No matter what your reasons are for working at home — whether your company is fully remote, you’re a freelancer or a business owner, or you’re just working from home due to the pandemic — one thing still remains. You need to outfit that home office with everything you need to be productive and get stuff done.
After all, how much can you really get done working off your lap on the couch, or atop your unmade bed? Be honest.
A home office can be a game-changer when it comes to staying focused and having a more enjoyable work experience overall. If you’re building out your first home office, here are the 21 things you’ll want to add to your online shopping cart for the best home office experience.
Home Office Furniture
You don’t necessarily need a fancy couch or big bookshelves to make your home office feel like the real deal, but there are a few large furniture items that you’ll want to invest in.
1. A Desk
This one is pretty basic. You’re going to need a desk in order to get just about anything done in your home office. But not all desks are the same.
Whatever your preference, don’t take your choice lightly. If you can, go see some desks in person at your local office retailer. Sit down at them. Give them a spin. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything in-store, seeing the desks in person will help you determine what you like and don’t like.
Additionally, don’t be scared to drop a little money on a home office desk. This is an investment. You don’t want to end up with a desk that breaks every few weeks. You want something that will stand up to normal wear and tear, something that will last you a few good years. Also, make sure to measure how much space your desktop computer or laptop takes up; you might be surprised!
2. A Desk Chair
This is a home office purchase that you’ll want to make in-person if you can. After all, you’re not going to know how comfy a chair is until you give it a go yourself, and even with online reviews, everyone’s definition of what “comfy” is, is different.
If you can’t get to an office store to test out some chairs in person, though, Amazon offers a wide range of office chairs to try, with one of the favorites being this ergonomic option from Modway. At only $140, it won’t break the bank.
Do you need extra lighting in your home office? You just might.
If you find that your home’s overhead lights don’t offer enough illumination, or the light’s too harsh, and if you don’t have enough natural lighting to make up for it, you might consider purchasing a floor lamp or desk lamp to better complete your home office.
Home Office Tech and Tools
We’ll assume you already have a computer or laptop. But what other tech do you need in your home office?
4. A Printer
You think you never need to print anything — until you do. When that once-in-a-blue-moon occasion arises, be prepared and able to print whatever you need, from expense reports to tax documents, contracts to a boarding pass.
Make sure to pick up plenty of ink with your printer purchase. Go with a wireless printer for even more convenience.
5. A Scanner
Whether you buy a printer-scanner combo, a smaller scanner or even a scanning app on your phone, a scanner is something you’ll want to have available in your home office at some point. You never know when you’re going to need to scan a physical document, and taking a photo of a doc on your phone just won’t cut it.
While not necessarily tech itself, you’ll still need a power strip for all of your tech. Easy to completely forget, a power strip is one of the first things you’ll want to buy for your home office.
Plug everything you need into one spot, hidden away in a corner, and never worry about not having enough space to charge all your devices again.
As, more and more often, we work from our phones, a flash drive that works with both your phone and your laptop is a must. This SanDisk iXpand Mini Flash Drive backs up your phone or tablet content and then allows you to transfer it all to your computer, if you so wish, or simply store it for the time being.
You never need to worry about running out of room on your phone, or about possibly losing all of your phone-stored data and docs if you happen to lose your phone.
Home Office Productivity Necessities
So you have all your furniture and tech set up just the way you want in your home office — now how can you outfit your home office further, to make sure you’re as productive as possible? These items could help.
A barking dog, construction, noisy kids — block them all out with a good pair of headphones or earbuds. Whether you want to listen to some calming white noise or your favorite tunes, if it makes you more productive, it counts as a business expense, right?
Go with the standard favorite Apple AirPods for $220. Investing in a pair of quality headphones will offer the best sound quality for all of your remote Zoom calls!
Okay, okay. So you have everything already laid out in a digital format. You keep all your meeting notes in Google Calendar. But just hear us out.
A paper planner or calendar can help keep you overall more productive and is an easy addition to any digital calendar. Not only does handwriting your appointments and obligations make you more likely to remember them, but it’s just easier to look over at your calendar to see when you’re free while on a call with a client or colleague, versus having to click through multiple tabs to find an opening.
10. A Laptop Stand
While you might think that you’re fine just using your laptop at your desk, once you have a laptop stand, you’ll wonder why you never bought one earlier.
A laptop stand helps you adjust your laptop to the perfect height, so you don’t unconsciously end up slumped over your laptop with a crick in your neck and a pain in your back and shoulders. (Did you just realize that you were in that exact position? See, it’s too easy.)
This poor working posture can have a multitude of ill effects on your health, so do what you can to adjust for them now. A laptop stand can help (and, as an added benefit, laptop stands also help keep your laptop from overheating).
Don’t forget all the basic necessities! You never realize how many little pieces of office supplies that you take for granted when working in an office outside the home.
Pens, printer paper, notepads, sticky notes, highlighters, staples and a stapler, folders, paperclips — you need it all!
Keep track of your to-do list or just write out an inspiring quote and keep it big, bold and always visible, via a whiteboard.
You could go with an affordable classic whiteboard, or you could upgrade to a mobile glassboard, which can be customized and is wheeled for easy moving about your office space.
13. A Desk Organizer
Keep all of your items right where you need them, from sticky notes to paperclips to files. An all-in-one desk organizer will keep everything neat, without taking up much space in your office or on your desk.
Home Office Creature Comforts
Let’s be honest — certain things just make your workday a little more comfortable and convenient. Sure, you could go without them, but why would you if you don’t have to?
14. A Coffee Maker
If you don’t already have one (or if you just have one that’s not quite up to snuff), now’s the time to invest in a good coffee maker. If you’re no longer taking advantage of your company’s in-office machine or not picking up your favorite brew during your commute, you have to get that caffeine fix somewhere.
Once you have your coffee, you need a way to keep it warm. After all, it’s all too often that you end up getting absorbed in a project or task and completely forgetting your beverage for hours at a time. A smart mug or mug warmer can keep your coffee or tea at exactly the perfect temperature, so it’s always ready when you are.
Having plants in your work environment has been shown to help reduce your stress and improve air quality. Look for a few, easy-to-care-for plants and greenery to add to your windowsill or bookshelf, to make your home office feel a little more welcoming.
Come on — the best part of working in an office is the free food. Gift yourself a regular treat, with a snack subscription box, so you always have something new to try and munch on while you’re looking over those reports.
It’s all too easy while working at home to forget about your self-care and mental health. When the line between work life and home life is completely removed, you can quickly find yourself sucked into a work, work, work lifestyle.
Remember to take care of your mental well being and to step away from the computer regularly. A mindfulness app can help you practice a little bit of mindfulness every day.
Whatever you need — more printer paper or just your favorite tunes — you can get it all, fast, with an Amazon Prime account. The service’s many perks come in handy for everyone, but especially for those working at home.
Just like you would decorate your cubicle or office in a traditional workplace to show off a little of your personality, do the same in your home office. You don’t want to go to work in a spot every day that feels super sterile and unwelcoming.
Look for fun items that show off your style, whether you display some mementos from past travels, some signage that boasts a meaningful phrase or motto or just some simple vases or other shelf decor in your favorite colors or patterns.
Whether you buy an essential oil diffuser, luxury candles or some incense, you’ll want some way to add a bit of fragrance to your home office. After all, you’re sealing yourself away in this space for eight hours a day, and things can start to smell stuffy (and if you’re working in sweatpants every day, possibly stinky, too).
Things to Take Into Account When Setting Up Your Home Office
Once you have all your home office essentials and supplies and are ready to move into your home office, there are a few things to consider when it comes to actually setting up and organizing your space. Think about…
- Natural light
- Internet capabilities/router location
- Phone signal
- Proximity to loud noises/exterior walls/children’s rooms
The way you organize your office may differ according to where the windows are in your house, how close you are to your WiFi router, where you get the best phone signal or how close you want your desk to an exterior wall, where you might deal with extra outside noise.
No matter what time of day it is, your best work will be done in a space where you feel relaxed and comfortable. Remote work has changed a lot in 2020, and the afternoon coffee shop work might not be as feasible anymore.
Enjoy creating a space and work environment that works for you!
You might also be interested in: 21 Home Decor Items Under $25 To Elevate Your Space