For a lot of people the coronavirus pandemic means they're starting to work from home for the first time ever, or at least more than one day every once in a while. That comes with some unique challenges, because, generally speaking, your home is likely a little bit less well-equipped for productivity than an office. Naturally, then, there are going to be a few things you'll need to get your hands on if you want to be at the top of your game.
Here are a few things to think about picking up – assuming you're not going to try and exploit this situation to have a doss.
A Lap Desk
If you're not used to working from home you probably won't have a desk that's ready for you to sit down and get to work at. Thankfully there are other options that will get you going, and they're called Lap Desks. Basically it's a big tray that sits on your lap, but has been designed for use with technology.
So you end up with extras like a tablet stand, pull out mouse mats, and so on. Yes you could just get an ordinary kitchen tray, but honestly a pull-out mouse pad really is invaluable if you want to work away from a table surface.
There are a lot of different kinds to choose from, but we're partial to ones like this that have a pull out mouse mat. An actual mouse makes it easier to work on a laptop, and having its own space is better for everyone. Plus if you don't like mice, you can always use it to keep your coffee mug.
An Actual Mouse
Working from a laptop has its ups and downs, and one of those downs is that the trackpad is not as good as an actual computer mouse. So it's worth investing in one, even if it's just a cheap wired one that you won't use when you inevitably have to go back to the office.
You are seriously spoiled for choice, though. Whether you want wired, wireless, Bluetooth, gaming, or something with lots of flashing lights and customisable pieces, there's something for you - and it probably won't ruin your bank balance in the process.
A Sturdy Chair
It may be tempting to work in bed, or on the sofa, but honestly you need a proper chair. A chair with back support because leaning against a headboard without support can really screw up your back. Trust us, we work from home all the time.
So get a proper chair. A kitchen chair would do, though if you expect this to be going on for a long time you should get something with a bit more comfort - and a locking back. A cheapo desk chair wouldn't be so bad, especially if you don't want to spend a lot, but according to our friends at T3 the best budget option right now actually comes from Ikea.
The Markus Chair starts at £150, but has a good blend of comfort, lumbar support, and value for money. It's not the best, and £150 isn't what you'd call cheap, but considering desk chair can cost a literal fortune it's not so bad.
A Video Doorbell
Was that person ringing the doorbell the postman or was it another batch of Jehovah's Witnesses trying to trick you into talking about Jesus and the apocalypse? Normally you'd have to go to the door and open it to see, which can be a faff depending on where you live, but a video doorbell makes that much easier to handle.
What features you get depends on which ones you buy, but the basics are that you should be able to see who's outside before you open the door. Not only can you ignore the time wasters and carry on with your work, being able to see also adds that extra level of security for you since you won't be opening the door to a complete stranger with unknown motivations.
You have a lot of choice here, and naturally a Ring doorbell can be delivered with Amazon Prime and turn up very quickly - assuming you can handle all the privacy issues that have been in the news. Obviously Nest is also an option, seeing as it's Google, but naturally there are plenty of options for you to choose from. So pick one that looks right for you and your budget.
A Lot of Coffee and Tea
Caffeine makes the office world go round, and when you're at home you need to keep that up - especially if you're looking for something to give you a quick pick me up the second you get out of bed. It also means you can buy your own tea and coffee, and not the stuff they have in the office. Why have supermarket brand when you can have Yorkshire Tea bags? 600 bags only costs 14 after all.
A Large Mug
If you're going to be drinking a lot, even if it's just orange squash, you need a proper mug to do it with. it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive either, because Poundland has its XXL mug available for just £2 - assuming they're in stock nearby. Plus every Starbucks I've seen sells reusable medium-sized coffee cups for £1, and actually rather good.
Get a boring white one if you must, a fancy tall one with a rainbow pattern, or one that just says "Big Fucking Mug". It doesn't have to be a mug either, you could just grab yourself a large thermos and keep a steady supply of hot coffee throughout the day - without needing one of those overpriced temperature-controlled gizmos.
Comfortable Clothes That Aren't Pyjamas
The common joke is that freelancers and home workers all get to work in their pants or their pyjamas, because they can. Some of them do, but if you want to get into the work spirit you should put some effort into changing what you wear. Especially since it's a bit cold right now, and you don't want your heating bill to skyrocket.
So make sure to pick up some comfy clothes. It could easily be a fresh set of day pyjamas and some slippers, or even a hoody and some tracksuit bottoms. Whatever suits you, pick up what you want. So long as it's comfy, because you're a remote worker now and you don't need to abide by oppressive office dress codes.
Extra Toilet Paper
Hear me out.
Yes stockpiling toilet paper is an idiotic endeavour, but if you're going to be at home all day you're also going to be using the toilet all day. Normally you'd be in the office and the employer would be supplying whatever nasty paper they can bulk buy on the cheap, but that's no longer the case.
So make sure you have a couple of extra rolls to keep yourself going, Especially since idiots are emptying supermarket shelves and making it uncertain when you're going to be able to buy more.
And if all else fails you can check out our list of toilet paper alternatives to make do.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Distractions are rampant in the house, and if you need to buckle down you need something to block them out. Noise cancelling headphones can't completely seal you off from the outside world, but it's a good start.
What you get all depends on what you want. Noise cancelling headphones are going to be more effective, and have better battery, but noise cancelling earbuds are less intrusive.
Sony's WH-1000XM3 are generally considered some of the best noise cancelling headphones in terms of noise cancelling, sound, and battery life, though they are rather pricey. Similarly the WF-1000XM3 ANC earbuds have a good reputation despite the limited six hour battery life (extends to 18 hours with the battery case) - though that's a pretty standard lifespan for this sort of thing.
If you want cheap, then I've been using the Groov-e Zen ANC headphones, and they worked well enough to keep me sane (and rested) on three night-time flights to and from the USA. You can tell they're cheap listening to them, but the noise cancelling features is good enough. And you can currently get them for just £28.49 on Amazon (down from £55). Yeah they're not the best options around, but for that price you can handle a little dip in battery life and sound quality.
There's so much out there though, you need to do your research and figure out what's best for you.
You probably shouldn't be snacking and stick to a more traditional meal schedule, but desperate times. What snacks you get are totally up to you, but you have plenty of choice over on Amazon, Be it a large box of biscuits for your tea, american sweets, random savoury snacks, or something else entirely, there are plenty of options over on Amazon - and they don't require you to leave the house.