Must-Have Gadgets To Improve Your Work-From-Home Experience 2021
With Work-From-Home once again becoming the default arrangement for Singaporeans, the need to transform the home to a conducive work environment has become imperative once more.
There is no doubt that a lot of conditions cannot be optimally recreated; the relative quiet of the office is a pipedream if one has children or many other family members living in the house. However, the addition of a few gadgets can improve the experience of working from home markedly.
Here are some of them.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
An absolute must-have in the quest to reduce distraction from work due to loud noises caused by other people in the house. This is especially useful if you often have to take work calls or zoom meetings.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 is widely considered to be the best when it comes to delivering excellent noise cancellation and sound quality in a relatively lightweight design. Of course, the price is also quite noteworthy; it retails at more than S$400. An older model, the Sony WH-1000XM3, can bought for less than S$300, although it has noticeably weaker performance in voice calling.
Meanwhile, iOS users can consider just going with the Apple AirPods Pro, which has very good active noise cancelling that can be toggled on and off, and are less obtrusive.
For a budget option, Chinese brand TaoTronics is relatively unknown but provides great value at less than S$50, especially if their claim that their noise cancelling headphones can provide up to 45 hours of music playback is true.
For workers who use laptops rather than PCs, the benefits of the laptop stand are twofold. Firstly, prolonged usage of a laptop will almost invariably cause the user to slouch forward at a downward angle. This can cause noticeable neck or back pain for many people, and even those that won’t feel immediate discomfort are still doing damage to their bodies due to poor posture. A laptop stand elevates the machine to a more agreeable height.
Secondly, it tilts the laptop forward so that typing on it is less strenuous on the hands.
Laptop stands are very common and come in a whole variety of different designs. Some are more portable, so that they can be brought along with the laptop from one location to another. Others may come with fans to help cool the laptop and prevent it from overheating when leaving it running the whole day.
If you have the requisite space, why bother with laptop stands when you can simply get an external monitor instead. That will help with the posture issue, and who wouldn’t welcome more virtual real estate when it comes to productivity. Even the smallest 23” monitor is substantially larger than the average laptop screen, but these days there are ultrawide monitors that can go up to almost 50 inches. You might develop neck pain from swivelling your head too much instead.
For value, it is difficult to look past local brand Prism+ as their prices simply cannot be beat and the quality of their products are perfectly acceptable. It has been suggested however, that their monitors might not be that colour accurate, which could put off creative professionals. Alternatively, Dell is an industry staple, and has a veritable range of monitors to choose from, depending on whether you need a top-of-the-line model with all the bells and whistles or if you would like to save a few bucks and forego certain features like extremely fast frame rates.
Wireless mice used to be nothing more than a novelty. Dispensing with the cable is nice, especially in a PC setup where cable management is a cumbersome task to be undertaken lest the table end up in a mess of wires everywhere. However, one had to keep on replacing the batteries in a wireless mouse, and the wireless connection could be spotty at times, making the wireless mouse more trouble than it was worth. These days, wireless mice have come a long way. Their battery lives have improved significantly, and wireless connections have been perfected to the extent that a single wireless mouse can connect to multiple devices and seamlessly switch between them in an instant.
That last feature isn’t just a gimmick. Take the Logitech MX Master 3, for instance. Not only is it designed to fit comfortably in one’s hand and comes with different customisable inputs for different apps (so pressing the same button could mean “go back” when you’re using an internet browser and “undo” when you’re on a word processor, for example), it can connect up to three devices simultaneously and allows the user to transfer files from one device to the other via the mouse’s own memory. This is incredibly useful for those who work with multiple devices. If one is uncomfortable with paying over S$100 for a mouse, the older Logitech MX Master 2S is still an impressive model that comes at slightly more than half the price of its successor.
The only chairs at home are often dining chairs, and they are usually designed to fit a certain aesthetic rather than for comfort. After all, the latter is what sofas and armchairs are for. It is even quite popular these days to have a dining table set to come with dining benches rather than chairs. All this just exacerbates the need for a more comfortable chair if you are going to sit on it the whole day.
Gaming chairs are all the rage these days, as Singapore’s very own Secretlab can attest to. Their cool and futuristic aesthetics aside, many people swear by the superior ergonomic designs that were meant to help support professional gamers who sit at their computers all day.
However, well-designed office chairs can fit the bill just as well. Generally speaking, gaming chairs come with more adjustable features, although this can be too complicated for some. On the other hand, gaming chairs almost exclusively have solid backs while some office chairs have backs made of mesh that provides better air ventilation and cooling. This is not an inconsiderable point, given Singapore’s hot and humid weather, especially if one doesn’t have air conditioning at home.
The best chair is obviously the one that feels the most suitable for your back. However, the most budget option for a mesh back office chair is most likely from jiji.sg, retailing at S$45. Secretlab’s chairs are likely to cost ten times as much.
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