Setting up a home office is a great way to improve your productivity — whether you're working from home or setting up desk space for a homework time — by carving out a space that's dedicated to getting work done. However, just what do you need to start putting your office together?
Office Desk: Chances are that this is the first thing you're looking to put in your new office, but whether you're recycling an old piece of furniture or picking up something brand new, make sure it has plenty of work surface to whatever you need to do, whether that involves spreading out paperwork or just typing on your computer. A too-small desk will always feel cramped and cluttered, so if you're not sure whether a desk is large enough, go a bit bigger.
Desk Chair: A comfortable chair is key to workplace productivity. Whatever you buy, make sure it's comfortable to you and is at a good height — or is adjustable — to comfortably work at your desk.
Office Calendar: Having a physical reminder of work to be done and things on your schedule can really help keep you on track. Maybe your calendar of choice is a dayplanner kept open on your desk or maybe it’s a larger wall or desk calendar where you keep tabs on the entire family. Either way, a paper calendar is an inexpensive — but valuable — investment.
Whiteboard or corkboard: Whatever you're working on, you'll want some free space to scribble notes, organize ideas, and write to-do lists. While you might keep such things in a notebook or on your smartphone, this is another place where an easily visible physical reminder can be a real asset.
Bookshelves or other office storage: You'll have different storage needs depending on what you're using your office for, but don't neglect to plan some storage space. A storage solution can be as simple as a bookshelf to stack books and papers on or a series of bins to store crafting supplies in. Whatever your solution, be sure to label it clearly so everything's easy to find later.
Power strip: It's pretty much a given that you'll have a computer in your workspace, but you might also find you have (or need) other tech gadgets, from tablets to lamps, to clocks. To power all of these things, having a power strip handy on or under your desk — anywhere within easy reach — is ideal. If you wind up with a tangle of tech cables that are a blight on your otherwise pleasant workspace, we recommend organizing the cables with clips to keep them where they should be and ties to tie them neatly together where they ought to go.
With these basics, you should have a good workspace going, but there’s always room for improvement. Pay attention to how you work in your new space to decide what else you need: paper-pushers may find a filing cabinet to be essential for organizing documents while a crafter might want to stock up on bins to organize supplies. There’s no right answer for every office, so be mindful of how you work to decide what — if anything — you need to add to this list of essentials.
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