Over the past 18-months, the home has become the primary office space for some. Whether set up on the dining room table or in a dedicated study, many have created a professional workspace in their homes.
However, not everyone has fully made this transition. If you feel like your home office space could do with a bit of a makeover, we’ve put together a list of five tech upgrades that can help to improve your home office. These gadgets will help add an extra slice of convenience to your daily routine and improve your efficiency.
There are few things worse than going to drink a cup of coffee or tea, only to realise that it’s been an hour since you last touched it because you’ve now got a mouthful of lukewarm beverage. Then comes the choice of either getting up to make a fresh, piping hot cup or just trying to power through what’s left in your mug. Either option isn’t ideal, but there is a way to avoid this situation.
This Smart Coffee Warmer will help you keep your drinks warm in the background, so you can stay focused on work. Just pop your cup of coffee or tea on top, and this warming pad will help keep your drink at a toasty 55-degrees Celcius. It has a built-in gravity induction switch, which means it won’t activate until you place your cup down and will automatically switch off when it’s removed.
A coffee warmer is a great addition to any desk, even if you’re not working from home. Just don’t confuse it with your phone’s wireless charging pad.
Sometimes the key to improving your workspace involves changing up the mood and atmosphere of the room, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with smart lighting. Nanoleaf is a pretty well-respected name when it comes to smart lights, and its Essentials Smart Bulb lives up to the brand’s high-end quality but at an affordable price.
With a quick setup and easy to use interface, swapping through this LED smart bulb’s range of over 16 million different colour options couldn’t be more simple. Need to focus more? Flip the bulb to a bright white. If your home office space is also your bedroom or living room, you can set the bulb to be different colours, which will help you mentally separate the room’s two uses.
If you’re still not convinced, you can check out Gizmodo Australia’s glowing review for the Essentials Bulb here.
A wireless charger can add an extra bit of convenience to your day and, most importantly, it helps to cut down the number of wily cables that are on your desk at any given time.
Say goodbye to having to dig around for your charging cable because it’s fallen into the gap between your office desk and the wall.
What’s good about this Anker wireless charger is that it keeps the phone standing up, so you can see the screen at any given moment. When a call comes through, you won’t need to fuss around with cables. Just pick up your smartphone from the stand and then put it back once your call is done.
Speaking of having too many cables, trying to juggle the number of things you can plug into your computer via USB can be a bit annoying sometimes. My work computer is an old MacBook Air, which only has two USB ports, meaning I can plug in my mouse, my keyboard… and that’s it. So if I want to plug in my headphones to charge or transfer a file from my portable hard drive, I need to sacrifice one of these ports to do so.
If this is an all too relatable problem, it sounds like you need to invest in a USB hub. It works like a power board – you’ll lose one USB slot on your laptop or computer to gain many more.
This Sabrent hub has four USB ports and includes kill switches for each slot, so you can disconnect individual devices with the push of a button.
Depending on the kind of work you do, and whether your laptop has a USB-C port, this Anker 7-in-1 hub is a handy way to expand your connections. This hub includes two USB ports, an SD and microSD card port, an ethernet port, a power delivery port, and an HDMI port.
For the most part, your laptop’s webcam should be fine. But depending on the lighting conditions of your home office, it will only take you so far. Personally, I need to put on multiple lights in my office so I won’t look like a sunken-eyed ghoul (more so than usual, at least).
A good webcam in your home office can do you a world of good by helping you capture clearer video with a greater air of professionalism. The Logitech Pro Stream C922 webcam can stream full HD 1080p video at 30fps and 720p at a smooth 60 fps. It also comes with autofocus and light correction features to help you broadcast crisp footage that doesn’t look like it was filmed with a mid-2000s camera phone.
It has been optimized for Twitch and YouTube, making it a good choice if you want to partake in some after-work streaming. The Logitech C922 webcam also has two in-built microphones, which is handy if you don’t have a dedicated microphone already.
It even comes with a stand, if you’re not keen on attaching it to the top of your laptop screen or computer monitor.
Much like your webcam, your computer’s in-built microphone should be more than enough. But depending on the acoustics of your room, that microphone might be punching above its weight. While things might sound fine on your end, everyone else on the call could be dealing with a noticeable echo or they could barely hear you at all.
Anker’s PowerConf speaker is a decent remedy for a case of the can-you-hear-me-nows. This Bluetooth conference speaker optimizes the voices of whoever you’re calling so you can hear them more clearly, and can also pick up your voice no matter where you’re sitting in the room with its 360-degree microphone array.
If you’d prefer a more traditional microphone, Razer has established itself as a solid go-to brand for computer accessories and its Seiren Mini microphone lives up to that hype. This compact USB mic will become an unassuming addition to your home office, while also providing you with some incredibly crisp, high-quality audio.
While you can upgrade your webcam and microphone as much as you want, your efforts are going to waste if you’re internet connection isn’t particularly strong. If your home office just happens to be a bit of a wi-fi dead zone, a more powerful router could be what you need.
The TP-Link Deco M9 Plus mesh router has a range of 230m^2 and can reach a maximum speed of 2,200 Mbps, so it’ll keep you connected, consistently.
If you’re in a house that has a few people working from home, or your house’s wi-fi just gets an intense workout regularly, a mesh router upgrade is worth the investment. It will help share the wi-fi signal coverage and is also a good starting point for a mesh router network.