If you're reading this, we assume you already have a computer and basic desk for handling your work, but what else might you need? What can help you get through the day and make sure you are doing your job well despite perhaps being in a different environment from normal? While you need to bring focus and discipline to the table, fortunately, you can also order other parts of the equation online.
We aren't here to pick out specific products for you: you know your aesthetic and tastes better than anyone else, and you might have slightly different needs than other people. We do not even know how much space you have in your home office.
What we do hope to do is give you some new ideas about what you can put in your home office (or makeshift home office) to make your days just a bit brighter and a bit more stress-free. There are all sorts of products made for the work-from-home professional. With greater numbers than ever before in the last year or so, companies have focused on providing for the needs of this growing class of people.
So, without further wait, here are 12 options and product types you might enjoy getting for your workspace or home to make things just a bit easier:
You probably have a chair. In fact, you might be sitting in it now, but is it a good chair? Is it a chair you are comfortable sitting in for eight hours each day, even with breaks? Because sitting constantly is not good for the back or your health in general, and sitting in a poorly constructed or shaped chair is only going to have consequences down the line. Therefore, perhaps before anything else, we recommend you take care of yourself and invest in an ergonomic office chair built to last and built to support you.
A few clear brand names will stand out, such as Herman Miller and Steelcase. While you may think paying more than a few hundred dollars for an office chair is a little ridiculous, think about how many hours each day you spend in your current chair. Isn't lessened or removed back pain (either now or a decade down the line) worth $1000 or so? The best chairs come with long warranties and are sturdy, so you will likely not need to get another one for yourself anytime soon, making it an excellent investment.
Outside of getting a good model, you will want to make sure that your chair is suitable for your height and weight, is adjustable to at least some degree (this should be the case with nearly any high-end office chair), and will be good for your flooring. You do not want your chair's wheels digging into your floors, though there are mats that can help with this.
If you think a good chair is out of your price range, you have a few options:
You could get a cushion or other accessories to make your current chair a bit more bearable or comfortable. You will likely need to adjust it frequently, and the benefits will not be as substantial, but your back will still thank you for it after the end of a long day at the home office.
You can search the used market to see if there is something available. People might replace perfectly good chairs regularly. Just make sure to give it a test sit and adjustments first before handing over your money.
While you might not have the customization options found on a specialist site, you can often find quality chairs on a site like Amazon or eBay that are new but pre-built. You might not get exactly what you want, but you will pay several hundred dollars less and get a fantastic chair.
While we are confident you already have a workspace set up for yourself, have you considered a standing desk? Either at home or in the main office? As mentioned, sitting all day is not good for your health, and just standing while you work can make a world of difference, reducing the resistance to get moving when you feel the need. Additionally, some people might feel like they have more energy and get more done as a result.
We do not suggest that you get a standing desk that only operates as a standing desk. This is rarely practical, and there will be points where you will need to sit down to get work done. On top of this, standing all day is not necessarily healthy either. Instead, we suggest that you get an adjustable desk and rework your setup to make sure all is well with it (this will be easier for people with laptops), and you can change positions a couple of times each workday.
When getting one, make sure to measure your height and the desk space you will need, as many adjustable desks are on the smaller side. Make sure it is easy to adjust (or else you will risk not doing so), and ideally, make sure it fits well into your home office décor. Since their surge in popularity, we find that they are easier to come by and more affordable for the average person.
We cannot stress enough the usefulness of getting a second or even third monitor for your home office. While you might have been getting by just fine with just a single monitor, you can drastically increase your productivity with one. Writers can keep their notes and research on a second screen, anyone working with art and design can keep up a reference, and anyone who might need to work with multiple spreadsheets or calendars at once can make quick comparisons, improving job efficiency.
Whether your workplace thinks you need a second screen or not, you will never want to go back once you set yourself up with one. It does not even need to be of the same quality as your current one, though note that massive differences in resolution or size might be disorienting to some. A best-case scenario is one in which you have multiple of the same monitor.
Alternatively, switching to a sufficiently large monitor can perform the same relative task if you can split the screen up properly (easier with modern operating systems, though you probably need a desktop setup). It might not be as easy to use, and it is not as natural as splitting things between several monitors, but it's an option.
While some would say that putting up something on a second screen can be distracting, all you need is the self-discipline to turn it off when you aren't using it.
Keeping your phone and other devices plugged in while working can be a hassle, and you might not have all the wires needed to keep everything in reach. Also, having an arsenal of cables for every device seems like a pain. Instead, invest in a wireless charging station for your home office so that you can use your phone and take it with you when needed, and it can charge on the pad otherwise. You can answer calls faster and look up information more efficiently. As for the time to maximum charge, the difference will be hardly noticeable considering how quickly all options charge phones and equipment these days.
When getting one, make sure that it is compatible with as many of your devices as possible. While you should choose your devices on other criteria, and you certainly shouldn't needlessly replace them, keeping this compatibility in mind when picking your next upgrade might be something to keep in mind as well.
They come in the form of pads, actual stands, and other shapes and sizes, depending on whether you want to charge multiple devices at once or keep it as compact as possible.
While the standing or adjustable desk might be one step, sometimes fitness might require a little more. Getting out to the gym can be a tricky prospect for many, even before lockdowns temporarily closed them. There is probably not adequate room or aesthetic desire for a full treadmill in your home office, but you can put in some well-designed workout equipment in there or think about bringing it in. You do not want to let yourself go just because you aren't leaving the house so much!
Some Ideas Might Include:
Sometimes your home office is not in the best-lit of places. Perhaps it is in a repurposed basement or a room with only one or two windows. Maybe you start work before dawn or after sunset. In any event, good lighting results in good work and less of a headache later.
We would note that you should be cautious about its use at night if you want a good sleep schedule, as some lamps and bulbs can trick you into thinking that it is still daytime out.
If lighting is important to you for webcam reasons and you want to look your best when making a presentation, try improving your space with something like a ring or selfie lamp. They are designed to make you look your best in different conditions on camera. With it, you will not look shadowed or overlit, making presentations and talks easier for you.
Alternatively, if you want to splurge and have complete control over the situation, having adjustable lighting and smart lighting installed in your home office (or home in general) can be a great choice. With an app or included remote, you will likely be able to control the brightness and warmth of the light, turn on or off everything without even getting up from your seat, and even change the color of the lights in your office if you have the correct bulbs. It's a bit of an investment compared to cheaper bulbs, but they tend to last long, and you will notice the difference if you experiment.
While some apps and programs can block blue light from your computer on the inside, a pair of blue light glasses might help you keep your eyes healthier and less stressed while you continue to work, even into the evening. The blue light from your computer might be stressing your eyes. People simply aren't meant to be exposed to it all day, especially if you are taking more computer time due to the ongoing pandemic (it can be difficult to think of things to do that are not related to a screen in some way).
These glasses are not too expensive; you can probably find a basic pair for less than $20. They come in plenty of designs and styles so that you can easily find a pair that fits well (and perhaps over the pair you already need. Their design has gotten better over time, so you can still see what you need to when working. At the very least, try them out and see how you feel after a week or two.
The air quality at home might not be like that at the office, and sometimes that means it is worse in one way or another. Having a dedicated air purifier for your office, especially during allergy season, can make work much easier. Even if it is not a severe problem, breathing in cleaner air will make a difference over the day and make you feel better.
This is another case where you get what you pay for. We suggest that you make sure not to get the cheapest model and pick something out that will be good for the room you are in, ideally quiet enough to not be distracting, and that uses a HEPA filter. Other factors might come down to personal preference and needs, as well as space concerns.
You might want to invest in a nice fan outside of an air purifier if you do not already have one or do not have an air conditioner installed in your office. The summer is coming, and working while cooking is no fun. Keeping fresh air available can keep you from getting tired or easily distracted, and some people might like the white noise a fan can provide.
Whether you have noisy kids in the other room, a neighbor who always seems to mow the lawn at precisely the wrong time, or you, unfortunately, live near an airport or some train tracks, you know that loud noises can be incredibly distracting and ruin your workday. For these situations, we recommend noise-canceling or noise-dampening headphones, which can effectively put you in your own little world while you keep them on.
You might be able to find a model with a microphone attachment if using them in meetings is a concern. However, we recommend getting a dedicated microphone if you are looking for the best sound quality for whatever reason. As far as sound quality is concerned, many models have excellent sound quality (perfect for chill music while working). Just remember that you are getting what you pay for.
If you do not like the bulkiness of headphones or are on the move more often, then perhaps some noise-canceling earbuds might do the trick. In most cases, they will not be as effective, but you will be able to move around more easily and not feel like they are burdening you.
If you know the virtues of coffee, this one is self-explanatory. You might have one already set up and use it every morning. How often do you use it? Could you get a better one now that you are spending more time at home and less time at coffee shops? If your coffee maker is older, now might be the perfect time to get something with smart features (wake up to hot coffee every morning), additional settings or controls, or just the ability to make more coffee at once for the true addicts.
If you want something a little fancier, there are espresso machines and latte makers available as well. While they might be pricey, using them to replace going out for your drinks will quickly make up the difference. A little bit of research, and you can be your own barista.
For something a little milder for any time of day, you can invest in a tea maker or electric kettle that can prepare and keep warm some great tea. Tea is easy to order online, and investing in some great blends or options can genuinely give you something to look forward to alongside work every day.
If coffee is not your thing and tea is just not to your taste, perhaps healthy smoothies (or less than healthy ice cream milkshakes) are perfect for you instead. While you might want to source some nice ingredients for yourself, you can use frozen fruit when needed in the summer. There are tons of recipes online you can use, and while you might not keep it in the office, you'll quickly turn it into a daily necessity. You can even make them a pitcher at a time if you don't want to spend time every day making them.
While you are working from home, you might not think about getting a mini-fridge for your home office or workspace, but it can be an excellent option if you are trying to stay focused and want to keep your lunch or snacks chilled for when you need them.
We understand your workspace is sacred, and if you leave it, opportunities for distraction are more likely. By keeping yourself away from other people and loading up the mini-fridge each morning with your intended options (or perhaps a few cold beverages of choice), you can keep on task and get done earlier.
Alternatively, if you are just looking for some cool water, perhaps getting a water cooler might be your best option. If you drink bottled water anyway, getting larger refillable jugs by delivery can save you money and have less environmental impact than getting many smaller disposable bottles. You might even be able to get hot water out of them for tea or for soothing your throat after a long meeting.
Whatever you pick and whatever size you get, just make sure to maintain and clean it regularly and to use it to make healthy choices if at all possible.
Having a physical board or sheet that can display your goals, ideas, or major to-do items can be extremely helpful and keep the most important things at the forefront of your mind. Even the act of writing these things down every day can help you focus and be part of your morning ritual. While a sticky note or two can often do the job, we find they are too often ignored and that they can constantly get in the way, big enough to cause a nuisance but small enough to be easily lost. Similarly, digital notes and reminders can be all too easily canceled and forgotten.
Yet a giant message to yourself hanging right in front of you and visible whenever you lookup? That might be a bit more effective.
What size of board you get and where you put it is up to you. Ideally, you can find one that you can mount on the wall with no hassle, and you can keep it clean as needed (so keep it within easy reach).
There are, of course, so many other trinkets and gadgets you can look into, with similar lists to this reaching more than 50 products. We wanted to provide a closer focus on the soon-to-be essentials and items that can improve your quality of life on a day-to-day basis. We hope that at least a few of the things or item types here piqued your interest and that you will go shopping (online or otherwise) for them soon.
Remember that investing in yourself and your work is absolutely worth it. If you are still working from home now, you are likely in it for the long haul. We wish you the best of luck and hope you can keep your workplace fresh and productive!