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Working from home essentials: The best budget home office furniture, tech and more

From desks to dumbbells, here's our guide to the essentials you’ll need to work from home in comfort

Around 1.5 million people work from home each year, and it’s becoming more and more popular. In light of recent events, moreover, people are working from home in greater numbers than ever before. Many of us are working from home for the first time, as companies across the globe abruptly close their offices at the recommendation of their local governments.

The speed of the change might have left you feeling unprepared, particularly if you’re a newcomer to the world of remote working. While on paper it might seem easy, you’ll quickly find that you’re lacking the sort of equipment that you usually take for granted on a daily basis: equipment such as desks, office chairs, and computer monitors. After all, working from bed with your laptop can only take you so far (and it’s terrible for your health).

But don’t worry. We’re bringing you a list of the best, affordable home essentials that’ll keep you productive and comfortable while you’re working from home without wrecking your budget. On top of that, being stuck at home all day doesn’t allow for the most active lifestyle, so we’ve been sure to include some products that’ll help out in the fitness department too.

READ NEXT: The best laptops for any budget

Cheap working from home essentials you need to buy

1. Best office chair: Ikea Torkel swivel chair

Price: £45 | Buy now from Ikea

It might not be the most sophisticated office chair on the market, but Ikea’s Torkel offers a brilliant bang for your buck – and it’s going to offer far more support than any dining chair or sofa. You can adjust the height to perfectly match your desk, and tweak the tilt tension to get just the right amount of swing while leaning back.

The Torkel also features weight sensitive castors. The wheels lock down while the chair isn’t in use, but will turn freely once you sit down.

Key specs – Width: 59cm; Seat height: 52cm; Total height: up to 108cm

Buy now from Ikea

2. Best desk: Argos Home Nomad 2 Drawer Desk

Price: £180 | Buy now from Argos

The Nomad is almost brand new to Argos’ range. With its metal frame and stylish oak veneer, it’s certainly a good-looking desk – especially as a budget buy. It has all the features you need in a home office workspace, including a drawer unit, shelf, cable access and – of course – plenty of surface space.

It’s worth noting that many buyers might struggle to assemble the Nomad on their own, since it weighs 50kg and comes in several parts. Nevertheless, at the time of writing it’s been praised by all of two 5-star customer reviews for its looks and ease of assembly.

Key specs – Dimensions: 75 x 140 x 60cm; Main materials: melamine; Colours available: 1

Buy now from Argos

3. Best budget monitor: Dell SE2417HGX

Price: £110| Buy now from Dell

Dell’s 24″ SE2417HGX monitor is an excellent option solution for any work from home setup. It has a full HD anti-glare screen, and a clean, minimalist design. It packs two HDMI inputs, for seamless switching between multiple devices, and features Dell’s Comfort View that aims to reduce eye strain by minimising blue light.

If you’re looking for something a little smaller (and even cheaper), you may want to consider Dell’s 22″ SE2216H

Key specs – Screen size: 23.6in; Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Screen technology: TN; Video inputs: 2x HDMI, VGA; Refresh rate: 60Hz (VGA), 75Hz (HDMI)

Buy now from Dell

4. Best mouse: Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 1850

Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

Compared to some of the wireless computer mice on the market, Microsoft’s budget option is notably small and stripped back. With two buttons and a scroll wheel, it doesn’t have all the additional features that some more expensive alternatives do. But it’s comfortable for its shape, and it performs perfectly well for everyday use.

On top of that, its lightweight and basic shape makes it a great option to travel with and for laptop users, if not for your desktop PC. For £15, we can think of nothing better.

Key specs – Sensor: Microsoft Optical; Max sensitivity: 1,000dpi; Connectivity: 2.4GHz wireless; Buttons: 2 buttons, 1 wheel; Battery: 1 x AA; Dimensions: 100 x 58 x 38mm; Weight: 91

5. Best keyboard: Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600

Price: £15 | Buy now from Ebuyer

You shouldn’t let this keyboard’s plastic, chunky build put you off. It might not have the sleekness or stand-out special features of the more high-end keyboards, but it feels good and it’s easy to work with. So, all your basic needs are met.

Microsoft’s entry-level keyboard gives you a sensible layout – allowing for reasonably short travel – and a slightly concave shape. It’s also quiet beyond a subtle thump on actuation, which makes for a satisfactory typing experience.

With a proven, reliable design that hasn’t changed in over a decade, this keyboard has stood the test of time. For something in the budget department, it’s an excellent choice.

Key specs – Type: Traditional; Special features: none; Connections: USB; Dimensions: 456 x 160 x 22mm; Weight: 898g

Buy now from Ebuyer

6. Best webcam: Logitech C270

Price: £26 | Buy now from Logitech

While the sound quality on this budget webcam isn’t the best, it’s a fine piece of equipment for the price. Being light enough to sit on top of your laptop lid or monitor, it works well for 720p recordings and video calls, so it’s the best budget option for all your at-home conferencing needs.

On top of this, the built-in microphone is able to reduce some background noise and Logitech’s own RightLight technology ensures that you’ll always get decent video quality. The C270 uses the same software – with pan, tilt, zoom controls and face tracking – as Logitech’s more expensive counterparts, but at a fraction of the price. So, what’s not to like?

Key specs – Resolution: 720p; Focus: Fixed; Audio: Built-in microphone with noise reduction; Mount type: Clip stand; Cable length: 1.5m

Buy now from Logitech

7. Best PC speakers: Logitech Z200

Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon

PC and laptop speakers are pretty feeble at the best of times. Fortunately, the Logitech Z200 speakers are here to solve that, by being a great, affordable upgrade.

While small enough to fit on your desk (the Argos Nomad desk, perhaps), the Logitech Z200s are large enough to produce a big, full sound – perfect for listening to music while you work, or for watching Netflix during your lunch break. They don’t support bluetooth connection but instead come with a fixed audio cable for your laptop, as well as a headphone socket and a 3.5mm socket if you wanted to plug in a mobile device.

Key specs – Type: 2.0 stereo; Inputs: 3.5mm input cable (not removable), 3.5mm line-in; Outputs: 3.5mm headphone socket; Dimensions: 241 x 90 x 124mm (each satellite)

8. Best Bluetooth headset: Jabra Talk 25

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

Working from home means face-to-face meetings become something of a difficulty. With a bluetooth headset like this one, you needn’t worry.

The Talk 25 is a compact, lightweight headset. With just a power button, answer/end call button and volume control, it’s straightforward and simple to use. It might not look like much but it’s comfortable, and a choice of three gel earpieces mean you can get the best fit for you.

Most importantly, the audio quality is superb, thanks to super-clear omni-directional mic and HD voice support. The accompanying Jabra app is a nice add-on, which comes with features including a battery check (the headset’s battery life boasts eight hours of talk time and up to ten days on standby), a text message reader and a headset finder that tracks down the last pairing location.

The Talk 25 is a bit more expensive than the Talk 15, but is a definite step up in terms of quality.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 4.0; Profiles: Hands-free 1.6, headset; Range: 30m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: Yes; NFC: No; Charge connector: micro USB; Talk time: 8 hours; Standby: 10 days; Dimensions: 47 x 17 x 20.5mm; Weight: 8.2g

9. Best laptop stand: AmazonBasics Laptop Stand

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

This AmazonBasics laptop stand is sturdier than its cheap price might suggest, and strong enough to support laptops roughly the size of the 13in MacBook Pro – or with a depth of 9.4in or less.

It really is the most basic laptop stand imaginable – no adjustability, no special features, just a curved sheet of lightweight metal that props your laptop up around 6.1in from the surface of your desk. At a mere £13, though, the lack of features is to be expected, and just think of the savings.

Key specs – Weight: 2kg; Size: 25.6 x 23.7 x 15.5cm; Adjustable?: No; Materials: Silver-anodized metal

10. Best dumbbells: Gallant Neoprene Hand Dumbbells

Price: from £9.50 | Buy now from eBay

It’s easy to become inactive while working from home. This dumbbell set is the perfect choice for the beginner getting into weight training, or for those after lighter dumbbells. They’re great for rehab exercises, lunges and squats and come in a range of weights, from 0.5kg to 5kg.

Plus, their size and straight edges mean they don’t take up too much space in your home and are unlikely to roll about.

Materials: Cast iron and neoprene rubber; Weights in set: Two

Buy now from eBay

11. Best exercise bike: Ultrasport F-Bike Trainer

Price when reviewed: £100 | Buy now from Amazon

The best thing about this exercise bike isn’t the wonderfully low price, nor is it the reassuringly solid design – although obviously, we mention those things because they are pretty huge selling points.

No, the best thing about the F-Bike Trainer is that when you’re not using it, you can fold it away like an ironing board and tuck it somewhere unobtrusive. That means you can keep it in your (home) office without sacrificing an inch of precious space.

Key specs – Size: 80.5 x 43.5 x 112cm (LWH); Resistance: Friction (8 levels); Max user weight: 100kg

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