For years, futurists have predicted that with the emergence of widely available high-speed internet, large offices would become obsolete and workers would permanently transition to working and collaborating from home.
That future has arrived, if only temporarily. We don’t yet know whether a coronavirus vaccine will prompt a return to crowded cubicles. And, if working from home becomes the norm, we can’t safely say how that shift will affect our society. In theory, working from home offers new freedoms: you can set your alarm clock a little later, avoid the rush hour traffic, eat home-cooked meals for lunch, catch up on housework during the lulls between conference calls, and work from wherever on Earth you’d like.
But do those benefits outweigh the potential pitfalls? The pessimists have plenty of questions without easy answers. Will working from home en masse lead to the collapse of our once-vibrant inner cities? Will work-life balance disintegrate into an endless sea of unread emails? How can we squeeze family time, exercise, and the new season of The Real Housewives of New York into a work-dominated homelife?
Unfortunately, we don’t have any of the answers. These are questions for PHDs and Nobel laureates, not Complex beat writers. What we do have are 40-plus recommendations for useful and (mostly) affordable gadgets that will make your work from home experience more comfortable. They may even distract you from the fact that we’re living through a slow motion apocalypse.