Your home office should be a place that is free of distractions and allows you to pound out work quickly, so that you can get back to your normal home life of playing with the dog and watching Game of Thrones, Suits, Top Chef and all of your other favorite TV shows.
But what should be in your home office to make sure you are comfortable and can be super productive? Home offices can be as varied as wardrobe choices — an important part to your home office, which we’ll get to later. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t common items that every home office needs.
Here’s 10 items that you need to create the perfect home office (and let us go ahead and state just how important #1 & #2 are!!):
1. Right-Size Desk - The first thing you need is an actual desk. This could be as simple as a 2×2 wood tabletop or as elaborate as the Member’s Only desk below. I like a desk that is deep enough that I can put a laptop or keyboard on and still be able to set about half my forearm on the flattop area.
It’s all about comfortability when it comes to the first two items. For the desk, get something that provides as much surface space as you need to feel comfortable and then look for something that will provide shelves or drawers for storage areas. If you have the right size desk, but are unable to do your work because of an abundance of clutter that has taken over your common work area, you aren’t doing things right…you either need a cleaning lady or a desk that provides you with adequate storage space.
2. Comfortable Ergonomic Chair – There’s nothing that will kill your productivity quicker than an uncomfortable chair. You’ll either be shifting around all the time or have to keep changing seats. You could also do some serious damage to your body (all those uncomfortable hours can take a major toll on your spinal cord and back muscles creating unneeded tension, calcium deposits, etc. that won’t have you being productive) if you don’t get a comfy, ergonomic chair.
Your chair needs to work well with your desk. Make sure it’s not too short or too tall because either will cause you pain over the long run. You’re going to be sitting in this chair for hours upon hours in the long run, if you have to spend some extra money to assure that you are comfortable, DO IT! Think about how far that extra $25 or $50 is going to take you when you are in the zone knocking out work quickly and then being able to spend half the day at the beach rather than squirming in your chair wondering if you should try to gain an extra 30 or 40 pounds to give you more cushion while sitting in the chair.
3. Laptop - Who wants a large box desktop PC that’s going to take up half the space on your desk and ruin your feng-shui with all of the cords creating an entangled web behind your desk. Grab a lightweight laptop that will give you flexibility to throw your feet up and still get work done…that’s what the home office is all about anyway.
4. External Hard Drive - Backup…backup…backup! It can’t be stressed enough. If you are trying to create a home office to be destroyed, don’t back up. Because you’ll go all Bruce Banner on your office, sending papers flying and turning pens and paper clips into projectile weapons if your computer crashes and you lose everything. And just think how your clients will feel if you lose all of their data/work? BACKUP!
5. All-in-One Office Equipment - Formerly, having a fax machine, scanner, copier and printer in a home office would not only be a pricey investment but also would swallow a ton of your office space and create a plethora of cords that all had to be tracked back to your computer. Now you can have all four of those business-heavy pieces of hardware in one device and you can even get it wireless!
6. Flatscreen Monitor - Even if you have a nice laptop, having an extra large flatscreen monitor is great to reduce the strain on your eyes and give you more visual space to do your work. Having an extra screen is awesome when you need to do comparative analysis or if you just want to pull up the game on ESPN3.com and put it on a separate screen while you are finishing up stuff late in the evening.
7. Wireless Headset - Depending on what type of business you will be running from home, you may be on the phone all the time or just occasionally. It doesn’t matter, you are going to want a wireless headset. Whether they are business-related or not, you are going to receive phone calls. A wireless headset will allow you to keep pulling up data while you take that call from the Grandma, the dry cleaners or that potential six-figure client.
8. Wireless Mouse - There’s not much that aggravates me more than when the mouse cord gets tangled and doesn’t go where I want it to or when I’m using the touchpad on my laptop and my fingers don’t slide smoothly because I rubbed my face and now have a little bit of oil on my fingertips. Go with the wireless mouse instead…get one that will turn itself off after a brief period of inactivity or one that you can recharge on a daily basis, so you don’t have to worry about having to change any batteries.
9. Coffeemaker/5-Hour Energy Stash - Whether its when you first wake up or when you start to wane in the afternoon, there are times when you need some something to get you going. The danger of the home office is that you are so close to your own comfy couch or bed. All you have to do is wander over to the other room. You tell yourself it’ll just be a 20-minute nap and then suddenly you wake up and it’s no longer daylight anymore. Instead of thinking a power nap is the way to go and ending up ruining your sleep pattern, it’s important to have something that will give you a boost. For some people, that is some fresh-brewed coffee. For me, it’s a stash of 5-hour energy and energy drinks that I always stock up on when I see them on sale for cheap.
10. Proper attire - Athletes often say, “look good, feel good, play good.” That saying translates to the home office as well. Instead of rolling out of bed and dragging your feet through your house as you begrudgingly sit down in your home office, wake up and go through a full normal workday routine to get yourself going. Shower, shave, breakfast, makeup, professional attire…the whole ordeal. Do whatever you would do if you were commuting to work. This gets your mind and body prepared to have a productive workday. You’ll feel better about yourself and get more work done. It will keep you in a routine in case you ever have meetings outside your home. Plus, you’ll already be ready for any Skype meeting or other videoconferencing.