The Ultimate Office Supplies Buying Guide
Did you know your workspace says a lot about you? It can tell others if you’d rather be doing something else, want to have a chat with them, or even if you’re someone that wants to be taken seriously.
The items that you have in your workspace are important for your image, but they are also crucial in how much work you’ll get done. If you have a lot of distractions, like toys or funny posters, you may not be as productive as you’d like.
Luckily, we have a buying guide here that will ditch those distracting items and focus on what you need to be as efficient as possible. That way, you can get your work done quickly and spend your time doing those things you really love!
Whether you’re new to the job or just need some new supplies, keep reading as we explore the key things that you’ll need for your office.
You need the basics: desk, chair, and storage. When it comes to furniture, less is often more because it takes up so much space. Having a cluttered environment can make you feel a little less productive, and if you have a lot of tables or places to put “things,” your workspace will easily become cluttered with things you don’t really need.
Choosing the Desk
When it comes to your desk, you have a few options in terms of adjustability. A lot of people are choosing a desk that can go from sitting to standing so that they don’t have to sit for 8 hours straight. This gives you the option to stand and work when you want, but also sit back down when you feel tired.
You also want to think about the material your desk is made from. Make sure it’s a high-quality piece of furniture. Hardwoods, for example, are a great option because they last for a long time with minimal upkeep.
Don’t get a desk that is too big or too small either. You need to measure the size of the room you have, the space that you want the desk to fit, and the actual desk you plan to purchase. If you’re shopping online, you can check out the dimensions in the listing to see if it will fit in your space well.
Finding the Chair
You should look for a chair that is height adjustable so that you can make sure you’re comfortable. You also might want to see if the chair you like has an adjustable backrest, which is important if you plan to sit for most of the day. Lumbar support is another aspect that you should look into so that your back has plenty of support throughout the day.
After you choose your desk, you have to think about how much space you need under it to fit the chair and your legs. Remember that you’ll need some extra space for your body, so keep that in mind when you’re taking your measurements.
You also will want to think about the material carefully with your chair, just like with the desk. For a chair, you need breathable, sufficiently-padded materials that are built for comfort and support. It’s best to try a chair out in person before buying if possible so that you can see how it feels.
Managing Your Storage
If you can find a desk that has storage in it, that’s great! However, not all of us want large desks, and if your desk is small, it likely means it is very minimal. You might need some extra storage to keep paperwork, documentation, or other items that are required for your job.
Your main options are:
- Open shelving
- Built-in storage
- Box shelves
- Mobile storage
- Filing cabinets
- Dowel shelving (under cabinets)
Based on how much space you have and what you need to store, your best option here is going to vary. Whenever possible, make sure that anything you’re putting in boxes or cabinets is labeled so that it is easy to find what you need.
These are the office supplies that you need but don’t last forever. Think pens, pencils, tape, paper, planners, envelopes, and sticky notes.
Although you might not need all of these things all of the time, they don’t hurt to have on hand. A lot of consumable supplies are great for organization and prioritization of work, so even if you’re trying to go green, you may still want to hold onto some of these things just in case you need them later.
You might be someone that is new to their job and needs to organize their planner or binder more efficiently. Check out Tabshop.com to get some info on unique, customizable tabs that will help you stay on top of your work.
If your job involves handling sensitive information, you may also want to invest in a paper shredder. This will be crucial to destroying any paper documents that you have on hand. A printer is another smart thing to have in an office if your job involves a lot of paperwork because, in some positions, you will need to file things away non-digitally.
Your Computer and Monitor
There aren’t many jobs at all that won’t benefit from a high-quality computer and monitor, or at least a laptop, these days.
Your job might require you to work from multiple locations, which would make a laptop much more convenient. However, if you might benefit from a bigger screen to look at or having the option to upgrade your rig, a desktop is likely a better option.
You’ll also need to choose between the different operating systems out there. There are actually a lot of options out there, but the most common choices fall between Apple or Windows devices. Depending on your type of work, one is likely going to have more advantages to you that you’ll need to consider.
For your computer monitor, you mainly need to think about the style and size.
As a professional, you’ll want a monitor that prioritizes color accuracy and high response times. Remember that a higher resolution means you’ll have a better picture, so you may want to shell out a few more bucks to get a better monitor if possible.
Even if you choose to get a laptop, you can still plug your laptop into a larger monitor for a bigger screen size. This may be a wise investment if you believe having the larger screen might help with certain tasks, such as viewing data or reading reports.
Always consider getting cable management of some sort if you have a lot of cables going all over the place. This will help your office look tidier.
What’s a computer without internet access? High-quality, fast internet is crucial in today’s professional environment, so your workspace needs to prioritize this, regardless of if you’re working at home, in the coffee shop, or at the public office.
You need a broadband connection if you’re going to work efficiently. Always look at comparisons between download and upload speeds between providers, and pay close attention to your contract terms.
If bundling is an option, that may be a way to save some extra money on cable or phone bills, even if you’re spending more upfront on your internet package.
Are you operating a small business? If that’s the case, you want to look into special data speeds, security details, email features, or unique pricing options that are specific to small businesses.
Some internet service providers will be willing to work with you on deals if you’re honest about this upfront. If you operate a small business without informing your provider, you might find out that they have limitations or special requirements regarding using a VPN, which might create a hassle for you later.
When buying office supplies, you might not automatically think about lighting, especially if the room your office will be in already has overhead lighting. However, adequate lighting levels when you’re working in front of a computer are really important. That overhead light might not be enough to prevent headaches or eye strain.
The factors to consider for office lighting include:
- Color and temperature
- Brightness level
- Bulb type
If you have lights that are cooler in color and temperature, you’ll find that you may be more motivated to work and concentrate. Lights that are warmer are better for relaxing or unwinding once your work is done.
Brightness also impacts mood and energy levels, so you will want to have bright light in the morning to start your day. If possible, it’s a good idea to get dimmable lighting options, however, because dimming this brightness throughout the day will help you remain focused into the afternoon.
Fluorescent bulbs are ancient technology in terms of lighting today, so you should focus your search on LED lights. If not LED lighting, you could also go for halogen or incandescent bulb options.
Lastly, think about where you need lighting the most and where you wouldn’t want to put a lamp or lighting fixture. For example, you don’t want to put a light in a space that would create a glare on your computer screen.
Now that you have all of the basics ready to go, it’s time to get into the fun stuff: accessories. No matter who you are, you’ll benefit from having specific desk accessories that will help you work harder and be more relaxed at your desk.
You may want to get some noise-blocking headphones, for example, if you’re working from home with others in your house. As an added bonus, it may be worth looking into headphones that also have a microphone if you think you might have to speak in meetings.
You also might look into buying a charger stand for all of your electronics, including your phone and smartwatch, so that they stay powered throughout the day. Some charger stands double as a pen and pencil holder, so that’s even more functionality and organization as an added bonus.
Other ideas to consider, depending on your needs and wants, include:
- Laptop stand
- High-quality stapler
- Metal scissors
- Portable speakers
- Mouse pad
- Mini USB vacuum
- Sticky note dispenser
- Aroma diffuser or candle
Artwork and Decoration
Although you don’t want to go overboard with anything that isn’t necessary to your work, you still deserve to make your office space a little more “you.”
We spend a lot of our time working, so you should be comfortable in your own space. Some people really like having things they love around them as reminders of why they are working so hard in the first place.
You can hang plants, artwork, whiteboards, or corkboards on the wall. You could add some fun trinkets to your desk, or place a nice rug under your desk chair. Adding some framed photos of loved ones or cherished memories is another great idea for a simple decoration.
Try to come up with some ideas that are on theme with the rest of your furniture and materials but also won’t create a distraction for you. It’s a great thing to have a cozy office, but if it’s too cozy, you may end up getting distracted and avoiding work.
Use This Buying Guide for the Perfect Office
These are all of the essential things you’ll need to have a great workspace and office for getting things done, but your specific list might vary a little bit based on your job.
If you’re in a more creative profession, you probably need all of the space you can get to actually work. If you’re in a profession that is more dedicated to data or programming, you probably need more high-tech gadgets to make your job easier.
Make sure to reference this buying guide as you make a list of the items you need to purchase, and always keep productivity at the forefront of your design and decorating plans!
If you like this article, take a moment to browse some of our other work-related articles for more professional tips next.