I can’t tell you how many lists I clicked on when I was first working from home that listed things you must have in your home office.
- A blanket.
- Your favorite coffee mug.
- A candle.
- A notepad and pen.
Not what I was expecting.
I don’t need a list to tell me I need a pen and paper if I’m going to work from home. Or a blanket?!
I can go to my linen closet and grab one of those if I get cold. I don’t NEED one in my office.
So basically, I never found any remotely helpful list when I first started working from home that talked about what you may ACTUALLY need and use every day.
But, that’s what I want this list to be for you.
This list will not waste your time or give you a list of obvious things you know you need to work from home (like a notebook and a pen or a comfy chair).
Having worked at home for many years now, I know what you need; items that will help you be more efficient and productive throughout the day.
1. A second (or third) monitor
Working off more than one monitor is a game-changer and many people already do this.
If for some reason you don’t, invest in an additional monitor. It makes things so much easier and cleaner to work on.
I have three screens (two monitors and my laptop screen) that I work off of and I love it.
It just makes it easier when working from home.
Some people like one, really large monitor, but I’m a fan of multiple monitors so that I can easily separate different things onto different screens.
2. A wrist pad for both your keyboard and mouse
For whatever reason, I didn’t have this when I started working from home.
I don’t know if I forgot to bring the one from my physical office when I transitioned or if I just never used one, but this is a must-have for me now.
This is the exact one that I have off Amazon and I’ve had it for over three years now. It’s held up great compared to others I’ve used in the past and I find it very comfortable.
3. External speaker
Music is a must-have for me while I’m working! I used to have speakers hooked up to my computer and I would stream music that way.
But, then one of the speakers blew and I somehow ended up with an Amazon Alexa Echo Dot in my office and it’s perfect.
It’s small and fits right on my desk. I have it linked to Spotify and Pandora and I just use it as a speaker to listen to music.
4. A pack of thumb drives
This is weird, but trust me there will come a time you will be looking for a thumb drive and you can’t find one.
It happened to me many times, so I just ended up buying a 5-Pack of thumb drives off Amazon and now I don’t have to worry about it.
Get a cheap pack of USBs like the one I linked and have extras laying around; they are useful.
I never realized that I used stamps until I started working remotely.
Okay, that might be a bit dramatic.
I do use a lot more stamps now that I work remotely, though, so I buy them in bulk.
It’s handy to have extras because you never know when you will need them (especially if you work for a small business).
6. A mobile pedestal
I have a little metal 2-drawer mobile pedestal (like this one) with a cushion on top in my space and I love it.
I have space to store things in the drawers, which is great. But what makes this type of storage even better is that it is mobile.
I can move the pedestal around and use it as needed or tuck it away off to the side.
PLUS if you add in a cushion top it acts as a seat in case someone comes into your office and talks to you for a few minutes (like your husband…or maybe that’s just my husband? LOL). It’s not a full-blown chair, but comfortable enough for someone to perch on for a few minutes.
Also, if you have a small office this can be a great space saver option too since it functions as both storage and seating.
7. A sit-stand unit
This one is probably not a true must-have, but it’s something to consider depending on your situation.
I’ve personally had a sit-stand (I do actually sell office furniture for a living, so I’ve seen/used it all!).
Sit stands are nice, but when I’m not working I feel like I never sit down (probably because I’m chasing my toddler around…), so I like to sit at my desk and work. I don’t want to stand any more than I have to!
But, maybe you don’t have a toddler, so standing might make work more interesting for you.
Either way, there are lots of different options when it comes to sit-stand units all at different price points.
I like when the entire desk/worksurface lifts, but those can be very pricey. So, a desktop one like the ESI S2S Height Adjustable Table is a good option that’s not too expensive and would easily convert any existing desk into a sit-stand unit.
8. A power strip with a long cord and lots of outlets
I never realized how many things I had to plug in until I started working from home. In office buildings, outlets are often everywhere (even on the floors and ceilings sometimes!).
But in residential homes, there is usually only one outlet on each wall of the room.
So, at most, you are looking at having 8 outlets in the entire room. I have eight things I have to plug in (and I need them all on the same wall), so an extension cord is a must.
But the typical 5 or 6 multiple outlet extension cords are not enough for me. If you have multiple monitors, a printer, a desk phone, a laptop, a power bank, a phone charger, a speaker…
I could keep going…
But my point is, I quickly learned I needed a power strip with 8 or more outlets so I had enough space for everything.
So just something to keep in mind depending on your setup. I recommend something like this Belkin Power Strip from Amazon because it has plenty of space for all your gadgets.
9. A chair mat
When I first worked from home, my office was downstairs and we had hardwood floors. But, now my office is on the second floor in a guest bedroom with carpet.
When we made the move, suddenly my task chair didn’t move as easily and I knew I needed a chair mat.
You probably haven’t thought about it, but the carpet in most houses is different from the carpet in your average office.
Typically residential carpet is more plush and soft because you are walking around without shoes on and you want something more comfortable on your feet. In an office, you want something that is the exact opposite.
So if your home office is going to be in a space with carpet, consider a chair mat.
It will make it easier to move your chair around because you won’t have to fight with the thick fibrous carpet when you want to get up to grab some coffee or go to the bathroom.
10. A motivational quote
You don’t have to get fancy with this and get a beautiful picture that is framed and hang it in your office.
Yes, beautiful framed motivational quotes are great.
But, the purpose is not to be pretty, the purpose is something that will keep you going on days when it’s hard.
I seriously have my favorite quote printed out on a piece of computer paper taped to the back of the door on my desk cabinet.
I’m not even joking. I’ve had this piece of paper for years at this point.
It’s old and not at all pretty, but I know it’s there and that’s what matters to me.
My quote is this:
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
I see it, I’m reminded of it, and it keeps me going some days because work and life and all the things are just hard some days.
Find a quote that speaks to you and display it somewhere you will see it every day. It will help, trust me.
I hope this list of must-have items is helpful to you wherever you are in your work-from-home journey. If you want to learn more about working from home, check out these tips to help you stay focused and get more done every day.
And, if you really need help finding that perfect candle, blanket, and pen for your office let me know and I’ll give you my favorites 😉