For a significant portion of America’s workforce, remote work is both the present and the future. While some workers are back in the office, many others are in the process of equipping themselves and their spaces for comfortable and productive remote work.
From home office essentials to handy work-from-anywhere gear for digital nomads, you’ve got plenty of options for refining your remote workflow. Check out this guide to 10 of the must-have items for remote workers.
- A Real Desk
Your couch, bed, or kitchen table just can’t compete with a properly set up office desk. A desk can offer tons of advantages, such as built-in storage and the ability to expand your setup to include multiple computer monitors or a larger keyboard. Ergonomic compact desks and L-shaped corner desks help you create a comfortable office space even in a small area. A standing desk, meanwhile, offers some exciting potential health benefits such as burning calories and lowering blood sugar.
- Mouse and Keyboard
Many remote workers work from their laptops, and using the trackpad and built-in keyboard can quickly put a strain on your wrists (not to mention the laptop itself). If that sounds like you, a compact mouse and keyboard setup is a must. Today’s ergonomic keyboards are designed to offer a more comfortable typing experience, and both keyboards and mice are available in wireless versions that can help mitigate the all-too-common tangles of cords that remote workers often deal with.
- Laptop Bag
Many remote workers take their laptops on the go to meetings, coffee shops, trips abroad, and more. While you’re out and about, a laptop bag is a must for protecting your computer. Various types are available, from the more compact briefcase and messenger bag styles to full-sized backpacks with built-in laptop pockets. Choose one that features a robust padded compartment for your computer, and make sure it’s large enough to hold your laptop comfortably.
Looking to improve your concentration, and perhaps your mood, while working remotely? Enjoying your favorite music on a pair of high quality headphones could be just what you need to get in the zone. Bluetooth headphones and earbuds are popular with remote workers because of their convenience and ability to reduce cable clutter. Those who work in loud environments should also consider noise canceling headphones, which can help you focus by blocking out unwanted ambient sound.
- Mobile WiFi Hotspot
Pretty much every remote worker needs reliable and affordable WiFi access, no matter where they’re working. That’s why so many remote workers rely on mobile WiFi hotspots that allow you to connect devices like laptops through mobile 4G and 5G networks. The most easily available hotspot for most people is their smartphone, which can save the day in a pinch, but comes with the caveat of draining the battery quickly. If you often work in areas with unreliable WiFi, the many dedicated mobile hotspots available today can offer a more reliable and efficient option.
- Wrist Rest
Even with a great mouse and keyboard, you’re still often looking at long hours of repetitive wrist motions, which can lead to productivity-killing disorders like carpal tunnel in some cases. To counteract this, many remote workers swear by padded wrist rests. These soft and squishy pads provide support and comfort for your wrists as you work, and they’re available for both your mouse and keyboard. Some desk mats and mouse pads even offer built-in wrist support.
- Water Bottle
Hydration is a must for doing your best work. Evidence is emerging that even mild dehydration can throw off your mental game, which is why you’ll find so many remote workers keeping a water bottle by their desk. Rather than reaching for single-use plastic bottles, try a sturdy reusable bottle made from glass or stainless steel. If you like a little flavor in your water, try one of the many new infuser bottles that lets you infuse the taste of real fruit into it!
A whiteboard is one of the simplest but most effective organizational and workflow tools for remote office workers. It won’t replace your Google Calendar or project management software, but that’s not the point — it’s a free space that’s always within reach for whatever you need. Write out reminders, break down problems, create to-do lists, or just give yourself a motivational message to come back to when you need it most. There’s just so many things to do with them, and we’re confident you’ll find a way that improves your workflow!
- Power Bank
For remote workers who often work from outside the home, a dead phone or laptop can be a serious problem for your workday. A portable power bank battery is a perfect backup power solution to get you through until you can find a device charger. These high-capacity batteries can be charged ahead of time, and a high quality one will hold its charge for months at a time so you’ll never be without power when you need it. Note that if you fly with a power bank, most airlines require you to keep it in your carry-on rather than your checked bag.