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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

Mooas Multi-Cube Timer
Mooas Multi-Cube Timer (Mooas)

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

Buy Mooas timer at Amazon - $19

Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 MagSafe charging station

Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1
Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 (Will Lipman Photography for Engadget)

Apple devotees will appreciate Belkin’s BoostCharge Pro, which will charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch and a pair of AirPods simultaneously. Not only will this save your loved one quite a bit of desk space, it also reduces cord clutter as it only requires a single power cable. Additionally, though the charging pad has 15W MagSafe for the iPhone 12 and up, it’s actually compatible with any phone with wireless charging; it just won’t be quite as fast. That means it’ll work with iPhones 8 and up as well as compatible Android devices. — N.L.

Buy Belkin BoostCharge Pro at Amazon - $140

Logitech Lift Vertical mouse

Logitech Lift Vertical mouse
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

Buy Logitech Lift Vertical at Amazon - $70

Lume Cube Video Conferencing Lighting Kit

Lume Cube Video Conferencing Lighting Kit
Lume Cube Video Conferencing Lighting Kit (Lume Cube)

If your loved ones already have a camera they like, then getting them a lighting rig is a great next step for improving how they look on videos, live streams and more. While a typical desk lamp might cast a shadow or make them look washed out, a proper lighting kit will illuminate their face and show off their best side.

We like Lume Cube’s Video Conferencing Lighting Kit because it’s small and lightweight enough to fit on tablets, laptops or desktop monitors. The built-in frosted lens and additional white diffuser softens the light so it’s easier on the eyes while also adding a glow to your appearance. The brightness and color is adjustable to fit whichever lighting environment you happen to be in. The Kit has a built-in extended battery so you can use it on the go, but you can also just plug it directly into your computer’s USB port to run indefinitely.

If they also need their video-lighting rig to be a desk lamp, we would recommend Lume Cube’s Edge Desk light instead. It also has adjustable brightness and color temperatures, which will help make them look great in front of the camera, but it can also swivel around to be used as a regular desk lamp when they’re not on a call. It attaches securely to most desks via a clamp which won’t take up much real estate at all. Bonus: It has built-in USB-C and USB-A charging ports which can be used as additional power sources. — N.L.

Buy Lume Cube lighting kit at Amazon - $70 Buy Lume Cube Edge desk light at Amazon - $130

Flexispot standing desk converter

Flexispot standing desk converter
Flexispot standing desk converter (Flexispot)

By now we all know the benefits of a standing desk, but that doesn’t change the fact that most of them are super expensive. Instead of spending a ton on one, you can work with what you already have – and that might be the better option if you or someone you love already invested in a nice regular desk. A standing desk converter like this one from Flexispot lets you turn your existing desk into one that you can either stand or sit at. This model also comes with a dedicated keyboard tray, so you can separate your workspace a bit and keep things as ergonomic as possible. But the best part is that it costs a fraction of what an actual standing desk would. — V.P.

Buy standing desk converter at FlexiSpot - $210

Logitech C920S Pro Full HD webcam

Logitech C920S Pro Full HD webcam
Logitech C920S Pro Full HD webcam (Engadget)

Remote workers might not have to see their co-workers anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have meetings. Any WFH employee will tell you that their days are often inundated with Zoom calls and Google Meet video conferences. That’s why an external webcam is essential, at least if you care about looking good. Our favorite is the Logitech C920S Pro HD webcam, which offers 1080p video quality, autofocus capabilities and white balance adjustment. One big benefit over regular built-in webcams is that they’ll be able to position it however they like, which makes it that much easier to put unsightly household messes out of view. It has a large 78-degree field of view plus a lens cover that will protect your loved ones’ privacy when not in use. — N.L.

Buy Logitech C920S Pro Full HD at Amazon - $85

Ergofoam Ergonomic Adjustable Foot Rest

Ergofoam Ergonomic Adjustable Foot Rest
Ergofoam Ergonomic Adjustable Foot Rest (Ergofoam)

Those who sit at their desks all day will appreciate a more ergonomic setup for less back and neck pain. One way to achieve that is with the Ergofoam Ergonomic Adjustable Footrest, which helps provide fim support for your feet and ensure your sitting position is upright. The footrest is made out of memory foam and is covered in a plush velvet, making it super comfortable as well. This particular model is adjustable to two different heights, which is great for those who need a slightly taller footrest. Additionally, the footrest can be flipped upside down and used as a rocker to keep your feet moving, improving your circulation. — N.L.

Buy Ergofoam foot rest at Amazon - $50

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5
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.

Buy WH-1000XM5 at Amazon - $398

Ember Mug 2

Ember Mug 2
Ember Mug 2 (Will Lipman Photography for Engadget)

If you know someone who has a tendency to let their cup of coffee or tea get cold, consider giving them the Ember Mug 2. It’s a self-heating smart mug that keeps beverages at just the right temperature – either for up to 1.5 hours or all day long if the mug is kept on its charging coaster. They can dial in their desired temperatures anywhere from 120 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The companion app also lets them save preset temps for their favorite drinks. — N.L.

Buy Ember Mug 2 at Amazon - $130

BenQ Screenbar

BenQ Screenbar
BenQ Screenbar (Will Lipman Photography for Engadget)

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.

Buy BenQ Screenbar at Amazon - $109

Anker 577 Thunderbolt docking station

Anker 577 Thunderbolt docking station
Anker 577 Thunderbolt docking station (Will Lipman Photography for Engadget)

It’s easy to get carried away building your perfect work-from-home desk setup, only to realize that it’s not as efficient as it could be. Wires cluttering your space, extra connectors and peripherals you don’t use, all of those things can make your desk a place you dread sitting down at each morning. But Anker’s 577 Thunderbolt docking station, and others like it, can remedy that by giving you one multi-purpose, powerful brick into which you can plug all of your necessities.

This model has 13 ports, so there’s a good chance you’ll be covered at every turn, plus it supports 85W laptop charging, so you’ll always have plenty of power fueling your machine as you use it. In addition to supporting 1-Gbps USB-C data transfer, Gigabit Ethernet and 4K HDMI, it also lets you connect to two 5K external displays at once, just in case you’re going for that space-commander look. — V.P.

Buy Anker 577 docking station at Amazon - $330

More Holiday Gift Ideas: Check out the rest of our tech gift ideas right here. Also, you'll find the best ideas for car lovers at Autoblog, gifts for the young (and young at heart) at In the Know, and picks for just about everyone else on your list (moms, dads, teens, nurses, you name it!) in Yahoo’s holiday gift ideas section.