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The Ultimate Guide to the Best (Yet Boring) Home Office Gadget Gifts

The best gadget I bought this year was a $50 piece of metal whose sole job is to prop up another piece of metal (my laptop). Actually, no, it was definitely a computer monitor. Scratch that, it was an Ethernet cord the length of a fire hose.

If you had told me a year ago that the must-have gadgets of 2020 were actually the most boring office gadgets of 2002, I’d have told you to slow down on the wine coolers. Yet here we are.

In March, when many of us received work-from-home orders, my duty to my country was clear: provide personal tech tips until no one could take it anymore. But even though I wrote remote-work tips daily—eventually compiling them into an e-book—it turns out I was not prepared.

Before the spread of Covid-19, my work life centered around my office at WSJ headquarters. Between producing all sorts of videos, podcasting and testing the latest tech, my spacious workspace was full up on dongles, chargers and other necessities of modern life. Yet if my work office was a gadget-filled Bat Cave, my home office was a more spare Fortress of Solitude.

So what did I do when the storage room in my basement became my new office/production studio? I took to gadget panic buying. A review of my Amazon shopping history reveals not all my purchases were home runs. But what remains in use are my essential tools, which I’d recommend to anyone in your life who’s still struggling—or simply perfecting—their work-from-home setup. Step into my office for a tour!

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