Working from home definitely has its perks, but it can also be a difficult task to balance our work and the rest of our lives without some help. To make life easier, NoHQ has put together a list of must-have items that will help you survive your work from home career!
If you’re an employee, these items are things you can buy for yourself in order to improve your WFH experience. If you’re an employer, they’ll make great gifts to include as part of the remote onboarding process!
It usually doesn't take a lot to start working from home, but the few items that are required are incredibly important to get right. They'll be getting a lot of use and can be the difference between a fantastic WFH experience and one that leaves you missing the office.
Here are some must-have items:
Computer or Laptop
This is a tricky one, because the computer that's right for you will depend on your work style and, of course, your budget. A place to start is by thinking about the kinds of tasks the machine will be used for throughout the work day. If you'll be editing videos all day long, then a high-end desktop may be your best bet. If you're often writing or answering emails, then a laptop should suffice. For help finding the perfect laptop or computer based on your needs, check out this handy guide from Consumer Reports.
If you're going to be Zoom-ing to the office instead of commuting, you need to make sure your internet is fast and reliable. You'll want a plan that makes it easy to connect with clients, submit documentation, and download files in a timely fashion. If you can, try to find a service provider in your area who offers optical-fiber Wi-Fi plans. However, there are lots of areas where this isn't an option. If that's the case in your area, choose a plan that guarantees enough speed for the tasks you need to get done.
Now that we’ve covered the basics needed to make sure we can get our work done, it's time to get to the fun stuff. Below, we've put together a list of items that will take your WFH experience to the next level by boosting productivity, increasing comfort, or simply making your life easier.
A quality monitor is one of the best investments you can make. Depending on what you do, you might be able to get by with a 19" or even 17" monitor, but the 24"+ models are ideal for most tasks. If you can spring for it, try to go big—work is much easier when you have a big screen to look at.
Here are some great monitor options:
- Samsung CF398 Curved LED Monitor ($199)
- Dell P2720DC Monitor ($499)
- BenQ EX3203R Curved Monitor ($600)
Office chairs come in a wide range of prices and styles, so you should be able to find one that fits your budget and personal aesthetic. Make sure to take a close look at the quality of the workmanship and materials used in the chair before making a purchase—your back is at stake, after all!
Here are some great options for high-quality office chairs:
Noise-cancelling headphones will go a long way towards helping you stay focused and distraction-free during the work day. This is especially important if your home has any noise inhabitants (i.e., pets or children).
Here are some noise-cancelling headphone suggestions:
I know, it might seem silly to spend money on a nice office chair and a standing desk, but hear us out. While standing desks tend to be more expensive than standard desks, they do come with numerous health benefits for those who spend lots of time sitting at their computer.
Standing for 2 hours every day has been shown to increase energy, boost productivity, and improve posture. It's perfectly healthy to sit for part of the work day (hence the need for a nice desk chair), but it's not healthy to sit for the whole work day.
Here are some good options for standing desks:
- GoRiser Standing Desk Converter ($90)
- Flexispot Standard Standing Desk ($219)
- Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk ($599)
- Branch Standing Desk ($699)
Nowadays, most people use their phones or computers as planners. While that definitely has its benefits, switching to an analogue planner can be a welcome change of pace. Writing things out by hand has been shown to drastically increase our attention spans and ability to recall information. That means that analog planners are actually more effective tools than digital planners!
It may seem silly to have to stock up on paper clips and pens when you work from home, but having some of your own things around will make it feel more like an office environment. Having the same types of items set out each day can really put you in a productive mindset! Plus, if you do ever need a stapler or paper clip, it's nice to have them in arm's reach.
Although this might not seem very exciting, ample storage is critical for keeping everything clean and organized in your WFH space. Whether you want extra cabinets for storage or simply need to get creative with using ottomans—having somewhere to put things down goes a long way in keeping your life neat and tidy!
There's a huge range of storage options out there, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding something that suits your needs.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- OSCO Desk Organizer With Drawer ($17)
- MobileVision Bamboo File Folder Holder & Drawer ($59)
- Poppin Stow 3-Door File Cabinet ($250)
Just because you aren't heading into the office every day doesn't mean it's a good idea to work in your PJs. It's important that you get yourself some reasonably professional looking clothes to wear during the work day.
Why? Well, for starters, putting one “work” clothes actually makes you more productive and less error-prone. It essentially tricks your brain into performing at a higher rate that it would otherwise.
In addition, putting on professional looking clothes while you're working will help signal to the members of your household that you're in working mode and shouldn't be disturbed.
For many of us, our jobs involve a lot of typing. If you find yourself slouching over your keyboard for long stretches of the day, investing in a wrist rest can go a long way towards stopping you from experiencing aches and pains in your hands. In addition to helping ease strain on your wrists, it can also help lower your chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome!
Here are some great wrist rest options:
Whiteboard and Markers
Even if your work is remote, it's still wise to keep a whiteboard around for brainstorming sessions. Whether you're planning out an upcoming project or just want to jot down some quick notes, having a whiteboard will make it easier to get your thoughts in order and prioritize the things that need to be done.
Adding some colorful pens really adds to the aesthetic value of the board, so you should take some time picking out markers that suit your personality and home decor.
Here are some great options for whiteboards:
- GMAOPHY Magnetic Desktop Whiteboard ($17)
- XBoard Wall-Mounted White Board ($36)
- Excello Large Wheeled White Board ($150)
If you are someone who likes to work in a bunch of different spots around the house, you might want to consider investing in a laptop tray. Although they're very simple pieces of kit, they can be extremely useful for maintaining good posture while working. Some models come with adjustable heights and attach directly to the edge of your bed, making it much more ergonomic than just using your lap!
Here are some of our favorites:
- Gimars Adjustable Laptop Tray ($35)
- LapGear Home Office Lap Desk ($40)
- TigerDad Overbed Laptop Tray Desk ($50)
If your desk setup involves a lot of cords, you'll definitely want to get yourself a few of these. Tangled cords are stressful, confusing, and sometimes even fire hazards! To avoid all that, cord organizers neatly bundle all your cords up so you can always find the one you're looking for.
Here are a few options:
- Cable Station Pro ($9)
- BlueLounge Mini Adhesive Cable Clips ($11)
- Hanging Cable Loft Cord Organizer ($16)
Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse
If you haven't jumped on the Bluetooth train yet for your computer accessories, it's high time you do. If nothing else, the lack of wires goes a long way towards decluttering your workspace!
Here are some options to get you started:
- Logitech MK540 Advanced Wireless Keyboard and Mouse ($55)
- Dell Premier Wireless Keyboard and Mouse ($75)
- Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop ($130)
While there's certainly tons of helpful items out there when it comes to surviving (and thriving) while working from home—these are some of our favorites! Of course, in order to take advantage of these items, you're going to need a good work space. Once you have your home office set up and filled with useful things, you’re all ready to get working. Now, go forth and be productive!