One of the most-cited advantages of remote work is the ability to work anywhere; however, for too many remote workers, that often means the dining room or kitchen table. These areas are not made for sitting for several hours, and the constant foot traffic of other household members is undoubtedly less than helpful!
If you want at-home productivity, you need two things: a specific space in your home for work and remote office accessories. Sure, the Internet is full of stock photos of people working on the beach or their back porch, and those are great options if you need an occasional change of scenery. But most of the time, you need to take your home office space as seriously as your workplace office. Here are the hot remote office accessories for 2022 divided into three categories: ergonomic comfort, technology, and work environment improvements.
Repetitive stress injuries among office workers increase as computer work takes over most manual labor. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates repetitive stress injuries affect 1.8 million workers per year and make up about 30 percent of workplace injuries that result in time out of the office. Agency owners should make ergonomic workspaces a priority.
You don’t have to be in a commercial office to suffer repetitive stress injuries. Your home office should also be ergonomically correct. These accessories will help you.
Depending on what you are willing to spend, you can find basic supportive office chairs or models with all the comfort bells and whistles! Your dining room and kitchen chairs are not designed for long hours typing at your laptop. Office chairs are optimal for this purpose.
New chair designs offer better support and make desk work less painful. You want your chair to be comfortable and support your lower back. Also, your chair must adjust to a height where you can put your feet flat on the floor. You can enjoy knee support and more adjustable angles if you pay for extra features. These extras are advantages if you suffer chronic pain or find that past injuries arise when sitting too long. Chairs are very personal, so consider going to an office store and trying different designs and features before purchasing.
If you already have an office chair, it’s understandable if you don’t want to replace it with an expensive new model. Chair padding can turn your old reliable chair into a more supportive work chair. Gel chair pads are incredibly comfortable; many people like them so much that they use them in the car or take them to the office when they return there.
Many people who suffer from sciatica and other lumbar conditions prefer adding a lumbar support cushion for additional comfort. Lumbar support cushions also encourage better posture, so you are not straining your shoulders and wrists in a humped-over computer position.
A lumbar cushion turns any chair into an ergonomic chair. If you would rather upgrade a current chair than replace it, a lumbar support cushion makes a big difference.
Repetitive stress injuries in office workers manifest painfully in the wrists. The most common cause of this injury is poor alignment between the elbows, keyboard, and mouse.
Pads built into a keyboard or mousepad add comfort and improve alignment. If your keyboard and mouse pad do not come with cushions, you can buy them separately and add them to your workstation.
If you suffer back pain from sitting too much or find you get bored or anxious while working, a standing desk may be your solution. You can replace your current desk with an adjustable standing desk or buy a desktop converter that raises and lowers your computer depending on whether you are working while seated or standing.
Standing desks reduce back pain and improve productivity. However, you must be cautious because standing too much leads to leg and foot pain and varicose veins. Experts recommend switching between sitting and standing so you enjoy all the benefits of standing without facing the disadvantages.
When your office moves home, it is time to upgrade your technology. Once again, ergonomics comes into play, but so does your need to maintain a fast Internet connection and run Zoom meetings without distracting glitches. When your home office converts to a full or part-time workspace, here are devices and upgrades to consider.
Many households buy enough Internet connection to stream videos, run home software, and support gaming. When you start working from home, it is time to increase these expectations.
Your Internet connection must be strong to keep your work consistent. Rescheduling a Zoom meeting or missing a deadline because you had connectivity issues is never a fun experience.
A Wi-Fi router improves Internet performance. This affordable device allows your Wi-Fi to handle more devices and prevent lagging. The result is reliable Internet service and smooth Zoom meetings. A router is a productivity tool, but it is also a tool for supporting household harmony.
You can work on your laptop and use its smaller screen occasionally, but for everyday work, that becomes tiresome. Invest in a full-size monitor to use from your laptop. You can either close your monitor (and attach a keyboard and mouse) and make the monitor your primary one or create a two-monitor setup.
For some types of work, multiple monitors are a productivity boost. You may consider this option if you often switch between windows or browser tabs. It can be much easier, for example, to refer to a spreadsheet while writing an email if you have two monitors.
Keyboard and Mouse
Just as with the monitors, if you have a laptop, you will enjoy better comfortable and productivity if you purchase a full-size keyboard and mouse. Many people find they type faster with a larger or ergonomic keyboard than on a laptop keyboard. You can also add wrist pads easier if you use full-size peripherals.
If you have a desktop computer, you may wish to consider getting more durable peripherals for your computer. Cheap keyboards make typing mistakes easier, and cheap mice eventually wear out and leave you stranded in the middle of a project. Consider work-at-home time an opportunity to upgrade your workstation.
Remote Meeting Gear
If you run frequent remote appointments and meetings, consider acquiring the following:
- Web camera
- Computer speakers
- Headset with microphone.
Your remote meeting gear depends on your living environment. If you live alone or have an office with a closing door, you likely do not need a headset with a microphone. However, upgrading your webcam and speakers makes it easier for you to hear your clients and colleagues, and they will see and hear you better too.
Most webcams contain a microphone for its purpose. If meeting attendants indicate that they cannot hear you, invest in a microphone. Noise-canceling microphones are excellent options because they reduce background noise. That advantage proves valuable to softer spoken individuals.
Many laptops have these devices built into them. But they often do not work as well as separate peripherals. These small investments make for better Zoom meetings and are worth the cost if you meet remotely frequently.
Work Environment Improvements
Small changes make for a better work environment. You want to finish projects and gain clients, but you also want a comfortable and healthy environment. These items create the conditions that make work more pleasant.
You will enjoy good quality slippers, especially if you have a no-shoes rule at home. Slippers with memory foam soles, good traction, and natural materials are your best options. Choose wool or cotton, so your feet are never too cold or hot. If you plan to use a standing desk, find good arch support and add a padded mat to your work area.
There are times you need to block out the world and concentrate. Noise-canceling headphones are your tool for accomplishing that.
Some households are more distracting than others. Traffic noise, pets, and outdoor foot traffic and movement can turn you away from work. If you do not live alone and have a work corner rather than an office, noise-canceling headphones are your saving grace. But even the solo among us needs a little help with concentration.
What do you play on noise-canceling headphones? If you have a music app, seek playlists with names like “Deep Focus.” Also, white noise and concentration apps (like Focus@Will) pair nicely with noise-canceling headphones.
Humidifiers keep germs at bay and improve air quality. They make it easier to breathe so that you can focus on work rather than sore throats, running noses, and itchy eyes.
Most people use humidifiers in winter when harsh cold air wreaks havoc on sinuses. But summertime also makes them necessary. Air conditioning, especially window units, dry indoor air, and you will likely face the same symptoms.
Consider an air purifier, too, if you live in the city. Better air quality improves work and home environments alike.
Returning to the Office?
Even if you are returning to the office and closing down the home office, you still need to consider these improvements. Sure, you may not want your employees wearing slippers, but ergonomic equipment, upgraded technology, and improved air quality support good morale. COVID encouraged many offices to upgrade their ventilation systems, and employees feel better and are less likely to become sick. You may want to consider these at-home improvements for your commercial office.
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