Working from home has become a standard for many employees, especially at the pandemic’s start. Remote work statistics show that around 18% of people work remotely full-time worldwide. Moreover, the events of the last two years have thrown many businesses and employees into remote work for the first time.
Working remotely can be a difficult transition for those who are used to the traditional office environment. If you consider your home a cozy, quiet place to relax after a stressful day, switching it into a home office can be challenging. Fortunately, it’s not impossible. I switched to remote working some time ago and have already experienced its pros and cons.
One of the things I learned is that the tools you use and how you set up your workspace make a massive difference. It affects your productivity, health, and overall wellbeing. Investing in proper home office equipment doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
This guide will show you plenty of cost-effective solutions to improve your workspace and increase productivity to become an effective remote worker.
Laptop Stand ($40 – $70)
A proper laptop stand is one of the most crucial home office essentials for remote workers. It helps you position the laptop in a way that reduces poor posture. It gives the laptop a place to sit on and heightens the computer screen to be at your eye level. Hunchback posture will cause neck pain in the long run and has a dreadful impact on your spine.
Any laptop stand should suffice. Just remember to pick one according to your laptop’s size. In the meantime, you can simply stockpile books or place a shoebox underneath your laptop. A laptop stand works best when paired with an ergonomic keyboard.
- Best overall laptop stand: ObVus Solutions Laptop Stand
- Best budget laptop stand: Rain Design 10032 mStand
Benefits of Using a Laptop Stand
- It’s easier to keep your back straight and reduce poor posture.
- There are laptop stands for basically every size.
- You can create your own makeshift standing desk for your laptop for free.
Standing Desk ($34 – $800)
You’re probably sitting more than usual when involved in many remote jobs. Sitting all day is not the best for your health, and it can be mentally draining. When operating from home, your working routine is different from office workers. Occasionally, they have to walk over to their colleague’s desk or move around from meeting to meeting.
You are confined to your desk for more extended periods when working remotely. That’s why a suitable standing desk is more important than you think. A height-adjustable standing desk works wonders for your spine, blood flow, and mental health. It will also make you feel more energized when switching between standing and sitting positions.
There are many standing desks to choose from, and your final decision will be solely based on your budget. The most expensive ones have an all-electric control panel with memory height presets and are usually made from solid wood.
On the other hand, cheaper ones are made from plywood and have a manual height control. Or you can try a standing rolling desk that you can quickly move from one room to another. Regardless of your choice, they all share similar functionality.
A lift-top coffee table is also a great option. It’s not an actual desk, but it has all the ergonomics needed if you prefer to work from the couch in your living room.
Finally, there’s a lap desk if you want to stay as mobile as possible during working hours. It’s the most versatile solution as it allows you to work even from your bed. However, it’s the least ergonomic choice out of all options.
- Electric, height-adjustable standing desk: Flexispot Pro Standing Desk
- Lift-top coffee table: Bidiso Lift Top Coffee Table
- Lap desk: Mavo Craft Folding Lap Desk
Benefits of Using a Standing Desk
- Positive influence on your spine, blood flow, and mental health.
- You’ll feel more energized throughout the day.
- The functionality stays the same regardless of your choice. You’re only paying more for a better quality product.
- You can choose between different desk types depending on your needs.
Ergonomic Keyboard ($45 – $114)
To go along with the ergonomics of your desk and stand, you’ll need an ergonomic keyboard. Even if you’re maintaining a good posture throughout the day, using the built-in keyboard on your laptop is not the best idea. It can cause strain as you reach forward all day, on top of wrist pain if they don’t have any support.
There’s no one ultimate keyboard that does it all – it all depends on your preferences. Keyboards are small, large, with low or high-profile keys, wired or wireless, with or without RGB, etc. Personally, I would check if it has built-in wrist support and adjustable height. Rest is optional.
- Best overall ergonomic keyboard: Logitech MX Keys
- Best budget ergonomic keyboard: Perixx Periboard-512 Ergonomic Split Keyboard
Benefits of Using an Ergonomic Keyboard
- Less strain on your wrists and hands.
- Adjustable height.
- Plenty of keyboards to choose from depending on your needs.
Ergonomic Desk Chair ($430 – $790)
This is the only section in this article where I advise you not to cheap out and reach deeper into your pocket. A good office chair is your throne of work. Sitting all day is inevitable when working remotely, and it’s an actual danger to your health if you’re not sitting correctly. An ergonomic position has a positive effect on your physical and mental health and is comfier than you may think.
When choosing an ergonomic and comfortable desk chair, pay attention to your back and lumbar support, height adjustability, and used materials. And please remember that a fancy-looking gaming chair doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an ergonomic one. Also, artificial leather is not the best choice if you’re sitting for 8 hours straight.
When it comes to ergonomics, Herman Miller is one of the best globally, but it also costs a pretty penny. Personally, I would look into brands like Noblechairs or Secret Lab. Although they are designed for gamers, they have all the ergonomics to support your back during working or gaming hours.
Additionally, they come with different patterns and materials, including real leather and fabric. I think they serve as a perfect middle-ground when it comes to ergonomic chairs. They will make a fine addition to your home workspace and won’t make you bankrupt.
However, if you have the funds, it’s best to sacrifice the fancy looks and lean towards Herman Miller – you won’t regret it.
- Best overall ergonomic desk chair: Herman Miller Classic Aeron
- Best budget ergonomic desk chair: Noblechairs Icon TX
Benefits of Using an Ergonomic Desk Chair
- Positive effect on your physical and mental health.
- An ergonomic chair is more comfortable than you may think.
- Lumbar support and height adjustability mitigate back pain even after long working sessions.
- There are many brands to choose from if you’re looking for the best bang for the buck.
Necessary Software To Improve Your Productivity
You can have an ideal workspace, but it’s like having a sports car without an engine without proper software. Here, you’ll find essential software needed to work productively. What’s more, all of the necessary software is available on RoyalCDKeys for competitive prices!
- Windows 10/11. Everybody uses Windows. We know it’s obvious to own an operating system before anything else, but not everyone knows you can get it for a lower price. Windows 10 costs a pretty penny from the official distribution, so many people are moving towards third-party sellers. They usually buy software in bulk, so they can sell it cheaper afterward.
You can easily find Windows 10 Professional CD Key or Windows 11 Pro CD Key for competitive prices. Furthermore, they can be activated legitimately like those from official stores without spending a fortune. RoyalCDKeys is one of those third-party stores. It’s not a market for third-party sellers, thus the only seller is its owner. It adds to the credibility of the site and ensures safe transactions. Also, devices with Windows 10 Pro installed can take advantage of a free upgrade to Windows 11 Pro.
- Microsoft Office 2021 Pro. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are necessary tools for almost every company. Of course, there are free alternatives, but their functionality is incomparable to a productivity suite by Microsoft. It comes with support for multiple file formats and compatibility with various devices. It’s bread and butter for every remote employee, as you have to open those important documents sent by your supervisor.
Noise Canceling Headphones ($80 – $300)
If you’re living in a noisy environment, headphones are a necessity. Whether it’s your dog, family, neighbors, or construction workers, you can set yourself apart from loud surroundings. When wearing headphones, you’re establishing a personal workspace, clearly indicating to anyone around you that you don’t want to be disturbed.
However, cheap ordinary headphones won’t help you much. If you have the means, invest in a higher quality product. You’ll be using them a lot, so paying extra for a higher-end product will save you money in the long run. At least look for headphones with active noise cancelation since blocking out unwanted noise is the main reason you’re buying them.
It’s essential at home, but you’ll appreciate it even more if you work in busy coffee shops or airports. Additionally, they prevent echo during an important conference call, so even your coworkers will benefit from it.
- Best overall noise-canceling headphones: Bose Headphones 700
- Best budget noise-canceling headphones: Anker SoundCore Life Q30
- Noise-canceling earbuds: Anker Soundcore Life P3i
Benefits of Using Noise Canceling Headphones
- You can set yourself apart from loud surroundings.
- Noise-canceling works wonders in busy environments, so you can work from basically everywhere.
- They prevent echo during online meetings.
Blue-light Glasses ($58 – $185)
If you were staring at your computer all day long, you have probably felt your eyes were refusing to cooperate. Your eyesight is even more important than better posture, so taking care of your eyes is crucial. All electronic devices emit blue light, which causes eyestrain after prolonged usage.
Blue-light glasses can help reduce eyestrain, especially if you spend a lot of time on video calls, writing articles, or video montage for 8 hours straight. Windows has a built-in blue light filter you can turn on, or you can even buy a blue-light screen to put over your computer screen.
The most effective and expensive solution is getting a pair of blue-light glasses. They block 70% of harmful light, and software solutions don’t even come close to that.
If you already wear glasses as I do, ask your optometrist to add a blue light filter to your lenses when you fill your next prescription. Since they are an inherent part of my life, paying a little more for an additional filter didn’t harm my budget at all.
- Best overall blue-light glasses: Felix Gray – Jemison Blue Light Blocking Computer
- Best budget blue-light glasses: Gunnar Unisex Computer and Gaming Glasses
- Anti-blue light screen protector: Ocushield Premium Anti Blue Light Screen Protector
Benefits of Using Blue-light Glasses
- They significantly reduce eyestrain.
- Many brands to choose from.
- It’s a better solution than software programs or blue-light filters on your laptop screen.
- If you wear prescription glasses, you can ask for an additional filter.
External Monitor ($290 – $1300)
If you have ever tried looking at your Zoom screen while discussing data from a spreadsheet, you know what I’m talking about. Multitasking on a single monitor is just another form of torture, and it’s far from being efficient. Investing in an external monitor can work wonders for your productivity.
If budget is an issue, there are many options in the market. You don’t have to buy a brand-new monitor. A secondhand full HD widescreen monitor can be a lifesaver.
This way, you can move around windows between both screens without minimizing everything all the time. You can choose between 24, 27, 32 or even larger screens. Pay attention to resolution, though. Working on an FHD 32-inch screen is not the best choice. Higher resolution means higher pixel density which translates to a sharper image.
If your budget is tight, you can connect your TV screen via HDMI cable or extend your screen with AirPlay for Apple devices. Or, if you’re opting for a single screen, you could turn your attention to 21:9 monitors.
They are considerably wider than their 16:9 counterparts with a more real-screen estate. Another great feature is that most movies are recorded in a 21:9 aspect ratio to watch your favorite blockbuster without black bars on top and bottom.
- Best overall 4k external monitor: Dell S2722QC
- Best overall ultrawide monitor: LG 38WP85C
- Best budget 1440p external monitor: ViewSonic VA2719
- Best budget ultrawide monitor: Samsung LS34J550WQNXZA
Benefits of Owning an External Monitor
- Perfect for multitasking purposes.
- More real-screen estate.
- With external monitors, you can move windows from one screen to another.
- Look into 21:9 screens if you’re opting for a large monitor.
- A big monitor makes a big difference.
We’ve covered the essential gear for remote employees up to this point. We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to additional desk accessories. Here you’ll find optional gadgets to improve your productivity.
- Sanitizing Wireless Charger. An advanced anti-bacterial UV light with ionizer technology can kill up to 99.9% of viruses. Oblio Charger by Lexon looks very elegant and is a fine addition to every work desk.
- Desk Pad. Desk or mouse pad – you name it. The pad provides traction for your mouse and makes your working more comfortable. Look for mouse or desk pads with an anti-slip rubber base to prevent it from sliding around.
- Wireless keyboard. As we stated earlier, a comfortable keyboard is essential for remote work productivity. A wireless keyboard comes in handy when you want to switch between different devices. Plugging and unplugging each time is not the most convenient solution. Remember to look for one with long battery life.
- Water Bottle. Having a large water bottle by your side is convenient to avoid countless trips to the kitchen. Keeping it close will also help you stay hydrated. Moreover, you want something that won’t risk spilling water all over your computer. LARQ’s portable purifying bottle has a patented UV-C LED technology to keep your water pure. It filters and keeps your water cool. It also comes in different sizes and colors.
Your workstation is a place you’ll visit almost every day. It’s important to work comfortably and make this place your own. We covered the bare minimum you’ll need to create the ergonomic workspace. You can have the most ergonomic equipment ever, but a sedentary lifestyle and working for a long period of time will affect your physical and mental health.
Don’t mix work with your personal life. Disconnect from everything We strongly advise exercising after a long day of stationary work. Also, don’t forget about the necessary software to further improve your productivity.