Work from Home: 8 ACTUAL Must-Have Products
I've been a work from home creative, freelancer, and full-time employee for over 10 years. I've got WFH life down to a science. That's why I'm telling you these no-fuss, no-muss absolute MUST HAVE items for your home office vibe. These aren't pretty pen containers and adorable tiny unicorn USB essential oil diffusers. These are get-it-done more-productive-at-home helpers. Even if you've been working from home since the pandemic started, do you have all of these creature comforts and necessary products? Aside from a desk-height surface (I'm not picky, it doesn't even have to be a proper desk) and a chair that can keep your elbows in alignment with your keyboard, and your eyes in alignment with your screen (more info here!), here are the other 8 things you absolutely need to work from home.
Please note some of these are affiliate links where I earn a tiny percentage of the sale at no cost to you!
1) EYE DROPS: The computer screen gets all of your attention when you work from home. With no coworkers to distract you, or random noises and peripheral vision movements to attract your eyes away from the screen, you tend to forget to blink. Eye drops to the rescue. This also helps prevent headaches. Similasan Computer Eye Relief drops are my favorite. The science is still debatable on the blue light blocking lenses, but I have them anyway, so grab some of those while you're at the drugstore (or order some if you need prescription; even Warby Parker offers blue light filtering coating now!).
2) DESK CHAIR BUTT PILLOW: Oh so glamorous, isn't it! When you work from home, you tend to sit a lot longer than you might in an office environment, where you'd get up to chat with coworkers, look at someone's new project, go out for a lunch meeting, etc. Even the cushiest chair pillow goes flat with a butt sitting on it for 8 hours a day. A butt pillow may not be sexy, but it sure is helpful. This not only protects my bony butt, it also protects my rather expensive office chair (necessary investment!), as a chair with a butt imprint is not attractive.
3) UNLIMITED AMAZON PRIME MUSIC STREAMING: I've tried the other services. I have. They're just not as good, so go ahead and fork over the additional $7.99 and let Amazon rule even more of your life. Just about any song, any time you want it, as many times as you want it, unlimited playlists, search vibes, go for deep tracks...it's the best of all of the other platforms combined. My music-snob husband dug deep into his back catalog to see if he could stump Amazon and find a song that wasn't available. He tried dozens, and only one came back as unavailable, because it had been banned in the US. So trust us and get Unlimited Amazon Prime Music now.
4) STURDY SLIPPERS: My feet get cold sitting at my desk all day PLUS wearing 'shoes', even if they are technically just sturdy-soled slippers, makes me feel much more productive. Look for something that doesn't scream "I'm tired" and instead could be useful when you forget you're wearing slippers and take the dog outside at lunchtime. I know they're a bit pricey, but Ugg slippers are my favorite for winter, and good old Birkenstocks or Adidas or Lacoste slides (my current favorite!) are perfect for summer! All of these will last for years.
5) DESK FAN/SPACE HEATER: Depending on the time of the year, don't forget a sturdy desk fan or space heater. Sitting still for a long period of time means you'll be colder than if you were up and about, or warmer if you're just sitting in a hot room. Vornado makes my favorite space heaters because they have a vintage-retro style and really do the job. Lasko tower fans are great for summer!
6) MUG WARMER: I honestly don't know how I ever allowed myself to drink lukewarm or cold coffee. My plug-in (to the wall, not USB) coffee warmer was a gift from my brother-in-law and I've become totally addicted to it for keeping my coffee perfectly toasty. I highly recommend this to avoid cold-coffee-grumpiness. It might seem silly, but it's not! This is the exact one I have (mine is white).
7) LASER PRINTER: You absolutely must have a LASER (not inkjet) printer if you print more than 1 page a year at home, in my opinion. I make do with a black and white laser printer, but color laser printers come down in price every year. They print hundreds of pages on one toner cartridge (yes, it's semi-expensive, but not compared to inkjet cartridges) and prints without fail for those hundreds of pages. Inkjet printers are not reliable nor cost-effective if you'll be printing anything. Here is the exact Brother version I have and it has been a faithful companion through 5 books now. You can also get one with scanner/copier capabilities if you need that (but you can scan documents with the Notes app in your iPhone!).
8) A BRA: Ladies, listen to me. You will not be nearly as productive without a bra as you will be with one. Not to mention in winter, you'll be COLD without a bra. Trust me. If you don't have any meetings or feel comfortable, go ahead and wear a sports bra or wire-free comfy bra. Just don't go without some kind of support.
BONUS ITEMS: Nice to have, but not necessary.
-Great coasters to protect your desk
-A wrist gel pad
-A desk candle
-A stash of dry shampoo, hairbrush, and quick makeup or a facial mist for last-minute meetings
Yes, it might be tempting to think you NEED a kitty-shaped lamp for your desk, or a great wall tapestry for your backdrop. You might think you absolutely need Airpods or a standing desk or a fancy gadget that reminds you about your posture. Those things might be nice additions, but the above items will get you working, at home. Which is, of course, the purpose of working from home...right?