Having worked from home for many years, I didn’t often think too much about what I had in my office and how I used items each day. But as I’ve been working on the magazine, and expanding and moving into my own new home office, it has become apparent what are the best work-from-home essentials.
For a few years, I didn’t have the luxury of my own office but even if you are sharing a kitchen table or your workspace is very tiny, there are key bits of equipment which can be used by anyone anywhere.
Read our list of the best work-from-home essentials below. I mention a few specific brands if I have used and rate them. Some items I’ve been fortunate to have gifted to me for review, other things I have come across myself and all of the items are things that I would recommend after having tested them out.
One thing which is also important to consider is the sustainability of your choices.
The best work from home essentials: the list
It probably comes as no surprise that a decent chair is one of the work from home essentials for your home office. Considering how long you spend sitting at your desk, an ergonomic chair is important for comfort and to maintain your health and wellbeing.
A decent chair needs to be adjustable in a number of places and offer the correct support for your needs and anatomy. You can read about why ergonomics is so important when you work from home here.
I use a Homeworker Plus ergonomic chair from Posturite from their Homeworker range, which I shall be fully reviewing in future posts. Issue 6 of The Homeworker also includes a selection of ergonomic chairs for all budgets that are suitable for the home office.
A good desk is a personal choice and can depend very much on the space you have available.
A standing or sit-stand desk is best to allow for movement and better posture throughout the day. Things you may wish to consider when choosing a desk:
- Cable tidy to keep it clutter-free
- Look and style
- Materials and colour
I like to use a wide trestle-style desk and keep mobile by using a sit-stand platform. I bought a desk from Etsy which was made from sustainable wood and supported a home-based small business but primarily because I like a large workspace to spread out on!
Read our roundup of best desks for homeworking which include a wide range of options for all spaces and budgets.
A very important factor when working from home for your comfort and productivity is lighting. Often, a workspace is carved out of a small alcove, or darker corner out of the way but it is advisable to get as much natural light as possible.
You can read how to choose your home office lighting here.
Some of the best desk lamps are bright, flexible and have different settings and levels of brightness and temperature.
We have talked about the importance of plants in your workspace in issue 7, the Breathe issue and we include a list of some of the best plants to have in your home office.
Plants are natural air purifiers, removing toxins and pollutants from the air. They also release oxygen into the environment and bring nature into your space,. This is recommended for a sense of calm, as well as the benefits of the colour green in your surroundings, as we talk about in volume 2 of The Homeworker.
When it comes to comfort, the best work from home essentials include items that keep you warm.
On cold days, sitting hunched over a desk for long periods means you can feel the chill pretty quickly. You can read about ways to stay warm when working from home here but there are also some useful and innovative items to try here.
Heated desks, rug heaters, hand warmers, and throws are great ways to stay warm without having to crank up the heating and heat the whole house.
The rug buddy and footbuddy keep your feet warm without needing to spend a lot of money on heating the house. A rug buddy is an under rug heater that gently heats your surroundings. The FootBuddy is a heated floor mat that is smaller but ideal if you just want to keep your feet cosy or have a small space under the desk with no rug.
A footrest makes the list of work from home essentials as this helps you to maintain a good seated-posture and prevents working in pain. As well as encouraging you to sit correctly protecting the lower back, it can encourage you to move your feet more regularly to promote blood circulation and stretch out your calves.
I have been using the ergofoam footrest, which is one of the softest I’ve come across. The velvet texture is really comfortable and is perfect if you’re just in socks or bare feet so great for homeworking when you don’t want to be in shoes all day.
The curved design also means you can flip it over to place your feet on the flat edge and have a gentle rocking motion.
Think carefully about suitable storage. It is the solution to cluttered desks and space, which aren’t conducive to a productive work day.
There are so many options for office storage and you will need to think about what you need and what style suits your space.
Wall storage can be anything from shelves and bookcases to lockers, noticeboards and pegboards, These are useful for the little bits of paper and reminders that often end up cluttering the desk.
Under desk storage is useful if you are just using a table and need extra drawers or cupboards.
On the desk storage from basic pen holders to desk caddies for all the pins and post-it s as well.
Don’t forget useful storage items such as baskets, ottomans and footstools
And think about moveable storage such as cabinets on wheels if you’re using a space that needs to be versatile.
Having reliable and strong broadband connection is a work from home essential these days. And since lockdown, we’ve all become used to the need for Zoom calls. However in many places, even big cities, it is not always consistent. If you have a lot of family members wanting to stream and download then those video calls may be pixelated, you might experience buffering or your signal strength may just not be fast or strong enough.
As a backup option, I like the Netgear Nighthawk M2 mobile wifi device. As long as you have mobile reception, this is a fast, reliable and safe way to access the internet and also helps you to keep a dedicated work connection.
A fairly self-explanatory item in the best work from home essentials.
Children, other household members, televisions, noisy neighbours, lawnmowers, workmen, DIY enthusiasts… Just a few things which might hinder your productivity at home.
They are quite useful in open plan offices as well!
For a while I got by with normal earpods and using the built-in computer mic. For your average video call, investing in a mic may not be necessary (although it really does make a difference to how you sound!)
But if you do regular lives, webinars, talks and of course, podcasts, a decent mic for your home office is a good idea – and they don’t need to break the bank.
I have a Podcast Pro from Sontronics. It conveniently plugs in via USB and has a lovely sound quality. It’s great if I’m taking part in a podcast, being interviewed myself or need to record a quick voiceover for a project.
Is this really a work from home essential? I would say after working in some pretty uninspiring office spaces, it is really important. How you feel in your work environment impacts how you behave and engage with others.
A space that makes you feel professional, comfortable and proud to be in can mean the difference between putting yourself out there or not, or even switching on the camera for that video call!
However small, create a space with objects that have meaning for you, that trigger you into being ‘at work’. Surround yourself with things that inspire and motivate you.
Think about the books, the art work, the colours, the quotes and even the soft furnishings. Read how to spark joy in your workspace here.
Some of my favourite items are a little clock that ticks away quietly on my desk, a little glass robin paperweight that makes me smile, some favourite stationery, and little postcards that I pin on to my board.
I am also printing and framing some of my magazine covers to hang – an instant reminder of where I am, what I do, and what I’m working towards.
And I have chosen a few things that match my branding colours, which remind me of my business, and are tones that make me feel happy and calm.
I try to be as sustainable as possible where I can. The rug under my desk is from Weaver Green and made from recycled plastic bottles.
For more home office tips, inspiration, recommended products and workspace inspiration, subscribe to The Homeworker magazine.