This Is How I Work From Home: 30 of the Best Business Essentials
The environment you work in and the resources you use to do your work go hand-in-hand. The perfect work set-up means having the perfect combination of these elements.
When I'm not doing the whole Digital Nomad thing I'm working comfortably from the home office I set up in my Berlin flat.
Setting up an office at home (and a remote-work routine) required two important considerations:
- create a pleasant environment that will help me stay focused
- curate a go-to list of work tools that will help me be productive
So I put together this list of home office essentials and must-have work tools to show you exactly what I use each day to run my blog and business.
I've been working remotely since August 2014 – either from home or coffee shops and co-working spaces when I travel.
It took a lot of thought and effort to adapt to the non-traditional office environment. And I still constantly experiment to refine my processes, eliminate distractions, and create a mood that makes it easier to get into a flow state.
If you work remotely from home (or desire to one day) I hope this edited list will give you some solid ideas on how to design your ideal office.
My home office includes the following physical objects and virtual services.
Together they provide a pleasant and productive means of getting things done for myself and my clients.
Home & Office
I prefer objects in my offices that are beautiful but also highly functional. These get used multiple times a day and elevate the moments (and large amount of time) I spend at home working.
I keep ambient music playing low in the background to establish mood (right now it's the Jazz Vibes playlist on Spotify). So I need a lightweight speaker with clear sound that can be easily moved around my house.
We have floor to ceiling windows all over our house and I love keeping them wide open to let in the light and fresh air. Since city living also means less than stellar air quality I use purifiers to remove pollutants and allergens.
I totally have a bean bag and love it. I get restless when working and like to move around in different areas of the house and different sitting positions. Sometimes it's great to just collapse on the floor especially when resting or reading.
This is a nifty ergonomic solution that elevates your laptop to eye level so you can stop slouching and improve your posture. It also hides cables and keeps your device from overheating.
I have a habit of being so consumed with work that I'll go hours without drinking or eating. I need a visual reminder to stay hydrated so keep a sleek water carafe on my desk at all times.
With so many devices, often in use at the same time, I'm always looking for ways to hide or eliminate cords. A wireless charger is an excellent way to stay juiced up without the added clutter.
I'm mostly a tea drinker but when I do indulge in a cup of coffee I want it to be a good one. It's also a nice excuse to take a long break. My partner and I have a lovely coffee-making routine that involves grinding fresh beans to let out that wonderful aroma. It's a great pick-me-up.
I like to keep a completely clean work surface so prefer that tools are filed away but still easily accessible. Keeping a small rollable file cabinet nearby means I can quickly retrieve what I need.
Apps & Services
I wouldn't have a business or blog without these services and apps. I rely on them constantly to keep things running like a well-oiled machine. Work would be impossible without them.
I was using originally using Calendly to schedule meetings but switched to Acuity when they set up a direct integration with Squarespace (and provided a special free plan for Squarespace users). Acuity syncs with my Google Calendar so it knows my schedule and allows clients to automatically books meetings with all of the email back and forth.
This is a gorgeous app for note-taking. After getting annoyed with Evernote app glitches I found this as a replacement and fell in love with the sleek interface.
A fantastic virtual bookkeeping service that eliminates the dreadful process of keeping track of transactions and other financial records.
I use Bonsai to handle client proposals, contracts, and invoicing. It also has good reporting and time-tracking tools if you need those. It seems like one of the most streamlined "all-in-one" solutions for independent consultants and freelancers.
Makes it incredibly simple to design graphics I need to promote my editorials on social media.
I use this platform to house all of my digital products including my online courses and resource library. The minimal interface and smart features stood out amongst other more well-known options.
I recently left Mailchimp and started using Convertkit when I wanted to get more serious about nurturing my email list and needed advanced features. There's a bit of a learning curve and I almost left the platform after making a few embarrassing segmentation mistakes so be careful. However, I still find it to be the most sophisticated solution for my needs.
I use GetSiteControl for website engagement tools like share and follow buttons, live chats, and tasteful pop-up boxes. I wanted a solution that was moderately priced, was easy to set up, and had a minimal aesthetic that worked with my website design and found this to be the best.
Handle is a pretty powerful productivity app and the only one I know of that brings together your email, to-do list, calendar, and shared lists so you always have a full overview of your tasks and schedule. I love that I no longer need to hop between 3-4 different apps to manage my workload.
I really liked Buffer for social media management but the process of re-sharing evergreen content was too clunky. SmarterQueue is the best alternative I've found particularly when you want to recycle older content.
I personally think this is the absolute best platform for building a business or personal website or blog. It's beautiful, super intuitive, and all of the features you need are built in (without a need for a million different widgets).
The majority of the images on my site were shot by me but when I'm in need for stock photos I want them to be realistic, high-end and fit in with my aesthetic. So I choose to pay the premium to get exactly what I need.
Books & Magazines
As much as I love reading digital books on Kindle, I also keep a stack of physical books and magazines in my office. If I need a mental break, a break from staring at screens, or immediate inspiration, I can pick up one of these to provide that instantly.
This is a great overview of Dieter Rams work, life, and ideas on good design.
Beautiful, minimal coffee table magazines that explore travel, living, and style.
This book offers a very good snapshot of, and collection of case studies on, the process of branding.
A beautiful book by designer Kenya Hara that explores visual inspiration from his native Japan and the concept of "emptiness" in design.
An excellent book on how to create a disciplined approach to focusing on what matters most.
A beautiful coffee table book by Kinfolk that explores dozens of well-considered homes and interiors around the world.
This is a fantastic intellectual quarterly that curates historical articles, passages, poems, and other pieces around single-focused topics such as Money, Foreigners, and Fear. The goal is to get historical perspective on the issues and ideas that impact us today.
I'm a fan of all the Monocle guide's including this one that shares a variety of inspiring ideas from, and profiles on, unique businesses around the world.
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