These sub-$40 upgrades make working from home even better


By Doug Aamoth

I’ve been working from home for a long, long time. And I’ve tried every trick in the book to make working as comfortable an endeavor as possible.

This is a tricky task, because I am a) cheap and b) get a bee in my bonnet every few years and upend my entire office: new desk, new chair, new locations for everything.

But there are a handful of inexpensive quality-of-life gadgets that survive— nay, thrive—every time I change things up. Let’s take a look.

Chair rollerblade wheels: $18

Pop off the cheapo plastic wheels that came with your office chair and replace them with these rubber rollerblade wheels.

It’s like scooting around on a cloud. And if your home office has hardwood floors, you don’t have to worry nearly as much about damaging them, which is a huge plus.

These sub-$40 upgrades make working from home even better |
[Photo: Doug Aamoth]

There’s just nothing like pushing back from your desk with a bit of force and gliding across the entire room both silently and effortlessly. Sure, you could stand up and walk, but this way is much more fun.

Memory foam armpads: $20

I can’t remember the last time I sat in an office chair and marveled at its extra-comfortable armrests.

And seeing that we use these armrests as we type and mouse all the livelong day, why not give our elbows and forearms the comfort they deserve?

These sub-$40 upgrades make working from home even better |
[Photo: Doug Aamoth]

Every time a new office chair comes into the Aamoth house, an order for these ergonomic memory foam armrest pads shows up too. They easily slip on over the awful, rigid, factory armrests to act as little pillows. That’s a huge upgrade for every elbow.

Power station with headphone holder: $30

There are things I’ve known to be true after working from home for the past couple decades.

First, no matter how amazing your cable-management skills, once you finally get every cord tucked away, you’ll inevitably need to charge something, which means going back down under the desk and annoyingly crawl around in search of an empty outlet.

Second, the little clock on the computer is too small!

These sub-$40 upgrades make working from home even better |
[Photo: Doug Aamoth]

Finally, there’s never a good place to put headphones. I’ve tried under-desk hooks, nails in the wall, stuffing them in a drawer. Nothing’s great.


Enter this super-multifunctional charging station. It features 3 USB ports, one USB-C port, 2 outlets, a large digital readout clock, handy spot for hanging headphones, and a little LED lamp. What a time to be alive, eh?

Giant mouse pad: $10 and up

A giant mouse pad is less about providing a comically large mousing surface—though it certainly does that—and more about softening up your desk (in a literal sense).

My first few years in the workforce, I noticed an unusual phenomena occurring: the elbows of my shirts were always getting holes in them. I finally realized that the friction of resting my elbows on a cold, hard, wooden desk all day was causing the holes.

These sub-$40 upgrades make working from home even better |
[Photo: Doug Aamoth]

And it happened with every desk! Ergo, every desk in the house now has its own giant mousepad. It softens on the edge of the desk where you might rest your forearm. It protects the desk itself. And it saves your sleeves, of course.

Desk fridge: $37 and up

There’s no break room in a work-from-home setup, unless, of course, you count the kitchen. But what if you’re in a middle of the world’s longest meeting and you’re starting to nod off? What if you have all of 30 seconds in between meetings to grab a quick bite? Or, what if you work in the attic and the kitchen’s just too far away?

The solution? A compact desk fridge. I’ve tried a few of them and have settled on this nice little Frigidaire number.

These sub-$40 upgrades make working from home even better |
[Photo: Doug Aamoth]

This diminutive delight house up to six 12-ounce cans and makes no noise except for the soft whir of its tiny, nearly imperceptible fan in the back. If you’re looking to keep goodies at arm’s reach, here’s your next purchase.

Fast Company