Remote work or Work From Home (WFH) can be a major transition for those who have spent years working in an office. However, WFH is not only considered as necessary during these pandemic times. It is now a part of the so-called “new normal”, with companies adopting the work status as either a full remote or a hybrid setup.
If you have been placed under WFH status, you need to have certain essential items in order to work efficiently and productively. Let’s do a rundown of the Top 20 WFH essentials that can boost your productivity.
Before you purchase any item for WFH, you must always start with a good desk to serve as your work station. While traditional desks have drawers and other good storage features, the latest styles of WFH desks are designed to meet other functions as well. If you see yourself working on the computer and other gadgets, there are WFH desks that are not only slim in design, but also have holes, pegs, and docks so that you can better organize cables and other attachments which you might trip over. For the health conscious, you have standing desks or motorized adjustable height desks so that you are not always working sitting down. Another innovative desk design is the treadmill desk, which has a built-in treadmill so that you can walk or jog as you work.
2) Ergonomic chair
Because you are sure to be spending long hours sitting down, your next purchase should be an ergonomic chair, which is designed to give ample support for your spine and lower back. Like the desk above, some innovations have also been made with ergonomic chairs. For example, now available are WFH recliners, which come with built-in table tops for your laptop (practically eliminating the need for a desk), cup holders for your coffee, a stand for your smartphone and tablet, and even a touch sensor lamp.
3) Computer and Stand
When on WFH status, you need to have a good computer with more than sufficient memory and office-recommended software, especially antivirus and security software. You also need to subscribe to a good Internet plan which guarantees stable and fast connection, even on WiFi.
For those who are using a laptop, you may need a good sturdy stand so that the laptop screen is ergonomically positioned at eye level, so that you don’t end up slouching and straining your neck.
4) External Monitor and Stand or Mount
Whether you are using a desktop or a laptop, you may need to use a separate external monitor especially if you are going to do multiple tasks. Make sure that you have a sturdy stand or mount to keep your monitors in the right ergonomic position. Mounts especially can be useful if your desktop is already cluttered so that you can affix your monitors on the edge of your desk or on walls.
5) Ergonomic mouse and keyboard
Having an ergonomic mouse and keyboard can help prevent strain in your wrists, arms, and shoulders. A good ergonomic mouse should have extra features that will enable you to scroll and click with minimal wrist and finger movement so as to prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. For added comfort and wrist support, you may consider purchasing a mouse or keyboard rest pad.
Headphones with built-in microphones are great for Zoom meetings so that you can clearly hear what your bosses and colleagues are saying. If you are distracted easily by noises in your surroundings, you may want to get an extra pair of noise cancelling headphones as well, especially when you need to concentrate on deadlines.
Wearing headphones too much can be bad for your ears. Consider purchasing a pair of speakers so that you don’t have to wear headphones all the time while teleconferencing. If you love music, speakers can enable you to enjoy your favorite tunes while working.
Sometimes, built-in microphones in headsets may not be able to project your voice clearly during Zoom meetings. In these cases, you need a good external microphone for clearer amplification of your voice.
9) External Webcam
It’s not enough that your voice be heard clearly. You also need to be seen with picture perfect clarity by your bosses and colleagues as well. Most of the time, laptop cams don’t really make you look good. So, it is best to use an external webcam, enabling your image to be streamed clearly on everyone’s computers.
You need good lighting to work so that you don’t end up straining your eyes. You may opt for a ceiling- or wall-mounted lamp. For more focused lighting when doing paperwork, use a desk lamp. However, if there’s too much stuff on your desk, you can use a nice bright pendant lamp instead.
11) Side Table
Aside from your desk, you may need to purchase a side table or two on which to place files, books, refreshments, and other stuff for your work.
12) Filing Cabinet
If you will be dealing with a lot of paperwork, a filing cabinet is necessary to keep all your documents organized.
13) Organizers and Office Supplies
Naturally, when WFH, you will need to use a lot of office supplies. Have a paper tray filled with paper ready for printing out documents. Make sure to fill your desk organizer with pens, pencils, paper clips, note pads, and Post-It Notes. Many employees have found wall-mounted whiteboards to be useful in jotting down important reminders, planning their work, or for organizing thoughts.
14) Smartphone and/or Tablet Stand
Your bosses and colleagues may want to keep in touch with you via smartphone or tablet. Placing your devices on a stand will help to keep them within easy reach and also so that you don’t end up knocking them down on the floor with your hand.
15) Laptop tray and/or Laptop shield
The great thing about laptops is that you can bring them anywhere in your home or outside of it when you want a change of scenery. A laptop tray with a built-in fan can not only allow you to take your computer anywhere; it also prevents the laptop from heating up on your lap. If heat build up on your lap is a problem for you, you may want to consider buying a laptop shield as well.
16) Water bottle
It is important to keep hydrated while working. Make sure that you have a water bottle filled with water or other refreshing beverages.
17) Coffee maker and mug
If you can’t get through your working day without a cup of coffee, then you should get a coffee maker and mug for your work station. Don’t forget to include a package or two of your favorite brew, sugar, and cream.
When WFH, there is a tendency for you to lose yourself in your work. It certainly is no wonder that you end up working longer hours and make yourself susceptible to burnout. A timer helps you to schedule short breaks in between work. Utilizing the Pomodoro Technique, you can set the timer to work uninterrupted for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, when the timer rings, you can take a short break of 10 minutes.
19) Blue Light Computer Glasses
Working for too many hours in front of a computer screen can cause eye strain, blurred vision, and dry eye, and which, for the long term, may lead to cataracts and macular degeneration. Using special computer glasses that filter out blue light can help in protecting your eyes.
20) Yoga or acupressure mat
WFH does not mean you should be sitting at your desk for hours. If you value your health, think about buying a yoga or acupressure mat. During short breaks, get off your chair and do some stretches on the mat. Or you can just lie down and close your eyes or even take a short nap. If a mat is not your idea of relaxation, although more expensive, you can buy a lounge chair or a sofa so that you can relax more comfortably.