The VICE Starter Pack for Working From Home Forever

The VICE Starter Pack for Working From Home Forever

May 7, 2021 Off By Mary Frances Knapp

Wake up and smell the asbestos, dear. We’re not going back to the office anytime soon, or at least not in enough of a capacity to keep a snake plant alive at our old desk. For many of us desk-job drones, it’s been over a year of this makeshift, work-from-home business; over a year of squatting on a non-ergonomic chair, coffee staining every surface, and feeling fugly on conference calls (here’s a fast camera hack for that, by the way). And while some employers are feeling out what an imminent return to the office will look like, it isn’t clear cut. WFH, in some capacity, is here to stay.

We’re not here to dive into the existential ramifications of that shift for corporate America (although: LOL at the CEOs publishing teary op-eds on “the erosion of office culture.”) Coworker camaraderie (or commiseration) is important, but life is not just measured in quarters, Bret, and a lot of people aren’t eager to get back in-office in the same way.

If you haven’t already, now is the moment to equip your WFH station to be less annoying, or to exist at all. (Still using the island counter as an office? Same.) Perhaps you’ve been loving the whole home-grind situation, in which case a swish new rubbish bin (does that make it sound fancy? good) will suffice. Maybe you’re still working from your bed, in which case, you should consider setting some new boundaries between your rest and work life with an actual desk. The point is, once we accept this new long-term reality, we can get the start-up balance ball chair rolling on a better work-home space. I mean, did your last water cooler actually purify the water, too? Didn’t think so.

Free up the kitchen table


Why are we still doing our homework at the kitchen table, like babies? Get a desk that’s also a one-person-jug-band, like this storage and display-equipped, L-shaped one. It’s 45% off, and the four tiers of open bookshelves can be on the left or right side.

Reversible L-Shape Desk, $217.99 $119.99 at Wayfair

Get a meal delivery service


There are tons of options out there for making your life easier and more nutritious during those weeks where you feel like you're gonna drop dead if you have to make one more omelette or baby greens salad. Some of the more affordable and well-reviewed options include Freshly and HelloFresh, but if you can swing it—and we do know it's ridiculously bougie—go for Sakara. The meal delivery service skews very Goopy, but our editors can attest from personal experience that it keeps our tongues dancing and our hearts going pitter-patter even on the most exhausted of days. Your Cheeto-sustained brain will appreciate a break to “organic, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, no refined sugar” foods that your mother (and your digestive tract) will thank you for ordering. No prep, no cooking required, and everything is shockingly tasty.

Two Days of Meals, $177 at Sakara

Stop magpieing your trash

Screen Shot 2021-05-07 at 2.07.17 PM.png

What are you doing, man? Building a nest out of takeout tissues and Post-its? Get a proper bin for your work and bedroom trash. You’ll feel so much better. Also, you can cinematically write stuff down, crumple it, and throw it in the trash by candlelight, like in a film noir.

Woodrow Trash Can, $28 at Umbra

Hydration station


Get a desk-side carafe that comes with its own glass. It’s one of the best ways to actually, really remember to drink enough water (tied for first place with the heir apparent of Tamagotchi, the Gululu).

Maison Balzac Bedside Carafe, $65 at Coming Soon

You need a desk, but live in a hobbithole


Live in a railroad apartment? Are all your walls already maxed out with Tarantino posters, Tristan? (Cut that out.) Perhaps you’re pressed for space, or perhaps you just want to be able to fold up your work life into the wall once it’s 5 PM. Fair enough. Your YETI thermos alone probably cost more than this desk, dude.

Farmaan Floating Desk, $64.99 at Wayfair

An inoffensive chair


We’ve already discussed this, but so many of the best home office chairs are just the least-offensive. So it’s cool to find one that can moonlight as an extra seat at the dining table when you have guests over. Just, please–don’t point to it and say “There’s the throne” when your vaccinated bros come over for vodka pasta night.

Arissa Task Chair, $159.99 at Wayfair

Home on the range


You little spreadsheet rancher. You need a chair that says, “My other desk is a pig trough.” You’re the funnest one at the office—the one who always has a Grateful Dead opinion and a stinky sandwich—so this pop of cow (pony? IDK) print makes so much sense. Also, nothing like flashing a little faux animal hide during the Zoom meeting. (It’s majorly on-sale, too.)

Melyna Task Chair, $519.99 $259.99 at Wayfair

Get a swank water cooler-purifier

water cooler.jpg

Make this jolly silver scuttlebutt the new, designated spot to take work breaks. Over two gallons of water fit into this big boi, and its presence in any home is akin to the personality clout of owning a cast iron cookware set, or a Dyson vacuum (which are on sale right now, BTW). It’s easy on the eyes (why does it feel very Fancy Country Club Brunch with Nana?), and will *purify* water—not just filter it. Don’t fall for that hack. Not to be a fear monger, but you should really learn about the drinking water situation in your area. Erin Brokovich said so, and would approve of how this thing removes “greater than 99.999% of viruses and greater than 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria.” The equivalent to drinking liquid velvet, or a good night’s sleep.

Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter with 2 Black Berkey Purification Elements, $299 at Amazon

Stop leaving coffee rings everywhere

dune coaster.jpeg

These Brutalist coasters make us feel like we have complex opinions on mid-century, South American architecture or something. They were also made by an artist called Ben Medansky, who is described as “an orchestrator of controlled chaos.” So like, coffee stains?

Dune Coasters, $45 at Areaware

Stay sauced


You’re going to be drinking a lot of coffee, so get a machine that will boost your self-esteem whenever you go to re-juice. Just look at it. We want pores like a Smeg. Aspirational, the way it can pump out so much drip coffee, without losing the beans’ flavor profile. As reviewer John M. said, “promises made promises kept.”

Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Machine, $199.95 at Verishop

Tea drinker? Mate guzzler? Pour-over aficionado?

gooseneck kettle

You individualist, you. For the more precarious of caffeine-preparation rituals, you can’t go wrong with the accuracy and control a gooseneck kettle provides. Plus, if you live alone, chances are you’re not going to polish off an entire pot of the dark stuff every day.

Stagg Electric Kettle, $149 at Nordstrom

(Wireless) printers are the new lighters


…In other words: the easiest way to make friends—if not solidify friendships. Think about it. How many times have you texted Responsible McKenzie to ask, “Heyyy hyd miss u!!” with the subtext of, Can you print something for me? No shame there. But now, you can be that printer person for someone else. This machine is wireless, which already reduces our anxiety, and the sound and smell of it chugging out hot ink is an oddly comforting, distant joy we look forward to. Don’t judge us if we lick the cartridge.

Pantum P2502W Compact Monochrome Wireless Laser Printer, $89.99 at Amazon

Don’t fry your eyes


We’ve written about all the best places to buy blue light glasses online, and we haven’t forgotten this pair because they make us feel like a horny 1980s pilot.

Quay On the Fly blue light glasses, $55 at Quay

Skincare that shields you from blue light

mist hydrator.jpeg

Is there really anything we can do to stop our faces from being blasted with nasty, uglifying light when we're staring at our laptops all the live-long day? There are skincare products out there that claim they can help, and have rave reviews to back up those claims, from Cell Fusion C Laser Sunscreen to Glo Skin's Anti-Pollution Drops. Our fave is Peter Thomas Roth’s Vital-E cream with "Gamma-E antioxidant technology," which is a quenchy, silky moisturizer through and through (smells good, feels good) and makes our skin feel like a smooth 'n' juicy… well… the opposite of fried. If you want more of a spa experience, try One Ocean's anti-blue-light hydrating mist, which contains aloe, seaweed, and fermented radish root to naturally protect your skin's "biome." (That's its healthy ecosystem of bacteria, not that Pauly Shore movie.)

Peter Thomas Roth Vital-E Antioxidant Recovery Cream, $75 at Sephora

One Ocean Blue Light Protection + Hydration Mist, $58 at One Ocean Beauty

Who lives in a pineapple under the BQE?

pineapple bro

This bromeliad is low-light tolerant, easy to care for (as are aaaaall of these houseplants) and has a perfectly American Girl Doll-sized pineapple bloom thing. If you are going to get one office plant, get one like this that is doing the absolute most to keep your serotonin levels entertained.

Bromeliad Pineapple, $65 at Bloomscape

These "16 million color option" bulbs


Make sure you can change the lighting situation in your WFH space to go from in-office hours, to horny hours, to toenail-clipping-and-Netflix-watching hours. These bulbs last for years, and connect with your WiFi to change color with true [hair flip] nuance.

WiZ - A19 60W Color bulbs (2 Pack), $27.99 at Best Buy

You’re Pee-wee Herman


Maybe you don’t have a job, actually. Maybe you’re an adult baby who eats crayons. Stupid, funny baby [forehead kiss]. We love you.

5 foot Handcrafted Giant Pencil, $59.99 at Etsy

Hi-ho, dude.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. VICE may receive a small commission if you buy through the links on our site.