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For many of us, the pivot to working from home in March this year was so abrupt we scarcely had time to consider how to make it enjoyable. But now, nearly eight months in and likely a winter at home ahead of us, it's time to ensure your housebound workplace is working for you, not against you. Here are the essentials to turn your home office into a little oasis of efficiency.
Whether you've a zoom meeting you need to hear every word for, live with housemates or family prone to making a racket, or the street works outside are drilling straight into your brain, noise-cancelling headphones are mandatory for when you need to focus. These JVC headphones are a great, inexpensive entry level pair, but for the gold standard in comfort, battery life, and noise reduction, opt for the superb Bose Noise-cancelling 700s.
...or a bluetooth speaker
That said, some of us work better with the hubbub of the office around us. You can't replicate the happy buzz of 60 colleagues at work, but a bluetooth speaker can provide a deliciously calm, steady stream of background talk radio or classical music to sooth your working day.
Do not accept RSI as an inevitable consequence of home-working. An ergonomic keyboard will save your wrists from laptop cramp, and makes for an altogether more comfortable typing experience.
An LED monitor
Sore eyes from squinting at your computer screen? This 28", high definition Samsung monitor can put paid to that. It allows you to open two documents side by side, rather than constantly toggling between them, which is a genuine boon for efficiency. The adjustable stand will put paid to neck strain, and the clarity of picture means it can double as a means for watching TV in the evening.
An ergonomic chair
By now, you may be all-too-aware of the pain that a make-shift work set up can cause in your back, not to mention your shoulders and wrists. It's a sound investment to purchase an ergonomic chair, which will alleviate your suffering by offering vital lumbar support, encouraging good posture. The adjustable armrests are a god-send for long-suffering shoulders, too.
A standing desk
Recommended by chiropractors and physical therapists, a standing desk can work wonders to alleviate the pain that arises from hunching over a laptop all day. This adjustable model allows you to move from standing and sitting, and the lower shelf provides storage for keyboards and mouses.
A desk organiser
From the remnants of breakfast, drying clothes, a stack of bills: general household clutter can create a hectic atmosphere for those of us trying to keep our minds on quarterly reports. Don't make the mistake of thinking no work-mates nearby allows you to be a slattern. Keep your desk in order: this tray drawer unit will handily keep papers sorted and accessible, while this storage unit is ideal for pens, post-its, paperclips - all your stationery bric-a-bric.
A USB charging desk lamp
A good desk lamp will save you from straining your eyes as you work. The Groove-E LED Desk Lamp has five brightness settings, meaning you can manoeuvre between a bright light for when you're feverishly writing reports, to a softer option for video calls, without leaving your set. With a wireless charging pad, it's ever so user friendly. Move it to the bedside table at night, when you're about to drop off, and the inbuilt alarm clock can wake you in the morning.
An LED ring-light
If you've client meetings within your role, it's not vanity to want to look as slickly professional as possible during a zoom call. A desk LED ring-light will mimic the even, flattering cast of natural light, making you look your absolute best.
A Wifi-Mesh system
Transform the whole house into a workzone with a mesh Wi-Fi system, which works to ensure there are no wi-fi dead zones in your house, especially if there's multiple people utilising the household network. They're easy to set up and will ensure everyone has steady internet access, be they in the attic or the pantry.
Pyjamas that double as daywear
Yes, this isn't an essential. And look, it's obviously best practice to shower and get dressed to face the working day... but we're not at our best every day. If you're opting to spend the day in your pyjamas, but still need to look smart enough to attend a google hangout with the boss, Liberty pyjamas are a must. Butter soft, made to last, and fashionable enough that everyone will assume you've donned a crisp new blouse. Gentlemen, opt for smart casual: Uniqlo offers a range of brilliant joggers, comfy yet smart.