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Illustration for article titled Working From Home? Heres the Ultimate Starter Kit
Photo: Manny Pantoja (Unsplash)

As a writer, I love working from home—except for all the times I don’t. Few career choices fluctuate so sharply between absolutely ideal and nearly unbearable. Pro: You can work in your pajamas. Con: You go four days without changing out of your pajamas. Pro: You don’t have to talk to anyone. Con: There’s nobody to talk to. It’s a difficult learning curve to navigate if you aren’t prepared, and with office closures multiplying around the country a lot of folks may be going into working from home unprepared. Let’s fix that.

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Working from home requires a comfortable workspace that doesn’t become so comfortable it distracts from what you have to get done. It lets you set your own schedule, but that can often lead to over (or under) working. Plus your bed is likely just a few feet away, making mid-day breaks and naps all the more tempting. But with the right preparation (and the right caffeine fix) you’ll be ready to conquer the working-from-home world like it’s your job—which, technically, it is.

Working from home may feel like a vacation sometimes but, regrettably, it isn’t.

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Coffee

There are a number of coffee brands on the market that lay claim to boosted levels of caffeine but if you want one that’ll wake you up without making your eyeballs vibrate for three days straight, try Caffeine & Kilos signature PR Blend.
There are a number of coffee brands on the market that lay claim to boosted levels of caffeine but if you want one that’ll wake you up without making your eyeballs vibrate for three days straight, try Caffeine & Kilos signature PR Blend.
Graphic: Gabe Carey

A reliable caffeine fix is imperative to working from home, especially if you’re trying it for the first time and need an extra bit of motivation to not just send emails from under bedsheets all day. There are a number of coffee brands on the market that lay claim to boosted levels of caffeine (some to an extent that border on dangerous) but if you want one that’ll wake you up without making your eyeballs vibrate for three days straight, try Caffeine & Kilos signature PR Blend. Recently crowned the official coffee of U.S.A Weightlifting, the brand tends to cater to athletes as a pre-workout supplement but is just as effective at helping you crush any WFH deadlines you have.

Rather than relying on additives, C&K achieves their boosted caffeine levels (50- to 80% more than your standard cup of joe) simply by using blends of beans that naturally contain more caffeine than others. As an added bonus, it tastes pretty great. The PR blend is a medium roast with mellow flavor that comes in a variety of forms, from whole bean to K-cup. Save yourself an early-morning Starbucks run and stock up on this instead.

Desk Lamp

EVER LED’s Natural Light Desk Lamp is a great source of full-spectrum natural light and will make long days and late nights significantly easier on your eyes.
EVER LED’s Natural Light Desk Lamp is a great source of full-spectrum natural light and will make long days and late nights significantly easier on your eyes.
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Working from home means you might go all day without stepping outside and taking in some Vitamin D—and not everyone is going to be lucky enough to have a desk setup near a natural light source. While I’d personally advise taking a few minutes every day to step outside and take in some sunlight (even if it’s obscured by clouds), it also helps to have the next best thing: a natural light lamp near your workspace. Blue light from your laptop screen can get harsh enough as it is, and when paired with a lack of natural light it can be hard on your eyes, skin, and mental health. EVER LED’s Natural Light Desk Lamp is a great source of full-spectrum natural light and will make long days and late nights significantly easier on your eyes.

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Foam Roller

Keep a foam roller like this one by industry leader Trigger Point on hand to roll the kinks and pains out of your back, chest, arms, and legs.
Keep a foam roller like this one by industry leader Trigger Point on hand to roll the kinks and pains out of your back, chest, arms, and legs.
Graphic: Gabe Carey

Spending all day in a chair can leave your body feeling even sorer than it does after a gym session. Keep a foam roller like this one by industry leader Trigger Point on hand to roll the kinks and pains out of your back, chest, arms, and legs. It’ll help keep your blood flowing and stop both short and long-term pain from setting in.

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Kitchen Timer

Keeping a kitchen timer on your desk to reminds you to step away from your desk regularly.
Keeping a kitchen timer on your desk to reminds you to step away from your desk regularly.
Photo: Jo Zimny Photos (Flickr)
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Speaking of which, you shouldn’t spend all day in a chair! Conventional wisdom may vary depending on who you ask but generally for every 45 minutes to an hour you spend at your desk working, you should spend about ten standing up and stretching. It’s easy to lose track of time when working from home and let bad, stretch-free habits develop. Take care of that problem before it even arises by keeping a kitchen timer on your desk to remind you to step away from your desk regularly.

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Slippers

Okay, I know I just knocked wearing pajamas all day but if you’re gonna work from home you might as well do it comfortably.
Okay, I know I just knocked wearing pajamas all day but if you’re gonna work from home you might as well do it comfortably.

Okay, I know I just knocked wearing pajamas all day but if you’re gonna work from home you might as well do it comfortably.

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Food & Beverage Delivery 

During times like those, having an app on your phone that can get a hot meal delivered to your door in short order is a lifesaver.
During times like those, having an app on your phone that can get a hot meal delivered to your door in short order is a lifesaver.
Photo: Kai Pilger (Unsplash)
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If you don’t already have a direct-to-door food delivery app, take a look at which is best suited to your region and keep it handy. Taking time away from your work to make yourself food is always super beneficial to making a WFH situation more enjoyable but it’s not always a viable option. During times like those, having an app on your phone that can get a hot meal delivered to your door in short order is a lifesaver.

Desk Chair

 The Steelcase Amia provides your back and legs with plenty of support and comes with a variety of adjustable functions that will help you tailor it to your body and your workspace.
 The Steelcase Amia provides your back and legs with plenty of support and comes with a variety of adjustable functions that will help you tailor it to your body and your workspace.
Graphic: Gabe Carey
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Look, in theory working from the couch or your bed all day seems great. In practice, it can get uncomfortable fast (and ruin that good posture you’ve worked so hard on developing). If you want to create a comfortable but stable workspace, start with a great desk chair. The Steelcase Amia is about as good as they get. It’ll provide your back and legs with plenty of support and comes with a variety of adjustable functions that will help you tailor it to your body and your workspace.

Wireless Keyboard

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is real, guys. Spending all day in front of a keyboard can be murder on your hands and wrists, especially if you’re typing with a slick laptop keyboard instead of a chunkier desktop one. It might seem antithetical given the “less is more” mentality behind modern laptop and desktop design but low key resistance is actually terrible for your tendons and muscles long-term (writer/director Taika Waititi even took advantage of his post-Oscar win moment last month to demand Apple make better ones), as is one with a shorter width.

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Get ahead of the biggest physical affliction that comes with working from home by picking up an effective and affordable wireless keyboard like this one from Logitech. It’s wide and features great key bounce-back. It won’t do all the work for you (remember to stretch your hands and arms!) but it’s a good start in saving yourself a lot of pain and trouble down the line.

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VPN

NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows for far more secure internet browsing and operation. Your information will be totally secure and as an added bonus it will disguise your IP address.
NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows for far more secure internet browsing and operation. Your information will be totally secure and as an added bonus it will disguise your IP address.
Image: NordVPN
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Working from home probably means you’re working with a personal Wi-Fi setup—which isn’t ideal for handling work. Not to sound like your parents lecturing you before you logged onto Neopets in third grade, but the internet can be a scary place. Offices tend to have far more secure networks in place and handling work over a personal internet connection can be a little less than ideal.

Get ahead of it by checking out NordVPN. It’s a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows for far more secure internet browsing and operation. Your information will be totally secure and as an added bonus it will disguise your IP address, which means you can access regional streaming sites (Japanese Netflix, Canadian Prime Video, the list goes on) which may prove vital if you’re working from home long-term. There’s only so much on Netflix in the states, after all.

Right now, to celebrate NordVPN’s birthday, a 3-year deal is 70% off and comes with an additional 1-month, 1-year, 2-year, or 3-year plan—applied at random with our exclusive promo code nordwfh—so it’s a great time to get hooked on the services. Safe browsing and Australian Hulu await.

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