lifestyle

Do your home work: the tech and gadgets to keep you focused when working from home



Working from home can be wonderfully chilled, but it’s not always great for focusing hard and shutting out distractions – like pets, kids, and the fridge.

Here’s our pick of gadgets to help you stay on task until the evening commute to the sofa.

Amazon Echo clock

Having a big, visible wall clock means less looking at your phone to find out the time, which leads down a rabbit hole of distractions.

This one’s especially good for home working because it links to your Echo device to display your timers in lights on the minute marks. I set mine to 45-minute sprints, then take a break for the other 15.


£29.99, Amazon.co.uk

Orbi WiFi System AC1200

Home broadband quality has never mattered more than it does right now. Boost the signal to all parts of your home with this dual-band WiFi system, which includes a main router and two base stations to ensure coverage in every corner up to 4,500 square feet.

It includes an app for adding parental controls and a separate WiFi network for guests (after the lockdown, of course).

£179.99, Netgear.co.uk

Fresh ‘n Rebel Clam ANC DGTL

Noisy neighbours, attention-seeking cats and disgruntled children can distract your flow just as efficiently as coworkers in an open-plan office, so grab these noise-cancelling headphones to stay on track.

They come in Steel Blue or Silky Sand, and also have an Ambient Sound Mode if you need to hear what’s happening around you for a bit. And yes, they have a mic for calls.

Moshi Symbus Q

If your laptop is lacking in ports, this handy hub can help turn it into more of a desktop computer. It connects your MacBook or USB-C laptop to power (including fast charging), external screens via HDMI, faster internet via ethernet and accessories like a mouse and keyboard via USB.

It can also wirelessly charge Qi-enabled phones, including many Apple and Samsung handsets.

£154.95, Moshi.com

Polaroid 24″ smart LED TV

Lots of us have dual displays at work, but not at home. If you’re missing all that extra screen space, this fancypants rose gold HDTV can double as a monitor. It includes Freeview Play, WiFi and apps for things like Netflix and iPlayer, plus it has HDMI and USB inputs for work purposes.

After the lockdown, it can always go back to being a TV.

£149, exclusive to Asda

HP Spectre x360

A laptop with a tablet mode, the Spectre x360 includes a touchscreen and a stylus. There are easy microphone mute and webcam kill switches to maintain privacy during video calls, and there’s a one-touch privacy mode to hide what’s on your screen from onlookers. I

t doesn’t hurt that it’s beautiful, either, with its ‘gem-cut’ design made from a single piece of aluminium.

£1799, store.hp.com

Casetify UV smartphone sanitiser

The case uses UV light to kill bacteria on your smartphone

Constantly washing your hands is time-consuming enough without trying to keep your phone bug-free too. This new gadget uses UV-C LEDs to destroy 99.9% of germs on the surface of phones and accessories – although it hasn’t yet been tested on Covid-19.

It also wirelessly charges your phone, and 100% of profits go to GlobalGiving’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

£100, casetify.com

Logitech StreamCam

Upgrade video calls from the often-fuzzy inbuilt camera on your laptop to this crystal-clear, full HD model designed for streaming. It includes AI smart framing so you’re always in the picture, smart focus and exposure, image stabilisation, and stereo or dual-mono audio.

It can also film full HD video in vertical format, ideal for social media applications like Instagram Stories.

£139, Logitech.com

Holly’s hit list 

Watch it: Tiger King


People on Twitter can’t stop talking about Tiger King on Netflix, and I can see why. It is absolutely bonkers: the story of an ostentatious man called Joe Exotic who made his living keeping and breeding pet tigers. I steamrolled through the lot in a day. Netflix.co


Preorder it: Everything is Fine by Gillian Harvey


This is just the escapism we all need right now. Fitness blogger Jessica Bradley struggles to maintain her perfect online image, relationship and PR firm as her life implodes. Published 28th May, preorder at Waterstones.com for £8.9


Stream it: Brooklyn Nine-Nine The Podcast 


I’ve just discovered that the brilliant American police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine now has an official podcast, with the stars talking about their favourite bits and behind-the-scenes gossip. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.


Read it: Read This If You Want To Be YouTube Famous by Will Eager


Like everyone else in the world, I’m trying to use my isolation time to develop skills I’ve always meant to get around to. I want to make more videos, so I’m devouring Read This…, full full of priceless tips from famous (and infamous) YouTubers. £11.99, Firebox.com



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