If you swapped your long morning commute and pre-office coffee with a 30-second stroll to your desk, you’re not alone. According to NPR, roughly a third of Americans are now working from home as a result of Covid-19.
And if you look at most projections, it looks like the work from home revolution may be here to stay. Are you ready for it? Probably not. Most of us aren’t.
But now it’s time to swap that temporary laptop and uncomfortable desk combo with a proper home office. Here’s a list of things you should get yourself this holiday season. Trust me, just getting a few of these will boost your mood and productivity!
ERGONOMIC DESK AND CHAIR
The average office worker spends almost six hours per day sitting at their desk. Take a look at your desk and chair combo. How much did you spend on the two? Hint: not nearly enough.
Making sure you have an ergonomic desk and chair setup is super important, especially considering what the science tells us. Studies have now shown that sitting in an incorrect position can lead to a range of musculoskeletal disorders (aka MSDs), for example in the arms, legs, hips, shoulders, and back. These are serious long-term issues that can have a significant impact on your daily life.
Not only that, you’ll notice a difference right away. You’ll feel comfortable during the working day, small pains will disappear, energy levels will go up, and all these in turn result in higher productivity and efficiency levels.
Seems like a bit of a no-brainer, right? Remember, always put your health first.
GET RID OF THE INEFFICIENT LASERJET (AND GET A SMALL BUSINESS PRINTER)
Listen, amateur hour is over. That rickety inkjet you bought for about $20 when you were a student just isn’t going to cut it now you have a home office. First, the quality is terrible. Second, those cartridges will be crazy expensive (that’s how they get you).
Instead, you want a device suited for a smaller business. These days, they’re not quite as expensive as they used to be. Color laserjets are my fave, as they combine top quality printing with cheaper cost per page.
But if you’re someone who likes to travel and work nomad style, then you may want to consider a portable printer. The PIXMA iP110, for example, weighs just over 4lbs.
My point here is: buy a decent printer. They’re more convenient (wireless printer for the win!), will end up cheaper in the long run, and you’ll get professional results.
The work-from-home revolution started with a few hiccups for me. The main problem? The incessant noise. Neighbors playing loud music. Gardeners choosing the best time (not!) to do their thing, the ice cream truck, DIY next door, you name it.
I just couldn’t concentrate.
And that was so bad for my productivity. I needed a fix, and it came in the form of noise-canceling headphones. Coupled with the fantastic brain.FM, my headphones allow me to implement the 52/17 formula without a hitch.
SNACKS (THE HEALTHY KIND!)
I admit it. I like to snack. A lot. It’s common to find my trash can littered with M&M wrappers, and my cup full of coffee. I was always tired, cranky, and looking for ways to fight the slog of the working day.
Until I discovered healthy snacks. Sure, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that chocolate and Haribo aren’t exactly good for you, but it wasn’t until I joined a healthy snack subscription box that it got me out of the habit.
I now get a weekly delivery of snacks that fill me up, give me a boost in energy, but don’t overload me with sugar or calories. I won’t suggest a specific service, but Google is your friend in this case; there are plenty of them out there.
BLUE LIGHT FIGHTERS
Do you find it impossible to get to sleep at night? You’re tired, but your mind is still buzzing, your eyes wide open. Part of the reason is blue light, which is emitted by all of our devices. Laptops, monitors, tablets, smartphones, they all contribute to our chronic lack of sleep.
This holiday season, I want you to fight back against blue light. Here’s how you can do it:
- Blue light apps. You can get both free and paid blue light apps, which limit the amount of blue light coming from your devices. The night mode is particularly useful, and many devices will have inbuilt features already.
- Blue light glasses. They look a little weird but are an absolute life-saver. They filter the amount of blue light hitting your eyes, minimizing those headaches.
- Screen filters. You can get screen protectors that fit over your monitor, cell phone, or tablet. Combine this with the glasses, and you’ll significantly reduce the amount of blue light reaching your eyes.
BUT DON’T FORGET THE ‘REAL’ PRESENTS!
I feel like I’ve been a bit of a Grinch so far. I totally stand by the tips given so far, but they’re all so practical. Not exactly the kind of thing that gets you super excited about the holiday season. So to end this list, here are a few fun products you can add to your wish list:
- Plants. I just love having a little green around me when working indoors all day. They’re also great for your mood and productivity. And they are pretty to look at, to boot!
- Happy Hour Box. I came across this product a few weeks ago, and it’s really fun. It’s basically filled with a bunch of goodies you’d find at your local bar; get your office friends to get one too and organize a virtual happy hour!
- Journal. I used to write in my journal on a daily basis. Now all I do is look at screens all day. Buy yourself a cool journal (like the Leuchtturm1917) to get away from the blue light, write down your thoughts, and get back to basics.