How to invest in your home office to promote balance and productivity

With the unexpected jump from commuting to our office 5 days out of the week to telecommuting from our bedrooms daily, updating our workspace became unavoidable.

Companies have had to make several adjustments to how they handle in house operations and employees at home had to do much of the same. Besides the obstacle of having to share your workspace with others in the home, another big drawback is having to dip into your savings to reimagine your office space from the comfort of your own home.

How do we combat Zoom fatigue, the blurred lines between work and home life, and managing to boost productivity amidst so many at-home distractions? Office Depot teamed up with Amazon Mechanical Turk to survey 1,004 full-time work-from-home respondents to see how they’ve managed to thrive in a new remote work landscape. See the results in full here.

These at-home office upgrades help the most according to the survey

One of the most important investments to fuel productivity throughout the workday is an ergonomic office chair. Over 36% of respondents admitted the addition of this modern-day office staple in their own homes made remote work life more comfortable and 23% of respondents claimed this amenity facilitated focus and the amount of work they were able to get done in one sitting. This fruitful investment also promotes physical well-being by saving those of us stuck working full-time at home from experiencing debilitating neck and back pain.

Secondly, it might be time to invest in a desk to better organize your space. Remote work respondents who upgraded their desks found themselves more organized and capable of finishing daily tasks assigned to them. About 22% of the at-home workforce bought a better desk to organize documents, desk lamps, computers, printers, and other tools to help keep themselves organized. A messy desk will only serve as a time-waster in a day that is already occupied by so many other distractions, especially for those parents taking on teaching roles with some schools gone remote in light of the pandemic.

Where should you set up your remote office? According to this survey, 82% of respondents yielded higher productivity levels in a designated “home office room” featuring office amenities, work-related supplies, and teleconferencing tools only. This set-up was preferred over the 80% that experienced getting more work done in an office space set up in their bedrooms, while 77% preferred this work-from-home set up in the living room.

Those who were able to completely zone off one room in the house strictly for business were 5% more productive than those unable to do so.

Considering everyone is trying to be productive at home these days you’ll definitely need to upgrade your internet speeds and many employees have already done so. The amount of folks spending a little extra to maximize internet speeds to avoid poor teleconference connections or other disruptions that come along with a weak connection is 47%. Of the over 1,000 respondents surveyed 49% of those respondents also put more money aside to splurge on better software to complete projects from home. These costs can add up which brings us to the next logical line of questioning; how am I supposed to afford all of these upgrades?

Stipends and tax write-offs to look into so your work-from-home office upgrades don’t break the bank

Creating a remote haven to ensure your work projects don’t suffer in regards to quality is challenging and costly, to say the least. Many of the investments to spruce up your home office are tax-deductible so be sure to check in with your accountant or look on the IRS webpage to see what you are able to write off next tax season. About 63% of respondents plan on writing off the following upgrades next year:

  • Utility bills (increases to internet bills and electricity especially)
  • Separate telephone lines for business-related inquiries
  • Equipment (desks, chairs, computers, Wi-Fi routers, keyboards, ring lights, and BlueTooth headsets for conference calls)
  • Homeowners insurance
  • General repairs and maintenance
  • Interior paint
  • Rent expenses

Businesses have also gone the extra mile in providing their employee’s stipends to invest in the best work-from-home office space imaginable. Those companies that allocated funds for their remote employees ensured 84% of respondents were able to afford the upgrades required to keep their team’s communication between departments stronger despite being apart. The average amount doled out for work from home essentials was about $815. Employees reserved these funds for computer software (49%), internet (47%), office furniture (37%), and office hardware (35%). Some other products employees spent this corporate stipend on were upgraded phone lines, remote health and wellness products, home office rentals, employee insurance, co-working arrangements, and protective gear.

If you find yourself struggling to complete tasks without the add ons mentioned above it might be a good idea to bring up the importance of a “ WFH stipend” in the next Zoom meeting. Wielding increased productivity as a logical argument in favor of said bonus to purchasing essentials might convince your boss to help you and your team upgrade your remote office space. Realistically this investment will ultimately serve the entire company for the better.

The takeaway

Consider investing in these home office amenities to make your work-from-home situation a fruitful one. Bear in mind, despite the cost of tools to aid you in building your business at home there are stipends, tax-write offs, and online stores with great deals to help you offset the cost of continuing to reach career goals from your couch or kitchen counter. Set yourself up to be more productive today with more tips to maximize your home office space here. Best of luck!