Day after day, people find themselves slumped over a laptop, checking emails and conducting meetings. With more remote work options than ever before, traditional ideas about work environments and productivity are rapidly changing. In addition to staying organized and on task, being productive is increasingly about your comfort, mood, and overall health. As more and more research is making clear: taking care of yourself—mind, body, and soul—is an essential part of the workday that can’t be ignored.
While new gadgets and comfortable, ergonomic products aren’t magic bullets for workplace productivity and general well-being, they sure can help. The caveat? These products have to be flawlessly designed, well-engineered, and, most importantly, serve you: the entrepreneur, businessperson, or artist hard at work. We’re serious about finding the best designed, most versatile desk accessories to make every workday a little sweeter.
- BEST OVERALL: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp with USB Charging Port
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mindspace Office Desk Organizer with 6 Compartments
- BEST STRESS BALL: The Friendly Swede Hand Strength Trainer Stress Ball
- BEST BACK-SUPPORT PILLOW: Everlasting Comfort Lumbar Pillow for Office Chair
- BEST DESKTOP PLANTER: StarPack Ceramic Succulent Pot Set with Bamboo Bases
- BEST CELLPHONE STAND: Nulaxy A4 Foldable, Adjustable Desktop Phone Holder
- BEST KEYBOARD SUPPORT PADS: GIM Keyboard Wrist Rest and Mouse Foam Wrist Support
- BEST TEMP-CONTROL MUG: Hydro Flask 12 Oz Coffee Mug
- BEST SMART NOTEBOOK: Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook
- BEST HEADPHONES: TaoTronics ANC Bluetooth 5.0 Noise Cancelling Headset
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Desk Accessories
Improving workflow is a combination of nature and nurture. You need the right environmental factors, like light, comfort, and quiet. But ultimately, it comes down to your work habits and what keeps you ticking, eight hours a day. To support your own work style, consider the following factors before shopping for the best desktop accessories.
Simply put, productivity is a measure of your output: how much quality work do you complete each day? How efficient and energized a person can be throughout the day matters a lot. One way to drastically improve workplace productivity is to make your office work better for you through noise prevention, décor, and, yes, helpful gadgets. Amp up your productivity with smart notebooks that upload to-do lists and bright ideas into your smartphone for easy access. Cut down on distractions with noise-canceling headphones or a desk fan for coolness and focus.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Sitting all day long, typing away at a keyboard, may seem low impact. But in fact, research from the Mayo Clinic links long periods of sitting to a range of serious health concerns, from obesity to high blood pressure. Standing and moving frequently is, of course, key to reducing health risks. You can also reduce injury with a comfortable desk chair or cushion offering lumbar support. Less time slumped over means less backache, improved posture, and better spinal health.
Ergonomics, or the study of how efficient people are in the workplace, has led to a host of products that apply physiological principles to real-world engineering. The results create game changers, like gel-infused wrist and mouse pads to reduce stress injuries leading to carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.
Thank goodness for work, right? Except when it’s driving you crazy with anxiety and late-night worry sessions. The practice of mindfulness, or mindful presence, can assist with everyday worries related to work. So can physical tricks that draw the mind into greater connection with the body and physical sensations. Our breath and senses of touch and smell are key to reducing stress during the workday. Little gadgets like stress balls are great at moving nervous energy from our brains to our hands, then out of our bodies altogether. Stress balls can be round or egg-shaped, come in various sizes and resistance levels, and can be for strengthening as well as de-stressing.
We can’t control a lot in life, but where work is concerned, we can start with a great computer desk. Brighten it up by adding plants to boost your mood and remind you to look away from the screen occasionally. Succulents, cacti, and other low-moisture, low-care plants are great for desks because they add beauty without adding to your to-do list. Lighting is another key element you don’t want to skimp on. The right desk lamp reduces eye strain and general fatigue. A good lamp also improves productivity and emotional health, especially during the darker fall and winter months. Go for a low-heat, high-brightness LED desk lamp, and complement it with a thermal mug for your morning caffeine boost.
Obviously, you don’t want to buy more stuff just to clutter up your desk. The products that are worth your time and money are those that reduce clutter and enhance mental clarity. Desk organizers, for example, should contain integrated drawers, slots, and holders, to keep your files, notes, and office supplies in one accessible spot. An adjustable, collapsible phone stand is another versatile item that is great for desk work, as well as for teleconferences, Zoom meetings, and more.
Our Top Picks
Each of these items is small enough to fit on your desk or in a drawer. They are geared toward improving not only workflow but also daily peace of mind. Our selections are based on simple criteria: flawless design, high-quality materials, health benefits, and affordability.
It’s rare to find a product that does so much and looks so simple. With its minimalist profile and convenient settings, TaoTronics LED desk lamp is recommended for good reason. It has four light colors and five brightness levels you can customize, for any activity or mood.
The base has a built-in 5V/1A USB port, keeping your phone or tablet charged and ready for use at all times. The head is fully adjustable, and the lamp arm rotates up to 140 degrees. The base also swivels 180 degrees, offering both direct and indirect illumination. Nothing could be simpler than the touch controls that operate this lamp; it also remembers your last setting and can be preset to turn off automatically, like right after you leave the office.
A desk is only as functional as it is organized. Make the task easier with Mindspace’s affordable desk organizer. Forget cheap plastic organizers. This one is constructed of sturdy metal mesh, with a brushed ABS finish that won’t snag fabric or damage surfaces.
Four soft rubber grips on the bottom further protect your desk from scratches. Small enough to fit neatly into a corner of your workspace, it also has room for everything you need on a daily basis. The six compartments are well-proportioned to hold notepads, sticky notes, office supplies, and more. Clutter, be gone.
Being wound up is no fun. Keeping one or two stress balls within reach is an easy and desk-friendly way to de-stress, even during meetings. The Friendly Swede’s fidget balls are egg-shaped rather than round, making them more comfortable to grip. Choose from one of three sizes: extra small, small, or large. Each set comes with three handheld strength-training balls, in 20-lb., 30-lb., and 40-lb. resistance levels, suitable for ages five and up.
Made of therapy putty, they are mess-free and easy to clean with a little water or a damp cloth. Please be aware, however, that stress balls can aggravate some medical conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. If you have any concerns, consult your physician first.
Office work won’t kill you; it’s the sitting. Reduce backache and associated ills with Everlasting Comfort’s office chair pillow. It’s designed especially for lumbar and lower-back support and is also suitable for the neck, upper back, and middle back. The pure memory-foam cushion is sculpted to improve posture and reduce pain and succeeds thanks to its firm, well-designed shape.
This cushion contains two built-in straps to keep your pillow exactly where you want it. It includes a hypoallergenic, breathable mesh cover, providing airflow and coolness for comfort. Everlasting Comfort’s office chair pillow has multiple uses, including for couches, wheelchairs, vehicles, and airplanes, making the rest of your life more comfortable, too.
Brighten your desk, and perk up your mood, with StarPack’s sturdy, minimalist ceramic planters. Miniaturized so they won’t take up much space, this three-pack is designed for succulents and other low-moisture, low-maintenance plants like mini cacti. Each painted white pot has a built-in drainage hole and comes with its own bamboo tray, to keep your desk free of water spots.
Made to last and easy to clean, these planters will not make your life more complicated. Instead, they’ll bring a little beauty to harried workdays. You can even use them for tealight candles during the holidays. Plants not included.
It’s rare to find a phone holder that stands up to daily use. Nulaxy’s A4 cellphone stand is an exception. It is surprisingly easy to use and compatible with most smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, including iPhone, Switch, iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy S10/S10+/S9 /S9+/S8 /S8+, Samsung Tab, Google Nexus, and Kindle. Just make sure your phone or device isn’t more than 19 millimeters thick.
Due to its fully collapsible design, you can take your Nulaxy with you on business trips or use it while working from home. It’s also adjustable, providing the perfect position for video conferencing, texting, answering emails, and more. The stand is made of premium aluminum—not plastic—and stays firmly in place. Rubber pads protect your phone from scratching and sliding.
Whether working, gaming, or updating your social media accounts, your wrists take a beating from typing and clicking. Ease and prevent pain and damage with GIM’s keyboard and mouse wrist pads. This two-pad set is designed for use with desktop and laptop computers.
Made of premium gel-filled memory foam, lined with waterproof material, and cased in super-soft black fabric, GIM’s pads look and feel good. They also improve hand and wrist posture and will keep their shape over time. The nonskid bottoms prevent slipping and sliding on your desk surface, keeping your wrists steady and elevated.
Hydro Flask produces high-quality drink containers that actually hold up to real-life use. Constructed of food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, with a BPA-free, phthalate-free lid, this 12-ounce coffee mug won’t leave you with lukewarm coffee. Instead, these well-designed mugs will keep your liquids at the desired temperature for hours.
The distinguishing feature is TempShield technology, which provides double-walled, vacuum insulation. The lid is also insulated and nests within the rim of the cup, for drip-free drinking, in the office or on the go. While the lid isn’t leakproof, it is splashproof, so you can take it from your desk to the car without worrying.
Notebooks are handy for keeping track of meeting notes and ideas, but do you really go back and categorize all those scribbles? With Rocketbook, you won’t have to worry about missed deadlines and forgotten brain waves. Using the included Pilot Frixion pen, your bright ideas will be uploaded to your smartphone via the free Rocketbook application for iOS and Android. Simply write, scan, and wipe pages clean to reuse again and again.
This 42-page notebook comes with seven page styles for planning, listing, note-taking, and more. An affordable and highly practical solution for mental clarity.
Noise-canceling headphones are notoriously expensive. Not these. TaoTronics has engineered a more affordable version, without compromising on sound quality and noise-canceling relief. The company promises superior sound quality, thanks to millimeter drivers and a Bluetooth 5.0 chip that won’t create audio delays. The USB-C fast-charging connector provides two hours of playback after only five minutes of charging.
On a 45-minute charge, these headphones can play music for up to 40 hours straight! They are also lightweight and comfortable to wear, with soft memory-foam ear pads and large ear cups to reduce ambient noise. Need to make a call? TaoTronics headphones are also equipped with a noise-canceling microphone, cutting through background noise and reducing stress during important meetings.
FAQs About the Best Desk Accessories
It’s not easy being organized. Work tends to pile up, so getting ahead of the curve can be tough. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you out and bring some order to the chaos.
Q. What should I keep on my desk?
Your electronics and work files, a good lamp, a mug for hydration, and mood boosters such as plants, photos, or a souvenir from your favorite trip. Store office supplies and papers in a streamlined desk organizer.
Q. How do you organize and declutter a desk?
Do a clean sweep. Take everything off your desk and start fresh. Add the essentials first: computer, lamp, organizer. Test your workflow, and add only the items you can’t live without throughout your day.