13 products every working professional needs during their 9-to-5

Julianne Ross, CNN Underscored
Mon March 18, 2019

Story highlights

  • It's easy for the daily grind to get you down
  • We rounded up 13 products to make your workday a little brighter

Any 9-to-5er knows that office life can be draining. Between uncomfortable desk chairs, cluttered workspaces, and seemingly endless commutes, it's easy for the daily grind to get you down, even if the work part of it is smooth and stress-free.

That's why we've rounded up 13 products to make your workday a little brighter.

Whether you seek a more enjoyable morning train ride or just a way to push past the afternoon slump, these products aim to help working professionals get it done.

Shop our picks to make the work day smoother, happier, and more productive.

1. Mancro laptop backpack ($28.99; amazon.com)

The day starts and ends with your commute, so you want to make it as comfortable as possible. Protect your laptop and your shoulders with this affordable, surprisingly chic commuter backpack from Amazon, which boasts 4.4 stars from nearly 6,000 reviews and features smart organization, water bottle pockets, and even an external USB charging slot.

2. Baggallini Avenue tote ($119.95; baggallini.com)

If you prefer the look of a tote to a backpack, this lightweight, water-resistant option from trusted brand Baggallini is a great choice. The Avenue tote comes in eight colors and features both shoulder and cross-body straps for more carrying options. Its padded laptop compartment and zipper closure will keep your things protected, while the bag itself still looks sleek enough to carry into a meeting.

3. Anker PowerCore+ Mini portable charger (starting at $19.99; amazon.com)

When you're stuck in traffic or your train hasn't moved for 27 minutes (you've counted), a portable charger is your best friend. This lightweight charger from Anker is small enough to toss into your bag for emergencies and will keep you phone powered in a pinch, so you can stay up to date on emails — or just amuse yourself on Instagram — while waiting for things to get moving.

4. BentoHeaven leakproof lunch box ($24.95; amazon.com)

A great way to save money and eat healthy is to pack your own lunch. These highly rated, BPA-free containers from BentoHeaven make it easy to bring your favorite foods on the go and even come with reusable chopsticks and cutlery. Microwave-, dishwasher- and freezer-safe, this is also a more environmentally friendly option than plastic baggies.

5. Bose QuietComfort 35 noise-canceling headphones ($349; amazon.com)

Noise-canceling headphones are a godsend for blocking out distracting office chit-chat. When you really need to focus, these highly rated options from Bose will tune out the rest of the world so you can tune in to your work. Cord-free means less annoying tangle to deal with at your desk.

6. Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel water bottle ($29.94 for 18-ounce bottle, $34.95 for 24-ounce bottle; amazon.com)

Stay hydrated throughout the workday with this high-quality water bottle from Hydro Flask. The wide mouth is big enough to accommodate ice cubes but small enough for easy sipping. Double-walled, vacuum-insulated stainless steel promises to keep your drinks cold for a full 24 hours and hot drinks toasty for up to six hours, and the bottle itself comes in plenty of bright colors to help zhuzh up your desk.

7. Everlasting Comfort lumbar support pillow ($24.95; amazon.com)

Sitting at a desk all day can be hard on your back, but lumbar cushions can help make desk chairs more ergonomic. This memory foam option from Everlasting Comfort is designed to support your lower back and stop you from slumping, and comes highly recommended, with 4.4 stars from more than 3,000 reviews.

8. Econo High portable foot rest ($39; amazon.com)

Vertically challenged folks know that dangling feet can be just as uncomfortable as a hunched back. Econo High's lightweight yet sturdy foot rest is compact enough that you can even take it along for train travel or long flights, making business trips a little more enjoyable as well.

9. KeepCup reusable coffee mug ($26; anthropologie.com)

KeepCups have become ubiquitous in recent years, a testament to their quality and looks. We especially like this tempered glass and cork edition, which is a major aesthetic step up from sad paper cups and also much less wasteful. You don't have to skip heading out for an afternoon coffee break either, as most coffee shops will have no problem pouring a drink into your own mug — some may even offer a discount for your commitment to sustainability!

10. Aesop Resurrection Aromatique hand balm ($27 to $97; nordstrom.com)

Between drying heat and icy air conditioning, offices can wreak havoc on your skin. Keeping a quality lotion at your desk will help your hands stay soft and moisturized. This popular option from quality skin care brand Aesop is certainly pricey, but its beautiful bottle adds a little class to any desk, while ingredients like mandarin rind, rosemary leaf and cedar create a delightful "citrus, woody, herbaceous" smell that can make your office feel almost spa-like.

11. Clipa bag hanger ($15.95; amazon.com)

Open office plans can be be great for encouraging collaboration — but they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to personal space. Instead of tossing your bag on the floor or on the back of your chair, use this handy little hook from Clipa to hang your bag off your desk itself. The unassuming hook holds up to 33 pounds and features soft grip pads that require just a half an inch of space to latch securely. They're small and inexpensive enough that it's worth keeping a few in your purse itself for easier bag hanging at bars or restaurants, or even in bathroom stalls. No wonder Clipa has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews.

12. Like-It large desktop organizer ($24.99; containerstore.com)

Keep the clutter away and make your workspace a little more Kondo-esque with this simple, popular organizer from The Container Store, which comes with thoughtful compartments for everything from papers to pens to Post-Its.

13. Rain Design mStand laptop stand ($39.99; amazon.com)

Give your wrists a break by propping up your laptop with this affordable aluminum stand from Rain Design, which boasts 4.8 stars from nearly 4,000 reviews. A laptop stand will bring your computer closer to eye level, and is meant to help reduce arm, neck, and back strain. Rain Design's sturdy mStand comes in silver, gold, and space gray to keep your desk looking chic while it makes staring at a computer less taxing.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.