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Working from home is slowly becoming the new norm for many businesses across different industries. In fact, a study revealed that 70% of employees around the world work remotely at least one day a week. When social distancing protocols went into effect in 2020, those numbers surged even higher.
Whether you're an experienced telecommuter, running a new online business or trying remote work for the first time, you might not be aware of all the modern furniture, tech and gadgets that can make your home set-up comfortable and efficient.
Read on and discover 15 work-from-home essentials that'll level up your remote work experience!
1. Home Office Desk
There are a lot of cool office desks on the market, but one thing you may have noticed about streamlined modern desks is the lack of storage. HOMCOM's multi-level home office desk has a crisp contemporary look but also an ingenious design that maximises function, organisation and customisation to your needs. The upper shelf alone can hold two monitors, provide additional space for storage bins, or serve as a standing desk if you float the unit at the centre of your home office.
2. LED Desk Lamp
Studies have shown that working in natural light reduces eyestrain, headaches and drowsiness for office workers. For windowless home offices or cloudy days, the OttLite LED desk lamp provides the next best thing with a bulb that mimics the 'spectral output of the sun'.
Telecommuters also find that days can blur together without the structure of a typical office, so the prominent date and time display is a bonus. The multifunction lighting also offers a USB port for charging phones and tablets.
3. Portable Scanner
While most companies have made efforts to go paperless, the average office worker deals with approximately 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. Printed copies of legal agreements, memos, research and other documents are easily shared with colleagues when you're in the office, but things get trickier when you're working from home.
Enter the Doxie Go rechargeable portable scanner. About the size of a rolled-up magazine, it's easy to use anywhere in your house. It scans full colour documents up to 600dpi to the included software, which can then be sent to your laptop, PC or cloud apps.
The best news is that Doxie renders the scanned text of video conferencing notes, receipts and other documents searchable. Being able to search, organise and share your docs quickly is a sure-fire way to boost efficiency when working from home.
4. Multifunction Office Chair
While you may be more concerned about getting your technology in order at your home office, don't forget to choose an ergonomic desk chair. While there are lots of alternative chair ideas for avoiding neck and back pain, even a standard model can offer posture and health benefits. This budget-friendly mesh-backed multifunction chair from Alera has multiple adjustment options for back and arm support, a seat design that relieves the pressure on your legs, and a five-pronged base for ergonomic stability.
5. Bluetooth Phone System
Working from home typically allows you more control over your schedule. Still, you don't want to miss an important call because you left your cell phone in the office while you were making a sandwich in the kitchen. The Panasonic link2cell phone system allows you to sync to one or two smartphones, and pick up calls anywhere in the house on up to six cordless handsets.
The robust phone system has a speakerphone, audible caller ID and boasts noise reduction technology so your clients can hear you clearly. As a bonus, to assist your telecommuting work-life balance, it also offers a built-in baby monitor.
6. Room-Darkening Curtains
A nice bright window in your home office is generally considered a bonus feature, but it can sometimes cause glare on your monitor or blinding backlight while you're video conferencing. These AmazonBasics room-darkening curtains help block out light, reduce outside noise, and insulate against heat in the summer and cold in the winter.
Unlike utilitarian blackout curtains, these come in a variety of patterns to punch up the decor in your office.
7. Desk Organiser
A study revealed that the average American spends two and a half days looking for lost or misplaced items each year, which means we're definitely losing the war against disorganisation. Sometimes a simple solution can make a big difference, like this customisable office organiser from The Office Oasis which could make you that much more organised and productive working at home.
8. Screen Cleaner Spray
Everyone has that moment when the sun hits your laptop or phone screen, and you realise how much dust, fingerprints and other grime have accumulated on your device. The EVEO screen cleaner promises to not only clean your screens, but protect against dirt and static electricity. The spray, and the included microfiber cloth, are even safe for LCD, LED and OLED screens.
9. Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headset
This Plantronics Bluetooth headset should be one of your work-from-home essentials. Noise-cancelling headphones help block out distractions whether you're on a call or just wanting to stay in the zone throughout your workday.
The wireless design allows you to move around freely while Skyping or listening to audio files for work or relaxation. Plus, the full headset with boom mic allows for clear communication on calls and videoconferencing, without the nasty feedback and garbled transmission you can get on speakerphone or through your laptop.
10. Day Planner
Yes, there is an app for that, but many workers still consider a day planner one of their work at home essentials. Just as a physical map or atlas helps you see the bigger travel picture better than your phone's GPS, this large-scale Tullofa day planner allows you to assess and organise your schedule for a full year. Having a dedicated space to compile daily to-do lists and long-term goals also helps you boost your time-management skills.
11. Coffee Warmer
Many people would list coffee as an absolute necessity to work productively from home. The BESTINNKITS coffee warmer turns on automatically when you set your mug down and keeps your favourite elixir at an optimum temperature throughout your workday. You can even use the waterproof heating plate as a candle warmer if you need some aromatherapy for stress relief.
Sure, part of the fun of having the coolest office gadgets is to show them off to your coworkers, but you can always bask in the envy of your Instagram followers instead.
12. Wireless Printer
Multifunction devices are work-from-home essentials. They save steps in your workflow, are easier on the budget and conserve valuable workspace. This HP OfficeJet wireless printer offers fast colour copies as well as faxing and scanning features. It has several smart tech capabilities, including mobile access, automatic replacement ordering when ink levels are low, and syncing to QuickBooks, Google Drive and other programmes. It's also an eco-friendly choice, made partially with recycled plastics and electronics.
13. Tablet Stand
Multiple displays are a requirement for many work at home gigs, and this Lamicall tablet stand makes it easy to use your tablet as a supplemental monitor for your laptop. It supports vertical display on devices up to 12 inches and horizontal for larger tablets. You can easily adjust for a comfortable viewing angle and the base is sturdy enough to accommodate screen taps.
14. Yoga Pants
One of the best perks of working from home is getting to wear comfy clothes. Even if you're video conferencing every day, there's no reason you can't do like many news anchors and slip on a pair of shorts or these awesome 90 Degree by Reflex yoga pants, without anyone ever knowing.
They come in a variety of fun colours just for you, feature helpful pockets for your cell phone and other essentials, and a high waist that won't roll down whether you're sitting down or getting in a little exercise at your desk. They're also well-reviewed and a heck of a lot more affordable than those trendy designer brands.
15. Stress Ball
Sometimes you need a bit of sensory distraction while you're brainstorming, watching a long video presentation, or just need a moment of stress release. This Serenilite stress ball comes in a variety of colours to brighten up your desk space, and it's also soft enough to safely lob at anyone at home who disturbs you while you're working.
We hope this guide of useful tech, gadgets and accessories helps you create the perfect home office environment.
What items do you consider your work at home essentials? Join the discussion in the comments below!