Working from home essential buys for summer 2020

Working from home essential buys for summer 2020

(Picture: Twelve South)

With working from home the new normal and companies following the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon in announcing employees will work from home for many months more – and in the case of Twitter, forever – many of us are looking at a long summer of wifi woes and zoom calls in boxer shorts.

There will be challenges, tech troubles, sticky, hot weather and domestic distractions. To help, we have put together a list of ways to survive – and even supercharge – your summer work experience.

The Bandwidth Battle

There’s nothing worse than losing connection in the middle of an important Zoom call because your wifi can’t make the stretch. And the bandwidth battle with kids on multiple devices is a major headache. Here are three things that help:

Wifi Wonders

(Picture: TP-Link)

These little beauties can help you achieve the ever elusive goal of seamless whole-home Wi-Fi coverage.

With advanced mesh technology, the small units work together to form one unified whole-home network with the same network name – eliminating weak signal areas once and for all.

Effective for up to 6,500 square feet with just three of them – giving you stable, high-speed connections wherever you are in your home. Works with Amazon Echo/Alexa, Antivirus and Parental Controls,

TP-LINK Deco M9, Pack of 3, £333.87, Amazon

Powerful Connections

(Picture: Devolo)

The devolo Magic 2 WiFi Next is both reliable and powerful – it uses your home’s own electrical circuit to send strong WiFi signals throughout.

Turning your home’s electrical wiring into a super-fast internet network, you just plug in the first adapter and hook up your router via Ethernet cable, and the second one can be plugged in elsewhere in your house to extend your internet coverage. It also features a pair of Ethernet ports for connecting stationary tech like TVs or game consoles. The pass-through design means you won’t even lose out on plug sockets.

Easy set up – just plug in and go it works with all broadband providers..

Devolo Magic 2 WiFi Starter Kit Powerline Kit, £158, AO.com

Personal Hotspot

(Picture: D-Link)

One of the great things about working from home is that don’t actually have to work from home.

Take it outside with this hotspot from D-Link – which has been selling out since lockdown for a reason. It allows you to connect and share super-fast 4G LTE mobile Internet with download speeds of up to 150 Mbps, allowing you to stream music/videos, play online games, download and upload files on multiple devices from anywhere at higher speeds.

D-Link DWR-932 4G LTE Mobile WiFi, £121.58, Amazon

Upgraded Coffee

(Picture: Jura)

For some of us, right up there with wifi is good coffee and one of the drawbacks of working from home is missing out on your daily coffee run. This uber stylish and surprisingly compact machine from Jura brings the barista experience to your kitchen.

The newly launched ENA 8 uses freshly ground coffee beans to make fantastic coffee – and is super easy to use. The height-adjustable spout adjusts to the dimensions of your usual mug and it tells you when the filter needs changing and starts the auto-clean function automatically,

There is also a Jura app available which links your phone to your machine for remote activation – so your hot coffee is ready for you when your feet hit the bedroom floor.

Comes in a smart looking black, red, white and aluminium.

iJura ENA 8 Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine, Black £975, John Lewis

Better Lighting

(PIcture: Groov-e)

The desk lamp gets an upgrade with the Groov-e Apollo. Not only can it reduce eye strain but it is flexible lamp with three LED light modes, features wireless charging and it plays music!

You can connect via Bluetooth to hear work tunes using its 3W speaker. USB powered, users can take the Apollo and plug in wherever they are working.

LED Lamp with Wireless Charger and Bluetooth Speaker, £29.99, Groov-e

Standing Tall

(Picture: Ergotron)

Sitting down all day is good for no one. You can turn your tabletop into a standing desk with this easy adjustable desktop that moves straight up and down for more stability with no sway, tip or height-drop—even as you lean on it.

It arrives fully assembled—bonus! – just place it on your tabletop, and you’re ready to go.

Adjusts between sitting and standing with hand-brake levers and has a nice, stable platform with a solid metal design.

Ergotron Desktop WorkStation, £322.98 Amazon

No Tech Neck

(Picture: Twelve South)

Neck pain from looking down on a screen is a real pain and one of the hazards of working from home.

Having a good laptop stand will make working instantly more comfortable and healthier. Stylish with an improved ergonomic design, the Curve means users no longer have to hunch over and tilt their heads downwards towards a screen. They can elevate their laptop to a more comfortable height, relieving neck and shoulder strain in the process.

Twelve South Curve, £49.99, Amazon

Watch Your Back

Senator office chair to make working from home more comfortable

How about an office chair that actually looks good in your living room?

This beauty provides great lumbar support, looks great in any lounge and the smooth castors are perfect for zipping over to the kitchen kettle for your tea break.

Kin Tub Chair with Swivel Base, £410.20, DBI Furniture

Electric Desk

(PIcture: DBI Furniture)

A desk that allows you to change its height – whether you are moving it lower for typing while seated or higher if you want to stand or just hover near your laptop, this adjustable, electric desk is a great find.

Comes in a range of sizes and colours.

Height Adjustable Electric Desk, £533, DBI Furniture

Plug Bug

(Picture: Twelve South)

Perfect when you are working next to one single outlet and need to multi-task, the PlugBug Duo from Twelve South lets you keep USB-powered devices charged as well as two USB ports on a MacBook Power adapter, letting you charge three devices at once.

Twelve South PlugBug Duo, £49.99, Amazon

Charge Me Up

(Picture: STM Charge Tree)

Unlike most 3 in 1 wireless chargers that look like giant spaceship launch pads, this one takes things vertical – with a minimal footprint, it still can charge 3 devices at once – phone, AirPods/AirPods Pro and Apple Watch.

There is a little lip on the front which doubles as a perfect stand for watching videos or making video calls during your charge.

STM Charge Tree, £69.95, Amazon

Blue Light Protector

(Picture: Ocushield)

Researched and developed by Optometrists in the UK, these medically rated screen protectors filter out blue light, protect eyes and help with sleep.

Clear view, anti-glare coating and anti-bacterial a bonus.

Anti blue light screen protector for laptops, monitors and PCs £29.99 – £79.99 Ocushield

Keeping It Clean

(Picture: Wax Lyrical)

There has never been more reason to keep your workspace germ free.

This fragranced sanitiser surface spray (which contains 65% alcohol), is great to have to hand at your desk to keep things clean and it also brings a lovely citrussy whiff of grapefruit and verbena to your home office.

Surface Spray Sanitiser, £3, Wax Lyrical

First-Class Computing

(Picture: Dell)

If you have thus far managed to resist the lure of the Mac, this one is hailed by many as the ‘best Windows laptop around.’ The Dell XPS 13 is easy compact and light (just 1.27kg) but also packs a punch.

Its edge-to-edge keyboard (when you open it’s all screen that you’re looking at) is great for wading through emails and the keys are wonderful for clean, easy typing. The combination of a 10th-gen Intel i7 processor, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD also mean you are never going to struggle for power or storage.

Available in either a HD or 4K resolution, text is clear and easy to read, and colours are vibrant.

XPS 13 2-in-1 Laptop £1,399, Dell

Buy the Book

(Picture: Ao.com)

An ultra lightweight laptop with 10 hour battery life, the SUS Vivobook is great for when you’re on the move and looking for a reliable basic that gets the job done.

A wonderfully clear HD display, this affordable, streamlined model comes with a bonus 1-year subscription to Microsoft 365 AND with 1TB Cloud Storage.

Asus E203 11.6? Laptop, £199, Ao.com

Power Printer

(Picture: Ao.com)

The 4-in-1 design on this Epson printer means that it will print, scan, fax and photocopy all your important documents from the same machine.

By sending tasks straight from your phone or email, you can run off your weekly calendar before you’ve even jumped out of bed. Plus, this model comes with refillable colour tanks instead of cartridges, so not only is it a lot better for the environment, but it’s a lot lighter on your wallet too. And the WiFi Direct lets you send jobs without connecting to a router.

Epson EcoTank ET-4700. £249, Ao.com

Keeping Your Cool

We actually need to spend a bit of time on this one because working at home usually means a lack of the kind of cooling systems/aircons that modern offices offer. Here are some ideas to help keep you cool at home.

Small But Mighty

(Picture: Russell Hobbs)

Stylish looking AND effective, with a small footprint, this scandi looking fan has round round edge blades for increased air flow, and an adjustable tilt.

Surprisingly quiet and powerful, the 4 rounded edge blades are designed to mimic aerofoil design on plane wings, so it gets the job done.

Russell Hobbs RHMDF1201WDB Desk Fan, 45 W, Black with Wood Effect Trim, £46.99 Amazon

Smart Fan

(Pic: AirGo by GeoSmartPro)

The AirGo smart fan, the first of its kind, is packed full of fun features. First of all, you can can set the fan to a schedule to cool the room before you need it, and using an app, you can make it automatically turn based on the temperature of the room!

You can choose between 3 modes, one of which mimics nature’s air flow to ensure a controlled and calming breeze, giving you a feeling of sitting outdoors and its noise reduction technology makes it one of the quietest fans on the market.

AirGo Smart Fan, £109.99, GeoSmartPro

The Big Guns

(Picture: Russell Hobbs)

This portable a/c is designed to make a large room cool while still remaining quiet. No loud blowing here! The fitted castors mean you can move it from room to room too – so it can work in a home office and also keep you cool at night.

Fitted with 3 adjustable fan speeds, and an oscillating function, you can control the speed and direction of air low

This product also comes with a free one year manufacturer guarantee. A free second year guarantee is available upon registering your product.

Russell Hobbs Portable Air Conditioner, £299.99 Amazon

A Nice Cold One

(PIcture: Red Original)

Working out in the garden just got better with this waterproof cooler bag.

Ice lasts up to 72 hours, it’s watertight, durable and unsupported self-standing. The food grade BPA-free lining is free from toxins and easy to clean.

Waterproof Cooler Bag, £159.99, Red Original

Tumble For Ya

(Picture: Ohelo)

For those who need a cold one while they work, this cute tumbler is deskside-ideal because it won’t leave that annoying puddle of condensation that others do.

Beautifully keeps your bevvie cold or hot – whichever one you are going for – no matter how distracted you get by zoom calls or childcare.

Bonus: Ohelo’s products are designed in UK and 5% of profits go towards sustainable charities. Packaging is 100% plastic free and their distribution centre is 100% powered by renewable energy.

Tumbler, £29, Ohelo

Silence is Golden

(Picture: Skull Candy)

If your house is full children’s screams and television, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones is a must.

These wireless headphones not only produce impeccable sound quality, but are also really comfortable to wear for hours at a time with adjustable base, noise cancellation, and up to 24 hours of battery.

Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones £249.99, Skull Candy

Budding Beauties

(Picture: House of Marley)

Launched to celebrate Bob Marley’s 75th birthday just last February, these are the first sustainably-minded ANC true wireless earbuds.

Crafted from bamboo, natural wood fibre composite, silicone and IPX4 rated, these earbuds give crystal clear sound – great for any zooming you need to do.

They offer 7 hours battery, or 28 hours with the case.

Redemption ANC True Wireless Earbuds – RRP £179.99. House of Marley

Ear Plugs

(Picture: Flare Audio)

Looking to boost focus and eliminate annoying background noise? You will love these Isolate 2 ear protectors.

Forget traditional ear plugs; these don’t make things sound like you’re underwater, they allow you to ‘turn down’ external noise.

These are the new version of the company’s original Isolates, with the 2020 model featuring six new aluminium colours and two titanium variants, as well as a brand-new ergonomic shape that makes for an easy, comfortable fit.

Isolate 2 PRO £49.99, Flare Audio

WFH Attire

(Picture: Love Leggings)

Quality and affordable – these leggings are pretty much the ideal WFH ensemble.

Thick and non-see through, with a brushed cotton, they feel as comfortable as your pjs but far more work acceptable.

They sit high on the waist which means no love handles or underwear on show and the wide waistband makes them comfy without cutting in.

Everyday Leggings for Women, From £13.50, Love Leggings

WFH Support

(Picture: Royce Lingerie)

Let’s be real here – no one wants to sit around in a wireless bra when they don’t have to.

These wirefree bras are beyond comfortable and offer great support for all shapes and sizes. This one, called ‘Eden’ billed as their ‘comfiest bra yet’ is the brand’s first organic cotton bra, and the debut style in their sustainable range.

Eden Organic cotton with front fastening zip, £34, Royce Lingerie

Control Yourself

(Picture: Luxury Legs)

Pandemics are high on the list for stress eaters and many of us have used our time in lockdown to walk less and eat more – and are now paying the price.

If you work better when EVERYTHING feels under control – these commando leggings are a must. They have an internal waistband which smooths, flattens and flatters as well as a firming fabric that doesn’t bag or sag.

They really do make you look smoothed out.

Commando Control Leggings, £80, Luxury Legs

Light as Air

(Picture: Air & Grace)

The absolute best part about working from home? The comfortable footwear.

Famous on Instagram already – Air & Grace make trainers that are known for their comfort but also rate high on any scale of fabulousness. They have luxurious leather uppers and full leather linings, with the brand’s patented Tender Loving Air technology hidden inside. It’s made from the same high performance materials used by top sports brands.

These white and navy glitter trainers strike just the right note.

Copeland White & Navy Glitter Trainers, £159, Air and Grace

How to mark the end of the work day in style….

Sunshine Tipples

(Picture: Malfy Gin)

Premium Italian gin brand Malfy is inspired by the Amalfi Coast – a place most of us would love to be right now. So why not be transported via cocktail?

The Pink Grapefruit one is a standout. Distilled from fresh Sicilian pink grapefruit, Italian lemons, juniper and other botanicals, it has a refreshing and zesty fruity feel, with citrus and rhubarb coming through.

Malfy Gin Rosa Pink Grapefruit Italian Gin, £26.49, Amazon

Happy Hour

(Picture: Funkin Cocktails)

This sparkling peach Bellini cocktail in a can is the perfect treat for another hard one day at the home office.

Crisp and elegant, the taste is pure heaven. Part of the brand’s new range of canned cocktails, flavours include Passion Fruit Martini, Strawberry Daiquiri, Espresso Martini, Pink Gin Fizz, Amaretto Sour and Piña Colada.

Funkin’s Peach Bellini Sparkling Cocktail, £2.29, Funkin Cocktails, and Sainsbury’s

Rejuvenate

(Picture: Rejuvenated)

H30 Hydration from British supplement brand Rejuvenated provides the body with vital minerals and ions for the ultimate pick-me-up when you’re feeling sluggish after a long day.

Ionic electrolytes optimise cellular metabolism and promotes healthy glowing skin from the inside out. The addition of electrolytes make it an excellent hangover cure too!

H30 Hydration, £24.95, Rejuvenated

Booster Shots

(Picture: Zinger Shots)

100% natural and vegan friendly, these pocket shots are a great end of day pick-me-up.

Offering a healthy, sugar/caffeine free alternative they are made by James White Drinks on their farm in Suffolk –and include freshly pressed fruit juices and spices such as crushed root ginger or turmeric.

Flavours include: Organic Ginger, Extra Hot Ginger, Turmeric, and Lime & Chilli.

James White Zinger, £1.49, Available at Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett, Waitrose and Zinger Shots

Stress Buster Supplement

(Picture: Dr. David Jack)

New from holistic expert Dr. David Jack, and in line with holistic thinking on the benefits of certain mushrooms, nootropics and adaptogens, Relax is a blend of 17 ingredients each chosen for their relaxing and mood boosting effects.

Taken as an evening drink, it comes as a naturally flavoured powder that is mixed with hot water to create a hot chocolate-salted caramel tasting drink that combines adaptogens, (used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine) to regulate the effects of stressors on the body and improve attention levels.

Relax, £59, Dr David Jack

Rescue Mask

(Picture: Eve Lom)

Why not multi-task while you’re working on a spreadsheet? Clear up congested skin and brighten a dull complexion while you toil in Excel with the Eve Lom Rescue Mask.

A multi-award-winning product, it helps blotchiness, breakouts, fatigue and morning-after puffiness. Smells heavenly, does not dry the skin but absorbs excess oil and balances the complexion. Afterwards, skin looks radiant – and it doesn’t drip onto your laptop while on.

Eve Lom Rescue Mask, £55, Space NK

Send Cheer

(Picture: Meg Rivers Bakers)

I mean, you’re home to receive parcels right now – why not send yourself a treat? Or if you’re feeling generous, send to a friend.

The Relax Hamper from Meg Rivers Bakers is filled with a delicious Clementine & Almond cake, along with thoughtful treats designed to soothe even the most exhausted.

Along with a mouth-watering cake and teas is a self-care book and scented therapy balms, (‘Be Happy’ and ‘Sleep Well’) with an inspirational message of your choice.

Their Relax Hamper is available for £40, £5 of which is donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust, bringing ‘HOPE’ to young people living with cancer.

Relax Hamper, £40, Meg Rivers Bakers

Reset and Refresh

(Picture: Oliverum)

When you need a pick me up (that is NOT food related) try this powerful blend of essential oils that is beloved by beauty editors and celebrities everywhere.

Oliverum’s Body Oil is a rich, nourishing therapeutic oil which absorbs quickly and is sublimely aromatic – with over 30 essential and cold-pressed botanical oils.

Nourish parched, dry, continually-washed-hands and then cup hands over my mouth and breathe in the aroma for a quick, relaxing and invigorating boost to help stay focussed!

Oliverum Body Oil, £40, Oliverum

And finally… Be kind to yourself

Life coach and Hypnotherapist Malminder Gill lists her 5 top tips for mentally surviving WFH this summer:

Create the right environment. Research shows the top performers are the ones that have personal space, privacy and control over their environment. Work spaces should be comfortable and distraction free.

Signal the end of your working day. Do something that signifies the end of your working day to help you to switch off mentally, whether it’s having a glass of wine, going for a walk, calling a friend.

Share your calendar with your household. Not only does this ensure privacy and respect – but it means there is less chance of a zoom fail!

Go out. Go outside in the morning or make a coffee to take with you on a walk – it’s good to start the day with some fresh air and stretch of the legs.

Switch it up! Switch up your routine. If life becomes mundane then it will be difficult to stay motivated and spark creativity! Change your walk route, your lunches, your exercise… anything you can.


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