7 Work-from-home Essentials for Those on a Budget

Boost your focus and productivity.

September 1, 2020

Remember when "back to school" meant shopping for new school supplies and dorm room decor? Well, this fall semester, you may be shopping, but not for the usuals. Your school prep list likely says stuff like standing desks and ergonomic chairs. You know, things we would've never really considered shelling the money out for. That is, before others made us feel like criminals and outcasts for sneezing outdoors.

Yes, there are some pretty cool gadgets you can buy for working or schooling from home. And yes, it seems like there are even more options than before. But a souped-up workspace needs the fundamentals before anything else. So today, we're going back to the essentials.

Essentials are the simple things that make working and schooling from home feel more like a 4-star hotel vs. a highway motel. But at the price of a highway motel. Below are 7 of our budget-friendly must-have essentials for working or schooling from home.

Camera Cover

If you don't have this yet, where have you been? These little inconspicuous camera covers can save you from disastrous moments of embarrassment. Get these! They're cheap and worth the extra feeling of comfort. You stick it on, slide it over, and move on. Easy!

Protect yourself from hackers who want to watch you eat lunch or from yourself because you can never be too sure that you logged off that video chat.

Check out the options on Amazon. These are the ones we use because they're a little more stylish than others we've tried.

To-do App

Coronavirus isn't the only thing going viral these days. Nonproductivity is at an all-time high. When we school or work from home, we're constantly distracted by irresistible things: all you can eat snacks, adorable puppies at home and outside, comfy beds, etc. Though a to-do app won't deter you from succumbing to all the distractions, it serves as a nagging reminder that you got things to do.

We like free and simple, so we use Microsoft To-do. No need for anything fancy in this department.


Here are more tips to boost your productivity when working or schooling from home.

Fancy Sweats

Finally! Sweat pants are rad. Well, not the ones you've owned since 1993. I'm talking about the ones that fashion geniuses have made for wearing while working at home, jogging, and then later going on a date (socially distanced, of course).

Get your hands on a pair or two, and you'll feel like you actually got dressed for the day. The price on these can vary but this and this are good options that won't obliterate your savings.

Phone/tablet stand

Sure. You can lean your phone against a coffee mug or a sleeping cat, but both of these are unreliable options to keep your phone in place when you're on Facetime or doing a video call. Cramping from holding your phone too long also sucks.

A phone stand is a simple invention from back in the day, but we haven't fully appreciated its usefulness until the screen became the only way to connect with other humans.

Again, there are many options out there, and you can spend over $100 on a stand. If you're like us, a simple one like this or this will do the job.

Leksi Text-to-Speech

We can't write an essentials list for remote working and schooling without mentioning Leksi. This is our secret weapon for getting things done even when we're doing yoga or taking a walking break.

We know you're up-to-date on the deets, but to recap: with Leksi, you can make an audio version of your notes, articles, and other documents so you can listen to it wherever, whenever you want. Like when you're driving, walking, exercising, or trying to nap. Literally, whenever.


Read our recent post on making a rad playlist, with tidbits on Podcasts and audiobooks.

"Do Not Disturb" Sign

Have you ever had your roommates, e.g., your parents, barge into your room in the middle of a job interview, or a serious speech? It's awkward.

To prevent future mishaps like these, invest in (or make) a "Do Not Disturb" sign. It'll give you peace of mind and possibly save your reputation.


By the way, a lot of new grads are searching for jobs out there. Take a peek at at this article for tips on how to make that job interview a success.

Heated Eye Mask

For most of us, our days consist of eating and looking at the screen. So it's super important to keep our twin BFFs happy. I'm talking about our eyes. Every evening we treat our eyes to a mini spa session and use a hot eye mask. It's so relaxing, and it's thought to restore the moisture in your eyes.

We have several of these. We wouldn't recommend using them for photo-ops, but it's worth all the love it's given our eyes over the years.

There it is! These essentials have been our saviors now and in the past. They're relatively inexpensive, though we'd pay more knowing how much more productive and relaxed we are with these gadgets in our life. Even when things return to "normal," we're sure you'll continue to use them too.

If you haven't done it yet, Log in to Leksi and try it for free. If you want to learn more, visit How it Works to see what types of documents you can start listening to.


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