9 Useful Accessories to Help You WFH When You’re Away from Home

updated Apr 8, 2021
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Whether working from home is relatively new for you or it’s been your MO for years, you’ve probably realized one of its biggest perks is the fact that you don’t need to literally work from home. When you’re working remotely, your “office” can be just about anywhere with Wifi — a family member’s house; a rented vacation home on the beach or in the woods; the lobby of the hotel you stopped at during a road trip. That said, while working from a home away from home is certainly doable, there are a few things you’ll want to pick up to ensure the experience goes as smoothly as possible. Investing in the right tools and accessories will help you avoid the frustration that comes with a less-than-functional WFH setup, so you can feel grounded and stay productive when the world is your office. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite ideas, just ahead — whether you’re hoping for a full-on portable office or you’d prefer to pack as lightly as possible, these picks are definitely worth checking out.

Note: Before hitting the road or setting up shop outside your home, be sure to always consult the CDC’s latest safety guidelines on travel and small gatherings.

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Bed Bath & Beyond

When it comes to setting up an office no matter where you are, a folding desk like this one can be a game-changer, for obvious reasons. Since you can place it anywhere, you won’t be limited to setting up shop where there’s already an existing desk or table, which can be especially key for video calls when you need a quiet, out-of-the-way location. That said, while the folding design makes it impressively compact, the desk is still a bit too clunky to bring on a plane or train, so it’s probably a better option if you’re planning on driving to your destination.

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A more versatile option that folds flat and will fit in most suitcases, this portable laptop table provides a lot of functionality while taking up hardly any space. Both the height of the legs and the angle of the table itself can be adjusted, so you can use it either to bring your screen up to eye level when using a dining table, bar, counter or coffee table as a desk, or to hold your laptop at a comfortable angle if you’re working in bed or lying on the couch.

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This lap desk is perfect if you’re not looking to dedicate too much space in your suitcase to office accessories, but you still need something to make working on your laptop more comfortable. Designed with a pillow-like back filled with cooling microbeads, it keeps your laptop securely in place while preventing overheating. Plus, along with a cell phone stand, it has a built-in mousepad tray, which can be really nice if you like working from the couch but prefer a real mouse to your laptop’s touchpad.

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was $129.95

Noise-canceling headphones are a lifesaver when you’re trying to work in a public space with lots of distractions, and this pair from JBL has earned a reputation for providing excellent quality at a reasonable price. The wireless, over-the-ear design makes them super comfortable to wear for hours on end, and handy features like multi-port connection (which lets you connect with two Bluetooth devices simultaneously), hands-free calling, and voice assistant capability are particularly handy for working remotely.

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was $28.99

At home, you may have set up your office near a window to ensure you’re getting great lighting for all those Zoom meetings. When you’re working on the go, however, finding the perfect natural lighting isn’t always an option, and that’s where this clip-on ring light comes in. Specifically designed to use with a computer webcam, the light has three color temperature settings — warm, white, and natural — with adjustable brightness settings so you can always get lighting that feels soft and flattering, not harsh.

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This mini surge protector is outfitted with just three AC outlets and has a braided rope cord that’s flexible enough to wrap up neatly around the base, so it won’t take up much space in your bag when it’s not in use. That said, it’ll surely get plenty of use throughout your trip — even after the workday is over, an extension cord can really come in handy when there’s not an outlet to charge your phone near your bedside, for example.

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Most modern laptops don’t have built-in ports to plug in anything beyond the basics, which is why a hub, like this one, may be necessary if you need to connect something like a keyboard, printer, or extra monitor, to name a few examples. Compact and portable, the hub really does it all — it includes three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, SD and TF card readers, an audio/mic jack, and a VGA port. Just be sure to confirm that your laptop has a type C USB port before ordering, since many of the hub’s features won’t work with a type A or B port.

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Because it’s made with ultra-durable materials and has a double-braided, hard-wearing nylon shell, this lightning cable is 10 times stronger than standard iPhone charging cables. It’s built to withstand the kind of wear and tear that tends to happen when you’re traveling — bending, pulling, throwing it in your bag — so it won’t randomly stop working at the worst possible time, as most charging cables seem inclined to do.

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If you’re working from a room in someone else’s house, hanging this dual-sided “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door is a clear, polite way to communicate to the other people you’re sharing a space with that you’re doing something that can’t be interrupted, such as hopping on an important video call. Sold in a pack of two, the durable PVC signs are color-coded, so even small children can understand that unless it’s a true emergency, they’ll need to wait until the sign is green before knocking.