Home office upgrades for your remote employees that will boost their productivity

Aiva Strelca 3.07.2024
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If you’re looking for a fresh take on the widely discussed topic of home office upgrades and tips on how to help your employees be more productive, you’ve discovered just the article you need.

It’s no secret that the physical environment people work in impacts their productivity. Even something as simple as greenery around the office can do wonders for employee morale, not to mention significant factors such as indoor air quality, lighting, and background noise. 

But how about home offices and remote work settings? As an employer, it may seem that there’s little you can do, as employees are setting the tone for what their home offices look like. However, there are, in fact, plenty of home office upgrades you can offer your remote employees to ensure their work setting is everything but productivity-hindering.

In this article, we’ve gathered home office improvement ideas you can implement as a manager with a remote team on board. From furniture to software tools – it’s all here.  

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Home office upgrades for better employee ergonomics

A manager thinking about home office upgrades

When remote work conquered the world, many of us gave into the temptation of working from our sofas or beds, only to discover after a week or two that ergonomic furniture is a must – that’s why we’re starting our home office upgrades list with ergonomic improvements. 

Chair your remote employees

Pun intended. However, ergonomic chairs are one of the critical elements when it comes to home office improvements. Back pain is no joke, and using non-ergonomic chairs often leads to poor sitting posture, which, in turn, can damage back and neck health, leading to severe issues. 

Additionally, lower back pain caused by incorrect sitting posture is common among so-called desk workers. 

Regarding remote employees and ergonomic chairs, managers can ask whether employees have decent equipment that supports their back well enough to prevent severe back pain. If the answer is no, discuss what chair would best fit your remote worker and have it delivered to them. An employee with a healthy back is worth way more than the expenses of buying a chair, believe us.

Hence, when choosing the best chair for your remote employee, check out: 

  • Lumbar support – does the chair provide enough support to one’s spine (online reviews can tell a lot)
  • Adjustable height – can the chair’s height be changed?
  • Armrests – even though there’s a debate on the necessity of armrests for a healthy sitting posture, ask your worker about their preference. Some people find them very comfortable and helpful in maintaining posture.

Help your remote workers stand out (and up as well)

It has become common knowledge that long periods of sitting are not beneficial for one’s health. When people work in an office, there are watercooler visits, coffee machine journeys, and bathroom trips to take from time to time. However, when it comes to working from home, the time people spend sitting tends to be longer (check out this DeskTime study). Plus, there’s no morning/evening commute as one can open their eyes and log into a laptop in the morning from the comfort of their bed. 

Solution? Standing desks. 

Standing desks have a list of proven health benefits, including lower blood sugar levels, lower risk of heart disease, reduced back pain, improved mood and energy levels, boosted productivity, and more. In essence, alternating between standing and sitting while an employee works is good for their health and work performance.

When upgrading a home office with a standing desk, consider these factors:

  • How much space does your employee have for a desk, and how big of a desk do they need? 
  • What is the height of your employee (so the standing desk allows them to really stand up)?
  • If they want a standing desk but have nowhere to put it, would a desktop riser be a good enough option?

Home office improving gadgets your employees will love

A person using several monitors and a phone for work

Good tech is essential for convenient remote work, and upgrading one’s tech equipment is a great way to improve home office productivity. Thus, in this section, we’ve listed home office improving gadgets you can send to your employees to make their workflow more efficient.

Make the clicking, typing, and video calling easier

Yes, we’re talking about the fundamental equipment of an office worker, remote or not, and that’s the computer and all of its accessories. As your employees probably have computers to do their job already, we won’t go into that. However, other essential gadgets can be significant home office improvements while taking up only a little space.

  • Monitors. Of course, it’s about preference, but having dual monitors can significantly affect employee productivity. They offer additional screen space and allow the display of several tabs, pages, and other items simultaneously. Employees can also run multiple apps at once more efficiently, which can be especially useful for programmers and graphic designers. 
  • An ergonomic keyboard and mouse. These additions to your employee office tech equipment are designed to promote a more natural and comfortable user experience. Ergonomic mice are contoured to fit the hand’s natural shape, reducing the strain on the wrist and forearm muscles. By prioritizing comfort and natural hand positioning, ergonomic keyboards and mice can significantly improve your remote employees’ long-term productivity and well-being.
  • Desk lamp. Adding some lighting is another effective and easy way to improve a home office. While you cannot impact the natural light of your remote employee locations, you can provide beautiful and well-functioning desk lamps. Plenty of such have adjustable brightness, color temperature, and more.
  • Microphone. You’ve probably experienced a situation when a video call is useless due to someone’s poor sound quality. Equipping your workers with good-quality microphones is a great home office improvement idea to avoid this.

Home office improvement ideas for better workflow

A person on a video call

Besides gadgets and office equipment, other home improvement ideas – such as various tools and apps – can help your remote team’s workflow become smoother and more productive. 

Help your employees collaborate better

We won’t go into a lengthy discussion on why putting efficient systems in place is crucial for team collaboration, mainly when part of it works remotely. After years of remote work, it’s self-evident that tools and apps can make or break a workflow.

Here are tools and apps to offer to your employees who work from their home offices:

  • Slack: An excellent app that can help your team stay engaged and connected regardless of members’ whereabouts. Within the app, your employees can divide communication into several channels, react to messages with custom emojis, share files, hop on quick calls, and more. 
  • Asana: Among the various project management tools available, Asana is one of the most convenient, adding much-needed clarity and accountability within teams. A good project management tool acquires a different value when employees work remotely, so upgrading your remote employees’ daily workflow with Asana might be a great idea. 
  • Notion: Another fantastic tool to integrate into your employees’ work, Notion started as a note-taking app but evolved into a project management tool for teams or solo entrepreneurs. From our perspective, it puts all your ideas, information, and relevant documents into one place. It can serve as a virtual board for everything your team might need to know and access. 
  • Calendly: This virtual availability and booking app allows you to schedule online meetings between you and your remote employees. With Calendly, workers can set available slots for virtual meetings so that no unwanted or inconvenient calls interrupt their workflow and hinder productivity.

Provide software for monitoring time and productivity

Remote work and time tracking tools go together like peanut butter and jelly, and when such a tool offers productivity monitoring as well, it’s a match made in heaven. How can adopting an employee monitoring tool boost your remote worker’s home office productivity? Well, there are several ways:

  1. It helps draw the line between work and life. A time tracker like DeskTime shows precisely how many hours your employee has worked and enables them to sign off after a solid 8-hour workday without any worries. 
  2. It boosts productivity. Time tracking tools are known to help employees achieve greater levels of work productivity.
  3. It can track projects and billable hours, making employee accountability easier. With time tracking tools, especially automatic time tracking, your remote employees can forget about manual reports that steal their precious time.
  4. It reveals a more accurate picture of employee workload, which has everything to do with their productivity. Is someone working overtime repeatedly? It’s time to ask whether they struggle with endless to-do lists or procrastination.

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Home office upgrades for remote employee wellness and sanity

A woman meditating while sitting on a floor

“Ok, but how can I bring any home office upgrades to the table if my remote employees have all of the equipment you have mentioned in the article so far?” – this is an absolutely valid question you as a manager may ask. Chances are that your remote employees have a lovely home office with appropriate furniture and tech devices. Don’t worry – here are several ways to improve the home office for your well-equipped employees. 

Remind them to take breaks

Regular breaks have proven to be one of the best ways to remain productive throughout one’s workday. In fact, 10% of most productive employees work for 52 minutes and then take a 17-minute long break, as found by this DeskTime study

Hence, equip your remote team with break reminders. That can be cute physical timers standing on their desks (branded, maybe?) or providing them with an app that serves the same purpose. 

Encourage moving their bodies

Another option for a home office upgrade that isn’t a huge change but can make a big difference is home exercise equipment. And no, you don’t need to buy them elliptical trainers (although you can if you want to). Start by getting them a yoga mat to encourage stretching those sore muscles after a long day at the desk. It’s a small yet thoughtful gesture that can significantly improve their well-being and productivity. 

Additionally, consider compact and versatile equipment like resistance bands, hand weights, or a balance ball chair, which can be easily integrated into a home office setup. These items promote regular physical activity, helping to reduce stress and enhance overall health. By providing tools for physical wellness, you not only show you care about their physical health but also support a balanced lifestyle that can lead to increased job satisfaction and efficiency.

Bring some greenery into their spaces

Not everyone is a plant person, but having plants in our workspace benefits everyone. They improve our mood, increase humidity around the desk area, purify the air, and add that little green kick to one’s workspace. Hence, how about delivering some plants to your remote employee home? 

Here are several low-maintenance office plants to consider:

  • ZZ Plant is well-known for its air-purifying qualities and tolerates low light and humidity conditions. 
  • Cacti are perfect for people who have never had a plant to care for. Plus, they’re a nice piece of decor. 
  • Peace Lily thrives in our office space, even though it’s often left in complete darkness. It also blooms from time to time. 
  • Snake Plant is another classy and nearly indestructible plant that will thrive in any home office. It needs to be watered only once every three weeks. Could it BE any better?

How about a cup of coffee or tea on the house?

Coming into the office for good quality coffee or tea is an actual thing plenty of employees do. So, there’s your chance for another home office upgrade – send your remote employees a monthly coffee or tea package. You can enhance it with a branded mug, coaster, and other accessories. Trust us, your remote workers will love it.

A coffee machine pouring milk

The office should be a productive environment – no matter where it’s located

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to deliver home office upgrades to your remote employees. It all depends on your budget and their needs, preferences, and requirements. Before sending something their way – ask. A standing desk may seem like the perfect surprise for someone complaining about back issues, but it will be worthless if your employee has no place to put it.

Start by scheduling a call and asking about the home office upgrades your remote employee would enjoy the most, and then proceed from there. Consider ergonomic essentials such as an adjustable chair or a monitor stand to enhance comfort and posture. Tailoring enhancements to individual needs shows that you value your employees’ well-being and fosters a more productive and satisfying work environment.

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