Office lives have, of course, been transformed in recent years. The pandemic sparked a revolution in working from home, a shift which many believed would not last.
Yet data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released near the start of this year found that, between last September and January 2023, 16% of the workforce was still based exclusively at home. Meanwhile, more than a quarter (28%) were hybrid staff who worked partially at home. And a significant number (40%) had worked from home at some point during the previous week.
So WFH certainly remains commonplace, with one international study finding that in the UK hybrid employees spent an average of two days weekly completing their duties outside the office.
For most of us, being home-based has meant we’ve had to create a home office, and kit it out, during the last few years.
But what are the essentials you need for effective remote work? Clearly, without a phone, computer, reliable internet connection (and possibly a headset), not to mention decent lighting, you won’t get far.
Home office essentials
Here, we take you through the basics:
Office desk and chair
It may sound obvious, but you’ll need a dedicated, good-quality desk and chair, and to set them up just as you want them. These are the building blocks of your home office. It may be tempting to base yourself on the sofa or at the kitchen table, but that won’t be comfortable in the long term.
Your desk clearly needs to fit everything to which you require easy access – ideally it will also blend in with your existing decor.
Consider available floor space and the amount of desk space you want. If you use several computer monitors, a corner desk is one way of saving space – and could mean you have your back to some potential distractions in the room.
Alternatively, if you just need to plonk down a laptop and coffee mug, there are plenty of stylish yet functional options. Combine with books, pictures, plants and shelving for a working space that’s all your own.
Finally, standing desks are another, health-conscious option you may want to consider.
Obviously, you need to sit down to do most modern jobs. Prioritise lumbar support, ergonomic design and adjustable height over appearance. But you don’t have to spend hundreds to sit comfortably.
A moulded plastic office chair could be one cost-effective solution. This will follow (and support) your back’s natural curves. Meanwhile a mesh-back office chair could provide vital breathability during the warmer months.
A printer and scanner
This may be the digital age, but we all need to handle physical papers on occasion. Modern portable printers and scanners in one machine are lightweight but have all the functionality you need.
You may start out WFH with a clear desk but papers, technology accoutrements and so on all start to pile up quickly. Without enough good storage, you can waste valuable time trying to find things. These days, filing cabinets don’t all come in gunmetal grey or look unsightly or cumbersome. There are myriad styles and designs on today’s market, along with tasteful, smart-looking, cupboards, bookcases and affordable, secure, compact lockers in bright colours.
Just chucking sensitive information into the bin won’t cut it security-wise. You’ll want to destroy papers way beyond any possibility of their being read. Modern shredder models are compact, efficient, unobtrusive and affordable, with a good range of products on the market to suit different needs.
Obviously, when you’re home-based, the Aladdin’s Cave of the office stationery cupboard is no longer there to raid. It’s worth bulk-buying so that you don’t run out of essentials. Typically, your list will probably include:
- Pens, pencils and highlighters
- Printer paper
- Post-it notes
- Folders and binders
- Stapler, staples and staple remover
- Document sorters or holders
Get your office products
At Octopus Office Products, we have everything you or your staff need to work effectively and comfortably from home, from furniture to stationery, technology plus a wide line-up of inks and toners.
Check out our range of products, and give us a call if you can’t find what you need or have any questions. We offer next-day delivery, with free shipping on orders worth £30 or more. We’re based in the north-west and do our own regional deliveries while using a dependable third-party service elsewhere across the UK. You can also collect your order in person from us in Stockport if that’s easier.SHOP NOW