Work at home buying guide
Working at home is becoming more and more common, and while some people are hired as remote workers and consider their home to be their permanent workplace, others will move between the office and their home office on a temporary basis or as needed. No matter why you choose to work from home, you’ll need a place to work and your basic home office needs will be the same.
Wondering how to set up a home office that helps you concentrate, is stocked with everything you need, and will keep in a dedicated spot from 9 to 5? Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need to work from home.
The basics required to work at home
Before you set up shop and begin working at home, you’ll need to pick up all of the home office basics. If you have a dedicated room where you’ll be working, the first thing you’ll want to do is choose a computer, desk, and desk chair.
Pick the perfect work at home computer
When you work at home, your computer is your main access point to the outside world. That’s why you want to ensure that the computer you have at home is up to all of the work tasks you’ll need to take on.
When choosing a computer you have more than a few options. There are desktop PCs with a monitor if you want a dedicated work computer. If you’re used to working on a Mac computer at work, you can choose to bring home an Apple iMac.
Laptops are a popular work at home option, and there are quite a few different types of laptops to choose from. Macbooks make the transition between work and home entertainment an easy one, and Chromebooks are making their way into schools and workplaces more and more. Both are great options as they have solid-state drives to boot up fast, and Chromebooks have default access to cloud servers so you safely store your files.
There are also 2-in-1 laptops that double as a touchscreen tablet. This is a great option if you need a tablet and a laptop for work.
Choose a desk you’ll want to spend time at
There are a variety of different desk types, from large computers desk for multi-tasking with multiple monitors to small, classic frame desks designed to just hold a laptop. There are also desks with built-in bookcases or standing desks to hold your laptop while you spend time on your feet.
The key to choosing a desk is selecting the one with enough space for you to spread out and where you know you’ll be able to comfortably sit for a few hours.
Pick a comfortable desk chair
While it’s tempting to bring in one of your kitchen chairs and use it for double duty, having an actual office chair can make a huge difference when you’re spending hours hunching over a computer.
You can find desk chairs with wheels, chairs that are adjustable, or comfortable chairs, such as gaming chairs, with a luxury look.
Stack your home office with supplies
Having an organized home office so you can work at home means you need office supplies: read our recent article about the most useful office supplies for a home office.
The basics include pens, paper, filing storage, notebooks, and a shredder if you’re dealing with sensitive documents. Don’t forget about other office supplies like staples, paper clips, and highlighters if you need them.
Pick up a printer and spare ink
We may be living in an electronic world, but when you work at home you’ll still need a printer and photocopier. The good news? You can choose an all-in-one printer that will print in black and white or colour, copy in black and white or colour, scan, and print multiple pages in seconds.
You’ll also want to have spare ink on hand, just in case you run out right when you really need to print.
Using your home office for online learning
Creating a functional, peaceful space where you can complete online courses or study remotely is important if you’re not attending in-person classes. You’ll require a desk, chair, computer, and printer, just like you would if you were using your space as a work at home office, but there are a few additions you can make to ensure you are organized and can maximize your study time.
Organization for online school
When you’re learning remotely you’ll need to print off worksheets, complete term papers, and have a large file of digital and paper-based assignments. There are different organizers you can add to your desk to keep everything neat and tidy, and having a neat desk means you won’t feel the stress of searching for different types of paperwork or an assignment.
You can also make the room more functional by adding storage. Add a bookshelf or storage cabinet to your space and you’ll have a spot to hold textbooks or organize paperwork. If you’re going back to school, make sure to check out our dorm room essentials list.
Working or studying at home requires a strong Wi-Fi connection
To stay connected to your co-workers or the office, you need a strong Wi-Fi connection. If your home office is the spot where you have your router set up, you should have a strong enough connection to video conference, chat online, or use collaborative software to communicate with your employer. Also make sure your router provides a secure connection: read our recent article with tips for securing your router.
If you’ve had to set up your home office in a spot that’s quiet but doesn’t have ideal Wi-Fi, you’ve still got options. You can choose to add a wireless router, range extender, Powerline, or mesh Wi-Fi system. Each will give you strong Wi-Fi no matter where you’re working in your home.
Improve your video chats
There are some great video conferencing applications available these days including Microsoft Teams and ZOOM. However, it can be frustrating when you’re in the middle of a video conference and your microphone cuts out. It’s also stressful if your monitor can’t keep up with video chats with coworkers or clients without lagging or blurring.
If you’re going to work at home, you may want to upgrade your microphone and monitor. A good choice would be a USB microphone that will let you quickly mute your voice if you just want to listen in, but is also crystal clear when you want to speak up. 4K monitors are great for video conferencing and they come in a variety of sizes and styles.
Protect your workspace with smart home devices
When you work from home you may need to receive deliveries, but you won’t always be able to make it to the door to pick them up. To protect them until you’re ready to pick up your packages, you can install a smart mailbox. Some models have cameras and sensors built-in so you’ll know right away when your package has been delivered.
If you’re dealing with sensitive material or documents and you want to add security to your home and home office, you may also want to install other smart home devices. There are Wi-Fi cameras to keep an eye on your outside or inside space, a smart doorbell, or a Wi-Fi door lock. These devices will keep you up to date if someone comes to your home, and can let you remotely answer the door should you need to talk to someone or let someone in.
If you want to take advantage of voice assistants, consider getting a smart display. Some models are even compatible with Microsoft Teams and Zoom so you can take your meetings in every room. Finally, to spice up your home office, you may want to install smart lights. They will not only give you colour options but you’ll also be able to adjust the brightness to create the perfect working environment.
Keep your home office quiet when it needs to be
Working from home is completely different from working in an office or shared space. You’ll need to be your own motivator, and you can’t always guarantee that you’ll have quiet when you need it. Improving your audio set up is a great way to block outside noise and increase your productivity.
Noise-canceling headphones are a must-have when working from home, and they come in on-ear and in-ear styles so you can choose the right one for you. Read our recent article to learn more about noise cancelling headphones. Wireless speakers are another way to block out outside noise, and they can also stream music to help you feel more productive when you’re working.
Choose a portable speaker that’s small, compact, and easy to carry from room to room when you need to, and stream your favourite playlists from your phone. You can also download white noise apps to block outside sound or ‘concentrate’ playlists from your streaming service to keep you in work mode.
Taking care of yourself when learning remotely or working at home
It’s not always easy to work at home or study while away from school. In order to maximize your productivity and motivation, you should allow some time to focus on self-care.
You can add a comfortable chair to your home office for quick naps or as a spot for some quiet meditation. With a cozy blanket, it will be the perfect spot to relax or meditate. You can also add an aromatherapy machine to release light scent to help you decompress.
Increase productivity when you work at home
Whether you have an entire room dedicated to your home office or you’re working at home or learning at home from a corner in your living room, your basic needs will be the same. Take a look at everything Best Buy has to help you get set up to work at home and make every day more productive than your last.