Due to the current state of the world, I’m positive that I’m not alone in this: navigating the work-from-home situation can be a freaking CHALLENGE.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not at that fancy-home-office point in life quite yet. I live in a two-bedroom ranch, and while she’s pretty, she’s not exactly spacious.
I dream of the day where I can place my beautiful desktop on a large, clean desk in front of a wall of built-ins lined with my favorite books, with whimsical natural light seeping in through the bay window.
But right now, the BTL vibe is more Cracked Laptop & Last Night’s Leggings than Home Library & Personalized Stationery.
I’ve been working in what I semi-affectionately call The Garoffice (because, you know, garage office). My husband absolutely hates this name. He prefers to call it The Studio, which I agree sounds a lot more upscale and pleasant, but my term is much more accurate. So, ‘garoffice’ it is.
In my garoffice, I actually have a pretty adequate setup: a hand-me-down L-shaped desk from my MIL, a semi-ergonomic chair, a laptop stand, enough pens to last me a lifetime, many more notebooks than necessary for one person to own, and most importantly, heat: the most vital element on this list, considering the fact that my current location is the mountains of Quebec, which is basically the North Pole.
Mind you, I’m writing this in January and I slipped on ice two separate times while walking to the garoffice this morning. Unacceptable. But I digress.
My garoffice also has a giant stack of tires in the corner, 3 chairs we picked up from the side of the road, a giant aluminum trash can, a makeshift workbench, lots of firewood, and a radio from 1960 that plays static indefinitely because I don’t know how to turn off.
The point of telling you about my lovely workspace is this: even if your WFH situation isn’t ideal in terms of environment, there are definitely ways you can make it a little bit more enjoyable, comfortable, and productive. Here’s a list of a few of products that make my office space feel less garoffice and more studio.
For the real reason you’re here (product recommendations!) keep on reading.
I know that including Amazon links would be appreciated by most, but Jeff has enough money and I’m going to let you decide where you’d prefer to buy products from. Cool? Cool! Let’s get started.
I lied—one more thing to mention before we actually get started: I want to formally state that the only true WFH essential of mine is peace and quiet.
If that’s all I have, then that’s enough; don’t let my shopaholic tendencies fool you. (She says as she drafts an entire post dedicated to convincing you that you need to buy things…)
I thought this was a pointless luxury item until I started writing (and, as a result, typing) for a living. About two weeks into my freelance career, I started having crazy neck pain. Turns out I had been craning my neck downward for hours on end each day. Enter: laptop stand.
A friend suggested this to me as a quick fix for my neck pain, and I’ve seen a huge improvement since I’ve purchased it!
Of course, a laptop stand alone won’t fix your problems – you’ll need to adjust your posture, too. I learned the hard way that sitting with one leg on the kitchen table, one leg tucked under your butt, and your head resting at an angle in your left hand isn’t exactly the healthiest position to work in.
A necessity. One of the only things I miss about my old 9-5 job is the water dispenser.
On the days where I forget to bring my water bottle to my garoffice, I find myself looking up from my computer at 5pm and realizing I haven’t had a single sip of water all day. And then I realize that’s the source of the headache I’d been suffering from since 12. So, take it from me, a (preferably very large) water bottle is an absolute must in your WFH station.
To spice things up, I like to add a scoop of BCAAs into my water to help with my energy levels – my favorite is the raspberry flavor from Tropeaka.
Even though I use Google Cal and AirTable to organize all of my content planning and meetings (and thoughts), I still need to use a physical paper planner in order to remember alllll the things I have to do. If I don’t write it down, I’m likely going to forget about it.
Fun fact: it’s scientifically proven that physically hand-writing notes helps you remember things. I’ve been using the Day Designer planner for 5 years now, and I’ll never be able to go back to a traditional weekly planner after utilizing its *luxurious* one-page-a-day format.
Fair warning that these bad boys are a bit pricy, but completely worth it if your daily to-do list is as seemingly never-ending as mine.
Another great option is the Golden Coil planner, which my Insta-friend (and cool Broadway-star-turned-web-designer) Sarah Kleist recently helped blow up on TikTok!
Their planners are completely customizable, and you get to decide what the inside of yours looks like in terms of format and style of page, but they only go up to 6 months, due to the high quality of the paper.
I definitely plan to invest in a notebook from them in the future when they restock more colors!
My life was forever changed when I finally invested in a desktop computer. Now, I don’t think it’s necessary to go out and buy an iMac (…even though I did… because I’m dramatic…), but I definitely would recommend investing in getting a monitor that connects to your laptop.
They’re not too pricy—my iMac cost less than my laptop did—and they provide a much more productive (and luxurious, even) work experience.
I’m spending most of my days referencing client notes and questionnaires while simultaneously going over my drafts, so being able to look at them side-by-side on my computer is THE BEST THING EVER. Yes, I’m yelling. I feel that passionately about this.
You can imagine that working in the garage may not always smell the best. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to smell like a wood burning stove on the daily, so I took to burning candles as I worked. But then I got nervous that I’d forget to blow one out one day and send my beautiful garoffice up in flames.
Plus, naturally, I always have a lot of paper on my desk (aka scrawled notes from discovery calls and kickoff meetings spread out everywhere… remind me why I still take handwritten notes?), and that felt like a recipe for disaster.
To avoid all of this, I invested in a reed diffuser, and now my garoffice smells like beautiful Springtime lilies.
I know, I know. “Work” and “comfy” shouldn’t really go together. But this is my blog post and my business, and the beauty of that is: I get to decide what my work environment is.
Now that I think about it, though, when I worked my (shitty) office job a few years ago, I would sit at my desk with a blanket, haha. It was freezing in there.
My current office isn’t even cold, I just feel like having a blanket to make it more ~cozy~ for no reason. I’ve linked the Barefoot Dreams one, and while I do both own and love it, I’m still partial to my old Christmas one from Target that I got for $10.
What are your WFH essentials? Send me a DM on Instagram to let me know! (I may or may not be the ultimate consumer and plan to click ‘add to cart’ as soon as I read your message.)
If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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