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9 Essential Tools to Help You Work Remotely

A man with his cell phone to his ear, holding a laptop, as he sits on a porch overlooking a mountainous landscape near water.
GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Having a completely portable office can be a dream—or a nightmare. While you can work from any cafe or hotel lobby you choose, one forgotten item or a dropped internet connection can make your workday a lost cause.

That’s why it’s important to always have your essential remote-work toolbox on hand. When you have everything you need in a portable form, your workdays become that much easier. There are some items that can make your remote workdays go a bit smoother, no matter where you set up your “office.”

Ready to simplify your workday? Here are a few of our favorite tools to get you through a day of remote work, anywhere you happen to be.

Portable Hotspot

If you always fall back on your phone when the local connection doesn’t cut it, you’ll burn through data and battery life at an alarming rate.

A mobile hotspot gives your phone a break and provides an internet connection when and where you need it. Plus, hotspots can support more devices than most phones. If you meet up with friends or colleagues for a coworking session, you’ll be the star who brought the reliable internet. These aren’t cheap, and you’ll likely have to pay for a dedicated data plan for the hotspot, but it beats putting the hurt on your phone and paying overage fees.

Power Strip

Sure, you can always bring your portable charger with you (and you probably do). If you use multiple devices, though, you might want to take things up a notch with a travel-size power strip.

This way, you won’t have to hog an outlet for all of your devices. You’ll probably also get some networking opportunities when others inevitably ask if they can plug in, too.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are a classic necessity for remote workers. When you slip them over your ears, you can instantly banish nearly any distracting sound, anywhere in the world.

Not a fan of hefty, old-school headphones? Try some sleek noise-canceling earbuds instead. If you often make work calls, you might also want to check out a noise-canceling microphone headset. The noise-canceling works for the other party on the call to ensure your voice carries clearly.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling, with Alexa voice control, enabled with Bose AR – Black

These Bose over-the-ears are best sellers for good reason---they're the Cadillac of noise-canceling headphones.

Portable White Noise Machine

If you’re easily distracted, but don’t want to wear headphones all day, a portable white noise machine might be your saving grace.

Of course, if you’re in a public place, you can’t subject everyone around you to the sound. However, if you’re working in a hotel room, or anywhere else private, where you have loud neighbors or street noise, this device might be just what you need. You can also use it to help you fall asleep.

Mobile Scanner

If you often have to search desperately for the nearest library or print-and-ship center to scan documents, why not save yourself the effort with a mobile scanner?

You can easily tuck these small devices in your work bag and scan all the documents your heart desires from anywhere in the world.

A Mobile Scanner

Fujitsu PA03688-B005 ScanSnap iX100 Wireless Mobile Scanner for Mac and PC,Black

If your job requires you to scan on the go, you can't beat this powerful, compact device.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

No matter where you are, a long workday in front of a screen takes a toll on your eyes. The blue light from tech devices is known to disrupt sleep, cause eyestrain, and other issues.

Blue light blocking glasses seem to help some people. If you often experience eyestrain, fatigue, irritation, or other symptoms that could possibly be caused by blue light, pick up a pair of these glasses and see if they don’t reduce the issues.

Stylish Blue Light Blocking

ANRRI Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses for Anti Eyestrain Anti Glare Lens Lightweight Frame Eyeglasses Leopard Frame, Men/Women

Whether you pick up these or another pair of blue light blocking glasses, your eyes will thank you!

Lap Desk

Sometimes, you might not have access to a desk or table in your remote workspace. Luckily, a lap desk can turn any old couch or chair into a mini-desk for the day.

Lap desks are designed to comfortably hold your laptop and a few other essentials on your lap while you work. They’re far more comfortable than balancing your hot laptop on your knees. Plus, some include handy extras, like mousepads, phone holders, and more.

Portable Desk Lamp

If you find yourself in a poorly-lit workspace, don’t suffer in the dark! A portable, cordless desk lamp can provide you all the light you need, even if there’s nowhere to plug in.

Trust us—these are much better than trying to aim your phone’s flashlight where you need it.

Travel Planner

Sometimes, the best solution is to keep it simple. While tech accessories are great for remote workers, don’t forget about good old-fashioned analog tools.

A chic, travel-size planner is one of our favorite non-tech accessories for work. It allows you to jot things down quickly. Plus, your notes won’t get buried in the depths of an app on your phone.

We like a planner with pockets, so you can keep track of any loose papers while you’re in transit.


Of course, the best remote work tools for you are any that make your job easier! These are just some that we use regularly or have on our wish lists.

Interested in some more remote work tips? Be sure to check out our favorite remote workspaces!

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a Seattle-based writer and editor with a Master's in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph's University. Her work has appeared in publications like Racked, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Rum Punch Press. She was awarded a 2017 Writing Between the Vines residency.  Read Full Bio »

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