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The best gifts for people who work from home

Make their home office environment more comfortable with these gadgets.

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

It’s the year 2022 and going to the office for work is no longer the norm for a lot of people. You probably know at least one person in your life who’s remote either part-time or full-time. Working from home has its perks – not having a commute being chief among them – but it’s not without challenges. Household disturbances are big ones, as well as poor lighting or simply the lack of professional-level equipment that they might have access to only in-office. That’s why we recommend giving them a gift or two that will help with those shortcomings. From noise-canceling headphones to an ergonomic footrest, here’s a list of things that’s sure to make their WFH life a lot easier.

Mooas Multi-Cube Timer

One of the most difficult obstacles with working from home is all the distractions. You’re constantly sidetracked by temptations like TV, the internet or just easy access to the kitchen. A potential solution to that is to use one of these multi-cube timers from Mooas as a productivity tool. Each side corresponds to different lengths of time; to start the timer, you’ll flip the cube so your desired time faces upwards. Flipping the LCD display upwards again will pause it, while turning the display downwards will stop the timer.

There are a number of ways to use them, but I like using the Pomodoro Technique with these. I’ll enable the 30 minute timer which then encourages me to focus just on my work for the allotted time period. Once time is up, I give myself a five minute rest, and then I start it over again. You can also use them as a reminder to stand up and stretch every so often. These timers come in a variety of colors, each with different time pre-sets, so be sure to pick the one with the time lengths you think your loved one will want. — Nicole Lee, Commerce Writer

$19 at Amazon

Logitech Lift Vertical mouse

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If someone you love spends all of their time on a laptop for work, getting them a wireless mouse can improve the ergonomics of their setup immensely. Not only are they generally more comfortable to use than trackpads, but they can also help improve posture and prevent hand cramping – especially if you get a vertical mouse. Logitech’s Lift is one of its latest vertical mice and it’s ideal for small- to medium-sized hands (those with large hands should check out the MX Vertical instead). The 57-degree angle in its design places their hand in the natural handshake position, which will put less pressure on their wrist than a standard mouse would. It also has a comfortable, soft-touch finish with four customizable buttons that are easy to reach. They’ll be able to connect it to their laptop via a USB receiver or Bluetooth and, regardless of which method they choose, the Lift will last two years before needing replacement AA batteries. — Valentina Palladino, Senior Commerce Editor

$65 at Amazon

Ember Tumbler

The Ember Mug 2 has been a favorite of ours for quite some time, and now Ember has a tumbler for those that want a bit more flexibility from their temperature-controlled vessel. The 16-ounce Tumbler comes with two lids, one for drinking and one with a handle for travel and, like Ember’s other gadgets it will keep your giftee’s drink of choice at their desired temperature for up to three hours. They can connect via Bluetooth and use Ember’s companion app to adjust the temperature of their coffee, tea or other hot drink to their liking. And the auto-sleep function will turn off the mug to conserve battery life once the optimal temperature has been reached. Both included lids are dishwasher safe, and the charging base is smaller and thinner than previous versions too. Whether they decide to work from home today or a coworking location, they’ll never have to deal with lukewarm drinks again. – V.P.

$200 at Ember

Sony WH-1000XM5

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

It can be hard to control the environment you’re working in when you work from home. You may have kids yelling around you, pets barking, meowing or otherwise making noise and maybe even your partner taking a Zoom call in the room next door. A pair of noise-canceling headphones will become your best friend when you need to block out the world and get things done, and there’s none better than Sony’s WH-1000XM5 right now. They have a refined design and an even more comfortable fit when compared to the (still excellent) XM4 that came before them, and Sony managed to improve upon their already stellar sound quality and ANC.

Thanks to double the number of processors and microphones and a separate V1 chip, the WH-1000XM5 is even better at blocking out human voices and other higher frequencies than its predecessors. And what might be even better is their 30-hour battery life; you’ll be able to use them for hours each day for multiple days before they need a recharge. — V.P.

$316 at Groupon

Logitech Brio 500

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The remote worker in your life probably spends more time on video calls than they would like each day. Even if they aren’t thrilled about every call they have to dial into, they can still look their best with the right webcam. Logitech’s Brio 500 is our current favorite thanks to its ability to shoot 1080p 30fps video, plus its improved auto-light correction and mic array. Its light correction is impressive: regardless of if it's a gloomy day outside, or if their home office is just cave-like by default, the webcam does a lot of work to make up for that. They can customize settings like field of view, contrast and brightness using the LogiTune software, and enable features like RightSight, which will automatically keep them in the center of the frame even if they move around. And when they’re not using it, they can cover up the Brio 500’s lens with the included shutter for extra privacy. – V.P.

$130 at Amazon

Echo Dot with Clock

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

I’m embarrassed by how much I use Alexa. I originally purchased an Echo Dot to test smart home stuff, but now I use its skills to set timers and reminders, play chill beats, and get basic answers (often math-related) while I work. We named the Echo Dot the best smart speaker under $50 because its audio is louder and clearer than you’d expect and the buttons are handy without interfering with the sleekness of its design. This version has a clock, which adds to the price, but also the desk-side utility. — Amy Skorheim, Commerce Writer

$60 at Amazon

Native Union Snap 3-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger

Home office desks get cluttered quickly with wires and charging cables. Native Union’s three-in-one station is a classy option for iPhone users to keep things organized. It’s got a clean aesthetic with a spot to wirelessly charge an AirPods case, an Apple Watch and an iPhone 12 through 14. It can also hold the handset upright or in landscape orientation to take advantage of iOS’ new StandBy mode as well. If your recipient has an iPhone 15, you may want to hold off, as those phones will be compatible with the upcoming (faster) Qi2 charging standard, and with the new chargers that debut alongside it. — A.S.

$149 at Amazon

Grovemade Desk Shelf

A desk shelf can reduce clutter by creating distinct storage space for less-used items that are strewn about. Grovemade’s lineup has clean wooden designs and provides space for pens, books and other accessories. The size options range from 18.5 to 58 inches wide. While the shelves aren’t adjustable, each is about 4.5 inches tall, which provides a slightly more ergonomic resting spot for a monitor or laptop. They aren’t cheap, but they look nice, so they might be worth it as a gift for someone in desperate need of a workspace glow-up. — Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Writer

$180 at Grovemade

Moft Sit-Stand Laptop Desk

Switching from sitting to standing throughout the day is a good way to stave off desk-related body aches. This clever reconfigurable stand from Moft folds into four different positions, one of which lifts even heavy laptops nearly a foot off the desk to enable standing. When the home-based worker in your life takes their show on the road, it’ll fold up flat for easy transport. Figuring out which flap goes where takes a little practice and, at two pounds, it’s not super lightweight, but it’s solidly built and basically combines four different stands into one. — A.S.

$70 at Moft

Lepow Z1 Portable Monitor

Portable monitors like the Lepow Z1 are a simple way to add extra screen real estate to a home office, plus they’re easier to pick up and move around the house whenever you want to work away from your desk. They generally aren’t as nice as a true-blue monitor, and the Z1 reflects that: It’s a basic 15.6-inch IPS panel with relatively drab colors. Still, it gets bright enough indoors, and its 1080p resolution keeps text and images sharp. It all feels sturdily put together, and it’s easy to carry, weighing less than two pounds. It also comes with a magnetic case that doubles as a stand with three preset angles. It’s not sexy, but it can be a practical tool for stashing apps that stay open over the course of a work day, such as Gmail or Slack. After work, it can come in handy for those who want a bigger screen for gaming or streaming when the main TV is in use. — J.D.

$96 at Amazon

BenQ Screenbar

While a desk lamp is useful for working in lowlight, it can sometimes obstruct the monitor or worse, shine glare into it. A monitor light like BenQ’s ScreenBar is a fantastic alternative, as it reduces that glare while illuminating your desk at the same time. It has a built-in ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the ScreenBar’s brightness according to its surroundings. You can also change the temperature of the light from warmer to cooler hues. Since the ScreenBar attaches to the monitor, it won’t take up valuable space on your desk too. — N.L.

$109 at Amazon

Otterbox Fast Charge power bank

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

I used to appreciate Otterbox’s Fast Charge for its good looks and strong performance, which is how it made the list in our power bank guide. But after a recent work trip in which the battery saved my phone from dying as I navigated the buses and trains of an unfamiliar city, I will never travel without it again. Even if the WFH denizen on your list doesn’t wander far afield, this 15,000 mAh bank will come in handy at the coffee shop or when they’re home and want to get a few more hours of use out of their phone or tablet without having to move closer to an outlet. — A.S.

$26 at Amazon

Keychron V3

Keychron

A good keyboard upgrade might be the most impactful gift you can give someone who types all day long. If your loved one is into the idea of mechanical keyboards, the Keychron V3 is a superb entry point. It’s sturdily built, compatible with Windows and macOS, and it’s available with a range of switch types. (We recommend the K Pro Brown switches for typists, as they’re satisfyingly tactile without being crazy loud.) The switches come pre-lubed, so typing feels smooth out of the box, while a set of PBT-coated keycaps provide a crisp landing point for each press. If your recipient ever wants to customize the keys or switches down the road, the V3 makes it easy to do that as well.

This is a tenkeyless keyboard, which is a nice middle ground between a compact size and a full set of keys, but Keychron also makes smaller and larger models. For more on the V3, you can check out our guide to the best gaming keyboards. — J.D.

$85 at Amazon

Creative Pebble Pro

If your giftee still relies on the speakers built into their laptop or monitor, the Creative Pebble Pro will be an obvious upgrade. These compact, orb-shaped speakers are far from the fullest sounding things you can buy, but they’re nice for their size and their angled design naturally points audio toward your ears. They can connect over USB-C, Bluetooth or a 3.5mm port, and their front-mounted volume dial is easy to reach. Each speaker is also fitted with an RGB light ring, though those can be turned off. — J.D.

TickTick Premium

A good to-do list app can bring order to those who struggle to keep track of everything on their schedule. There are tons of options in this space, but my personal favorite is TickTick Premium, which works across Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux and the web. It offers a powerful set of tools for organizing thoughts and structuring events. You can group tasks with specific tags, distinguish them by priority level, set reminders for recurring events and see all of your upcoming to-dos in a calendar or “today” view.

Visually, the app is clean, easy to parse and consistent across devices, so you can set a task on the web and update it on an iPad without feeling lost. While it isn’t explicitly designed for note-taking you can jot down thoughts and create structured lists within each to-do. Search works well, and you can create a task with natural language, so writing, “finish gift guide by next Wednesday at 4pm” will automatically set the correct due date. (This isn’t bulletproof, but it generally goes right.) Apps like this aren’t a cure-all for those who can’t stay on top of their lives, but if your loved one often seems frazzled at work, TickTick may help them see a little bit clearer. — J.D.

Armstrong Heart Leaf Philodendron

I have coworkers, but the majority of them live in another timezone. Apart from the cat and the dog, the living entities I hang out with while I work are plants. The heart-leaf philodendron is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, so whomever you give one to will become a proud plant parent with minimal effort. These don’t need a ton of light and the trailing vines look lush and verdant cascading from the top of a bookcase. I stick clear hooks on the wall and snake the tendrils around the room. Value-wise, they’re a hit too: just one plant can propagate dozens of new philodendrons. — A.S.