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It's hard to believe we're approaching the one year mark of stay-at-home orders in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with that, a whole year of working from home. If you're anything like me, you've spent the past year working out a routine to make everyday life as productive and comfortable as possible, in spite of the ever-changing and often overwhelming news cycle.
Related: more work-from-home must-haves
As an e-commerce editor here at Travel + Leisure, I usually spend my time testing out travel gear, although in the past year, I've had the chance to try out plenty of products that make working from home more manageable. From a laptop stand that makes sitting at a desk much more comfortable to an insulated mug that keeps my coffee and tea warm for hours, and even a ring light that gives me perfect lighting for video calls, these are my absolute favorite items that I've tried over the past year.
Keep reading for a shopping editor's work-from-home essentials.
This lightweight, portable laptop stand reduces neck strain and makes sitting at a desk much more comfortable. And as an added bonus, it also helps me find far more flattering angles for video calls.
To buy: amazon.com, $18
I never thought I'd need a ring light in my life, but my home office (bedroom) doesn't get a ton of natural light. So, to avoid looking like I'm sitting in the dark, I started using this simple light that clips onto my laptop and it provides just enough light for more functional video calls.
To buy: amazon.com, $10
A solid pair of headphones or earbuds is a work-from-home must-have, and for me, it's my trusty AirPods. Whether I'm on a call, listening to music while focusing on a task, or enjoying a podcast on my lunch break, I love how freely I can move around with AirPods, as well as their impressive battery life.
To buy: amazon.com, $120 (originally $159)
Whether I'm wearing my comfiest loungewear or actually wearing "real" clothes, I almost always have these cozy slippers on my feet, which never fail to keep me warm (but never too hot) in my apartment.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $70 (originally $90)
If I make a cup of coffee at 9am, there's a good chance that I take two sips and forget about it until it's nearly noon. Luckily, when I use this insulated mug from Corkcicle, my drink stays hot for hours, making for enjoyable sipping all day long.
To buy: amazon.com, $35
Speaking of coffee, I can't say how much I love this single-serve pour-over coffee maker from OXO. It's incredibly easy to use with my favorite beans, and allows me to make just one cup of coffee at a time (which, typically, is more than enough for me).
To buy: amazon.com, $16
While the products mentioned above help me stay productive and comfortable during the workday at home, there are also a few items that have made my home a more enjoyable place to be, since I've been spending far more time here than usual during the pandemic. First, filling my apartment with greenery has without a doubt brightened up my space. I love how easy it is to order plants online from The Sill, but I've also been known to impulse buy a new leafy companion from my local garden center (shoutout to Crest Hardware).
For a bit of a more permanent pick-me-up, it's amazing what painting an accent wall can do to liven up a room. I painted a section of a wall in my living room with Clare Paint's Pink Sky, and it's made my space feel so much more my own. As an added bonus, an accent wall also provides a stellar Zoom background.
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