I have been working from home for 10 months now and have done so in the past. Personally, I hate it. However, it is the best option for me at this time so I have embraced it. It took me a while to create the perfect set-up that helps me feel comfortable, more focused and less crazy. All items in this home office buys list are ones that I have personally tested and love to use.
Don’t forgot that Amazon will often sell second-hand items for a cheaper cost! Make sure to check each item for this option. Shopping second hand is always better for the environment.
1. A Large, Curved Monitor
The work I do generally requires two monitors. When I did the same job at the official office, we all had two regular-sized monitors. A tech-savvy colleague suggested that I try a curved monitor instead. This monitor is great for gamers as well as people who need to have many tabs open at once. I chose the refurbished/renewed 32 inch (82 cm) Samsung monitor for $199. There is a cheaper version in black and there are other sizes.
I would have gone even bigger but I already have trouble finding a good desk for this one. Before buying, keep in mind that larger monitors may not fit your typical computer desk. This particular monitor also happens to have a stand that is very well balanced but doesn’t allow you to push the monitor all the way against the wall. This actually forced me to get a new desk so that I was a good distance from the monitor, for my eyes’ sake. I have used this 32 inch Samsung monitor since June 2019 and I am extremely happy with it. Other buyers have also left great reviews.
2. Verilux Light
Working from home seems amazing. I used to think so too. However, I quickly got super depressed. Not only are you alone but you also don’t have that commute that gets you outside more. Especially during the long and gloomy winter months, I had a really hard time. That’s when my sister-in-law recommended the Verilux Light! This is a Happy Light that literally makes you happier and has other health benefits.
It delivers up to 10,000 lux (light level) intensity for effective light therapy. The way it works is that the lamp provides signals to the body to help you feel energized, focused, and revitalized. It is recommended for office workers, seniors, shift work, jet lag, insomnia, and sunlight deprivation. I have personally felt better with this lamp and I would recommend anyone who works from home or suffers during winters to try it. There are various options that range in price, size and complexity of options. Mine is medium range and cost $49.
3. Desk Bike
Working from home can easily turn one into a couch potato. In the office, I would get up often to chat with colleagues and go for walks. At home, I found myself sitting at my desk for three hours straight. It was painful and I packed on the pounds fast. Today, I make sure to get up regularly at every hour. This is good for your eyes as well as your muscles. I also use this desk bike to get some exercise in.
When I get super busy I don’t even notice that I’m pedaling. This keeps my blood flowing, my muscles working and an added benefit is better concentration. There are so many options of desk bikes and a range of prices. I went for one of the cheapest ones, a Wonder Maxi Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser. I got lucky and bought mine second-hand for about $39. A new one costs $48 which is relatively cheap since there are other brands that are over $200! I’ve had mine for six months and it works just great.
4. Balance Ball Chair
One perk of working from home is that no one can see you or judge how you are sitting. I started off with a super soft computer chair on wheels. I would swirl around when bored, sit with my legs crossed or I’d slump and have my feet on my desk. It took two months for me to start feeling the pain in my back, knees and ankles. First, I swapped out the comfy chair for a regular dining room one and got myself a balance disk for $19. This one in fact:
I still occasionally use it but it wasn’t quite right for me. I swapped it out for a balance ball chair for $70. While it is still physically possible to slouch while sitting on one, I find it a lot better for me. I now generally sit up straight and my butt rarely gets numb. It also keeps you using your muscles without you realizing it. Depending on the type of desk you have, it is even possible to use the desk bike while sitting on the ball. While I do love the chair, my one complaint is that it does need to be re-inflated every two or so weeks. However, seeing as my 160 pound butt sits on it for eight hours a day, this is to be expected.
5. Ergonomic Keyboard
The great thing about Amazon is that you can return anything you buy from them as long as you do it within the time-frame they give you. If you have never used an ergonomic keyboard before, it will take you a while to get comfortable. I once had one that I absolutely hated. This one, I absolutely love. I was lucky to find this Microsoft one second hand for $49. There are various sellers selling these so the price does range a bit.
One of my favorite things about this keyboard is that it also has a soft pad for where you keep your hands. It is super comfortable and I don’t even need to lift my hands off the keyboard to type. It has also made me much better at typing the way you are supposed to. It kind of forces you to do it right and use every finger to type. There’s no pressing “y” with your left hand because you simply can’t reach. The comfy pad also encourages you to use your pinkies to avoid lifting your hands. I definitely type way more than 150 words per minute now.
6. The Right Mouse/Mouse-Pad Combo
This is something that I am still working on. My mouse is old and I really want a new one. I have used ergonomic ones in the past but I didn’t like them. I just ordered this one for $19 because 1) it is meant for small hands and mine are definitely small and 2) it has the regular left and right click and no crazy ball or weird buttons. I prefer a classic mouse to the fancy weird ones that are out there. But you may have a different preference from me.
Now for the mouse-pad. Personally, I hate the ones that have a wrist pillow. I used to have a gel one and I had to turn it around so that my wrist didn’t feel like it was resting on jello. Since I have a rounded desk, I have a regular flat round mouse-pad. I have this one for $10 because it’s super cute. There are much cheaper ones out there but when it comes to my home-office, I am always open to splurging just a little.
7. Phone/Tablet Stand
I am the type of person who gets distracted by silence. Blame my parents for letting me watch TV while I did my homework and basically while I was doing anything. I can’t listen to music while I work cause I get distracted, but I have Netflix, Hulu, HBO or Amazon Prime on overdrive. I usually just replay shows I’ve seen and it really helps me to have the background noise. I use this $17 stand because it’s adjustable. I have switched desks three times and it has worked for all three. It is super stable and it even holds up my laptop, a tiny MacBook Air. It also works for phones if you prefer watching that way!
8. Space Heater
As much as I love the environment, I happen to run cold. No matter how many layers of fuzzy socks I wear, I still need a space heater during the winter months. I have been using this tiny but powerful one for just $18! I love this heater because it is small and not intimidating like most others. It is great for a workplace as well as home office. I used this one in both and many of my colleagues ended up buying it too. It has a switch on the bottom that detects if it is standing upright. If it falls over, it turns off making it super safe to use. It also looks adorable!
9. Cable Clips to Organize Chords
Not everyone’s desk is quite as crazy as mine. I had two laptops, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, my Verilux light, a sound machine, a space heater, a phone charger, headphones and Apple watch charger. That is a lot of cables and they drive me absolutely crazy. This is why I finally ordered these Multipurpose Cable Clips. This $10 16 pack can hold a total of 32 cables. So I will be giving the ones I don’t use to friends and family. Being able to reach for my phone charger without diving under my desk has been amazing.
10. White Noise Machine
Here’s where you say:
“Wait, didn’t you just say that you always have the TV on?”
Yes, I did.
“Why would you also need a white noise machine?”
I told you I hate silence, don’t judge me!
Yes, I’m a freak who needs noises all around me. Think about it, when you work in an office there is chatter and laughter and gossip. When I worked in NYC there were also sirens and the whistle of wind that shook the building I worked in. It was amazing. This white noise machine costs $20 and has several settings: white noise, thunder, ocean, rain, summer night and brook. I generally listen to ocean and control the volume based on my needs. The tiny machine can get impressively loud! This is a great option for people who do get distracted by TV and music but still want some background noise.
Summary of Home Office Buys
Working from home is something that many people dream of and many others dread. Many will be forced to work from home during the current quarantine. Many of the items mentioned above are not cheap and if your stay at home status is temporary, I am not saying that you should buy them all. As someone who has done it for 10 months and will be doing it for the foreseeable future, I couldn’t imagine my life without each of the items mentioned above. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please let me know in the comment section below!
The feature image is taken from here.