Ahhh it’s finally that time of year. I’m not talking about tables full of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie— I’m talking about the day where everything is magically discounted and you can finally afford those bougie items you have been eyeing on your wishlist for the last six months. It’s Black Friday! Well, it’s more like a weekend-long Cyber Monday this year due to COVID-19. The point is, the deals are real so it’s the perfect time to give your makeshift home office a makeover.
Spruce up your subscriptions
If you’re anything like me, you tend to go with a platform’s least expensive option initially. After using the service for a couple of months, I usually wish I had the upgraded version but struggle to agree to the heftier price tag since I can get by with the basic model. However, working from home has changed the game. The extra features are worth it and many subscriptions offer Black Friday discounts that make the perks irresistible. I recommend leveling up your Canva, Zoom, and Spotify accounts.
The next level will give a greater range of stock photos and unlock new templates. Paying a little extra for Zoom will allow you to talk to as many people as you want for as long as you want. This might not seem like a big deal but the base version forces you to end the meeting after forty minutes if you are talking with more than one person.
Considering Zoom is the new conference room, this upgrade is a must. Lastly, background tunes have really helped me get a workflow going but every time a Japanese commercial comes on I am jolted out of it.
Biting the bullet and buying Spotify Premium is most definitely worth it if it helps maintain your focus and positive vibes as you grind through your workday.
Cancel out the noise
Background noise is one of the most distracting aspects of working from home. I live by two train tracks and constantly have foot traffic above and below me since I live in an apartment building. Whether you have pets, have a noisy roommate, live by a bustling street, or are trying to juggle homeschooling your kids with working from home, most of us struggle to maintain peace and quiet. The solution- some effective noise-canceling headphones. I recently paid a pretty penny for AirPods and swear by them. AirPod Pros are light, feature active noise cancellation for immersive sound, and can seamlessly sync up with all of your other Apple devices. I’m sure you can purchase them for less on Black Friday. Prefer an over the ear option for greater comfort throughout the day? Try the Bose 700s.
While headphones prevent you from hearing the background sounds so you can stay focused throughout the day, they don’t solve the problem of background noise for your coworkers during video and audio calls. Muting your mic is an option, but I can do you one better. Krisp is AI-powered noise-cancelling software for your microphone. The technology adds a virtual filter between your microphone and your calling app which doesn’t let any background noise pass through. Getting this software will ensure you are keeping it classy on calls and your professionalism remains intact even while working remotely.
Make your workspace ergonomic
Last month I wrote an article about maintaining physical health while working from home. One way to stay healthy is by purchasing ergonomic furniture and accessories for your office. Everyone already knows about a standing desk, but have you tried a balance board? FLUIDSTANCE provides a variety of options and claims that their boards keep workers happy and healthy. Balancing on the board helps you expend energy, raise your heart rate, and avoid the post-lunch slump by engaging your muscles and your mind. This dramatically ramps up the health benefits of just standing versus sitting.
If you prefer sitting, this is for you. Try the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair. The mesh supports your back while the adjustable armrests provide the ability to sit in a comfortable position and maintain good posture throughout the day. Want to sit but also a bit of a workout? Get a balance- ball chair like this one from GAIAM. These increase your daily motion and strengthen your core.
And we can’t forget about the wrists! Every remote worker needs a keyboard that supports their wrists. The Logitech Ergo K860 is a highly reviewed ergonomic keyboard that claims to give you 54% more wrist support. The sloping form reduces muscle strain on your wrists and forearms by keeping your hands and shoulders relaxed. With this purchase, you can keep calm and type on!
Key items for convenience
These office items aren’t the most fun, but they are the most necessary for a functional office. If you have to get them, it might as well be during a Black Friday sale. It’s time to stop going to the library every time you need to print a document, wasting time flipping back and forth between tabs, and tripping over extension cords to accommodate all your electronics at your desk. Step one is to get a wireless printer. While printing large documents isn’t great for the environment, it’s sometimes worth it to give your eyes a break from the screen. I recommend getting the HP Office Jet 250 because it is a one-stop-shop for all of your printing needs and it’s compact enough to transport anywhere or stow away when you aren’t using it.
Next, two screens aren’t just convenient but a necessity, nowadays. It is crazy how much faster you can get your work done when you can see two documents simultaneously. If you are looking for something multipurpose and portable, it might be worth dropping a bit of money on an iPad that can act as a second monitor for your Macbook. Another option that you can’t go wrong with a classic desktop dell or this portable LED Monitor from Amazon. Once you go to two or more monitors, you won’t want to go back.
Last, but not least, a compact powerstrip is key so that your laptop, phone, and lamp can all be plugged in at the same time and at your fingertips. This cube-shaped, space-saving power strip by Anker is the perfect solution to prevent you from going haywire.
Things to keep you going
Now that we know working remotely is not a fad, but rather a lifestyle, it’s time to invest in some items that make working from home sustainable.
These extra accessories will improve the quality of your home office setup and make working remotely more enjoyable. First up is an espresso machine. Now that you are no longer stopping by your favorite coffee shop on the way to work, it’s time to bring the barista to you. Ball out on this automatic espresso machine from Sur La Table and enjoy velvety smooth cappuccinos and lattes every morning at home. Not a coffee drinker, the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker is a must if you enjoy loose leaf and optimal steeping. Williams Sonoma always has great Black Friday deals!
Video meetings have become a standard since working from home became the norm for most of us since the pandemic started. While some people might have homes filled with natural light at all times of the day, my office space can be dark which causes me to give off mugshot vibes on Zoom rather than professional, happy, healthy, and thriving ones. To remedy this situation, I suggest a 10” selfie ring light. Instantly brightens up your face and space.
Plants are another nice addition to your office. Since we aren’t getting much time outside due to the pandemic, bringing a little nature inside isn’t a bad idea. Venture out to your nearest flower shop or Home Depot and choose some greenery to brighten up your space. Don’t know where to start and need something low maintenance, may want to check out succulents or cactus.
While we can’t guarantee all of these items will be heavily discounted, these additions to your home office will take your remote working experience from a 7 to a 10. Capitalize on as many Black Friday deals as you can but don’t forget to remember what you are thankful for, enjoy the company of family and friends, and eat your heart out this Thanksgiving!