Have you struggled to get your job done remotely over the past year? If so, you’re not alone. Many people had never worked from home full-time, or worked from home at all, prior to COVID-19 forcing a remote modality last spring, so this has been an adjustment for millions of people across the globe. And now, as research shows hybrid working is being adopted by many companies and industries moving forward, remote work will be a permanent element for many employees. With this post, we are hoping to ease your stress and help make your remote working experience run more smoothly. Read on as we take a look at 6 office essentials that will improve your productivity when working from home.
A desk with enough space to meet your needs.
While it may seem like a commonsense practice, having a desk that can fit all of your work-related items without becoming cluttered will make your life easier. This can be much more challenging at home than at your company’s in-person office, where you may have an individual office or spacious, dedicated personal workspace. The size of the desk you need at home will vary depending on your job, equipment and the space considerations of your remote space. For instance, some of you may want to replicate your in-person office where you have become accustomed to having a desk big enough for multiple computer screens, while others may strictly use only a laptop. It is important to consider having other technology necessities readily available, like a printer. At your company’s office, you may be used to a printer on your desk or having access to a shared printer/scanner/copier in a central location, and now you need to find space for these at your home office. We suggest taking inventory of what you use on a daily basis before deciding to purchase any bigger items, and checking with your employer to see if they will provide an office essential for you.
Luxe Digital, a media publication that explores the digital transformation of the luxury industry, offers the following advice as part of a post entitled “Reach Peak Productivity With These Home Office Essentials,” “For a home office desk, we like something simple and minimalistic with ample room to set up our laptop and monitor. Our preference goes for standing desks that are easily adjustable with an electric system. The ApexDesk Elite Series in size 71″ is an Amazon bestseller. With an electric height adjustment, you can easily turn it into a standing desk when you want to stretch your legs.”
A comfortable and ergonomic chair
Unless you plan on committing to using a standing desk full-time, you will be spending a lot of time in a seated position. For that reason, it’s important to pick a desk chair that is comfortable, practical and designed for efficiency.
Nomad Paradise, a popular blog that offers advice on many subjects including remote work, published a post from Dale Johnson, a content designer and strategist who has worked remotely since 2012. Johnson compiled a list of things that you should consider when searching for an ergonomic chair that “works for you:”
- Lumbar support, and the shape of the support in relation to the curvature of your lower back
- Whether the height of the chair and the arms rests can be adjusted, as ideally, your feet should rest flat on the floor, and your arms rest at a ninety-degree angle
- Whether the chairs rolls (important for preventing strain when moving around and reaching for things) or if the chair has special wheels if your floor is carpeted
- Whether the chair has a swivel base, which, again helps reduce strain
Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you are struggling to focus at home and finding yourself distracted by pets, kids, spouses or just about anything else, noise-cancelling headphones can make all the difference. Noise-cancelling headphones can help to transform your home office into the perfect zen space to give you the silence need for accomplishing even the most challenging tasks.
While there are many different options on the market for noise-cancelling headphones, contributing writer Molly Gregor, writing for Mental Floss, an online magazine, recommends this pair of Sony headphones. According to Gregory, “Drown out of the sounds of any pesky roommates or neighbours with these wireless noise-cancelling headphones from Sony. These are designed to create a “virtually soundproof” listening experience, and they’re Alexa-enabled for easy connection to music, podcasts, and news updates. They are equipped with touch controls and smart listening technology to adjust ambient sounds based on your activity. And these headphones will last for 30 hours after a single charge, so you’ll get through most of the workweek without needing to give it more juice.”
In order to complete our jobs, either remotely or in-person at an office, we have all grown reliant on a variety of different technological gadgets such as laptops, cell phones, tablets, smartwatches, etc. Considering at any given moment you may be attending a virtual meeting, responding to an email and sending a text message all at the same time and on three different electronic devices, it is crucial to have a charging station handy to prevent any of your necessary devices from running out of battery while you are trying to do your job. There are a lot of options on the market for products that can charge multiple devices, so the best option for you depends on what devices you use and need to have charged on a daily basis.
Writing for CNET, a website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on technology and consumer electronics, senior editor Justin Jaffe recommend the Aukey Omnia 65W charger.
According to Jaffe, “Many newer gadgets have transitioned to USB-C charging, but plenty of us still have legacy USB-A cables around the house. With the Aukey Omnia 65-watt charger, you’re good to go with any of them. It’s got both types of jacks, and the USB-C one is Power Delivery compatible, meaning it can charge most compatible laptops, too. Best of all, this costs as little as $25, thanks to a semipermanent Amazon instant coupon.”
Strong WiFi connection
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Having a solid WiFi connection is absolutely vital if you’re going to be working from home. As we’re sure you’ve already realized, a strong internet connection is imperative because of the bandwidth needed for video calls and apps that increase your productivity. If you are struggling with internet connection because of your individual capacity, or because multiple people in your home are working and learning remotely, a WiFi booster could be your answer.
Alexandra Polk, associate writer at Refinery29, a digital media and entertainment website, compiled a helpful list of options for those who need assistance improving internet connectivity:
- Amazon Superboost Wi-Fi Extender
- Target AC1200 WiFi Range Extender (EX6110-100NAS)
- Staples RE6700 Wireless Range Extender
- Amazon AC1750 Wi-Fi Extender
- Target AC1900 WiFi Range Extender Essential Edition
- Staples TL-WA850RE Universal Wireless Range Extender
- Amazon Wi-Fi Range Extender 1200Mbps Wi-Fi Booster AC1200
- Walmart High Power 700mW Dual Band AC Wi-Fi Range Extender
- Target 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender
Ergonomic accessories such as keyboards, mouses, or laptop stands can really make a huge difference in how your body feels at the end of each workday.
According to a piece from New York Times Wirecutter, written by tech journalist Erica Ogg, it’s all about small changes: “You don’t have to spend a lot of money on gear to avoid straining your arms, wrists, fingers, back, or neck.” If you’re looking for recommendations, take a look at Ogg’s suggestions, as she provides a helpful guide of products.
Smartway2 is accelerating the world’s transition to smarter ways of working. We design, build, sell and service technology platforms that deliver an ever-improving workplace experience in a hybrid working world. The tools we create enable forward-thinking organizations to adopt a data-driven approach to optimizing their workplaces and spaces and all the facilities within them, from rooms, spaces and parking, to equipment, catering and classes.