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Back to the office essentials: stock up on Mumsnetter-recommended laptop bags, coffee cups, lunch boxes and more

Plan B restrictions have lifted, which means we'll be heading back to the office soon (in some shape or form). To make commutes and office days a little easier, we've rounded up the products that Mumsnetters swear by, from laptop bags to lunch boxes.

By Rachel Erdos | Last updated Feb 9, 2022

Women working in an office

Whether you're heading back to the office on a daily basis or a couple of times a week as part of a hybrid arrangement (something that we're fully behind and heavily invested in as per our recent flexible working campaign), you'll want to make the commute and your time spent in the office as enjoyable as possible. And while there's much to moan about when travelling in on dark, dreary mornings after stressy school/nursery drop offs, there's plenty to enjoy while there: Meal deals! Barista-made brews! Office bants and biscuits! Post-work pints! (as well as connecting, collaborating, brainstorming and team building of course).

To streamline your commute and to make sure you're as comfortable as you are productive in the office, we've consulted the Mumsnet forums and our Swears By archive to put together a selection of the best products to help you transition from bedroom to boardroom as smoothly as possible.

Best laptop bags | Best reusable coffee cups | Best lunch boxes | Best wireless headphones | Best trousers | Best audiobooks | Best portable chargers | Best reusable water bottles | Best snoods | Best winter coats for women

1. Best laptop bag for commuting: Wenig anti-theft laptop backpack

wenig laptop backpack

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

This handy bag features in our best laptop backpacks roundup and has no fewer than 11,000 positive reviews on Amazon. It can hold a 15.6-inch laptop and comes with a grand total of 15 pockets (we love pockets!) for all your workday bits and bobs, as well as a lockable anti-theft pocket for added reassurance. The built-in USB charger is particularly useful. And your back will thank you for opting for backpack over a messenger bag or a tote as you can distribute the weight more easily. For less than £30, this is a top buy.

2. Best work trousers: Roman Originals Cigarette Trousers

Roman Originals trousers

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

"I bought a plain black pair of these and I have never had so many compliments - made me look like I had gone down at least a size - held it all in, didn’t wrinkle or need ironing, washed well" - recommended by JaceLancs 

It's time to step out of the joggers and slip into something a little smarter for the big return to the office. But smart doesn't have to mean uncomfortable and restrictive. You can't go wrong with a flattering cigarette cut and Mumsnetters rave about these cropped tapered trousers from Roman Originals. They feature a nice bit of stretch, come in eight different colours from size 10 to 28 and are just £25 a pop.

3. Best reusable coffee cup: Stojo Collapsible Coffee Cup

Stojo collapsible reusable coffee cup

Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon 

"Recently bought a silicone Stojo cup simply because it's collapsible and doesn't take the same room up in my bag. Stojo copes with a medium Costa [coffee]" - recommended by SpongeBobJudgeyPants

If you're pushed for space in your work bag, consider this collapsible cup from Stojo. Made from silicone, it 'pops out' from a leak-proof disk when you're ready to sip a morning brew and when you're done, you can push it back in, screw the lid on and and stash it away easily. We're big fans of the pretty pastel shades.

4. Best wireless headphones for commuting: Sony WF-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones

Price: £114 | Buy now from Amazon

"I have the Sony earbuds. They're always really highly rated. They're really secure as you sort of twist them once they're in" - recommended by KenAdams

A decent pair of wireless headphones can transform your commute so it's well worth investing in a good pair. These brilliant buds feature in our best wireless headphones roundup for their excellent sound quality and ability to stay put. We rate the 10-minute quick charge option that gives you 90 minutes of listening time - perfect if you're rushing out the door in the morning. If you're looking for a good podcast, Mumsnetters have some top suggestions on a dedicated forum

5. Best reusable water bottle: Ion8 Leak Proof Slim Water Bottle

ion8 water bottle

Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

"I swear by the Ion8 ones because they are leakproof and don't have a plastic straw so it can all go in the dishwasher if needed" - recommended by Thetrolleywitch

Stay hydrated on the go with this brightly coloured water bottle which takes the top slot in our best reusable water bottle roundup. It's durable and easy to open and close with a flip-up lid and can hold 500ml of water. The slim design means it can easily slot into a bag or fit into a cup holder and it's dishwasher-safe so it's easy to keep clean.

6. Best lunch box: Black+Blum Original Lunch Box

Black and Blum Original Lunch Box

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

"[My] lunch box is by Black + Blum - yes expensive, but makes homemade lunch appealing" - recommened by gerbo

Keep your lunches interesting with this cool bento-style box which features a main compartment for a sarnie, salad or leftovers, a handy snack box and a leak-proof sauce pot. There's even a stainless steel fork to save you scrambling around for a clean one in the office kitchen. It comes with a silicone seal to save any spills and you can bung it in the dishwasher at the end of the day.

7. Best e-reader: Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

Price: £140 | Buy now from Amazon

"I used to sneer at e-readers. Then I bought a Paperwhite and loved it" - recommended by SoupDragon

"I love my Paperwhite. I don’t get tired eyes like with a standard screen" - recommended by nocoolnamesleft 

One of the best things about a long commute is being able to kick back with a good book. To save carting a heavy tome back and forth, may we recommend an e-reader. And the most recommended e-reader of them all (by far!) is the Kindle Paperwhite, which receives rave reviews across the forums for its simple interface and matte touchscreen designed to look like real paper. A single battery charge lasts up to six weeks and it comes pre-loaded with Audible for all your audiobook needs.

8. Best versatile laptop bag: Samsonite Uplite Expandable Laptop Backpack

samsonite uplite laptop bag

Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon 

"It's really smart, very well made, feels and looks expensive, and expands too" - recommended by Blutopia

Suitcase stalwarts, Samsonite know a thing or two about bags and this versatile backpack is good for daily commutes as well as longer business trips (remember them?). It can transform from a lightweight, slimline laptop bag with short handles/a shoulder strap to a larger bag with back straps via an expandable compartment. It's designed to hold a 14-inch laptop and there's a tablet pocket too if you're looking to binge on a boxset on your way in.

9. Best snood to wear as a face covering: WALLFID Warm Washable Neck Gaiter

Wallfid snood

Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

"We have neck gaitors as well as masks. Dh wore his on the Eurostar as found it comfortable. Ours have a filter pocket for washable filters" - recommended by Aragog

Snoods are having a moment, apparently. Which is great news if you've got a chilly commute on the horizon. Not only are snoods designed to keep your neck warm and your hair out of your face, they can also be worn as face coverings. This Wallfid neck gaiter is fitted with a pocket that contains removable filters so it's also useful for filtering dust and pollution on your way to and from the office too.

10. Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Lightweight Portable Charger

anker small charger

Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon

Is there anything more anxiety-inducing than seeing your battery dip below 10% when you're away from home? Well, plenty. But to fix this commuter concern and ensure you never run out of juice on the go, it's worth investing in a portable charger and this Anker PowerCore unit features as our favourite lightweight pick in our portable charger roundup. It's smaller than a deck of cards and weighs just 180g. And with 10,000 mAh of power, it can charge your phone up to three times.