In 2020 our lives changed completely, the COVID-19 pandemic transformed what was considered the ‘norm’, and created new norms that molded the way we lived. One of these new norms is the work from home culture, and it has continued well into 2021. We’ve been working from our homes for almost a year now, and although we have adapted to it, it can be quite a bore at times. I, for one, am always looking out for options and ways to spice up my work from home routine. And I’ve found that adding new products, giving my home office a makeover, and looking for quirky designs to amp up my productivity really does help! Hence, here’s a collection of interesting, super functional, and productivity-enhancing designs that promise to be the best work from home investments of 2021!
Designers all over the world have been inspired to create innovative and productivity-enhancing work from home product designs that range from furniture to modular pods. The latest one to catch our eye was the Zen Work Pod because in 2020 you don’t need a shed in your backyard, you rather have a warm minimalist office instead! The company behind this work shed has been acing the game when it comes to well-designed office furniture like flexible desks and ergonomic chairs. The Zen Work Pod was a culmination of their furniture design mission clubbed with the need of the hour. The minimalist backyard structure is a stark contrast to the existing toolsheds, it is a modern workspace equipped with all essentials needed for a ‘zen’ workday. “It provides a fresh solution that completely redefines the home office, providing maximum focus during every working hour,” says the team who especially kept creators and freelancers in mind while designing it. The pod features floor-to-ceiling windows and an angular roof all wrapped in a sturdy oak, walnut, and aluminum structure. It is compact but the minimal build and sweeping windows make it feel spacious.
Meet the ‘Chaise Renversée’ – a desk that can also transform into a long chair by the famous French architect Pierre-Louis Gerlier. The literal translation of Chaise Renversée is ‘chair overturned’, I love how simply the French put everything. Since we are all cooped up in our homes, we are constantly finding ways to optimize space. Especially if you live in a city, you are likely to have everyday objects that are modular so that you have a functional space. Our current situation and the need to be flexible within a small space is exactly what inspired Gerlier to design the Chaise Renversée. It is the perfect blend of work from home and Netflix from home into one piece of modern furniture, it provides a stable table area to work and can then transform into the ‘Chaise Lounge’ when you want to relax.
Fitwork’s design sort of embodies a no-excuse mentality to being fit. Whether it’s the excuse of ‘being too busy’, or of ‘not wanting to go all the way to the gym’, Fitwork combats it by bringing the gym not just to your house, but to your workspace. Designed as a product to let you work and work out at the same time, this crazy hybrid of a desk-chair and treadmill keeps your legs active while you work. Whether you’re sitting in front of a laptop or standing in front of one, it’s the sedentary lifestyle that Fitwork tackles. The setup (which is sure to grab a few eyeballs) comes with an office chair attached to a treadmill underneath, and an elliptical in front. Coupled with an elevating desk, the Fitwork allows you to keep the lower half of your body active while you work, giving you cardio as well as keeping your spine engaged, whether you’re sitting or standing while working.
This portable armrest makes working on computers much more comfortable! The Mouzen by Gašper Kumprej cantilevers right off your table, giving your forearm a place to rest comfortably, instead of hovering in space. The platform retrofits easily onto the edge of any table and takes not more than 10 seconds to fasten. The platform comes with a freely moving armrest that sits on top of it. Using a patented ErgoFlow mechanism, the armrest moves and rotates in any direction with near-zero friction, giving you the ability to freely move your hand around as you switch from mouse to keyboard and back, typing, clicking, scrolling, etc. Built to take up to 50 lbs (21 kg) of weight, the mechanism has multiple shock absorbers and silencers built in to ensure the Mouzen works smoothly and silently.
Productivity is a flexible skill, you can continue to develop and master it just the way you exercise and build up your fitness. A study shows that 80% of our disturbances are trivial and can be avoided with awareness. TimeChi is a compact desk gadget that takes care of one of the biggest distractions we all face – it blocks digital notifications from IM or your smartphone, time-wasting websites, and physical interruptions! That itself could save up to two hours from my day and I actually tested it out by putting timers on my apps to see how it would reduce my screen time during work hours. It takes 11 minutes to get your focus and attention back and while it is so tempting to see what meme your friend sent or to play a 15-second game with the filter, it unknowingly makes your day longer and eventually pushes your work into your personal time which right now is more precious than ever. “The app + device combo empowers you to reach your productivity potential, facilitate meaningful team collaborations, and boost creativity with a simple click on the TimeChi device,” says the team.
The Soul Seat helps you sit in a neutral posture that is effortless and comfortable. The springs on the elevated perch tilt the pelvis forward, open the hips and help align the spine. You can sit in several positions if crossing legs isn’t comfortable for you, the chair enables you to switch between multiple positions frequently keeping your body engaged and blood flowing. For some, this may also alleviate neck and back pain! The height of both levels can be adjusted to suit your workspace setup. I know there were many comments from our Instagram audience about it missing a backrest and while I don’t think it causes harm if you sit without one (people meditate and work in this very posture for hours in Asian countries), I do think having an option of a detachable backrest can help those who are just starting to work on their posture ease into it. It is about having that choice which opens up many more people to use the Soul Seat, however, there are countless reviews that mention it being comfortable as it is so it is a great design but it does come down to personal preference.
The Livit Studypod is a futuristic black-box style cube that you can place anywhere you want and focus on your work, study or even health! This composite cube structure works as your bedroom, home office, or study table and is designed for outdoor use. Easy to place on your backyard, garden, or anywhere with a view, the black-tinted hardened glass window gives an unobstructed view of your scenery. Since the cube is a closed structure, it keeps you safe from the weather across the year. Measuring 2.15 x 1.8 x 2.1 meters, this cube is perfectly sized for you to style it for your comfort, improving your headspace and keeping you stress-free. The pod does weigh 700 kilos but it also comes with optional wheels that let you move it and settle down for a quick change of scenery! The pod has oak flooring, a detachable desk, a power outlet, four downlights, and natural ventilation to keep the place airy.
Since we aren’t spending on cheap tickets and expensive popcorn, we can upgrade with tech like this Crestron UC video soundbar! It does a lot more than make binge-watching better, it is actually a smart soundbar that also features video conferencing capabilities and a camera to give your work from home setup a boost as well! The modular soundbar is available in three different versions, both the camera and sensor are attachable accessories depending on when they are needed. “The basic principle of the design is an architectural hierarchy, that optimizes the use of design elements and material,” describes the team. To make the soundbar more visually streamlined and ‘clean’, all technical elements of the product were moved and placed in a way that they are minimally visible.
Say hello to the Kolude KD-K1 by Jeremy Lin, a sleek external keyboard with a pretty interesting twist. With circular keys that sit within a machined aluminum base giving it a neo-retro vibe, the Kolude KD-K1 keyboard is a visual treat with tactile scissor-switch keys that make it a great keyboard to type on too. Designed to be the sleeker brother of Lofree’s keyboards, the Kolude KD-K1’s twist lies right above those keys. Built right into the back-face of the KD-K1 is a USB hub, complete with USB-A and USB-C ports, an HDMI port, and two card-reader slots.
Tai Matlin and Taiwon Choi of Fellowes have designed an office chair with a hanging seating position that follows the body movements. The hanging seat ensures maximum comfort for the spine, hips, and lower limbs at all times – no matter how long you’ve been sitting! The unique chair design with patented Omni-Kinetic Suspension Technology for micro-body movement in multiple directions prevents fatigue during long hours of sitting. Keeping in mind the extended working hours Elea chair has a contoured design to support natural spine alignment and lumbar positioning which all goes well for long-term health benefits. The chair also boasts adjustable tension and balanced support which most of the office chairs simply don’t have. Other than that a lot of thought has been put into the designing of every single little detail of this chair which will leave nothing to complaining.