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5 Essential Home Office Items Every Worker Must Have

COVID-19’s effect on the workforce has driven many of us into makeshift home offices without proper facilities to work comfortably or even healthily. We have become acutely familiar with being hunched over a desk in our box rooms, sitting semi-upright in bed with a laptop awkwardly balanced, or scrambling to find a quiet space before logging on to an important Zoom call. McKinsey & Co. found that 20% of the workforce can work as effectively from home as in the workplace and cites a potential tripling or quadrupling of people working from home versus pre-pandemic. We’ve made do with the tools and space we had, but it’s time for an upgrade. Read about The Office Store’s home office essentials below!

Work Desk

Work desk of sturdy build, with monitor, keyboard, mouse, and house plant on top of it.

An office or work desk is one of the essential components of any home-working setup. A desk should fulfil several roles in any worker’s day. Somewhere to write, type, scroll, view, and even put the occasional cup of coffee on. An ideal desk should allow you to type and rest your arms at 90 degrees. It’s essential to test this with an upright and supported posture. Ergotron has made a handy desk height calculator with intuitive visualisations that make setting up your home desk as easy as ever! Using this calculator, a 5-foot-9 individual should place a keyboard (the desk’s top) approximately 27” from the floor. Desks should be spacious enough to keep your various equipment evenly spaced out so that your workspace is not cramped. Standing desks are a relatively new development in ergonomic working but should only be used between 20-30% of the working day.

Ergonomic Chair

Ergonomic chair with sloping posture placed beside a work desk

Have you ever sat up in your chair and felt your back aching? There’s often a simple reason; the amount of time spent in an unsuitable chair. Research in Frontiers of Public Health has shown that sedentary workers are often subject to back pain and mental health issues from sitting down and being inactive too much. Pre-pandemic, adults typically spent 6.5 hours a day sitting. Being cooped up at home under lockdowns has undoubtedly increased this time. An ergonomic chair could be your home office’s best investment. “Ergonomic” refers to design compatibility for efficiency and comfort in the working environment. Have you ever wondered why some office chairs have an almost S-shaped arch in the back of the chair? The answer is ergonomics. Our spines have 33 interlocking bones that form our spinal column. Sitting in a well-designed ergonomic chair protects the natural shape of our bodies and supports how the hips, spine and shoulders interacting with each other.

Mousepad with Wrist Rest

Mousepad with wrist rest cushion

“Posture” is something you may think about each time you go to sit upright and straighten your back, but do you ever consider your wrist’s “posture”? Like many musculoskeletal systems, your wrist is a hub of veins, nerves, arteries, tendons, and ligaments. The ultimate function of a wrist rest is allowing you to use a mouse or keyboard from a neutral position. Prolonged use of mouses at awkward and unnatural angles is linked to an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Aiding your wrist by using stabilising support can take the strain from the ligaments and nerves located at the stem of your hand and upper wrist. Some research indicates overuse of a wrist rest can lead to issues, so make sure to not overuse the rest for long periods!

Appropriate Footrest

Footrests used under desks for ergonomic purposes

Some people like having their chair up at a height with their feet tucked in under it. We can’t always maintain perfect posture from head to toe. However, a footrest may make that task easier. Sitting with your feet pulled under the chair or dangling in the air increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis and sciatic nerve irritation. An appropriate footrest is considered key to any home office setup by The Mayo Clinic. Ergonomically speaking, footrests should ideally be tilted 10 to 25 degrees from the floor. A pile of books or a stack of papers could do the trick, but experts recommend a more permanent solution.

Monitor Stand

Monitor stand holding 2 computer displays upright

According to the University of North Carolina, the top of a monitor screen should be at or below eye level. If you’re sitting on a tall chair or your neck is crooked looking down at a screen, you may need a monitor stand. A monitor stand is helpful by reducing stiffness in the shoulders, neck, and back. Some stands also increase available space by lowering the “footprint” of the screen. Other stands are capable of holding two monitors, which aligns the screens side-by-side. A good monitor should be robust, steady, and adjustable to the user’s preference by tilting forward and backwards.

…& so ends The Office Store’s list of essential working-from-home items! No home office is complete without these furnishings. It’s always important to consider three things that we have touched on in this article: capability, comfort, and ergonomics. A home office with all of these things is sure to last even after offices reopen!

Why not check out our fantastic range of products to suit all of your home office needs? The Office Store is your hub for office supply needs from furniture to stationery!