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Now that the coronavirus and COVID-19 have been labeled a pandemic, and the US has declared a national emergency, more people will be working remotely for the foreseeable future. 

Working from home doesn't have to mean sitting on the couch with your laptop balanced on a book. You can quickly and easily set up a productive office space with just your computer and an internet connection. A comfortable chair, natural light and dearth of distractions can be more conducive to productivity and tackling your to-do list than a traditional office space anyway!

As someone who's been among an army of remote workers for a long time, I've rounded up the gear and services that have made working from home comfortable and productive for me. And now that CNET has moved much of its staff to working from home, I've solicited suggestions from other remote workers and editors about their top picks, too.

The must-haves are apparent; you'll want a full-size keyboard, a wireless mouse and an external monitor. But there's a handful of other gear, gadgets and services that can make the experience just as good -- if not better -- than working at an office. Our recommendations are below.

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Whether you're in an office or working from home, sitting all day is not good, even if you have an ergonomic office chair. This wooden workspace desk elevator comes with two height-adjustable shelves and has enough space to hold two 27-inch monitors (or one monitor and a desk lamp, file folders, sticky notes or anything else you need to work). The adjustable desk is sized to fit people between 5 feet, 3 inches and 6 feet, 3 inches, and you can add an additional shelf or a laptop rise to the desk if you need the space.

Need more choices? Check out our favorite standing desk converters.

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I'm a dedicated Apple MacBook Air user, and when I'm working from home, I'm typing on Apple's roomy Magic Keyboard -- the one with the numeric extension. It has the old-school Mac keyboard design and space, with the pleasing scissor key mechanism, and it's wireless, connecting via Bluetooth. Best of all, the battery, which is rechargeable via USB, lasts for many months on a charge. (I also love Apple's Magic Mouse 2 for the same reasons.) 

You can use Apple's peripherals with Windows machines, but if you're looking for an alternative Bluetooth keyboard that will work with anything from Windows PCs to Macs to iPads to phones, the Logitech K380 (about $30) is a great choice. Pair it with up to three devices, and toggle between each of them with the click of a button. 

And if you're willing to shell out $130 for a more ergonomic solution, CNET's Josh Goldman strongly recommends the Logitech Ergo K860.


This isn't a new monitor -- I've been using mine for about five years -- but it's stood the test of time. For $200, you get an attractive 27-inch monitor with Full HD resolution (1,920x1,080 pixels), all of the brightness that comes with LED backlighting and a super slim bezel. There are two HDMI inputs, and even a VGA input if you're keeping things old-school. 

There are no speakers on this monitor but, for me, the major drawback is that the Pavilion 27xw isn't height-adjustable. But that's easily addressed with a monitor stand (see our picks below) or thick book. If that's a deal-breaker for you (or you don't have the space), check out the Dell UltraSharp U215, which is smaller and more expensive but comes equipped with a height-adjustable stand. Or you could get a second monitor specifically fro your laptop.

Read more: 5 monitors to upgrade your home workspace


It's all about the ergonomics when it comes to office furniture and accessories, and a good laptop stand will bring your display up to eye level and help you sit up straighter. CNET's Lori Grunin says she uses this adjustable laptop stand everywhere -- whether working from the couch, sitting at a desk or laying in bed. And the ventilated design has safety benefits, too. In her words: "When Windows wakes my system up in the middle of the night to force an update, and leaves it on afterwards, I don't have to worry about the system overheating and setting the bed on fire or destroying the laptop." Better safe than sorry.

And if you're looking for a laptop stand for your desktop workspace, we like this simple design from AmazonBasics that costs $20. 

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Given the risks currently associated with in-person meetings, web conferences and online meetings will increasingly become the norm for people working remotely. This reasonably priced Logitech webcam will deliver higher quality images and sound than the camera and mic integrated in your laptop. You get 2 megapixels, 1080p video and a 78-degree field of view, which will accommodate two people sitting side-by-side. It also has a built-in privacy shutter so you don't need to cover the lens with electrical tape to keep prying eyes at bay.

Sarah Tew

One of the benefits of remote work is that there's no one to complain about your musical choices or preferred volume level. The Bose SoundLink Mini II is one of the best compact wireless speakers, with an excellent design, strong sound, great features -- including a built-in microphone for speakerphone capabilities -- and solid battery life. I think its current $150-ish price is well worth it, but if you want something cheaper, there are plenty of solid Bluetooth speakers for $60 or less. Read our Bose SoundLink Mini II review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you end up in a coffee shop or your kids invade your office and you really need to tune out distractions, noise-canceling headphones are a good way to maintain focus. Plantronics isn't as cool a brand as Beats or Bose, but the BackBeat Pro 2 provide excellent wireless noise canceling and they cost considerably less than comparable models from those other companies. They're also really comfortable to wear, sound great on phone calls and are smart enough to pause whatever you're listening to when you take them off. But if you need more options -- including AirPods-style true wireless models -- check out our list of best noise-canceling headphonesRead our Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

When you work from home, making coffee becomes a sacramental practice. Despite its snobby name, the Connoisseur from Bonavita is the best automatic drip coffee maker you can buy for the least amount of cash. It reliably brews full pots of great coffee that rival what you would get from your favorite coffee shop or barista, and it's a cinch to use. With easy, one-touch operation, the Bonavita has a 1,500-watt heating element that maintains optimal brewing temperature of 198 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

This perfect coffee maker also has a 1.3-liter water reservoir, works fast, and has all the bells and whistles including a stainless steel-lined thermal carafe. It's also a snap to keep clean, with a removable, dishwasher-safe filter basket and carafe lid. And it's all in the name of productivity, right? Read our Bonavita BV 1900TS review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Ember has become an essential part of my morning coffee ritual. The concept is simple: A porcelain mug that keeps your coffee at the perfect temperature -- technically, 130 degrees, though that's adjustable via the iOS- and Android-compatible app -- for a little more than an hour. It's expensive -- and not everyone thinks it's worth it -- but I use this thing every day. Read our Ember Ceramic Mug preview.


When you're not commuting, there may be some more time for dinner prep. Dinnerly rolls out some pretty exciting-sounding and delicious meals such as summery chicken panzanella and risotto with asparagus and cannellini beans. But with no more than six ingredients per recipe, the damage done to your time and kitchen is minimized. Along with not overwhelming you with myriad ingredients and multiple steps, the price tag for Dinnerly puts it squarely in the budget-friendly category, clocking in with a cost per serving of around $5. The subscription options include a Two-Person Box for $30, or a Family Box for $60, each with three recipes for the week. Looking for more options? Check out our list of best mealkit services

Disney Plus

Assuming you already have Netflix, this is a good time to explore other online streaming options. One of the biggest services to launch in some time, Disney has gathered a mix of movies, TV shows and exclusive content, including the Star Wars show The Mandalorian, for $6.99 a month.