For many of us, work-from-home has become…work?
Your home office is now your entire office.
The walk from your bed to your laptop is now the morning commute.
Changing from sleeping leggings to your high-class, much more professional, daytime leggings is your new business casual.
This is a reality I was in denial of for an embarrassingly long amount of time. I refused to update my home office space because I kept telling myself I’d be “back in the office in no time.”
*Queue Spongebob voice*
As you can imagine, I was NOT back in the office in “no time.”
For almost a year, I worked in a very ineffective and overcrowded space. My boss called my desk a “glorified ironing board.” This is fair because I bought it at Walmart for 30 bucks so an ironing board might have probably cost more…and been a bit bigger.
I’d move a coffee cup and my pencil holder would fall off the side. It was chaos.
Then at the end of 2020 I finally said, it’s time.
And yes, I came to that conclusion with a super pumped up, triumphant proclamation like this UFC announcer, and NOT while shedding a few frustration tears into a bowl of captain crunch cereal…
The reality is this: Your workspace matters. It impacts your emotional wellness, your mental sharpness and your productivity.
You need the space, tools and technology required to do your job at home JUST as you needed it in the office or in the working environment you’re used to. You deserve the chance to focus on creating a place for yourself.
This is how you do your best work and feel like your best self.
Below are the essentials (and some fun additions) that I have in my recently redesigned little office space. You’ll see a combination of technical, creative, practical and cheesy– so very on-brand for me. One advantage of your new work-from-home office NOT actually being in an office is it can be anything you want it to be. All you.
If you too have been putting off making updates to your home office or work-from-home space, I urge you to take the plunge. Make the changes.
Build a place to strive and thrive–from the comfort of your own home.
1. Desk decor that feels like you.
I’m a big fan of candles and little decorations on my desk to make it feel homey and relaxing. Here are a few examples of that, including a stellar girl-power quote, of course.
2. USB Microphone.
I highly recommend a USB microphone, even if your friends make fun of you and your coworkers make a few radio host jokes.
If you speak on podcasts or webinars, or even just present often at meetings, it REALLY improves the audio. You can get a solid microphone like this one for under $40 on Amazon, and its adjustable arm just clamps to the side of the desk.
3. A decent-sized desk AND external monitor(s).
These additions SEEM obvious, but clearly weren’t to me up until recently.
A bigger desk and a bigger monitor are GAMER CHANGERS.
Invest in them. I promise you it’s worth it.
4. Coffee mug warmer.
I am a serial offender of letting a cup of coffee go cool and then sticking it in the microwave. Then forgetting it’s in the microwave. Then heating it up again. And so on. Until the end of time.
A mug warmer can make all the difference.
5. Ring light.
The glow up is real with one of these bad boys.
There are a ton of these online. This one also has an adjustable arm, a few different light settings and a clip for your phone as well.
6. USB Port.
Is it just me or are there NEVER enough available USB ports? Several of the items on this list require the ability to connect to your computer via USB, and I’ve always dealt with the battle of juggling them around.
Musical USB ports, if you will.
Then I discovered one of these. They’re cheap and SO useful. Definitely recommend.
Planners, notebooks and list pads. The dream.
8. Quippy coasters.
I know I already mentioned the coffee mug warmer but who drinks only ONE drink at a time, amirite folks?
9. Bluelight glasses.
One word: headaches.
Blue light glasses can and do help with the aching and brutal toll of staring for hours into a screen. I recommend getting a few fun pairs online too so you can mix and match.
10. Cord organizers.
I can’t stand when my cords fall behind the desk or get all mixed up. These cord organizers come with peel-off adhesive foam on one side and just stick right in place on the desk.
11. Wall art and a clean background for your video chats.
I have my office decorated with book quotes and books. It brings me comfort and joy to read over the passages when I am getting up to stretch or take a breather.
It’s also important to think about your background for your work-from-home space because this is what your coworkers see behind you. Decorate minimally and create a creative but non-distracting background.
8. Music and creative outlets.
I try to break the age-old divide between professional and creative work within my space. Often musical or artistic expression allows me to overcome mental barriers and think through problems when I am stuck.
So you can find books, records, instruments, and more all around my place of work, and I highly recommend them for you too.
It’s nice to have a little control over your video angles when you’re constantly presenting from home.
“CAMERA 1: YOU’RE ON IN 3…2…1”
A video cam may also give you the quality and picture control you need for adequate lighting, zoom, etc,.
10. Wireless mouse and mouspad.
Again, this feels like a no brainer.
But I know a LOT of folks that were still operating on the finicky little laptop mousepad and that is truly a nightmare. Grab a wireless mouse.
Also, get one of those super dorky mousepads like the above. Even the squishy wrist rests are back in style, like you’re fourteen again, in your parent’s “computer room” playing the Sims and downloading My Chemical Romance songs off Limewire. Perhaps updating your Myspace layout.
Ok, this has gone too far.
11. Plenty of coffee mugs.
12. Desk essentials.
–Medicines (Advil, inhaler, etc.,)
And while we are on the subject of necessities…
I get that these aren’t ON the desk per say, but they should be under it. On your feet. At all times.
These are the high heels of work-from-home, baby. And this comes from someone with a closet full of high heels, so that’s high praise.
14. The desk mini bar.
I have been a part of many “virtual” happy hours over the last year for my professional and personal life.
At first, this concept was novel and fun. “You’re saying I can network in yoga pants? Cool, I’m in!”
But after months and months of screen-sipping my glass of red wine through blue light, and this quickly lost its appeal. I had to start getting more creative with mixing up something fun and new for these virtual networking events.
Whether you’re into cocktails or mocktails, sometimes a fun mixology station near your desk can be a good addition. It also makes me feel like a much less awful version of Don Draper in Mad Men.
15. Dry erase calendar.
A dry-erase calendar above your desk is helpful for keeping a monthly pace as you get caught up in daily or weekly tasks. It’s also a great quick reference while you’re having scheduling conversations and making notes.
16. Notes, cards and photos of loved ones.
As you could see in the previous photo, I also use my calendar as the space to hang notes, cards and memories from my friends, colleagues, boyfriend and family. I have some polaroid photos here as well.
It’s nice to bring a little personal into the professional for your workspace. These messages and moments serve as a reminder to me of the support and community I have behind me. They also remind me that there is in fact life and love beyond work, something that I think many self-proclaimed workaholics need.
Especially now, when the days are long and often a bit lonely, try to create reminders for yourself that there is always love, always joy and always more than who you are at your desk.
Even if you do kick ass at it.
There you have it, my favorite desk accessories and essentials for creating an awesome home office space.
Anything you’d add to the list?
Be sure to comment below and let us know.