15 Office Essentials for your Work from Home Setup
It’s no secret that in the last year and a half, our ways of working have undergone a dramatic shift. One unexpected consequence of the global situation in 2020 was the quick adoption of home-working by businesses across the world.
What began as a way to keep employees safe and the world’s economy ticking over, showed us that home working has a range of benefits. Employees enjoyed saving time on their commutes, more flexible working, and extra time to spend with their children, partners and pets.
For many of us, home working was a completely new experience and meant we had something to consider: our working from home setup. Now, with many people continuing to work remote or experimenting with hybrid work, it’s essential that your home workspace is comfortable, relaxing, and allows you to perform at your best.
As home furnishing experts, we have compiled this list of 15 essentials to help create the perfect home working setup for you – as well as some affordable, stylish furniture options that may catch your eye!
1. The Desk
If working from home was just a temporary solution for you, it may be that the dining room table or sofa became your dedicated workspace. However, more than a few hours working this way will probably have you thinking fondly of your desk back at the office like it was an old flame.
For long-term work-from-homers, a good desk that can fit all the equipment you need for work, as well as blending in with your living space will be the foundation of your working from home setup.
First, consider the floorspace you have available to you and how much desk space you really need. If you have multiple computer monitors, a corner desk can be a space-saving solution – as well as helping you to focus by letting you turn your back on any niggling little things around the house.
However, if all you really need is a laptop and somewhere to put your morning coffee, these stylish and functional ladder desks have proven popular with employees and students alike. With extra shelves for plants, books or photos, you can really get creative and make a working space that’s all your own.
2. The Chair
Following the desk, the next most important thing for long-lasting comfort whilst working from home will be a good, sturdy office chair.
Before style, you should consider the features that will have the most positive impact on your working life, such as adjustable height, lumbar support and an ergonomic design.
Some designer office chairs can come with an eye-watering price tag, but there’s no need to spend hundreds to invest in your comfort at work.
A moulded plastic office chair is an affordable solution, designed to follow and support the natural curve of your back. For a little more breathability in the summer months, as well as a pair of comfy armrests, you could also consider a mesh-back office chair. Temperature control is an important factor to consider if you wish to work effectively from home.
Work from Home Tip: You should adjust your chair height so that both of your feet are touching the floor, whilst your forearms are parallel to your desk. This will alleviate pressure on your knees and help to prevent aching shoulders, arms and backs.
3. An adjustable monitor or laptop stand
Once you’ve chosen the perfect desk and chair to keep you comfortable, it’s time to consider your computer set-up.
If you have a monitor where you can adjust the height, you should aim to have the top of the screen at your eye level, or slightly below. This will mean you’re not craning to see your screen, and will help you maintain the ideal posture for working from home.
However, many home workers will be using a laptop, rather than a permanent monitor (particularly hybrid workers who shift between working in an office or working at home). If you have your laptop directly on your desk, you’ll probably find you’re sitting with your head down most of the day, putting pressure on your neck and back.
Simple laptop stands can be purchased at a very affordable price – and many workplaces even have a budget for improving their team members’ working from home setups. Elevating your laptop to eye level could make an enormous difference to your posture and wellbeing, so it’s well worth a try!
4. A mousemat with a wrist rest
Fairly standard in most offices, but a rarer sight in home offices is the ergonomic mousemat. These mousemats are designed specifically for those who spend long periods of time at their computer, and have with a raised section filled with foam or gel to support your wrist as you work.
While sitting at your desk may not seem like it’s putting pressure on your joints, small repetitive movements as you’d make with a mouse can create problems if you’re not set up with the right equipment. Office workers can sometimes be surprised by a diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel syndrome, a condition which affects the wrists and hands.
Give your wrists some respite and look after those fast-typing fingers by investing in a mousemat with a wrist rest.
5. An Ergonomic Keyboard
Whether you’re an accomplished typist averaging 80 words a minute, or you just send a lot of emails throughout the day, an ergonomic keyboard or a keyboard wrist rest could be a great investment.
Ergonomic keyboards, rather than the standard rectangle shape, are contoured to better fit the shape of your hands and to ensure that all the keys are in easy reach. They can take some getting used to, but serious typists often sing their praises, and the design can help to prevent unnecessary strain on the wrists and hands.
If you’re not quite ready to transition to an ergonomic keyboard, a simple keyboard wrist rest – very similar to the design of the ergonomic mousemat – should offer that extra support to make your working day a little more comfy.
6. Good Lighting
We already know that using screens in a dark room isn’t good for our eyes, and working from home will mean you experience how the lighting in your home office changes at different times of the day.
If you find your work from home setup is very gloomy at certain times of day, a standard lamp, a string of fairy lights or perhaps even just a different type of light bulb will illuminate your working space and help you to feel a little brighter throughout the day.
Work from Home Tip: For intricate, detail-oriented work away from a screen, you may also want to look into desk lamps as an option. Don’t worry if you have limited desk space – you can even purchase ones that attach to the side of your desk!
7. Curtains or blinds
When it comes to your working environment, it could be that you’re getting too much light rather than not enough!
Screen glare is one of the big pet peeves of office workers, and if your work from home setup doesn’t have curtains or a blind, you could find yourself sat in direct sunlight for hours at a time.
As well as being irritating, having the sun shine directly on us while we’re working can cause eye strain from constant squinting, headaches and at the height of summer, you might even come away with a surprise sunburn.
Take back control of your workspace by making sure your home office is kitted out with curtains or blinds.
8. A Heater or fan
Another key aspect of your work from home environment will be the temperature. In a shared office, there can sometimes be tension between team members who like it toasty and those who like it cool. One of the benefits from working from home, is that you have full control over the office thermostat!
It can also be handy to have either a desk fan on-hand, or a small heater for under your desk for those days when an extra blast of cool or warm air is needed. A nice, ambient temperature can help prevent drowsiness and help with concentration.
Work from Home tip: According to a review of a number of small-scale scientific studies into office temperature, the optimum temperature for productivity in the average office is 22 °C.
If you’re keen to keep your electric bill down, or would like to add some more personal touches to your working from home setup, some colourful blankets or patterned throws could be just the ticket.
Easy to layer up in the colder months, as well as a handy disguise for any unfolded laundry in the background of a conference call, blankets and throws are a home working must-have.
Channel your inner hygge and make your work from home space extra cosy!
Perhaps the most versatile of work from home essentials, you can use a cushion to improve the comfort of your desk chair, or balance your laptop on if you fancy working on the sofa for a little while. These homely touches are, again, one of the perks of working from home.
Personal items can help to make sure your home office still feels like a part of your home, rather than an official cubicle that’s been transplanted in your house. Decorate it to make you feel happy, inspired and to make the space quintessentially yours.
Cushions in your favourite colours – fluffy, monochrome or patterned, can be a great way to integrate your work from home setup into the landscape of your house.
Keeping your working area tidy, organised and free from clutter is a great way to encourage focus and concentration. When there are loose bits of paper floating around your desk, demanding your attention, it can be tricky to dedicate yourself to the task at hand.
But you don’t need a standard, grey filing cabinet to keep your documents in order. Using an array of storage boxes, baskets and pop-ups will help you to keep important and relevant items close-by, but out of immediate sight. You can also match these items to your personal style – whether you prefer a minimalist look or a bold pattern, we have a number of storage options for you to choose from.
At the end of the working week, you can also clear away any office stationery and documents, so you can go into the weekend feeling fresh and striking that all-important work-life balance.
Established plant parents will already know the positive effects that plats can have on your space, as well as your overall wellbeing. There are numerous studies suggesting that certain plants can help purify the air and boost your mood. They can also completely transform a drab home office.
Whether you want to create a jungle backdrop for your conference calls, or prefer a low-maintenance potted plant as a desk buddy, treating yourself to a plant can be a great way to upgrade your home working setup.
This should be a space that energises you and allows you to do your best work, and spotting a new leaf on a plant or a bud that’s bloomed can be a real boost during your working day!
Work from Home Tip: If you have limited desk space for your plants, you may like to pair your leafy friends with a stylish floating shelf.
When working from home, there will always be some days that are tougher than others, and you may require a little extra motivation. Like seeing your plants thrive, placing some meaningful photographs, postcards or artwork around your office can deliver a little boost to your mood that gets you through a tricky client call or a difficult task.
Some workplaces have policies against personal items on team members’ desks, but with your work from home setup, you have much more freedom to decorate it as you see fit. Whether it’s a treasured holiday snap, a funny webcomic you’ve printed out, or a life-affirming quote that you love, having something positive in your eyeline is always a good idea!
14. A Memo Board
Although online to-do lists and project management software are the norm in most modern offices, many workers still prefer to have a personal, handwritten to-do list to help them plan their days.
If you’re a post-it fan and prefer visual prompts, you may like to set up a memo board in your office, to keep track of your tasks – or put a pin in them for later!
A memo board can also be a fun and creative way to organise the photographs and postcards we mentioned above. You could collect inspiring pictures and quotes into a motivational vision board, or simply get the satisfaction of taking down a post-it when a task is completed.
You could even get crafty and DIY your own! A large picture frame, backing board and an array of wine corks could make an interesting statement piece for your workspace.
It’s not all about how your space looks – how your space smells can have a real impact on your mood too. It’s important to open the windows in your home office once in a while, to prevent it from getting stuffy. However, for an extra homely touch, you might also like to choose some candles with your favourite fragrance.
Candles can also be a sneaky way of adding a little motivation or relaxation to your workday. If you start to feel lethargic after lunch, a citrusy scent such as orange or lemon can be revitalising. Or if you’d like to begin to wind down at the end of your workday, a soothing scent such as lavender may be the one you reach for.
With the power of aromatherapy at your fingertips, you can transform your workspace into a sweet-smelling sanctuary.
Everybody’s job, whether remote, hybrid or in a shared office, is unique. Your home office should be tailored for your specific needs and what will help you to feel comfortable, relaxed and inspired at work. However, we hope this list of 15 working from home essentials has given you a few ideas.
If you’re still choosing your perfect working from home setup, you may like to browse our range of affordable office furniture. With desks, chairs and clever storage solutions, we’d love to help you transform your home office into a powerhouse of productivity!
Visit our online store to browse the full range of furniture, for both the home and garden.