Would it surprise you to hear that, even before the pandemic, remote work was becoming more popular in corporate America?

It’s true: according to a study conducted by Flexjobs, remote work saw a 159% increase over the 12 years before the pandemic hit, changing the working landscape to a remote-friendly one indefinitely. Part of the reason for this trend was that remote work saved both businesses and employees a lot of trouble: by allowing their employees to work remotely, businesses were able to cut out middle management and spend less on amenities like collective office spaces, which saved them around 11,000 per year even if their employee worked in an office half the time. Employees favored customizable office spaces in a comfortable environment, a lack of daily commute, and better work-life balances.

Now, however, with a global pandemic making it potentially dangerous to be in close physical proximity with coworkers, remote work has become the new standard for corporate America. 45% of full-time workers are currently working in remote jobs, and that number goes up every day.

A Sudden Shift

However, few of us were prepared for our homes to become our workspaces more or less overnight: when the world shut down back in March, workers who were suddenly switched to remote positions scrambled to implement patchwork solutions that would make it easier for them to fulfill their obligations. It wasn’t necessary to invest in a full-scale remote setup, so they thought, because the pandemic would pass shortly and things would be back to normal.

So they thought.

Now, two years into a global pandemic, investing in a full-blown home office setup that’s optimized for remote work is one of many great ways to get more value out of your home. But how can you do that in a way that’s both cost-effective and benefits you in the long term?

If that’s the question you came to this article with, you’re in the right place. Let’s talk about essential amenities you need to purchase to make the most out of your home office.

Purchase a Standing Desk

A great place to start would be with a standing desk, as standing desks help mitigate the health problems many corporate workers face after years of long-term employment in traditional and remote office settings alike. By necessity, office workers tend to live sedentary lifestyles, which can have negative consequences for their health long-term: a healthier lifestyle would be to find a way to complete their work while standing.

Standing desks come with motors that allow the operator to raise and lower the desk as needed, allowing workers to complete their work standing up and sitting down, and some come with wheels that allow you to move the desk around the room with you. A standing desk will allow you to stand up at frequent intervals and get some low-level exercise while still working at the same pace. They’re invaluable tools for remote workers, allowing a level of customization that isn’t typically allowed in office settings and ensuring that office workers lead healthier lifestyles.

Organize a Setup for Remote Meetings

However, no middle-management doesn’t mean no oversight, and you’ll find that you’ll likely be required to attend frequent Zoom meetings as a remote worker. While nobody particularly likes interacting with their coworkers over Zoom, the program is seen as a necessary evil, as it’s hard to get everyone on the same page while working in different environments.

As such, you’ll want to make sure you have the following amenities at a bare minimum:

  • A high-quality webcam to make sure that everyone can see your smiling face when you’re attending your weekly corporate meeting.
  • A green-screen background to present a neutral background during these meetings, as your customized office (with décor that you find interesting) may not be something you necessarily want to show off all the time.
  • A microphone that connects to your PC, allowing you to speak during said meetings.

Storage Solutions

You’ll also want to have solutions in place to store what few hard copies you’ll need on hand, as you won’t have a traditional office space anymore to provide those solutions for you. Things like high-quality file cabinets are a necessary investment for any long-term home office, as you want to be able to pack away all the necessary documents as well as keep them organized.

You’ll want to pick a file cabinet that isn’t too bulky but still has enough storage space to cover all of your immediate needs. Measure the space you have available in your office before you approach the market, as that will give you the information you need to select the proper cabinet for your office.

With the above amenities, you’ll be prepared for long-term remote employment like you never were before: you might just find it so productive and so outright comfortable that, once you install the above amenities, you’ll never want to go back.