11 Work-From-Home Essentials to Turn Your Living Room Into an Office


There's the idea of working from home, and then there's the reality. While, yes, you can pretty much do everything you need to do in your pajamas with The Crown on in the background, you'll still need some office essentials to get you through the day. Of course, there are the computer accessories and gadgets just to do the basics, and then there are the products that make your home a bit cozier to toil away in from 9 to 5.

Without the everyday comforts of office supplies, copy machines, or even those pesky co-workers who heat up fish in the microwave every day, working remotely can sometimes be a difficult endeavor. But this list of items will help make the transition even easier than washing your hands.

1. Anker Quick Charging Station; $36

Working from home means staying seriously plugged in. After all, you’ve got to keep your computer going, your phone at the ready, and your tablet fired up so you can access everything you need without having to leave the comfort of your chair. Stay connected with this Anker Quick Charging Station. Its five charging ports generate 63 watts of power—more than enough for all of your gadgets—and can charge your devices up to 80 percent in just 35 minutes. Featuring cool blue LED lights that indicate your hub has power, this is the little assistant that will get you through any charging crisis.

Buy it: Amazon

2. SimpleHouesware Mesh Desk Organizer; $25

This mesh desk organizer from SimpleHouseware will make your kitchen table feel like an office desk. Made with a stylish and space-saving mesh design, it comes with two side-load letter trays, a tray with a three-compartment drawer, and five dividers so you can store papers, folders, notebooks, and more. And best of all? No tools are needed to assemble it, so building your own mini home office will be a snap.

Buy it: Amazon

3. HP Office Jet Printer; $100

One of the worst parts about working remotely is not having the tools that you use every day in the office. But this HP Office Jet 3830 All-In-One Wireless Printer will give your work-from-home setup a much-needed boost. Not only does this machine print in both black and white and color, but it can scan, fax, and make photocopies, too. The HP Smart app also allows you to order toner from your smartphone or print from the cloud. It even comes with an optional quiet mode setting, so your printing will never disturb any fellow “colleagues.” (Let's face it, cats make for grumpy co-workers sometimes.)

Buy it: Amazon

4. Amazon Basics Micro-Cut Shredder; $36


The cost of printing, of course, is physical evidence of any sensitive documents that you may not want circulated around your home. That’s why the Amazon Basics paper shredder is a must-have for anyone working from home. Anything that goes into the machine—from papers to credit cards—turns into “confetti-like” pieces on the other side, ensuring that any confidential matters stay that way even outside the office.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Sony Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones; $348

Drown out of the sounds of any pesky roommates or neighbors with these wireless noise-canceling headphones from Sony. These are designed to create a “virtually soundproof” listening experience, and they’re Alexa-enabled for easy connection to music, podcasts, and news updates. They are equipped with touch controls and smart listening technology to adjust ambient sounds based on your activity. And these headphones will last for 30 hours after a single charge, so you'll get through most of the work week without needing to give it more juice.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Miroco Light Therapy Lamp; $38

In the midst of social distancing, it can be hard to get outside. But with this Miroco light therapy lamp, you can receive the benefits of the sun without having to worry about getting within 6 feet of your neighbors. The UV-free light provides the medically recommended 10,000 Lux a day you need for effective light therapy—working to boost your mood and help with your concentration. It has three different light modes, and its built-in timer means you can decide how long you want your “sun exposure” to last. You might not be able to get as much Vitamin D right now as you’d like, but this lamp is the next best thing.

Buy it: Amazon

7. LapGear Home Office Desk; $45

While you can certainly work from the comfort of your bed in most cases, a hot laptop takes all that comfort and throws it out the window. Avoid that with this lap desk from LapGear. It fits most laptops and features a convenient slot for your cell phone and an integrated mouse pad. Plus, it’s designed to both ventilate your laptop and keep you feeling cool—something everyone needs during their shift on the couch.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Logitech Wireless Mouse; $30

Give your wrists a break with this wireless Logitech mouse. This mouse comes with a USB receiver, which pairs perfectly with your laptop or computer to make your work-from-home experience a smooth one. It’s designed to conform to both right and left hands (a score for lefties everywhere), and will last for two years on just two AA batteries.

Buy it: Amazon

9. TIJN Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses; $17

For anyone who’s been staring at a screen more often than usual, these blue-light-blocking glasses are the antidote to any dry eyes. The lenses, tinted a soft yellow to make digital reading less harsh, block 100 percent of UV rays and relieve any eye fatigue. Durable in construction and with many colors to choose from, these glasses will always keep you looking stylish—even if the only person to see you all day is your pizza delivery guy.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Desk Diffuser; $22


Anyone working from home deserves to breathe easy, and a desk diffuser is just the ticket to finding a moment of Zen. Just add a few drops of essential oil, choose one of the seven different light options to create some ambiance, and bingo—you have your own personal oasis.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Rubik's Cube; $11

When working from home gets to be too much, take a break—but still keep your brain sharp—with the original brain teaser. This 3-inch-by-3-inch Rubik's Cube, which has 43 quintillion possible moves, will give your eyes the rest they need from staring at a screen all day. Check out some of these Rubik's Cube hacks in case you get truly stumped.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

This Insulated Growler Keg Lets You Pour Carbonated Beer, Soda, and Cocktails on the Go


The biggest hurdle for taking draft beer on the go is keeping it cold and carbonated once you leave the brewery. And while insulated travel growlers help keep drinks fresh for longer, traditional glass growlers start losing carbonation once they're opened.

Portland-based GrowlerWerks combats the scourge of flat ales with a line of growler kegs featuring built-in tap handles that mimic a brewery-fresh pour. And with the company's lightweight and affordable uKeg Go ($99) model, GrowlerWerks is making sure your sudsy drink of choice can survive all-day cookouts, lazy nights on the patio, or a week in the fridge.

How is the uKeg Go different from a growler?

The main selling point of the 64-ounce uKeg Go is its tap, which dispenses beer just like you'd be served at a brewery. But it’s not as simple as just filling it up and playing bartender—you’ll first need to install an 8g CO2 cartridge before you even pour your first pint. Much like an actual keg, the CO2 is what’ll actually keep your drink nice and foamy after you've filled the growler. (GrowlerWerks sells its own CO2 charges separately at $12 for a pack of 10. Each cartridge should last for the entire 64 ounces.)

The cartridge itself pops right into a sleeve, which you then screw into the bottom of the cap. Once you've tightly secured the cap onto the growler, you can choose your carbonation setting—first position for beer and cider and the second position for soda and cocktails—and start pouring.

Though the system isn’t complex, you’ll definitely want to give the instructions a once-over before you first use it—I wound up wasting my first CO2 cartridge because I didn’t have the cap in the “off” position when I first installed it, resulting in it emptying out before I could even screw it on.

So, does it work?

My first drink—Coke, because my local breweries still aren’t allowing private growler fills due to COVID-19—came out perfectly chilled and fizzy, as if it had just been poured from a fountain. But time is the enemy of all carbonated beverages, so over the next eight hours I poured a few more glasses to see how both the CO2 and the temperature held up.

I found that there was very little difference between that first cold glass at 8:00 a.m. and that final one at 5:00 p.m. The drink suffered virtually no temperature change, thanks to the uKeg Go’s double-wall vacuum insulation, and never lost any of that bubbly character. Even when the keg was left out in the sun from noon to 5:00 p.m., the soda remained unaffected.

GrowlerWerks uKeg Go

Because we're talking about a keg here, I knew I had to test out beer as best I could, so I transferred a few cans to the uKeg, and the result was pretty much the same—the growler maintained the beer’s temperature and carbonation level all day long, resulting in a consistent pour that never lost flavor or crispness. It’s basically indistinguishable from having beer straight from a brewery tap, and it'll probably be my go-to travel vessel anytime I bring local beer on the go.

While these tests simulated bringing the uKeg to an all-day event, the company claims the growler would be able to maintain the carbonation for up to two weeks.

How's the build?

The whole idea behind the uKeg Go is portability—it's meant to travel with you wherever you go, from a backyard barbecue to a weekend excursion out into the woods. And it sports a stainless-steel body that should be up for the challenge. It's lightweight, but the build is sturdy enough that you shouldn't fret that you've got fragile cargo with you (just be aware that there is a tap faucet to think about, so you might not want to jostle it around too much). There's also a convenient handle secured onto the top, making it easy to carry around with a finger or two while also traveling with beach bags and other outdoor necessities.

In terms of appearance, the uKeg Go is sportier and sleeker than the company's traditional uKeg model, looking more like an insulated bottle from HydroFlask or Stanley than a piece of brewery equipment. And there are two colors to choose from: a uniform tungsten gray model and a slightly bolder chili red, which is what I went with.

You can pick up a uKeg Go for $99 on both the GrowlerWerks website or Amazon. There’s also the company’s standard uKeg growler that ranges from 64 to 128 ounces and features a much more nuanced CO2 system. That'll run you $159–$209, depending on the exact model you get. And if coffee is more your speed, the company recently released the uKeg Nitro ($199) model that dispenses creamy, nitro-infused cold brew with the pull of a lever.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.