From adjustable desks to smart webcams, we’re bombarded with the latest “must-have” office gear to make working from home more productive and enjoyable.
But is it all worth the hype?
We’ve rounded up some of the most popular home office gear and gadgets and asked experts to tell us if it’s a good investment or better left on the shelf.
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Must-Have: ALTI Wireless Charging Desk Mat
Desk mats are great for improving typing and mouse performance, and they stop your desk from getting scratched while you’re working.
The ALTI wireless charging desk mat is incredibly popular, and this one is definitely worth the hype.
“The ALTI wireless desk mat is great for updating your home office. The built-in wireless charging panel fast-charges smartphones and earbuds, and it has a hidden compartment for storing notes and documents without clutter.” – Maria-Diandra Opre from Earth Web
The ALTI charges iPhone 12/13/14/15, AirPods, and Andriod phones that support wireless charging. Did we mention it’s also vegan and completely waterproof? No more leaving water rings on your desk when you set your morning coffee down.
Must-Have: SIHOO Doro C300 Office Chair
Ergonomics are essential if you sit at your desk for eight hours a day. But is there any real difference between office chairs?
According to consumer surveys, the SIHOO Doro C300 was the best office chair in the UK in 2023. It has self-adaptive lumbar support that automatically adjusts to give the best support for different postures.
“If you’re starting your own business, you’ll know how long the hours sat at your desk can be. If you’re going to invest in any home office gear, I highly suggest an ergonomic chair. The SIHO Doro has three different lounge positions, a cooling seat, and a supportive mesh cushion – this one is a must-have.” – Ron Stefanski from Business Guru
Research shows that people are almost 18% more productive when sitting in an ergonomic desk chair, and musculoskeletal dysfunction is reduced. If you currently have an old, uncomfortable chair, this is an excellent investment for your home office.
Must-Have: Relayed App
If you work from home, you already know the struggle of weekly team meetings. Cameras never quite work right, times run over, and topics go wildly off track.
But with the Relayed app from Zoom, they just became a whole lot less stressful.
“Relayed is Zoom’s AI tool that auto-generated concise summaries of your meetings for you. No more taking notes and missing half of what was said. You can then quickly search for keywords when using your notes later.” – Kelly Indah from IncrediTools
Scrambling through endless transcripts looking for key meeting points takes valuable time out of your work day. Relayed is a fantastic tool for making meetings less stressful and saving time afterward.
Over-Hyped: Standing Desk
Standing desks took the office world by storm back in 2022, with health groups touting that it helped with weight loss, back problems, and activity levels.
But the sit/stand desk is actually just over-hyped, according to experts.
Standing isn’t exercise, and replacing sitting with standing alone doesn’t fulfill your daily recommendation of activity – but it could mislead you into thinking you have hit your goals.
Dr. David Rempel, a professor of medicine at the University of California, had this to say:
“Well-meaning safety professionals and some office furniture manufacturers are pushing sit-stand workstations as a way of improving cardiovascular health — but there is no scientific evidence to support this recommendation.”
Rather than spending money on a standing desk, aim to take regular breaks throughout the day to move around. Go for a walk, stretch, or lift some light weights to help hit your daily activity goals more effectively.
Over-Hyped: Desktop Organizer
If you’re a lover of organization and decluttering, you might disagree with this one, but the desktop organizer is another piece of overhyped office gear.
The goal of a desktop organizer is to keep your items neat and tidy, but they often lead to additional visual clutter that can distract you from your task.
Research shows that clutter has a negative impact on our cognition, emotions, and behavior, affecting our decision-making and relationships with others. So, that file and pen organizer filled with stuff might actually be impacting you without you realizing it.
Instead, aim for out-of-sight organization, such as file storage and drawer organizers, that keep your things neat and within reach but out of sight. Save your on-desk space for essentials you reach for daily!
Over-Hyped: Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 might have finally had its day in the sun. Although they have recently added the new AI assistant, Copilot, it doesn’t offer as much real-time value as Google Workspace.
If your team is focused on collaborative work, project sharing, and immediate saving, Google has Mircosoft beat. Microsoft’s collaboration experience is clunky and confusing, relying on OnePoint and Sharepoint to function. It also has plenty of annoying hurdles when trying to access documents, all in the name of business-grade security.
Microsoft has reigned supreme in the world of productivity suites for years, but savvy teams are slowly waking up to the overhyped nature of the features and switching to Google as a more convenient alternative.
What Are Your Must-Have Office Products?
The goal of setting up a home office is to create a productive, pleasant workspace that you enjoy being in. Yes, there are some great office additions and plenty of over-hyped products, but the key is finding what works best for you and your team.
So, what office products are your must-haves? And what gear do you think is massively over-hyped in your industry?