The Covid-19 pandemic continues in many parts across the country, and restrictions on travel are still in place. For many people, work from home remains the norm, which can be challenging at times. But here are nine accessories that will make it a little easier, productive and free of technical problems.
Note: that most of these items are available in PC accessory shops and all of them can be found on eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.
1) Smartphone dock
While many people rely on their laptops and/or desktops for daily office work, smartphone are still the key communication devices. Many also end up using their phones as Wi-Fi hotspots to work on their laptops, especially when WiFi is patchy.
A smartphone dock can help during such times. It is an easy way to keep your phone upright with the screen always facing you, thus ensuring that one doesn’t miss any notification or call flash. The dock doubles up as a stable stand for when you’re watching media, charging your phone or even taking long-exposure photographs.
Android users can use such docks along with an app called DroidCam and turn the phone into a webcam for the desktop.
2) Wi-Fi range extender
A Wi-Fi range extender works just like your main WiFi router, except it receives your broadband connection and boosts it as if it was the source router. Wi-Fi range extenders allow users to get good connectivity throughout the house. While one router and one range extender are good enough to cover most small-to-mid flats, one can add more for larger homes.
3) All-In-One adapters for laptops
These days, most laptops are thin, light and easy to carry around. However, this often means lacking in elements like the number and types of ports. But there are multiple adapters available for laptops (and even desktops) that allow one to connect all kinds of input/output devices into a single port.
Adapters that have an ethernet port, microSD card slot, USB slots and other slots can be plugged into the USB Type-C port of your laptop. These can help with productivity and free up space on your desk. Especially if your WiFi is patchy, an adapter with an ethernet port could ensure a more stable internet connection.
4) Wi-Fi adapter for desktop
One of the big hurdles when working from home is the Wi-Fi going down. While this isn’t a big problem for laptops, where you can quickly share your phone or a portable hotspot connection, it can be more challenging on desktops. But if you want to use your custom-built gaming desktop for work purposes, a Wi-Fi adapter is a must-have product.
You can either go for a USB Wi-Fi adapter or a PCIe adapter that will plug straight into your motherboard. These tiny devices enable you to get Wi-Fi connectivity on your desktop, which is pretty handy if your motherboard doesn’t support it by default. This means you can now use the internet on your computer without the LAN cable plugged in, but more importantly, it also allows you to share your phone’s data connection with your PC when in a pinch.
5) Ethernet adapter for laptop/phones
Wi-Fi signals can often get weaker or start fluctuating when there are a lot of routers in close proximity with some channel overlapping. This could lead to disturbances in the quality of video conferences, which require very stable connectivity. This is why gamers prefer their PC to be connected via a LAN cable.
However, if your thin laptop doesn’t have an RJ45 port to support an ethernet connection straight from your router, you can buy an ethernet adapter.
These small devices have a cable and look very similar to OTG cables. They let you insert an ethernet connection into a USB port in your laptop. Club that with a USB Type-A to Micro-USB/ USB-C adapter and you can now plug an ethernet connection straight into your smartphone. However, you will have to check if your Android device supports the external port.
6) Laptop webcam slider cover
Webcams in laptops are a huge privacy concern when people are working from home, and have their laptops turned on for long hours, often in areas like the bedroom or the living room. In such scenarios, a slidable cover for your webcam is a much safer and non-messy option than resorting to the old duct tape method. Amazon and Flipkart have plenty such options at very affordable prices of Rs 150 and under.
7) Laptop stand
A laptop stand is pretty self-explanatory. If you do not have a dedicated table for working at home, you can get a laptop stand, which is often tilted at an angle. These let you manage space efficiently on small surfaces while helping with your laptop’s cooling.
It is also better for your neck posture to have the laptop at your eye vision level, rather than forcing you to look down constantly. You can also check out laptop stands that also have a mini dock on the side for putting your phone on too.
8) Laptop desk for bed, armrests
While we’re speaking of stands, a handy tool for those who prefer working from the comfort of their bed is something called a ‘Laptop Desk for bed’. These mini tables can be placed right above your thighs for a comfortable desktop-like working experience even when you’re sitting comfortably on the bed, sofa or even the floor.
Armrests, meanwhile are projections that can be attached to the edge of your work desk that faces you. The projection now allows you to rest your arm on it while using the mouse for long, instead of your elbow dangling in the air.
9) Cable organisers and clips
With a large number of devices, peripherals and accessories comes the burden of cables. Good cable management is the key to your desktop looking clean and productive, or an endless maze of crisscrossing cables. Cable organisers and clips are a great way to group all those cables together or simply clip them next to each other so they stay tangle-free.