Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Working from home: The future of business is remote
Why you can trust ZDNet
Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article. Our process

‘ZDNet Recommends’ What exactly does that mean?

ZDNet’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of YOU, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form

Close

Work from home: Essential gadgets and gear for productivity and good health

With the scale of the coronavirus pandemic growing daily, companies, organizations, and individuals are coming up with plans to make working from home easier. A 30-year work from home veteran discusses the tools and gadgets for productivity and good health when working away from the office.

I realized the other day that I've been primarily working from home for almost 30 years. Sure, I've spent some time in offices, and also working from cafes, hotel rooms, trains, tents, and yurts, but the vast amount of my working day has been spent in my home office. And over those three decades, I've made a lot of mistakes. Hoo-boy, have I made mistakes.

I thought that working on a laptop on the soft in front of the TV was a long-term strategy (spoilers: it wasn't). I thought that an old door propped between two filing cabinets made for an ergonomic desk (spoilers: it didn't). I also thought that "I'm popping into the office for five minutes" in my dressing gown first thing in the morning would actually only be for five minutes (spoiler: it was a longer than five minutes -- a lot longer). So, I've made a lot of mistakes. And learned a lot from these mistakes.

One thing that I've learned to do is to make technology work for me, and with that in mind, here's a list of what I believe to be essential gadgets and gear if you find yourself working from home because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Disclosure: ZDNet may earn an affiliate commission from some of the products featured on this page. ZDNet and the author were not compensated for this independent review. 

1: Good, comfortable chair and desk

Good, comfortable chair and desk

I tried skimping here, and it didn't work. You might think that because you've been using the kitchen table and chair for occasionally working from home that this will be a long-term solution, or that you can lounge on the couch in front of Netflix and

2: A fast (probably unlimited bandwidth) internet connection

A fast (probably unlimited bandwidth) internet connection

Working from home you are likely to burn through your internet bandwidth, doubly so if you use video conferencing. 

If you are currently on a limited plan, then you might want to consider upgrading this (it might be a good time to find a bet

3: Robust Wi-Fi

Robust Wi-Fi

Another thing to bear in mind is your internet connection in your office. Likely you're going to be relying on Wi-Fi, so make sure that you have the best coverage possible. If your existing coverage sucks, then invest in a mesh system such as the View now at Amazon

4: Backup internet connection

Backup internet connection

Remember the old adage: "Two is one, and one is none." If your internet connection fails then you're productivity will take a nosedive, which is why I like to have a backup. While turning your smartphone into a mobile hotspot works as a short term solu

5: Conference speaker

Conference speaker

I don't know about you, but I hate holding up a phone to my ear for more than a few minutes. I just find myself drifting off and resenting being tied to the phone. While modern smartphones do have speakerphone facility, let's be honest, most are pretty

6: Webcam

Webcam

Unless you're using a laptop (which, long-term, I don't recommend without a separate keyboard and monitor), or your desktop has one, you'll likely need a webcam.

Something cheap and cheerful isn, in my experience, just as good as something that c

7: Monitor, mouse, and keyboard if you are using a laptop

Monitor, mouse, and keyboard if you are using a laptop

If you are using a laptop, do yourself a favor and get a keyboard, mouse, and monitor for yourself. The ergonomics work out much better in the long term. I really don't recommend spending hours a day hunched over a laptop. In the long term, your health

8: Firewalla

Firewall

If you are working from home I strongly recommend you harden your network with a hardware firewall. I've been testing the Firewalla Blue for some time now and this tiny box tha

9: Headphones or earbuds

Headphones or earbuds

Get yourself a decent pair of headphones or earphones. I'm a big fan of the AirPods Pro, but you should pick something that fits for you, is comfortable, and that sound good to you.

10: Charger for all your gadgets

Charger for all your gadgets

Get, if possible, a single charger that will charge most of your devices. It's OK to still use your existing laptop charger or whatever, but too many chargers will either mean that you'll constantly be switching things in and out of wall sockets, or yo

11: Ample lighting

Ample lighting

Don't struggle with a dimly-lit office. Invest in decent lighting that you can control. I'm a big fan of the Philips Hue stuff, but

Show Comments