The 2020s threw so many challenges our way from the start, I’ve been finding it helpful to change those things I can to make life and work as fluid and functional as can be. The insights into what’s actually within our respective circles of influence have been eye opening.
Reducing everything to its most basic is working well for me: What can I improve? What would make life easier? What helps me be productive now, all things considered? How can I best achieve work/life balance?
A foundational piece for many has been the home office. Whether you found yourself unexpectedly working from home for the first time or already had an established home office, with a year like we’ve all had, taking a closer look at the ergonomics and necessities in the home office is a low hanging fruit that can bring substantial returns on your investment.
I’ll share here some of my favorites in home office essentials to upgrade your experience.
You Need an Ergonomic Chair
The most crucial element in any long term working environment is the chair. You can use a table for a desk or repurpose a door and some file cabinets into a work surface, you can DIY a little murphy desk to fold out from the wall to put your laptop on – but if you don’t have a comfortable desk chair, your days of having a functioning, pain-free back are numbered.
There’s much debate over the most ergonomic office chair design and some really spendy chairs that promise to be the one. I have sat in countless office chairs over the years (including one of those expensive designs) and I’m here to settle the office chair debate. The absolute most comfortable office chair design is a chair with a mesh seat.
This is because an office chair with a mesh seat supports yet gives when you sit. The mesh seat office chair doesn’t compress your spine into an immovable surface. From personal experience, even the nicest padded office chair without a mesh seat will do this. Even getting up and moving hourly will not balance this out in the long run. Even if you prefer a standing desk for some of the day, sooner or later, you’ll want to have a seat.
An office chair with a mesh seat and back is also unrivaled in its ability to breathe. Air can circulate freely. In my opinion, there is no contest in the best office chair ergonomics contenders.
I suggest you sit on this chair. Your derriere will thank you.
The Modway Edge All Mesh Office Chair is comfortable, affordable and sturdy. I’ve been sitting in mine for a good two years and it shows no signs of sagging or structural break down. It was quick and easy to put together and costs a fraction of the fancy pants designer office chairs. It’s adjustable in all the crucial ways and has arms that flip up out of the way or into place when you need an armrest.
Optional Office Chair Upgrade
For a few dollars more, you can really take your office chair ergonomics to the next level. This lumbar support pillow can also take lots of experiences to the next level because it’s removable. If you have a long drive, you could bring it along and put it on your driver’s seat.
It’s seriously comfortable. I bought it when I bought the chair and it’s still as cushiony and comfortable as day 1. If you’re on a tight budget, just adding this lumbar cushion to your existing office chair will do worlds of good for your posture.
Don’t Forget About Your Wrists
Anything more than a temporary home office requires an actual mouse, a padded mouse pad and a keyboard wrist rest. This ergonomic wrist rest pad and mouse pad set by WeirdBeast is your wrist-saving answer.
Cushy memory foam supports your wrists while you type and scroll and click. The bottom of each is anti-slip, which means you can depend on them to stay put while you do what you do. The materials are sturdy and stay together. 10/10, just get this set. It’s great.
Your new desk organizer Just turned where ever you are into your office
You can be using the kitchen table for a desk but this compact yet mighty desk organizer will transform your workspace into your office. I’m always looking for the most sustainable materials when buying anything and this won it for me. It will last for the rest of your life. It doesn’t take up much desk space yet has a place for all the most important things: full size notebooks, pens and pencils, phone charger, sticky pads, lip balm, what have you.
The Mindspace Office Desk Organizer has the ideal number of dividers and maximizes the space it provides. Having everything essential in arm’s reach yet organized is a major productivity boost.
Because of its mesh metal design, you can see at a glance what you put where so no more fumbling for your earbuds when that video meeting kicks off. No more opening drawers looking for a pen when your colleague says something you need to jot down immediately.
Which cord is in my way?
If you have a more established home office, you’ve no doubt played what-the-heck-cord-is-this. Or the device cables just get unruly as time goes on and verge on safety hazard to kids, pets, your feet, or others in the house.
Or you want to rearrange your office furniture or peripherals and find following all the cords to their eventual ends is a hassle you’d like to avoid ever repeating – and then you realize there isn’t a power outlet where you need one.
Say no more, fam. I found two excellent quality cable management boxes of sustainable materials for your specific cord-wrangling needs.
Cable Management Box 1: For Standard Size Surge Protector
This bamboo cord management box has a minimalist yet extra convenient design. Its recessed lid makes a great spot for your phone or can double as a little shelf if you don’t need to unplug your cords often once they’re plugged in and stored in the cable organizer.
You could also fit a cordless screwdriver here while it’s charging, a coffee grinder, Magic Bullet Smoothie Maker or a bottle of whiskey, in case you were wondering. This cable management container is perfect for the multi-use office space and also makes it dang near impossible to spill something on your electrical outlets. You can put this organizing wonder in any room of the house and if you’re getting two, this is a game changer in the kitchen.
Cable Management Organizer 2: For Wide Surge Protector
This bamboo cord management organizer has a few more bells and whistles. It’s wide enough to contain the heavy duty, warranty-backed Belkin 12-outlet power strip, has a magnetic closure on top, and comes with a set of cord labels to demystify once and for all which cord leads to which piece of office equipment.
Option 3: A Super Compact Wall Surge Protector
If all you need is the ability to protect your devices from power surges while plugging them all into one spot without taking up any desk space, this 6-Outlet USB Wall Charger Surge Protector is your best bet. There is plenty of space to power everything you need in your day and it doubles as a dark-sensing nightlight.
Eco-Friendly office supplies
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love office supplies. They’re useful, harken to the excitement of back to school, and are one way to bring a little personal style to what you’re working on. I’m always on the hunt for sustainable office supplies and here are some of the best I’ve found.
If you find you still need a paper copy from time to time, Greenbox offers a greener solution to home printer ink for every major printer brand. The remanufactured print cartridge replacements reuse valuable resources keeping them out of the landfill, print in high quality, and cost less than the manufacturer’s ink cartridge replacements.
If you’re looking for eco-friendly pencils, I have four suggestions. If you’ve ever used a pencil, you are probably aware that Ticonderoga is the longstanding best quality pencil maker. They also utilize managed forests for more sustainable pencil production. One of my favorites is their Soft Black Pencil. It writes darker, looks sleek, and matches your cold, dark heart on bad days.
Ticonderoga has two more sustainable pencil options: the unpainted Envirostik Pencil and the Renew Pencil, which is made of 53% recycled wood.
Staedtler Wopex Eco Pencil has emerged as equally high quality. They also utilize sustainable forestry management, and are purported to use the most efficient pencil production processes, which further saves resources. Their eco pencils sharpen cleanly, erase fully, write smoothly and last twice as long as typical pencils.
The front runner in pens has been Pilot’s G2 rolling ball pen in my opinion since forever. But in addition to writing with the most satisfying flow, they are the greener choice with refillable ink – and double the writing time of other gel pens on the market. We are seizing our joys these days where ever we can find them, people. Do not skimp on your home office pen experience.
HOme Office ambiance upgrades
Need a quick curtain hanging solution or a place to hang your hat, bag, a plant or some art? Command Hooks has stepped up their offerings with nice colors and materials other than plastic, larger hooks, decorative hook designs, picture hanging hooks, and hooks with adhesive strong enough to support heavier items.
This is seriously the easiest way to hang a curtain: just get a pair of large Command hooks and stick up one on either end where you’d usually put the curtain rod hardware. Now just set the curtain rod in the hooks without aggravation, tools or holes in the wall. As long as your curtain rod has finials or balls on the end, the rod will hold in place once set in the Command hooks.
If you can listen to music while you work and want to use a speaker other than your computer’s, the V-Moda Bluetooth HiFi Speaker has impressive sound in a small package. The highs, mids and vocals aren’t muddy and the bass is more than you’d expect. It’s a good weight but also mobile so you can just take it outside when you’re done working.
If you want to use the power of scent to influence your mood, this bamboo essential oil diffuser is my favorite. It uses much less plastic than typical as most of it is constructed of bamboo, it doubles as a mini humidifier, has an auto off function when the water runs out, and you can choose a color light band to match your mood. Mine’s run daily for over a year.
Protecting your health and wellbeing in small ways like having a comfortable, productive, uplifting work space is a worthy goal and easy fix, in a year that hasn’t had many of those. I hope you’ve found some of these ideas helpful and that your coming months are full of goals met and easier days.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I share links to products I personally have positive experiences with and would buy again. I look for durable, eco-friendly, high performance goods and put extensive time into researching reviews, price and product comparisons before I purchase anything – because I hate shopping and even more than that, I hate having to throw away broken things that weren’t acceptable quality. So what you’ll read here are my curated bests of the best.