend your display!
If you want the iPad that offers the most bang per buck, nothing beats the 10.2-inch iPad. It’s not as portable as an iPad Mini or as powerful as an iPad Pro, but its MSRP is only $329! And it offers plenty of power for most work-related tasks. We’ve gone as far as using it for photo editing, and it did better than most laptops under $1000.
Recommended productivity gadget: iPad 10.2-inch
Ultra-wide monitor/Multimonitor array
A wider screen has significantly boosted my work output. Having more space to arrange windows is perfect when I need more than one reference to write from, or when I’m editing videos and want to see more of my timeline.
In all honesty, I’m now so used to working on my LG Ultrawide, that I actually find it extremely claustrophobic going back to my regular 15-inch laptop! This is probably one of the most recommended productivity gadgets for a wide number of people.
Recommended productivity gadget: LG Full HD IPS UltraWide Monitor
Digital assistants generally live in the kitchen as glorified egg timers. While that’s certainly a legitimate use-case, I really believe that an Amazon Echo or a Google Nest digital assistant can serve as an effective “JARVIS” for your home office.
As well as setting reminders to answer emails (which helps you focus on other tasks without forgetting), adding to your to-do list, and even making quick calls in some cases; this is also a quick way to get information from the web without having to Google it.
The Echo Dot serves as a great introduction to the world of digital assistants. The little speaker is helpful, good-looking, and very affordable. You can get into more advanced smart speakers and displays later.
Recommended productivity gadget: Amazon Echo Dot
This may be an indulgence for many people, and I’m certainly not suggesting that a second computing device is essential (third if you like the tablet idea!). However, having a small Chromebook device can really improve your workflow.
Also read: The best mini laptops you can buy in 2021
Chromebooks tend to be much more affordable than their Windows counterparts, and the industry has created some really portable ones that will work great as secondary computers. Because the OS is so lightweight, a lower price and specs don’t necessarily mean lower performance. These computers are fast, even the cheaper ones.
A nice little Chrome OS device like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet could be great as a secondary device on your desk, but you could also easily take it with you and use it on the go. Battery life is amazing at about 10-11 hours. And if your needs aren’t too demanding, you could technically replace the tablet with this device, as it has a tablet form factor when you detach the keyboard.
Recommended productivity gadget: Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Nothing on this list is essential, but a smartwatch can be extremely useful for taking notifications off your screen and putting them on your wrist. That means you can quickly check whether a message is essential and needs to be answered immediately, without having to interrupt your flow.
Also read: The best smartwatches you can buy (2021)
The right Smartwatch can do a lot more, too – such as putting your to-do list right on your wrist, or being used to set reminders. Many people don’t think of these as productivity gadgets, but they can fit very neatly into a great workflow.
Recommended productivity gadget: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
The right keyboard
A great keyboard can make all the difference to your productivity. If you get this right, it should be comfortable and quick to type on for long stretches, while also giving you access to macros. Macros will let you quickly launch apps and perform other functions with the press of a few keys, which can be extremely time-saving over the long term.
We recommend the Razer Pro Type. If you’re going to be working from home, the keyboard is what you’ll interact with the most, so splurge a little and get something really nice. Razer is known for making great gaming keyboards, but the looks are not for everyone. The Razer Pro Type changes this with a clean white look, but all the great features we love from their gaming gear. The mechanical keyboard has an ergonomic design with great spacing between keys. There’s also a full number pad, mechanical switches, backlit keys, wireless connectivity, and a stunning build.
Recommended productivity gadget: Razer Pro Type
Get a nice mouse!
Pair that new keyboard with a nice mouse! A good mouse will relieve wrist pain, perform better, and make you a more precise clicker. This means your workflow will be further streamlined, and you’ll be able to do much more than with those cheap, ugly, wired, office mice.
If you get our keyboard recommendation, then pair it with the Razer Pro Click. It comes with the same design language, as well as an ergonomic body, eight programmable buttons, up to 400 hours of battery life (because it’s wireless!), and a 16,000DPI sensor.
Recommended productivity gadget: Razer Pro Click
Being able to listen to your own music while working is game-changing: no more having to listen to Linda’s choice of the radio station! Moreover, this is a great way to tune out distractions and stay focused on work. High-quality noise-cancelling headphones can help you get into the zone much quicker and are practically essential as productivity gadgets! Check out the Sound Guys guide to the best noise-cancelling headphones!
As for our recommendation, we say it’s near-impossible to beat the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. These are not cheap, but they are worth every penny. They’re also an industry-favorite pick for many experts, and our SoundGuys team says they are the “best all-around option.”