Work From Home Supplies and Tools You Can’t Live Without
You weren’t sure how long you’d be working at home during the pandemic, but now it seems like this temporary gig will be long-term. Your supervisor wants you to stay home for the rest of the year, and from that point, they’ll make the decision as to whether or not you and your team will be headed back to the office.
Your new goal is to make your home both a haven and the best workspace possible. So what do you need to make your new “office” space work to your benefit? Here’s what a few remote workers think are must-haves for working at home.
1. A Dedicated Desk
If you have room for an office in your house — great! But for many new work-at-home professionals, there’s no dedicated room to use when it’s time to head into work. As easy as it would be to plunk down on the couch and work from there for most of the day, you might be better served investing in a desk to separate your work life from your home environment.
Cristin Downs says, “Living in a small apartment, it was crucial for me to get a desk. But also, I still live in a small apartment! I ended up getting a Murphy desk that looks like a cabinet, but then pulls down into a workspace. Opening it in the morning and closing it at the end of the day is like my own mini commute.”
However, as important as a desk can be for getting into the zone, there’s also value in being open to new environments.
Melissa Droegemueller says, “One thing that goes against traditional advice is multiple work set-ups around the house (and in the yard). It helps my creative juices to change locations —dining room, desk in my room, out on the patio— since I can’t go to the library or coffee shop to work.”
2. Comfortable Seating
With a desk comes a chair! Any ol’ chair won’t do. Phil Lemos says, “As silly as it sounds, a chair that’s comfortable to sit in, but not so comfortable that you could fall asleep in it, makes all the difference. It keeps you focused on the task at hand.”
And comfortable seating isn’t a “silly” request for remote workers. With most professionals being seated for eight or more hours a day, an ergonomic chair is a form of self care. Without it, you’re bound to get hip, back, and shoulder pain.
Emily Fagan agrees and shares, “One of the first purchases that I made when I realized this was going to be a long-term situation was a quality ergonomic desk chair. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but it made an immediate difference.”
3. A Monitor Upgrade
Working from a laptop, tablet, or small screen doesn’t make for a happy or productive employee. The more you can see, the quicker and more efficient you can be.
Christopher May suggests an improvement. He says, “My job requires me to switch between multiple screens. This is difficult to handle on a regular monitor or laptop monitor. Purchasing an ultra-wide monitor allows me to keep different tasks on one screen — immensely efficient.” Another option is a dual monitor stand and second screen.
4. A Headset
Most remote workers are quick to comment on how helpful headphones can be for working at home. They provide a welcomed distraction for people who enjoy working while listening to music or podcasts, or they block out noises for individuals who must work in silence. But a quality headset offers both headphones and a microphone for all those video calls you find yourself on.
Adam Trahan says, “My number one suggestion is a good quality headset with a good microphone. I’ve been complimented several times on the clarity of my microphone and I can block out outside noise really well.”
5. Extra Chargers
How many times have you found yourself working from a soon-to-die laptop? The battery symbol warns you that there are only minutes left to finish before the computer shuts off. You race around your house to find your charger, but unless you have a work station set up, it’s no where to be found.
Shauna Mitchell found herself in this situation and made changes to make things easier for herself. She says, ”I invested in additional laptop and phone chargers. Even though I’m home all the time and am fortunate enough to have a home office, doing work on the couch or at the dining table helps give me a change of scenery on slow days.”
Investing in your home workspace will make you more comfortable while working, and hopefully more efficient while you’re working, too. Even if this transition is temporary and you’ve got plans to head back into the office soon, it’s important to set yourself up for success in your home or wherever your work finds you.