Work from Home Gift Guide

There are a lot more people working from home today vs. when I first created this gift guide. For 2020, I'm focusing on great gifts not only for people who are used to working from home, but also those who are doing it for the first time. Enjoy! 

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    Connecting with Others

    One of the most common improvements you can make for your home office is a better webcam and mic. Here's some recommended gear for that. 

    A Good Webcam

    Using a good webcam is clutch for video calls, and the Logitech C920 falls perfectly between price and quality.

    If you want to go for an upgrade, or your giftee is a streamer who needs that 4K quality, the Logitech BRIO will get the job done!

    For a CRAZY good setup, check out this Live Stream kit.

    Alternative: If you have a Mac and an iPhone, checkout Camo. It will turn your iPhone into a webcam.

    ATR2100 Mic

    A Good Mic

    Along with that, a good mic is also important. The ATR2100 is perfect! Solid quality, great price.

    If you'd prefer a headset, check out the Sennheiser PC 8 USB Headset.

    The Blue Yeti is another popular one. If you want to see more recording gear, check out my Podcaster's Gift Guide.

    Lighting

    One surefire way to make yourself look better on camera is having good lighting. Your camera doesn't have to work as hard to capture you, and you won't look like you're recording in a cave!

    There are lots of lighting setups - here are some of my favorites:

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    Productivity Tools

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    Analog

    Notebooks and analog tools are super personal, but here's what I like:


    Tomoe River Journal: I love the paper and how it lays flat. I use this for long-form writing and thoughts.

    Theme System Journal: My daily journal. I love it. Wrote about it here.

    William Hannah A5 Classic Notebook: This is my content planner. It’s pricey but SO worth it. It’s got lots of different refills and I use it every day. I went with the One Week Two Pages refill.

    If you're interested in pens, check out my Pen guide.

    Digital

    For digital communication, there are a lot of apps that I love. Here are a few!


    You could grab an App Store Gift Card so that your giftee could grab some of these:

    Omnifocus 3 (task management) | MindNode (Mind Mapping)

    Evernote (note taking) | Ulysses (writing)

    Milanote for organizing thoughts.

    Comforts of Home

    Working from home also means  you need to be comfortable. It also means office amenities are up to you. Making sure you have good coffee and a good, ergonomic work environment are important - both for productivity and health! 

    Coffee!

    When you work from home, you are your own Barista, so good coffee and a coffee maker are a must! I have fully assimilated to the Aeropress lifestyle and love it. I would strongly recommend that - makes great coffee, and is super affordable.

    If you're looking for something more heavy-duty, a Nespresso won't let you down.

    Beans

    If you're buying beans you should also have a good coffee grinder. You can't go wrong with this one: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder.

    The Beans

    Office Ergonomics

    If you're new to working from you, you probably haven't invested in some important home office gear. The kitchen table or couch was OK for a temporary setup, but longer term, you need a more ergonomic solution. Here are some items that will absolutely make a difference in your posture. Your body will thank you!


    Desk Chair! A good desk chair is important for someone who works from home. Steelcase, while expensive, make the best.

    If you're looking for something more affordable, the HON Chairs are popular.

    Standing Mat. If you're shopping for someone who had a standing desk, an anti-fatigue mat is a great gift. I recommend the TOPO Mat or the Imprint CumulusPRO

    My Main Desk

    Standing Desk. Sitting all day isn't good for you (or your loved one). There are lots of sit/stand desks out there. I recommend Jarvis by Fully. It's what I have and I love it.

    If you're looking for something more affordable, they also have a converter that sits on top of the desk.

    Other Gear

    Something to elevate your laptop or monitor is great because then you're not hunched over, very close to your screen. I love what Twelve South makes.

    A good mouse goes a long way in ergonomics and productivity. The Logitech MX Master 3 combined both really well! Multi-device support, ergonomic design for comfort, and lots of programmable buttons to make computer use easier.

    Now, I don't use an ergonomic keyboard (I have a Keycron K1 full-sized Mechanical Keyboard), but I'm an ideas man. And I've heard great things about the ergonomic keyboard from Microsoft. This is an affordable alternative to more expensive options, and you can improve the wrist posture!

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    If you really want to go the extra mile, you can get a monitor arm. The ones by Fully come highly recommended. I had this one by Amazon and it served me well. It still does, just as a moveable camera arm now!

    Office Decor

    Home Decor! Decorating a home office can be a lot of fun! While pretty personal, Ugmonk usually has something for everyone, from picture to desk stands and more.


    I've also been big into National Parks prints lately. You can get some cool posters from Parks Project.


    If it were me, shopping for Star Wars Wall Art would be a good bet too!

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    Home Automation

    NFC Tags: These are a great, affordable way to automate certain things (like turning on lights, starting playlists, etc). With Siri Shortcuts and other smart devices, these can be a lot of fun for the home office.

    WeMo Smart Plugs: Smart plugs are a great way to get started with simple home automation. Plug it in and get going. And these WeMo plugs work with Alexa, Google, and Apple's HomeKit.

    Sonos One: This is a fantastic smart speaker that sounds good, works with a bunch of services, and has Alexa built-in. So you can listen to music or bark orders at it.

    Home automation can really be it's own gift guide and a giant rabbit hole, but there are some advanced techniques that are worth doing! My favorites are with lighting, which you can read about here. Here is some gear to help with that!

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    Tech & Accessories

    Headphones

    I recently picked up the AirPods Pro and love them. They're always in my pocket and for the time being, are the only noise cancelling headphones I keep with me.

    That said, Apple Airpods are still fantastic if you don't need the bells and whistles of the Pro versions. If you're looking for small, wireless, unobtrusive headphones that just work, these are it.

    If you're looking for good, sub-$200 headphones, I recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M50s. They are light-weight, block out most noise, and sound incredible. They are also one of the few sets of headphones I can wear for a long period of time without getting a headache.

    The Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise Cancelling headphones are fantastic. Whether you work from home, an office, or a coworking space, these will help you focus. And they're great while traveling.

    I recently picked up the Sony WH-1000XM4 and I like them. But I haven't had them long enough to feel like I can recommend them...yet.

    If you (or who you're shopping for) are more of an earbuds person, these are excellent and just under $25.

    Backups & Storage

    External Hard Drive: Everything we do is computer-based nowawadays, so a solid external drive is necessary. I've used the Western Digital My Book for as long as I could remember. If you need more space, the 8TB model should do the trick.

    Cloud / Off-Site Backups: Another important aspect of working online is having solid off-site backups - especially if you work from home. There's only one service I recommend for this, and it's Backblaze.


    Portable Hard Drive: With "the cloud" there's less of a need for portable storage, but I still like to have some on me. Here's a few good suggestions:

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    Network Area Storage

    I've been considering this for my home office: the Synology 2 Base Storage NAS. Working across multiple devices and platforms, it would be nice to have a central, network connected drive for me to access. If you work from home, this can be especially nice.

    Just a heads up that this the bay only - so you'll have to get some hard drives too. For the total cost, I know some folks who've also on the route of a Mac Mini as their home server. But with the new price hike/refresh, I'm still going with this.

     

    If you need some ideas for a backup strategy, check out what I'm doing:

    Smart Phone Gear

    Quick Note: I'll probably update this section in November, after I have a chance to play with MagSafe for iPhone. But they recommendations below work for both iOS and Android Phones. 

    Wireless Chargers

    My favorite Qi Charger, that I've used, is the Twelve South Hi Rise. It's fast and doubles as lay-flat charger, so you can travel with it or use it with your AirPods.


    Qi Charger Stand - If you're looking for something a little more affordable, this is what I use on my night stand. It doesn't need to be fast, and I'm not traveling with it.

    Cases

    When it comes to cases, I need the thinnest, and that's Peel. Lots of colors, including clear, to show off that Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro.


    If you want a little more protection, I've been using the Caudable Lucid Clear. It's thin and can withstand drops of nearly 7ft.


    If you want more colors, or higher drop protection, I recommend checking out tech21.

    Recording / Travel

    iphone, switchpod, glif, shure mv88

    I recently did a full write up of  my travel recording gear, which you can read here. You can also just view the whole kit.


    For people on the move, a Handheld Phone Stabilizer for shooting movies can be clutch.

    iPad + iPad Accessories

    If you're looking for a great iPad as a gift, the 2020 iPad Air, by all accounts, is fantastic. 

    Travel / Bags

    Nomatic Backpack

    After a hiatus from buying a backpack for a while, I decided I wanted a new one for a big travel season I had. I needed something big, but not too big, with space, pockets, and TSA-friendly. The Nomatic Backpack ticked all the boxes. It's durable, flexible, there's lots of places for all sorts of gear, and it expands from 20 to 30 ml. Big enough, and can get bigger. I love it.

    Nomatic Messenger Bag

    Earlier this year, in preparation for lots of travel that didn't happen, I bought a new, more spacious messenger bag. The bag from Nomatic, much like it's matching travel pack, it's spacious, well designed, and sturdy. I've used it on a few outings and love it.

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    eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack is great if you want something more compact. It's got places for a laptop and iPad, lots of compartments for chargers and miscellaneous wires and tools, and a hard case pouch for fragile stuff. It's perfect for day or short trips. Check it out.

    Peak Design Everyday Messenger V1 was my go-to for a long time. The version looks amazing!

    Incase Nylon Accessory Organizer

    This year I traded in my unbranded travel grid  for the Incase Nylon Accessory Organizer. It's spacious and helps me keep important cables, dongles, and chargers (as well as a bunch of other stuff) together, even when I switch between bags.


    Coffee Gift Card: Starbucks | Dunkin Donuts | Panera Bread | Your local coffee shop also works!

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    YETI Tumblers: A good travel mug (or drinking vessel) is clutch and I love the stuff YETI makes. They keep the hot drinks hot, and the cold drinks cold. You can't go wrong with any of these. Plus, they have different lids you can get, depending on the tumbler's use.

    Extra Power

    When it comes to portable power, Anker is the best in the business. You can't go wrong with anything they make. Here are a few of my favorite Anker products.

    Charging Devices
    • Anker PowerCore Slim (pictured left). It's light, portable, and packs a big charge in a small device. USB and USB-C.
    • Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W. This beast can charge a laptop! I once used it on a week long trip to charge my iPhone at night and it never had to be recharged. Great if you need a lot of power in a relatively small package.
    • Wall Charging 5-Port Hub. Traveling with a lot of devices gets a lot easier with this in your bag.
    • Anker 30W PIQ 3 (pictured below). This USB-C wall charger is impossibly slim and still 30 watts. It's replacing all of my other giant bricks.

    Cables

    Along with charging devices, you should make sure you have the right cables. Here are a few I make sure to always have on me:

    Lightning to USB (iPhone, iPad, Airpods)

    Lightning to USB-C (iPhone, iPad, Airpods - faster)

    USB-C to USB-C (iPad Pro, MacBooks, most Android/non-Apple Smartphones)

    USB to USB-C (A good, versatile, likely to work cable)

    If you're looking for beautiful, sleek, and unique chargers and hubs, Satechi is also fantastic. I especially love their AirPods and Apple Watch chargers.

    Make Home More Relaxing

    Working from home means finding creative ways to relax and make it more comfortable. Here are a few ideas. 

    Clothes

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    Good Clothes. Working from home means being comfortable. Sweats and t-shirts are great, but it's also good to have some nice clothes for when you need to go out. Here's a bit of both.

    Nice Shirts: UNTUCKit. I have recently started to upgrade my wardrobe and UNTUCKit has been at the heart of it. Their shirts are perfect for me, and look great!

    T-Shirts: Ugmonk. This Essential Tees are pretty much replacing all of my others tees.

    Unmentionables: Mack Weldon. Seriously. Their boxer briefs, undershirts, and everything else they make are incredible. I'm a huge fan. For Women (since Mack Weldon currently only makes men's clothes), I'd recommend meUndies.

    Socks: Darn Tough Socks. These are the best socks ever.

    SlippersL.B. Men’s Altin BOA Slipper  | BEARPAW Women’s Loki 2 Shearling Slipper

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    Candles
    I like these by Super Carlin Brothers - especially great for Harry Potter fans!

    hello-fresh

    Hello Fresh: A meal box subscription is the perfect way of saying, "You don't have to Doordash everything."

    There are lots of meal boxes out there, but I've heard the best things about Hello Fresh. These are especially good for households of 1 or 2.

    last updated: Oct. 2020 | Contains affiliate links