All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through any of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
More people are working from home than ever before, which has led some to improve their WFH environment with new equipment, new accessories and, yes, new furniture. But if you want to make your home office a more functional space, you should also try to keep it clean and clutter-free. Here are some recommendations from our staff that will help you organize your office and hopefully be more productive as a result.
Monitor the risers
We suggested installing an external monitor in a previous WFH guide, too, and for good reason. This greatly increases the surface area of your screen and is often easier on the eyes. However, not all monitors are height adjustable and they take up a lot of desk space. A monitor stand or riser is one way to solve this problem. A simple but effective is the Amazon Basics model, which has stackable legs for your desired height (up to 4 ⅞ inches) plus an 11-inch-wide storage space underneath to store your laptop or other knick-knacks.
If, on the other hand, you want something a little more elegant, this bamboo monitor stand of Stellar Importers is a particularly interesting solution. It comes with compartments designed to fit your phone, coffee mug, stationery, notepads and more. There are also well-placed cutouts to help you manage your cords and cables. The legs attach magnetically, which makes assembly easier. It should be noted that the height is not adjustable, but in my experience its 3.5 inch reach was enough to raise our monitor to eye level. This particular model also works well as a laptop stand thanks to three holes designed for optimal heat ventilation.
If you really don’t want a monitor on your desk at all, consider a monitor arm. This is an especially good choice if you are restless and need to frequently change the position of your monitor. One of our favorites is the Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm, which has a 360 degree swivel. It has a removable VESA plate and clamp bracket, as well as the ability to mount the arm on grommet holes if your desk has them. It can accommodate monitors from 13 to 32 inches and can support a maximum weight of 19.8 pounds.
If you are using your laptop as it is on your desk or in your lap, you are wrong. Leaning your shoulders to look at your screen interferes with your posture, which can lead to back, neck and arm pain if you’re not careful. Instead, you’ll want your screen to be at eye level, and if you don’t have an external monitor, that means elevating your laptop with a stand. This has the added benefit of giving you more office space.
We particularly recommend the ILevel2 rain design. The height is easily adjustable with a front slider, and its angled design is also great for keeping your laptop cool. A slightly more affordable option is the Amazon Basics Laptop Stand, and although it has a fixed height, there is a cable organizer on the back that helps keep the wires tidy.
If you have an external monitor but don’t have a lot of extra space, we recommend a vertical stand. Omoton’s can hold your closed laptop upright, which helps keep your desk organized. It has an adjustable width varying from 0.55 to 2.71 inches which should fit most laptops. The stand itself is made from scratch resistant anodized aluminum alloy and has a wide and heavy base that will keep your computer from tipping over.
Laptop docking station
Most laptops only have a limited number of ports, which could mean juggling multiple cables and cords. With a dedicated laptop docking station like the CalDigit TS3 Plus, however, you may never have to start over again. By connecting your laptop to TS3 Plus, one Thunderbolt 3 port can turn into 15. This includes six USB ports (one USB-A and one USB-C), Gigabit Ethernet, SD card slot, optical audio, plug 3.5mm, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 port. It offers up to 87 watts of power to charge your laptop and you can connect up to two 4K monitors via DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3. It can be positioned vertically or horizontally for fit most office setups.
A dedicated phone holder is a great way to keep your desk clutter-free while charging your handset at the same time. If you have a phone without wireless charging, we recommend Lamicall Supportbecause it has a feed hole for the charger cord on the back. The stand is made from high quality aluminum alloy and the cradle can be tilted back and forth for different viewing angles. If you want, you can position your phone horizontally to watch videos.
If you have a phone with wireless charging, we highly recommend that you use a wireless charger so you don’t have to worry about bulky cords. The Anker PowerWave Support is a good option because it supports 10W high speed charging with the latest Samsung Galaxy handsets and 5W charging with the iPhone 12. We especially like its affordability ($ 16 at the time of writing), but keep in mind that you must supply your own power supply.
If you want to charge an iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch at the same time, consider a multi-device charger. One of our favorites is the Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand, thanks to its compact form factor. We love that it has a little divot that was designed perfectly to hold an AirPods case so that there is no risk of misalignment. Another great choice is the Logitech powered 3-in-1 docking station, which could be ideal for couples or those of you who own two handsets. This is because the flat surface of the AirPods case can also be used to charge a second phone.
One way to save space is to get a lamp with a wireless charger built into the base. The IKEA Hectare has a classic look with a 5W induction charger, plus an additional USB port so you can charge two devices at once. For a more futuristic design, the Taotronics LED desk lamp the slim style could be more your speed. It supports fast charging up to 7.5 watts (for iPhones) or 10 watts (for Samsung Galaxy phones) an additional USB port on the side; five different color temperatures; and an option for a one hour dimmable desk lamp timer that turns off when you go to bed.
Buy the Lamicall booth on Amazon – $ 14 Buy Anker PowerWave Stand on Amazon – $ 19 Buy Mophie 3-in-1 Stand on Amazon – $ 106 Buy a 3-in-1 docking station from Logitech – $ 100 Buy Hectare at IKEA – $ 65 Buy the Taotronics LED Lamp on Amazon – $ 60
Standing desk converter
For those who want to settle in standing desks but have neither the money nor the space, a standing desk converter is a great alternative. It can convert any table into a workspace, in addition to offering additional storage space underneath. The Cora from Fully is the one we like very much, thanks to its sturdy aluminum frame. Raising or lowering it is as easy as squeezing the handles on either side, and it’s super light so you can easily move your workspace out of sight at the end of the workday.
Like most people, you probably have a mess of cords hanging down behind your desk. An easy way to overcome this problem is to use a few simple cable management tools. The easiest would be to use twisted ties or Velcro fasteners like these, which are strong, reusable and affordable. Another option is to use a cord management organizer like these cable clips. They allow you to organize seven cables with a single clip, which you can then attach to your desk or wall with a self-adhesive backing. You never have to worry about the cord falling behind the desk.
Over-ear headphones provide superior sound, but can take up a lot of desk space when not in use. Instead, try hanging them on a headphone holder which, in addition to keeping your space tidy, can also protect your headphones from scratches. The affordable one from Lamicall is made of aluminum and ABS plastic and has a low center of gravity, which makes it a more stable base. It also has a simple and elegant bird-shaped look that will add a nice touch of flair to your office space.
Alternatively, you can also choose to keep your headphones entirely out of sight with a hook under the desk like the Anchor, which has room for two sets of headphones. It is made of premium silicone and attaches securely to your desk with 3M adhesive strips. There are optional screw brackets if you want to make the placement a bit more permanent.