I’ve been at my job for around 9 months now. Through this time, I have figured out what workplace essentials I need to have or bring to work everyday to have a good day. This will vary for everyone, especially since many of my essentials are related to migraines. If you don’t get them, those things won’t really help you. But overall, if you’re in an office job, many of these things may help make your workday better. Especially if you’re working from home, why not make your work space the best it can be?
I know some workplaces and jobs might not allow headphones, but if yours does, it’s helpful to have them. Usually I listen to music to break up the silence while I’m working. Other times it’s really noisy in the office and I want to focus more, so I’ll listen to calm stuff then. I also have noise cancelling headphones which really help when my head is bad. They don’t block out important sounds like the phone ringing, but they make it quieter and tune out unnecessary background noise. I also use headphones when I have to watch something on my computer. My office is in the middle of the building, so even when I have the doors closed (yes doors plural) other people can still hear whatever I’m watching, so in order to not be annoying I try to keep the noise down in my office. For me, headphones are one of my workplace essentials on a daily basis.
I can’t remember when I started using reusable water bottles. I think it might’ve been something that I’ve always had, like I went from bottles and sippy cups to reusable water bottles. Sounds like a thing my California hippie parents would raise me to do. But even if you’re not big on helping the environment (I don’t know why you wouldn’t be), it’s easier. I have a filtered water bottle, so I can just get water from the kitchen sink and not be worried about if it’s going to taste weird. Both of ours are by Brita. Getting up to fill it takes about as much time as it would to go grab a water bottle from the stockpile. If your office doesn’t give you free water bottles, then it’s even more of a hassle to bring your own non-reusable water bottles. It’s also cheaper to use one bottle than buying a bunch of disposable ones. So getting a reusable one is an easy way to save yourself time and money. Definitely one of the simpler workplace essentials.
I don’t know about your job, but there are times when I have to work through my typical lunch time, so I’m starving by the time the Zoom or whatever was going on is over. It’s a lot faster for me to pop my meal prep in the microwave than to go out and get food or have it delivered. Here’s the recipes for our chicken and rice meal preps. If you’re trying to save money and be healthy, bringing your lunch is an easy way to do that. Occasionally I will go out to lunch with coworkers, which is nice. It’s more of a treat to eat lunch out when I usually eat the same food. If I ate out all the time, it wouldn’t be much different besides going with other people. Also, even if you don’t bring your own lunch, definitely eat lunch. Even if you don’t think you have time, eat. There’s been plenty of times when I’ve eaten during a Zoom where I didn’t have to talk or while writing something. Eating makes a big difference in mood and energy. Food is a major workplace essential.
Your Favorite Writing Utensils
My workplace has the good G2 gel pens. If they didn’t, I’d probably end up buying and bringing my own. I brought my mechanical pencil because the ones at the office were super squeaky and weird. Someone before me had triangle pens with cute sayings on them. I don’t use them, but they’re in my office. Little things like pens can make your job easier or annoying. If you’re having a bad day and then your pen stops working again, it’ll just bother you more. Save yourself the annoyance and figure out which little things will make your job easier. So basically add in whatever little things are workplace essentials to you, if you haven’t already done so.
Ability to Alter Your Environment
You might not have a lot of control over this, but changing your space makes you more comfortable. This depends on your workspace. For instance, if you’re in a cubicle in an open room, you probably don’t have much say over temperature, but maybe you can add a lumbar support cushion or change the brightness of your computer monitor (brightness makes a huge difference for me during a migraine). If you’re not sure what you’re able to alter in your environment, ask someone. I talked to my boss and a few coworkers about my migraines. My coworkers set up a lamp instead of the fluorescent lights and my boss doesn’t care if I have any lights on. So sometimes you have to ask in order to be comfortable. Your comfort and environment might not be tangible workplace essentials, but they do make a difference in your workday.
This could fall under ability to alter your environment, but I figured there’s enough to cover here to make it its own section. I didn’t add much to my desk in the beginning. I just left it the way it was when I started. For Christmas last year, Evan gave me a mousepad with our dog’s picture on it and some other office products. My family gave me a small desk calendar as well. So, I made my desk a little more personal with these new items. When I was given my own office, I had even more space to make my work area more “me”. Realistically, it’s not super personalized, but just enough that I feel like it is my space.
Sometimes you may not have control over everything in your workplace, but adding in your own workplace essentials can make it more comfortable and conducive to productivity.