When furnishing your first home office, the process can be overwhelming. If you’re like us, you want everything to be just perfect from the start. The right gear, the perfect layout, the most cutting-edge technology. But while home offices can – and should – evolve over time, that doesn’t mean you can’t at least consider all of the elements that make for a great space on day one.
This ultimate home setup checklist for home offices will help you plan your purchases, prioritize what to buy first, and help you consider what to add down the road.
Keep it simple with furniture in your home office. You want this space to be focused on your work needs. Many remote workers do not have the space to dedicate an entire room of their homes to an office, so furniture often needs to be able to fit into a living room or bedroom. You’ll only need a few furniture items to get started.
A desk is the most essential piece of furniture for your home office. Measure the space you have before purchasing a desk. If you are working in your living room, you might consider a smaller desk. Make sure your desk can accommodate your monitors and computer, as well as a notepad to write on.
If your budget can swing it, consider an adjustable desk that allows you to sit or stand while you work.
As a remote worker, you will be spending a lot of time in your office chair. Choose a chair that allows you to sit comfortably. Most people prefer chairs that have wheels, allowing you to change positions throughout the day without scuffing your floor. For an added ergonomic boost, consider a chair that has an adjustable seat and backrest.
2. Electronics & Equipment
The equipment you will need to work remotely includes computing tools to perform your job functions and technology that allows you to participate in video calls.
If you don’t already have a work computer, now’s the time to purchase one – or to upgrade. If you own your own business and are using your computer for work purposes only, it may be a wise tax-deductible purchase.
Also, the speed of your computer is one of the things that can make you much more efficient at your job. In an era where the number of hours you work is much less important that how much you can get done, a properly functioning computer can pay dividends in the future.
A monitor helps you see the display from your computer. Even if your computer is a laptop, an additional monitor can help you see what you are working on with less eye strain. Consider these items as you make your selection:
- Single or multiple external monitors
- Single-use or dual inputs (for gaming)
- Monitor height – consider a monitor stand so the screen is exactly at eye level
- Refresh rate – important if you work on videos or play games
- Widescreen or curved – more real estate means more potential strain on your eyes. Consider a curved monitor the wider you go.
A tiny laptop touchpad is not enough for most remote workers. Going back to being efficient, find a fully wireless mouse that you can use comfortable day in and day out. Using a mouse instead of a touchpad can reduce wrist fatigue, as well as make your cursor movements faster and more accurate.
You will need a webcam to join video conferences with your colleagues or clients. Most laptops come with a built-in camera. However, an external HD camera can provide a clearer, more high-quality shot that shows your professionalism. Consider your light source when the camera is on, as backlit views will negate having a nice camera.
Great sound quality on video calls is perhaps more important than the video quality – but it is often more difficult to obtain. Your colleagues want to hear your voice, not the noise in the room. Even if your computer has a built-in mic, an external microphone will improve sound quality for your calls. Typically, the closer the mic is to your mouth, the better it sounds. Work hard to reduce background noises, echo from the room,
Speakers / Headphones
Small speakers or headphones can allow you to participate in conference calls or listen to music while you work while tuning out the sounds of the outside world. Less expensive speakers may be fine, but more expensive versions will provide more bass, a full sound spectrum, and clearer quality.
3. Physical & Digital Peripherals
Peripherals are those nice-to-have items that you can put on your wishlist. These items won’t break your budget, and they are excellent gift ideas for new remote employees.
A monitor stand allows you to adjust the height of your monitors. Keeping monitors at eye level reduces back and eye strain.
If you often write notes while you work, a desk light can help you see your notebook or planner more easily. Desk lights can be functional décor items that add a bit more flavor to your desk.
It’s convenient to keep pens, pencils, staplers, and other office supplies at your desk. A desk organizer can reduce the clutter on your desk and allow you to focus on your work.
If you do have a standing desk, a standing pad helps you prevent foot and back pain.
Decorations can add a personal touch to a home office. When you make the space yours, you will feel more comfortable and work will be a bit more relaxing. Whether it’s houseplants or a coffee mug collection, decor adds a cozy feeling.
A rug is a good way to visually set apart a home office space, especially if it is in a multi-function room. Rugs can reduce the echo in a room which makes video calls easier.
Art / Picture Frames
Pictures of your family members, favorite vacations, or cherished pets can brighten up a workspace. Adding some unique art pieces to your home office will help your personal style shine.
It may be old-school, but a traditional wall clock can give you something to glance at that isn’t your computer screen. Glancing away from the screen at an object that is a few feet away is one of the best ways to reduce eye strain. Plus, a wall clock helps your brain keep track of where you are in the day relative to your workload.
A bookshelf is a perfect backdrop for a video call. Store your favorite books and a few personal items on a bookshelf behind your desk to finally ditch the virtual backgrounds on your calls.