Many employees and contractors prefer working remotely from home, but there’s one drawback: each person must create their own workspace. Unlike a traditional office where the boss supplies all the furniture and equipment, remote workers carry the entire responsibility of creating their office from top-to-bottom.
It’s easy to grab furniture at thrift stores, but there’s no guarantee those pieces will be ergonomic, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. If you work at home in an office that could use some help in those areas, here are 7 essential upgrades.
1. An ergonomic chair
Having an ergonomic office is the key to maintaining your health and wellbeing. At the very least, you’ll want an ergonomic chair. Amazon has plenty of high-quality, comfortable, ergonomic chairs to choose from made by popular brands like Ergohuman, Eurotech Seating, and Office Star, just to name a few.
An ergonomic office chair will support your back and help you maintain proper posture while you work. Sitting with proper posture is critical to maintaining your overall health. Of course, even with perfect posture, you’ll want to get up at least once every hour or two and engage in some movement.
2. A tempered glass chair mat
Those spikey, plastic chair mats are quickly being replaced with tempered glass chair mats. Although the spikey mats served their purpose back in the day, glass mats are superior.
Unlike the thin plastic mats with spikes on the bottom, your chair will glide smoothly across the surface of a tempered glass mat, even on carpet. The best part is they’re not that expensive. You can get a glass chair mat from Home Depot for under $200.
3. A pneumatic adjustable standing desk
Rumor has it, standing while working is better for your health. That’s partly correct. The truth is, you should be mixing it up by sitting for a while and then standing. The best way to accomplish this is with an adjustable desk.
Not all adjustable desks are created equal. There are three main types of adjustable desks: manual, electric, and pneumatic. If you never have to adjust the height, a manual desk is the best option when you’re on a budget. However, if you need to adjust the height, pneumatic desks are better than electric.
Pneumatic desks rise and lower faster, quieter, and more smoothly than electric desks. Moving from a seated position to a standing position is less frustrating with a pneumatic desk. Pneumatic desks are also safer than electric desks in the sense that you won’t start a fire if you spill your coffee on the wiring.
4. A standing mat
If you’re going to use a standing desk (and hopefully you will), you need a standing mat. The type of mat you need will depend on your personal preferences and needs. One of the most popular standing mats is an inflatable mat made by a company called Wurf.
The idea behind Wurf’s inflatable standing mats is to facilitate what’s called ‘active standing.’ Active standing keeps your body moving while you’re standing at your desk. Wurf’s standing mats are designed with a slight curve on the bottom so you can achieve continuous movement naturally. This keeps your muscles engaged and blood flowing while providing good support.
5. Incandescent lighting (not LED)
You may have noticed that most of the light bulbs are now LED lights. Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out. However, you can still get incandescent light bulbs that are under 60 watts.
LED lighting isn’t natural and much like fluorescent lighting, it will disrupt your circadian rhythm after prolonged exposure. By using incandescent lighting in your office, you can choose a more natural color temperature that will help you stay focused.
6. A monitor stand
Monitor stands are the best way to make sure your monitor always remains at the right height. You may not need a stand if your monitor is vertically adjustable. However, if you’re standing at your desk, even an adjustable monitor might need a boost.
7. A desk phone connected to a landline
A landline desk phone will be your best friend when it comes to eliminating distractions. Having a landline gives you the ability to stay connected to your business contacts while being able to tuck away your smartphone while you work.
Tucking away your smartphone will eliminate the distraction of notifications from social media apps and text messages.
Make your office comfortable to boost productivity
Your productivity is directly tied to your comfort level in the office. When you enjoy spending time in your home office, you’re more likely to get work done on time and with full efficiency.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze