When you work from a home office like we do, you have to be focused and productive and treat your workspace like a true workspace. The commute from the kitchen might be in seconds, but you have to have to make that switch into work mode as soon as you set foot in your office.
We reached out to people who also work from a home office to find out what their home office must-haves are that make them feel happy, healthy, focused and productive in their workspace.
1. Get inspired by wall quotes
Amanda from Amanda Kendle Consulting has an inspirational quote on her office wall that helps get her into the right mindset when she’s ready to work.
I have a print on my home office wall which says: “She believed she could, so she did.” I see it as I walk in to sit at my desk and there have been quite a few times over the years when I’ve really needed to see those words!
Originally the print was in my brand colours – my branding’s changed a little, so it’s probably time to update my inspiring wall art, but it still does the job. I love that my home office is just that – MY office – and I can decorate it any way I want, and make it as inspiring as possible, to maximise the chance that when I sit down at my desk, great work gets done.
Living.com.au has a fabulous selection of creative wall art if you want to add an inspirational quote to your wall like these gorgeous, Nordic-inspired prints.
2. Enjoy the company of the office pooch
Vanessa from Hello Natural Living says her adorable dog is her office must have.
One of the reasons that I work at home is so that I can have my dog with me. It’s a great way to keep your stress levels down, and it also means that you have to take quick breaks and get up from your desk to let him in and out. And dogs need a walk! A quick 10 minute walk is fun for the dog, and means you can focus better when you sit down again.
Spoil your pooch with one of this fun, low-cost dog beds from Catch of the Day.
Be smart with a smart power board
Yuyu from TypeEighty must have a smart power strip in his home office. This is a really good idea if you want a greener office (that’s also cheaper to run). This would be perfect for travel, as well.
It’s not easy to choose one must have item for my home office, but if I have to, it’s Maxcio smart power strip. This smart device helps to keep my sanity in check and my electricity bill lows.
I’m guilty of having too many devices in my home office such as a printer, external monitors, network storage to name a few. While these devices are smart enough to be on standby mode when not being used. It still consumes electricity and smart power strip eliminates that problem for me. Maxcio smart power strip comes with 4 AC outlets and 3 USB ports.
Once I downloaded the ‘Smart Life’ mobile app, I could control each outlet individually giving me the freedom to turn on or off a single device. This smart power strip also works well with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, say yes to voice control.
Back up with an external hard drive
When was the last time you backed up?
Something as simple as this small but big 128GB storage device from SanDisk could save you the nightmare of losing your data.
Susan from Solo Trips and Tips can’t get by without her external hard drive.
Because I’m a digital nomad and my home office changes location every month or so I find the one thing I cannot live without is my external hard drive. Having a backup of my laptop, documents, and photographs is essential. Backing up to the cloud is another method I use but I can’t always rely on quality internet connections when I’m travelling. External hard drives are now incredibly lightweight and affordable. Another benefit of using an external hard drive is that you can access the files from anywhere at any time. If you have ever tried to download all your files from your cloud backup you will know it could take forever and a day but with an external hard drive you have instant access to all your files.
Invest in a digital assistant with Google Home
Apart from my laptop and my iPhone, Google Home is the third most important gadget in my home office.
Google Home is like your personal virtual assistant that is always there and ready to help!
The best thing about Google Home is that you can talk to it and ask it to do things, without having to stop what you are doing. I use it to set up timers and alarms to keep us on track during the day, for listening to a podcast to learn new things, and for a tonne of other online research.
Google Home is also a great speaker. We connect it to Spotify and stream background music as the working-hours tick away. It is always better to work in a more relaxing atmosphere.
I love my Google Home and that is my home office thing that I now can’t live without.
Diffuse peppermint oil
Katy from Our Urban Life uses essential oils to improve her focus and concentration in the office. We burn peppermint oil, too. It’s great for setting the scene for the day, ready for some productive work.
We love this super cheap but effective USB and LED Essential Oil Diffuser from BangGood.com shown above.
I am not productive in my home office without an oil diffuser and peppermint oil. Staying focused is critical when you work from home. There are so many distractions.. the internet, odd jobs, gazing out the window! The list is endless.
I use peppermint oil to keep my mind calm and focused. Peppermint oil is known to help with memory, reasoning and improved attention span. As soon as I sit down for the day I start my oil diffuser and add a few drops of oil. This helps keep me concentrated on the tasks at hand and productive in my home office.
Create a lovely aroma with scented candles
Melissa from Thrifty Family Travels lights a scented candle to create an aroma that makes her office inviting.
We love Organic Choice pear and cinnamon scented candles from The Block Shop.
In my home office, I just can’t go past scented candles, I really think I am addicted. At any one time, I have at least 2 to 3 on my desk so that each day I have a choice of fragrance to smell.
For me, it just makes my office so much for inviting having that beautiful smell wafting around the room and a place I want to be and spend time in. I find that if I ever wander from the office during the day, I’m always drawn back to the gorgeous smell.
A poster for getting into the right mindset
Sharon from DigitalNomadWannabe gets in the right headspace by having a bespoke poster on the wall behind her desk.
I love the poster I have on the wall behind my desk which has my business logo and the logo for the main product I sell. I initially bought this poster and put it up because I thought it would look good in the videos I make for my business. However, I realised after getting it that it was great for my mindset. It makes me feel more professional and like I’m working on something important which helps my business be more successful.
Get organised with a pinboard
We’re so digital these days that we forget the benefits of going analogue. Jan from Retiring Not Shy loves her classic pinboard for keeping track of her planning.
My pinboard is my home office absolute must have.
I am a very visual person, and my pinboard allows me to see clearly which tasks I have ahead of me. Whilst I keep my planning documents online in Word/Excel/Calendar etc. it is way too easy for them to get lost in amongst all the other files and busyness. A printed copy on my board keeps me focussed.
But it isn’t all to do lists on my pinboard, there are notes from my collaboration partners, and a small posy of dried flowers. There is also a poem written for me by my partner, some humour and inspirational quotes, my favourite: “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable” by Mary Oliver.
My pinboard minimises time-wasting in my day, with everything laid out in front of me.
Take time out with a special chair
One of the things that my home office must have is a comfy loveseat or oversized chair to sit in. While I do not always have visitors, it is a second space for me to use if I need to get away from the desk. It is also nice for one for my kids to sit on when they pop in, where they can relax (while distracting me). Sometimes it is nice to be able to curl up in a chair with my laptop and a blanket when I am needing to feel cosy, especially in the rainy months!
Brew quality coffee for your home office
Jean from Traveling Honeybird knows her coffee!
The one thing in my little home office that has changed the way I work is my coffee machine. It may seem like an indulgence but it has seriously improved my productivity. It’s amazing how the small 5-minute break away from the desk, walk to the kitchen and making myself a latte can change my mindset and bring some happiness to my day.
The installation of the coffee machine also stopped me from doing those time-sucking black hole coffee runs to the local cafe. No longer do I lose 45mins meandering down, ordering a subpar coffee and having useless chats with people that I don’t particularly like.
It’s also rather nice to be able to make friends a decent cup of coffee or hot chocolate when they drop by.
Enjoy coffee from a beautiful mug
Rachel from Creators of Coffee
After working in corporate offices for much of my life, one thing I love now that I work from home is my own coffee mug. No more chipped, stained, faded or ugly coffee mugs necessary.
As an avid coffee and tea lover, there is nothing worse than sifting through a shelf of dejected mugs for your morning cuppa.
When I started working from home, I purchased some beautiful ceramic coffee mugs. Each time I make a cup of coffee or tea through the day, they bring me joy. It is a simple addition to my home office that reminds me how great it is to work from home.
De-stress with stress balls
Mary Beth from A Reluctant Mom uses stress balls to help her relax in her home office.
I know they’re old school, but my work-from-home life wouldn’t be the same without my trusty stress balls! They’re one of the few office “supplies” I kept after leaving the corporate world, and I’m glad I did. They’re small and simple, but surprisingly effective.
I’m the kind of person who tenses up my shoulders when typing at the computer. As soon as I catch myself doing it, I reach for my stress ball of choice (yes, I have more than one!). Squeezing those suckers truly does release some of that tension. It also helps me remember (at least, for a little while) to unclench my shoulders and jaw when I get back to work. Stress balls are where it’s at!.
Go ergonomic with a laptop stand
David from Paid Surveys has saved small fortune in osteo bills by investing in a laptop stand.
Until about 6 months ago I hadn’t given much thought to my home office setup. That was until I began to suffer from numerous unexplained symptoms – tingling in my hands, pain in my wrists, headaches and constant back pain. My doctor is the one that suggested I look at how I have my home office setup and to consider getting a laptop stand. Within 2 weeks my symptoms disappeared. The laptop stand is particularly helpful because it keeps my laptop at the right height, preventing strain in my neck and shoulders. A must-have for those who use a laptop as their home office computer!
Cosy up with cushions
It’s no secret that we LOVE cushions. They are one of the simplest and most economical ways to brighten and dress up a room. Zanui has the best range of cushions we’ve ever seen – something for everyone.
Jillian from Adventure Dragon gets our passion for cushions.
My home office includes a set of cosy floor cushions and pillows. That may seem like a strange item to have in an office, but for me, it’s an absolute necessity. Most people work or blog while sitting at a desk, but I often feel cramped up and restless when sitting for long periods of time. For this reason, I prefer to work while lounging on the floor. I have a set of favourite cushions that I spread across the floor, and I lay on my stomach on top of them while my laptop sits in front of me. This also allows me to spread out papers in a semi-circle around me so that they’re easy to access or quickly flip through. I get the most work accomplished when my office is set up this way, and I’m far more productive
Houseplants as office essentials
Mel from Mel’s Garden loves her
One of the office essentials I refuse to go without is a houseplant. Having a small plant in the office brightens up your space and makes it nicer to work in. But plants aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, they benefit your health, too.
Houseplants, or office plants in this case, improve your air quality by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Having more oxygen in the air might even help keep you awake during that afternoon slump.
Plants can also reduce certain pollutants in the air, including benzene and nitrogen dioxide, by absorbing them. As your office furniture and supplies off-gas, your plants can help clean it up.
Plants can increase humidity and keep air temperatures down.
According to an NBC News report, “Studies have proven that house plants improve concentration and productivity (by up to 15%), reduce stress levels, and boost your mood.”
There are so many reasons that a houseplant should be considered essential in the office, but my favorite is that they are nice to look at. Offices can be sterile environments, its nice to bring a little life into them.
For the love of stationery
Who’s with me with the stationery love?
Teresa from Wounded Birds Ministry is! She shares her love of gel pens, something I can relate to (I think I have about 30+ of these babies).
For years, I wrote all my To-Do lists and meeting notes using black ink because I had it in my head that it was the only way to be “professional.” Often, I would get lost thumbing through my notebooks looking for a To-Do list or the right meeting notes.
Then I switched to using brightly colored gel pens and it made a huge difference for me. My notebook went from being strictly utilitarian to being a source of joy in my day, and color-coordinating my notes meant I found items more quickly. I now have a full stash of gel pens; they brighten my office and it’s fun to pick out which color to use. I will never go back to boring black again.
A room with a view
LeAnna from Well Traveled Nebraskan needs a view when she’s working, or at the very least, a window.
While most people think you need certain THINGS for a home office, there is one “item” that is a must for me when working, and that is a window.
I have worked in buildings before where I have no clue what time of day it is because I’m holed up in a windowless building and IT’S THE WORST! Having access to natural light not only helps with productivity but also just gives a boost to your mood. Bonus points when I’m travelling and have an amazing view! And the best part is that no matter where you go, if you work from the road, it’s easy to find a place that has a window to the outside world while you work.
Over to you – what are your must-have home office essentials?