When you want to get started working from home, it can (initially) be hard to figure out exactly what you might need, which home office essentials are in fact essential, and which ones aren’t.
There are a lot of things you could buy, but do you really need them, especially in the beginning when you’re just starting out?! I know having a giant whiteboard that covers your entire wall looks awesome and start-up-y, but it might not be the best use of your money, at least not until you’re sure you actually like working from home.
Below I have written up a list of home office essentials, ranging from super basic things like a computer, to things you might or might not need, depending on your line of work (such as a giant whiteboard, for instance), to make it easier to get a clear overview of exactly what to get for your home office.
Click here for a bullet point version of this list.
1. Basic Home Office Essentials
I’m not gonna go into a lot of detail with this, since you most likely already have your own personal preferences when it comes to the subject. The only thing I’m going to say is - make sure you get one with a big enough screen.
If you’re going to be working from home, and not bringing the computer around with you, getting a desktop or at least an external monitor for your laptop can end up increasing your productivity by a lot.
You’ll most likely need this from day one… honestly, you probably already have it, as very few people live in homes without internet these days. Consider whether or not you want to upgrade to a business plan or something like that. There might be offers out there that can save you a few bucks, which might be something worth looking into.
Sometimes your cellphone is enough, other times it isn’t.
Take a few weeks to figure out how much you communicate with clients using an actual phone (eg. not Skype) and then decide accordingly. -Note, that having a phone might sometimes decrease your productivity due to the frequent interruptions cause by people calling you.
Setup a proper, designated work space, for your home office. Working from your kitchen table or couch might seem modern and suitable to the whole ‘work from home’ aesthetic in the beginning, but it will quickly become uncomfortable and counter-productive.
Instead, get a good desk that fully suits all of your home office needs - that means size, color etc.
Also consider if you want a regular seating desk or if you perhaps would like to go for a standing desk instead - or perhaps a height adjustable desk, so that you get the best of both worlds.
Having a comfortable office chair is vital for your productivity. If you aren’t comfortable when sitting, it can be hard to focus on the task at hand. We recommend reading our article on choosing the best desk chair for you, if you want more in depth information on this topic.
Having the proper amount of good quality lighting is super important. If you can’t see what you’re doing, chances are you’ll end up getting little to nothing done. We recommend looking into dimmable LED lamps, as these are made to last you a long time, and won’t be too straining on your eyes in the long run.
7. Printer (possibly also scanner, copier and fax)
In this modern, digital age, where everybody’s constantly on their smartphones and tablets, people do actually still print things. In fact, people print out things like never before.
You most likely have a printer already, as the majority of people usually have to get one at some point in their lives, in order to better take care of their paperwork and whatnot.
If you don’t have one already, assess your need first - how much do you need to print, do you have any requirements in terms of speed, is it important that the ink is waterproof, so that it doesn’t bleed when you use highlighters on the newly printed documents etc.
If you need to print a lot of things, and also scan and make photo copies frequently, getting a larger machine is generally recommended, as these cost you far less in the long run, especially when it comes to the ink consumption.
8. Office Supplies
Pencils, pens, paper, stapler, post-its etc. You will definitely need these things as you’re working. When it comes to the essential office supplies, you can either just get the cheapest. most basic things or spring for something that’s either colorful or has a bit of an extra edge to its design, which can then help liven up your office, and work as a design piece instead of just being there due to its functionality.
2. The Maybe not so Essential Home Office Essentials
1. Label maker
Do you really need this? I don’t know. I personally happen to think label makers are kinda neat. I like to know what’s where, especially when I over time accummulate more and more boxes, and start losing track of which holds what.
Again, is this necessary? I don’t know. What I do know is that I really like my laminator. It makes it easier to keep important papers pristine and in good condition, and it also works great for DIY projects if you’re into that sort of stuff.
A shredder is definitely a “home office essential” for people who deal with documents which contain a lot of sensitive information. The cut size of the shredded documents vary depending on the type of shredder you get, from the strips they always manage to somehow tape together in movies, to micro cut, which… you can’t tape together ever… not even if you’re in a movie.
4. Filing Cabinet
A filing cabinet is essential for people who have yet to make the switch to a “completely digital office”. Knowing what is where is important, and saves you time in the long run when you don’t have to rummage through 10 different folders in order to find one single document. Along with your filing cabinet, you might also want to get a set of hanging file folders.
5. Other Storage Solutions
Boxes, document holders and shelves in general are all important when you want to keep your office tidy and organized. Be sure to set up a system of what goes where early on in the process, so that you don’t lose track of where everything is a few years down the road, when more stuff has accumulated.
6. Large White Board
Maybe you actually do need a giant whiteboard for you work.. if that’s the case, then you can either purchase one, or get dry-erase paint, and turn your entire wall into a giant whiteboard for you to work on.
You can also mix it up by getting a whiteboard and a wall organizer, which you can use for loose pieces of papers and little notes.