Telecommuter’s Essentials – WGN Midday

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Telecommuter’s Essentials – Work anywhere with these must-haves

When you telecommute, you work on the train, in the coffee shop, in your car and, on a nice day, on a park bench. Don’t have the gear you need? Telecommuter FAIL.

The crucial element of working on the go? Being prepared. One way to be prepared is with effortless utility – and I’ve found that JCPenney provides just that in the Solo Checkfast Laptop Backpack. The first thing you must have is a great bag, and I like this backpack because it’s great for men or women, it’s very comfortable even when fully packed, and it has lots of pockets for all your cables, pens, business cards, etc.  It even has an MP3 pocket with pass-through headphone port and a removable laptop sleeve for the airport.

So what goes inside that bag? Your laptop and phone, of course, but you also need a handful of other things.

First, you need to protect your smaller devices. They tend to get dropped a lot when you’ve moving from place to place, so they should be protected. Pelican, which you may be familiar with for their military-grade cases, has super tough civilian cases. For your phone:

Pelican Marine case ($79.95), which is waterproof to two meters for up to 30 minutes, has five layers of military grade shock protection and a scratch-resistant screen protector.

For your iPad, go with the Pelican Vault case ($99.95) with an impact-absorbing case and a protective seal against water and dust.

It’s just as functional as it is protective, with a double-hinged stand allowing for multiple viewing angles. You can find these cases on Amazon or visit for local dealers.

Listen to your tunes and take calls with a dual-purpose set of earbuds. The Sumpan from Urbanears are super light, colorful, tangle-free fabric earbuds that sound amazing for a great price ($35). They have a cool hook function that keeps them out of the way when they’re not in use.

Next: POWER. You never want to run out of power for your phone or tablet and I recommend bringing out the big guns just in case you are away from an outlet longer than planned. The ultra slim 10,000 mAh Portable Energy Station from Satechi will keep your devices charged and ready several times over.

Don’t waste a bunch of money at the barista! Instead, brew the perfect cup of joe at home and take it to-go with the Melitta Ready Set Joe Pour Over Travel Mug Coffee Brewer from This leak-free, insulated mug comes with it’s own filter cone and filters for easy brewing.

You also need an umbrella. You never know when it’s going to rain so keep this in your bag at all times. I like the Totes Micro-Compact Umbrella from JCPenney because it’s so tiny and light that you’ll barely know it’s there, but it does the trick!