Productivity Guides

Setting Yourself Up for Success: What Remote Employees Should Have at Their Desks

Cedric Jackson

May 06, 2021

Working remotely doesn’t require you to go into the office. Still, you need some basic equipment.

Obviously need to have a computer and internet connection, but what else?

There are some essentials that can make you more successful when you're working for home. Other items aren't essential but will make work significantly easier.

The Bare Minimum — Enough to Connect and Get Work Done

The bare minimum for remote work is an internet connection and a laptop. 

A Computer

In many cases, a personal laptop isn’t enough. Remote employees can’t be expected to spend their own money on high processing power. That’s why many companies provide laptops to remote workers. 

A Reliable Internet Connection

The internet connection is another important factor. Yes, you probably already have internet at home, but how fast is it? Can it handle video calls while working? If you work from home, you might want to upgrade your internet package. Some employers will even offer an allowance for this. 

A Phone

Many remote jobs also require a phone. It isn’t always essential, as some companies rely on video calls instead. 

A Headset and Webcam

Depending on the specs of your laptop, a headset and webcam may also be essential. A headset is important for video calls. They tend to work a lot better than the built-in audio and microphone on your laptop. 

Most computers have cameras. If yours does, you can skip the webcam. 

A Comfortable Desk and Chair

Before looking at the other stuff you need at your desk, consider the desk itself, along with your chair.

You need to be comfortable while working but not too relaxed. You likely want an ergonomic chair and a desk that fits it. Some of the things you may want: 

  • An Ergonomic Chair
  • Back Support for Your Existing Chair
  • A Standing Desk
  • An Adjustable Desk
  • A Laptop Desk
  • A Bed Laptop Desk

Extra Tech

Depending on your job, you may also need some extra technology at your desk.

For example, if you need to view a lot of windows at once, you may want an extra screen.

If your role involves a lot of typing, you may want a separate keyboard that is more ergonomic than the one on your laptop. You might want:

  • An Extra Monitor
  • A Mouse
  • A Separate Keyboard 
  • A Scanner 
  • An External Hard Drive 
  • A Phone Stand 


Of course, your computer needs to have the right software. If a program is essential to your job, you obviously need it on your computer. 

You may also need other programs to help you work remotely. Examples include: 

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google Calendar
  • Zoom
  • Slack
  • Discord 


Most remote workers will need to use a pen and paper at least once in a while. Even if most tasks are digital, you want these items on hand.

Ideally, you’ll have a range of items, including paper of different sizes and pens. 

At the very least, you will want enough to jot down quick notes to yourself or make a to-do list. 

A Printer and Envelopes

Depending on your role, you may also need to have a printer. If you need to mail things or stay organized, you might need envelopes, as well. 

A Clipboard

To help your desk stay organized, consider getting a clipboard that attaches to your computer monitor. It can help you keep papers within your line of sight while working. 

A Filing Cabinet or Organization System

Assuming you have any printed or handwritten files, you need somewhere to store them.

Depending on the number of papers, you might need a file cabinet or just a simple organizer.

Something like a magazine holder, an in/out tray, or a set of folders may be enough. 

General Organization

Don’t forget about an overall system of organization.

Think about the items you need at your desk, then get something that will hold them. Do you need bookshelves? Or a multilayered structure with cubbyholes? A penholder?

Staying organized will keep you productive. 

Blue Light Glasses

Whether you work remotely or in the office, it’s smart to get blue light-blocking glasses.

They’ll reduce your eye strain and fatigue when you look at a monitor. As a bonus, they’re typically very affordable. 

Water, Coffee, and Snacks

You’re used to having easy access to water and coffee when working in an office. After all, staying energized and hydrated is essential to being productive.

Since you don’t have access to the water cooler, make sure you have a water bottle on hand. You may also want to get a nice thermos for coffee. 

Some Employers Offer an Allowance or Stipend

Some employers will give employees an allowance or stipend to set up their remote workspace. This can be helpful if you don’t already have a desk or chair or need to supplement your tech. After all, most people don’t have an extra monitor on hand, except for maybe gamers. 

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