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Have you found yourself working from home for the foreseeable future? You’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, upwards of 29 percent of Americans are currently working from home—a statistic that has risen from just 5 percent before the country began sheltering in place in response to the global pandemic.
Working from home can be a fun privilege—you can wake up two minutes before your first Zoom meeting, you can even work from your bed if you want… but anyone who has worked from home long term will tell you: the novelty will wear off and you’ll want to settle into a healthy routine sooner, rather than later.
If you’re currently working from home and want to optimize your workspace, we’ve put together a list of desk essentials that will ensure you’re not only hitting optimal productivity, but also working from space that actually brings you joy. From the practical to the aesthetically pleasing, here’s everything you need to spruce up your workspace.
“A laptop stand is a must-have for anyone who uses a laptop for work. It allows for a proper sitting posture by lifting your laptop up to eye level.” says Mira Rakicevic Co-Founder of Comfy Living. The Twelve South Curve laptop stand comes in matte black or white color, and it has anti-slip silicone pads that prevent the computer from slipping or scratching. Its design is minimal and elegant, and its use is multifunctional: you get a healthier back and neck position, and your laptop gets proper ventilation.
“One of the most important items I keep on my desk is my day planner,” says Ryan Anderson, Founder of Bead the Change. “This helps me stay on track when I’m working in my home office, and ensures I’m working at the pace I want to work at.”
While you might be tempted to use a digital planner, a physical planner laid out on your desk will be a constant reminder to check in and make scheduling your days a habit. If you’re already into the habit of using a digital planner, consider a physical notepad to write down ideas, quick to-dos, or thoughts that come up during the work day.
Kevin Miller, Founder and CEO at The Word Counter suggests adding some green to your workspace. “Get yourself a pretty potted plant of some kind—small one for on top of the desk or a larger one to stand beside it,” he says.
“Do some research, and find one that’s well-known for being a good air filter (spider plants, etc). You get a bit of greenery, something to distract you from time to time, a more natural environment for your desk, and you’ll have to learn how to take care of it, so you’ll gain a new skill.”
“As an individual who has years of experience in remote work,trust me when I say that a wrist pad is a necessary item for your home workstation,” says Andrew Jezic, Founding Partner at Law Offices of Jezic & Moyse.
“As remote workers, we often neglect our physical health by using chairs with no lumbar support or sitting with improper posture but one thing you can do to save yourself from potentially developing carpal tunnel syndrome invest in a wrist pad that is placed before your keyboard.”
A simple keyboard wrist pad will save your hands and wrists from long term pain and is a much more comfortable experience for anyone doing a lot of typing.
A functional desk and comfortable chair goes a long way, especially if you’re worried about your posture or shoulders.
“Desk chairs are like tennis shoes and mattresses—you want a good one which typically means purchase from a reputable company.” says Kathleen Anderson, Principal Designer at Material Design.
Maybe you picked out your apartment for its location and ignored its general lack of windows, thinking you wouldn’t spend a lot of time there during the day, or you’re finding out that your home’s in shadow during some key daylight hours.
According to Manny Hernandez, Co-Founder of Wealth Growth Wisdom, LLC, light affects your mood and energy levels, and a good therapy lamp promises to enhance both courtesy of 10,000 LUX LED light.
Many people who start out in the home office don’t drink enough water. “I have a water bottle prominently placed on my desk, 750ml, and refill it at least twice before knocking off,” explains Chris Kaiser, Founder & CEO of Click A Tree.
“Sometimes I even make it a challenge that I won’t go to the toilet before emptying the bottle—depending on your bladder size you may want to start with a smaller bottle for that!”