I started working from home in my early twenties.
We had four guys in a four-bedroom apartment near the beach in San Diego. You can probably picture the scene: dirty dishes stacked above the faucet, beer took up most of the fridge, and quarters were the hottest commodity on laundry day.
I wasn’t exactly focused on building a nice work environment. I threw out a fold-out table (likely purchased for beer pong), bought a used office chair, and posted up in the hallway near the pop-a-shot basketball hoop.
Ahh, there it is.
Here’s a good picture of what it felt like to work in that environment.
It took a few years for me to care about my home office setup.
Now in my thirties – I’m married with two kids, both of us parents working from home – the home office environment is just a bit more important. We need a good space where we can think (and be professional on video calls).
After just under a decade of working from home, I finally feel pretty good about the equipment we have to make a nice home office setup. Here’s the list.
1) Desk: Jarvis Laminate Standing Desk ($470)
I love this desk. It’s high quality, simple and clean looking, and goes up and down with the push of a button. If you have the budget, it’s great. However, it is heavy (it’s quality), and I’m sure a hand crank adjustable desk would work just fine.
You can read about and filter a list of the best home office desks here.
2) Chair: Ashville Mesh Task Chair ($100)
I don’t have much of an opinion on this chair. It gets the job done and has held up for about three years now, so I’d say it’s worth it. It’s just that 1) I stand half the day, 2) I’ve had a number of chairs and have never really formed an opinion except for really bad ones, and 3) I don’t have back problems so just about everything chair-wise has worked so far.
You can read about and filter the best office chairs here.
3) Laptop: 15-inch Macbook PrO, 2014 (Starting at $1,300)
I’ve done the PC thing and I’ve done the Mac thing. I’m a Mac guy now. I’ve had this computer for almost seven years and it still runs like new. I never had a PC that did that. I won’t go into detail here because you can find much better write ups on the internet (like here, for example).
4) Display/Monitor: Mac Thunderbolt Display (STARTING AT $800, Refurbished)
5) Keyboard & Mouse: Apple Magic Keyboard ($90) & Magic Mouse ($70)
I’ve had a wireless keyboard and mouse for years. I’ll even travel with them depending on how long we’re going away for. The wireless piece is nice and helps to keep your desk clean, but the real value of a wireless keyboard and mouse is for video conferencing. In order to look good on video, you need to get a few feet back from your camera and have the camera higher than your head. It’s just a better angle. A wireless keyword (not connected to your laptop or computer) helps to solve that.
6) Laptop stand: Roost ($90)
This is a great product. Like I said in #5, it’s important to lift the camera for video calls. The laptop stand helps with this and so you’re not constantly looking down all day and putting pressure on your neck. It’s lightweight, collapsible, durable and great for travel.
7) Microphone: Blue Yeti USB ($90)
I have this for podcasting and video creation. I don’t use it simply for video calls. So, if you’re not creating content then you likely don’t need this.
8) Video conference background: Anyvoo ($250)
Even with all of the sweet tech I have in #1 – 7, Anyvoo this is the best tool I have. It’s essentially the way to be present professionally while working from home. Just like you probably wouldn’t show up to visit a client’s office in a tank top, you don’t want to have dirty dishes or an unmade bed on a client video call.
The frame sets up easily and sits on a tripod stand. The backdrop is made of essentially the same thing as work out gear – like yoga pants or gyms shorts. It’s really stretchy and doesn’t wrinkle. So if you choose a wood-panel backdrop, it won’t blow in the wind or pick up wrinkles in a few weeks.
Here’s my team at Nectafy, the growth content agency I work for. We all have Anyvoos. It’s a little better than what you’ve been seeing on your video calls, isn’t it?
Here’s the Buildremote Anyvoo in my home office:
Corny? Yes. But it’s true. I’ve read a handful of great books that have helped me specifically because I work from home and for a fully remote company. I asked 29 people who work from home about their best book for working remotely, and wrote this blog post, if you’re interested. These are my favorites:
- Remote: Office Not Required By, Jason Fried
- 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People By, Stephen Covey
- The 4-Hour Workweek By, Tim Ferriss
- Deep Work By, Cal Newport
See Also: 105 Tips For Working Remotely
Home office equipment from Buildremote expert contributors
I asked my list of Buildremote expert contributors, “What is the one piece of home office equipment you recommend?” These are the responses from that group.
SNOOZ White Noise Machine
“Working from home with kids, pets, roommates and other noisy distractions? The SNOOZ white noise machine is surprisingly effective at drowning out distracting noises and works much better than a standard speaker. I can’t recommend it enough!”
Thank you to Datis Mohsenipour of HeyOrca for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
reMarkable – the next generation paper tablet
“Client meetings, team meetings, and board meetings? Zoom calls…making notes, scribbling down reminders and then days or weeks later turning pages to try to find them again…???? Things of the past. The remarkable stores all my notes and scribbles in organized folders so they are easy to find back. The remarkable syncs with my phone and I can send the notes directly by email. No more stack of little paper notebooks. A huge time saver! Bonus: I can also import PDF’s and fill out the forms to be emailed out. Like agreements and such. I love the remarkable as a super practical organizer.”
Nulaxy Laptop Stand
“The Nulaxy Laptop Stand not only has an elegant and stylish design, but its aluminum plate ventilates heat generated from the laptop, whilst the silicone pads also protect your laptop from scratches. It has an ergonomic design that allows you to raise to eye level. It’s built from a high quality aluminum alloy, works with laptops of many sizes (11-17 inches), and won’t shake while you type.”
Thank you to Evian Gutman of Ringcommend for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
Huanuo Adjustable Height Monitor Arm
“Keeping an upright posture can make all the difference when working from home. Monitor arms allow you to adjust your position and posture to keep healthy and happy!”
Thank you to David Reichmann of Rawrycat for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
“I love the way the shape of this wireless mouse fits my hand and allows me to rest in a natural position. In addition to the smooth, soft touch, left and right buttons, it also has a scroll. Since I’ve began using it my hand cramps have ceased after a long work day.”
Thank you to Kimberli Fancher for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
“A great printer that isn’t too pricey. Very easy connectivity with wireless (including Alexa)with the ability to print double sided. The size is perfect for a work from home small business.” Thank you to Wallace Holyfield of Holyfield Financial Group for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
“One of the few bluetooth speakers that use premium MDF wood to produce that warm studio-quality sound.The built-in Bluetooth receiver enables a wireless connection to your smartphone, computer or tablet for easy access and control. On top of that, the speakers are stylish and elegant, making a great addition to your home office.”
Thank you to Sam Shepler of TestimonialHero for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
“I can print wirelessly from my desktop computer, laptop or mobile phone. Good quality images. Copier, scanner and fax machine are all fast and reliable. It is great to have all of these features in a small desktop machine. As a real estate professional, it is absolutely indispensable.”
Thank you to Steve Groom of Maryland Home Buyers for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
“Buddha Board helps me to ease my emotions when something makes me angry or anxious. I can pour all my negative feelings into the board and it will all disappear in a few moments. It is also great for keep your hands busy during long calls.”
Thank you to Paul McLaughling of London Chartered Surveyor for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
Anker USB C to Ethernet Adapter
“When I listen to music via speaker while working, my home internet connection gets really slow. As a result, neither I can work or listen to music. This ethernet adapter increased the speed of my internet connection and saved my life.”
Thank you to Antreas Koutis of Financer.com for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
“The StreamDeck is one of the best peripherals I have added to my office over the years. This 15 LED button keyboard allows you to map multi-key shortcuts and macros to your StreamDeck to automate and improve your workflow. StreamDeck turns repetitive and RSI-inducing tasks into easy one-click actions and I highly recommend it to digital creatives and productivity fans.”
Thank you to David Alexander of Mazepress for sharing this piece of home office equipment.
Looking for some other useful resources about working remotely?
- Here’s a sortable list of 60+ remote work software tools for your distributed team
- Here are the 29 books for your home office shelf