By now, most remote workers have a full remote workspace set up, with a desk, chair, and computer to serve their needs. But do you ever feel like your home office is missing something?
The essentials are all you need to get by. But if you want to be comfortable, productive, and happy in your remote work environment, you’ll need to make some better upgrades.
What You’re Missing
These are some of the most common features and upgrades remote workers miss:
- An extra monitor. Even if your computer has a large screen already, you could benefit from having an extra monitor – or potentially two extra monitors. Additional screen space will allow you to keep multiple windows open simultaneously so you can cross-reference documents and conveniently switch tasks without losing time. It may not seem like a big deal, but once you make the switch, you’ll never want to go back.
- Adequate lighting. Lighting can make a big difference in your productivity and mood. Ideally, you’ll have a window nearby so you can benefit from the natural light. But if that’s not a possibility, artificial lights that simulate natural light are a decent substitute. Be sure to have a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting at your disposal for the best results.
- Cleaning products. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a clean office environment. A dust-free, organized workspace is going to help you be far more productive than a dirty and cluttered one. Keep a vacuum cleaner nearby so you can touch up the carpet when necessary – and keep wipes and canned air on hand to address dusty equipment.
- Wired internet. Most of us primarily use Wi-Fi for our devices, and for most applications this is perfectly acceptable. But if you want faster speeds and a more reliable connection, there’s no substitute for wired internet. Wire your computer directly into the wall for a better overall internet experience.
- An ergonomic chair. Your chair might be comfortable, but is it supporting healthy posture? Is it minimizing your risk of developing long-term chronic pain in the future? Ergonomically designed chairs naturally guide you to maintain proper posture throughout the day, helping you feel better over the long term.
- A printer. Even if you job doesn’t require you to print anything on a regular basis or manage physical paperwork, it’s handy to have a printer on hand. Whenever you need to physically sign a document, or whenever you want to read a document on paper, you’ll have the opportunity to do it. Just make sure you invest in a laser printer, rather than an inkjet printer, since it’s better suited for business environments.
- Efficient storage. You’ll want a variety of items nearby in your office, such as old files, additional batteries for your wireless accessories, and old-fashioned pens and paper – but you also don’t want these things strewn about your desk. That’s why it’s important to invest in efficient storage, including cabinets, shelves, and drawers where you can keep your most important items out of the way.
- Backup options. What happens if your power goes out in the middle of your workday? Or your internet? Your home office needs to have backup options. An uninterruptable power supply (UPS) can keep you working even during a power outage, and a mobile hotspot can give you internet when your main service is out. It also pays to have local hard drives to back up your most important files (in addition to cloud storage).
- A paper shredder. If you ever plan on printing sensitive information, or if you get important paperwork by mail on an occasional basis, it’s a good idea to buy a paper shredder. With the right product, you can seamlessly feed your paper through the device and rest assured that none of your personal information will be recoverable.
- Houseplants. Did you know that being in an office with plants can make you significantly more productive? There are many competing hypotheses for why this is the case, including the evolutionary advantages of being drawn to foliage. But whatever the reason, most people find themselves to be calmer and more focused with a handful of plants in their vicinity. And if you don’t like the idea of taking care of houseplants during the workday, fake plants should do the job just fine.
Additional Upgrades and Improvements
Your home office will be a perpetual work in progress. Over time, you’ll discover new needs you didn’t have before, you’ll grow tired of your old surroundings, and you’ll come up with new ideas for how you can be more productive.
Take your time, make changes incrementally, and do what you can to stay at the top of your game.