Modern Life

Gear to make any size home office work for you

Set your home office up for success, whether it’s a cramped corner or an entire room.

By Suchi Rudra — March 15, 2023

Salomé Coutinho, a client services and relationship manager at a large financial services organization in south Australia, switched to a hybrid work schedule last year. One of her first moves: rearranging and making a few additions to the small study she uses as a home office.

“I’ve added a working desk with a swivel chair, a fan that I can move around, and a little corner for documents that I need for work,” she says. “I also adjusted the lighting and ensured I have the window to look out from.”

According to a 2022 Gallup poll, eight in 10 employees are already working hybrid schedules or are fully remote. Like Coutinho, many are recognizing that the makeshift workspace they cobbled together may have gotten the job done for the past couple years, but a long-term hybrid work schedule requires thinking beyond the dining table chair or lap desk in bed.

“The pandemic proved that over 60% of US employees hold jobs that could be done remotely at least some of the time,” says Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, a company that helps businesses develop remote and hybrid work strategies. “If you work from home full-time, you’ll be living with your purchases for 2,000 hours a year.” 

For hybrid workers working at home a typical two to three days a week, that’s anywhere from 800 to 1,300 hours a year. “Beyond ergonomics, you should be thinking about durability, portability, productivity, and professionalism,” Lister explains. She notes that products like an ergonomic office chair, wrist rest, foot rest, and convertible standing desk are well worth the investment, not only by helping you stay productive, but also maintaining your health. 

A study from AT&T found that the number of companies offering a hybrid model is expected to nearly double from 42% in 2021 to 81% next year. So whether you’ve carved out a corner of a bedroom or living room for work or have an entire room to convert into a home office, it’s time to be intentional about creating an environment where you can do your best work — especially if you’re sharing your “office”  with your partner, roommates, or children. Here are some ideas that can make any space an ideal spot to get work done.

The (literal) corner office

If you only have a corner or a table to work from, seek out products that will help you make the most of your limited space. To start with, a foldaway desk might be just what you need, creating a workspace when you need it and disappearing when you don’t. To keep things super comfortable in your makeshift office, treat yourself to a heated foot rest, and try a laptop stand and a springy, ergonomic seat cushion to ensure optimal posture and protect your back. If you’re moving from a day in the office to a day at your dining table, you’ll want a powerful laptop like the HP Dragonfly Pro, which is light enough to carry around without straining your shoulder and makes you look and sound great on video calls from wherever you are. The HP 710 rechargeable wireless mouse pairs nicely with that setup, giving you a seamless working experience from office to home. 

“Beyond ergonomics, you should be thinking about durability, portability, productivity, and professionalism.”

— Kate Lister, President, Global Workplace Analytics

To minimize and eliminate distractions from pets, roommates, or anyone else at home, these Poly Voyager Free 60 series wireless earbuds are designed for work and everyday life. They allow you to stay productive, connected, and entertained, while minimizing background noise to ensure your voice comes through loud and clear. Add a detachable ring light to look your best on calls even in the darkest corner of a room, and try a space-saving clamp-on desk lamp to give you plenty of light for focused work. At the end of the day, clear your space by storing everything in decorative bins or baskets to minimize clutter and keep your work and home life separate.

Luci Gutiérrez

The cozy closet or alcove

Maybe you’ve managed to eke out some more elbow room for your home office — perhaps a small closet, an attic, or a converted basement. You can upgrade to a desktop PC like the HP ENVY All-in-One, specifically designed for remote collaboration, featuring a monitor base that can charge all your devices while you work. If your day includes a lot of video meetings, this compact Poly Studio P5 web cam will help keep the focus only on you, not your surroundings, while a comfy headset like the Poly Voyager 6200 and a compact but powerful triple-microphone speakerphone ensure excellent audio quality on every call.

Even if you’re in a tight space, there’s no need to feel cramped. A space-saving desk or a convertible sitting/standing desk and a compact office chair will give you proper ergonomic support while leaving plenty of space for you to move around while you work. A low-profile, all-in-one printer like the HP ENVY 6000 keeps you productive without taking over your space. And a privacy screen can create a cozy setting and a professional backdrop for video calls, while a space heater/cooler ensures you stay comfortable. Last but not least, keep your coffee nice and warm with a rechargeable, temperature-control mug so you don’t have to make a run to the kitchen.

Luci Gutiérrez

The spacious setup

If you’ve got an entire room for your private home office, why not transform it into the ideal working environment? Take your video conferencing calls to new heights with a sleek, professional Poly Studio P15 video bar that gives you a vivid visual presence and superior sound, blocking distracting background noise and automatically framing you while you speak, even if you’re moving around. A robust printer like the HP ENVY Inspire can handle printing, copying, and scanning work documents and presentations, but also homework, creative projects, and photos for others in your household. For creators, this petite HP Z2 Mini desktop PC offers high-powered computing with a small footprint. Investing in a second monitor can help with multitasking and boost productivity.

“A dual or widescreen monitor would pay for itself if it increased productivity by just one minute a day,” says Lister. Research consistently shows that dual monitors can increase productivity — in some cases by more than 40%. And since you have the space, put down a cozy rug that makes you happy.

Lister adds that paying attention to how you design your office — everything from how you set up your equipment to the lighting you choose — also makes a huge difference. For example, how you position your monitor can impact glare on the screen, and choosing the right lighting can reduce strain on your eyes. It’s a good idea to walk through the National Institutes of Health’s ergonomic self-assessment to check your setup. 

Along with the right tech, it’s important to make your space inviting so that you actually  want to spend time there. Try bringing in some greenery with self-watering plants that will (hopefully) stay alive without any extra effort, light up your fave scented candles or hang some fairy lights, and add personal touches that can bring you joy throughout the work day. Coutinho, for example, added frames with pictures of her family and friends, and motivational quotes she finds inspiring. “That helps me reset when I feel out of touch or overwhelmed with work,” she says.


READ MORE: How office spaces are adapting to empower hybrid work.