After working from your bed and kitchen table for a while, you’ll realize that things have to change.
While studies have shown that remote work increases productivity, working in the wrong setting can have the opposite effect. That is why almost every teleworker has some kind of home office.
A dedicated workspace at home heightens your work sensibilities, keeps you focused, and helps you avoid distractions. Working in a home office also keeps you healthy.
A University of Cincinnati study reported that 75% of WFH employees hunch over their laptops while working. This posture, according to the study, makes the upper back and neck carry up to 10 pounds of pressure. It also reported that carpal tunnel risks come with working on a laptop on a kitchen table.
With optimized desk and office chairs, you can prevent these health issues.
If you have an at-home workstation or are looking to set one up, this article covers the essential home office tools you need.
From housing other vital office utilities to keeping your elbows steady while you make high-stakes calls and decisions, the desk is a critically important aspect of the office.
Consider going for a standing or ergonomic desk for your home office. You must make sure it has the proper height and width dimensions to support your work comfortably, contain essential equipment, and leave enough space in the office.
An adjustable desk is a great idea if you don’t want to stay sitting all day working.
2. Ergonomic Chair
Your desk chair may not carry other office equipment, but it carries the most important part of the office. Going for an ergonomic chair ensures you have something comfortable to sit in whenever you want to start your day. So, consider ignoring the cost and invest in a high-quality chair for excellent back support.
Ordering online may be convenient, but it’s a better idea to test a chair before buying it.
3. Use a Seat Cushion and Lumbar Support
Sitting the wrong way for long hours can significantly hurt your posture. According to the NIH, bad posture could negatively affect your health in the long run.
You can maintain the correct posture and stay comfortable using a seat cushion and lumbar support.
A Lumbar support pillow is a D-shaped pillow that sits between your seat and lower back. The flat side is designed to rest against the chair, while the curved side rests against the curve of your lumbar or lower back.
The pillow helps support the muscle in your lower back and realign the spine. This way, your body will maintain an optimal sitting position.
4. Good Lighting
Natural light is essential to any workspace, especially one that’s set up at home. Since you now spend most of your time at home, it would be great to get as many natural rays as possible. Apart from lighting up the office, natural light is also beneficial to your health.
According to a Cornell University survey, exposure to natural light reduces issues such as blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain in workers by 84%.
Another Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois study reported that workers exposed to natural light enjoy more extended and better sleep periods than those who aren’t exposed.
You should also complement natural light with good artificial light. For example, you can prevent eye strain by going for LED bulbs for the office, especially the desk lamp. A ring LED light will also help enhance your appearance during virtual meetings and interviews.
While every remote worker has a laptop, constantly bending over a 13-to-17-inch screen can be uncomfortable. In addition, you could suffer back and neck problems and other limitations that come with small screens.
Using an external monitor will increase your screen real estate and help your posture and productivity.
The good thing is that almost every laptop can be connected to a desk monitor.
6. Monitor Arm
The next addition worth considering for your home office is a monitor arm. It’s a versatile piece of equipment that provides comfort and boosts productivity. It allows you to free up valuable desk space, and you can use it to adjust your screen to suit your sitting position instead of moving your chair around.
This way, you’ll be reducing neck tension and eye strain while you work.
7. Tablet and Phone Stand
If you use your mobile phone or tablet a lot, you need a stand to make things more comfortable. This way, you can quickly glance at incoming messages without picking up your device. You can also use it for calls and meetings while it sits on the stand, especially when using a headset.
8. Wi-Fi Modem or Router
High-speed internet is a must for telecommuters. You need the internet to power collaboration tools like Zoom, Google Docs, and even clock in clock out apps. Since you need a secluded area for your home office, you could have connection issues with your home Wi-Fi. So, it would be best to get a Wi-Fi modem or router for your office.
Ensure you get a modern and high-speed device that can power your office laptop/desktop, phone, and tablet. A 5Ghz capable device should be on your wishlist.
9. Multi-Port Hub
You may have to connect multiple accessories to your laptop, such as an external mouse and keyboard, monitor, thumb drive, and printer. You might create a lot of mess if you have to connect through different ports on the laptop, and in most cases, you need more ports than you have.
A multi-port adapter allows you to expand one port into many. So it doesn’t only make things simpler but also keeps the office space clean.
While the world is on the path to going paperless, we’re still not quite there yet. For example, your clients may still need hard copies of specific documents, and you may also see the need to keep copies of important files as backup.
So, a printer comes in handy when you have to produce hard copies of letters and proposals. It would be best to get a 3 in 1 printer so you can scan and photocopy documents.
11. Filing Cabinet
You don’t want those files and hard copies flying over the place or taking up significant desk space. A filing cabinet will help you keep things tidy and organized. It doesn’t have to be big and take up space in the office. You can always tailor the cabinet to your home office’s available space.
12. Noise-Canceling Headphones
You may need to tune out the rest of the world to maintain focus in your home office. Thankfully, there are headphones built for that purpose. Using them lets you block out domestic, distracting noise and keep conversations in meetings private.
You can go for a high-quality wireless headset to save your laptop another connection and spare your office space another piece of wiring. However, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of charging the headphones, you can go for a wired ones.
13. Wireless Devices
Wireless devices ensure you don’t have to make the special provisions that you would otherwise. For example, a wireless mouse gives you more range and allows you to place it anywhere on your desk. The same goes for a wireless keyboard. In addition, with these devices, you don’t have to map out cable networks and take extra safety precautions.
14. High-Quality Cables
You can’t completely escape the need for cables, especially when you consider printers, laptop chargers, routers, and desktop computers. You also require a cable to optimally connect your PC to your monitor.
Make sure you always go for high-end cables to guarantee that your work is smooth. This way, you’ll minimize connectivity issues, and rest assured your cords will last long. Always confirm and go for manufacturer-recommended brands and models.
15. Surge Protector
Power surges can happen anytime and cause irreversible damages and data loss. For example, a power surge could fry your computer and wipe all its data.
To minimize or prevent the effects of a power surge, you need a surge protector. These devices absorb excess electricity and prevent it from reaching your appliances.
Make sure you go for high-quality surge protectors that absorb high amounts of energy and last long.
16. Coffee Maker
Whether you’re at home or the office, you still need your portion of coffee to jolt you into action. Having a portable coffee maker in your office means you don’t always have to leave the office for the kitchen to get a refill or make a new cup. This way, you’re minimizing the potential distraction of leaving your workspace.
17. Digital Apps to Maintain Your Schedule and Boost Productivity
Working from home means you need software applications that help you keep in touch with clients, manage your projects, and organize your schedule. For example, time tracking apps for freelancers are designed to show you how much time you spend on specific tasks, websites, and apps. This way, you know how best to use your time by blocking out disruptive websites and programs.
File sharing tools and productivity apps also help you improve collaboration with team members and work output.
So, identify and go for tools that work best with your budget and work style.
Remember that the point of setting up a dedicated office is to maintain focus and keep out distractions. So, ensure you invest in the best gadgets and tools you can find.