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How to be comfortable and efficient when working from home — or anywhere

Moving from an office setting to remote work can improve your wellbeing, but there are also some potential pitfalls. Consider these essential tips, tricks and handy purchases to help you stay comfortable and productive while avoiding burnout.

Get dressed in the morning

Waking up and sitting at your laptop in your pajamas all day is not the best way to focus. Putting on your adult clothes in the morning can send your body and brain a powerful message that it’s time to work. Some longtime remote workers even suggest getting dressed and taking a walk around the block to convince yourself that you’re going to work, even if that work is in your own home.

Keep work separate from real life

This was easy when we all worked in offices: you go to work and leave when you’re finished. All that changes when you work remotely. You probably still have some semblance of structure with your job, but you may have online meetings and specific times you need to make yourself available to coworkers. Working remotely, you’ll need to differentiate between work and the rest of your existence.

One option is to rent office space with one of the many up-and-coming coworking spots worldwide. Many of those spaces even offer private meeting rooms and sound-proofed areas where you can conduct voice and video meetings in peace.

Get out of the house when possible

If you’re lucky enough to have some flexibility in your remote work, such as if you’re a freelancer or only occasionally need to have live meetings, it’s often worth leaving your house. Office space can be expensive, but coffee isn’t, and if you’re anywhere near an urban area, there are sure to be coffee shops with great Wi-Fi connections. You can even consider taking a day or two at a nearby bed and breakfast or let your inner digital nomad out and do a little traveling.

Develop a routine

If having a completely separate workspace isn’t possible, at least make sure to delineate between work and play. For example, avoid working in the same space where you watch TV or play video games when you’re finished working. Ensure that all your family members know when you can and cannot be disturbed. If your company doesn’t rigidly set your hours, do so yourself. Set a specific time for having lunch and detach yourself from work during that break to prepare for the rest of the day. Letting everyday distractions creep into your workday reduces focus and makes it harder to enjoy your free time.

Stay organized

Without a boss and coworkers around you to keep you on your toes, it’s easy to fall into the trap of a cluttered workspace. For most workers, though, a neat and organized space can increase focus and decrease stress, with the obvious bonus of making it easier to find specific papers and tools when you need them.

Handy tools for comfortable remote work

Clever Enduro Noise-Canceling Headphones

Clever Enduro Noise-Canceling Headphones

Despite their mid-range price, these wireless headphones offer active noise canceling and call quality on-par with some of the best. 

Sold by Amazon

Ironck Standing Desk Converter

Ironck Standing Desk Converter

Sitting down all day is bad for your health in multiple ways. A standing desk converter and an ergonomic mat to go with it can help fight joint pain and keep you sharp all day. 

Sold by Amazon

HP V222vb 21 PC Monitor

HP V222vb 21-inch PC Monitor

Adding an affordable secondary PC monitor can do wonders for your productivity, especially if your laptop or primary display often ends up showing Zoom meetings. 

Sold by Amazon

Gimars Keyboard and Mouse Wrist Rest

Gimars Keyboard and Mouse Wrist Rest

Don’t underestimate the stress that typing all day puts on your arms, wrists and hands. A good gel wrist rest set will help keep your joints healthy for years. 

Sold by Amazon

Logitech C902x HD Webcam

Logitech C902x HD Webcam

If you don’t have a good webcam built into your laptop, this 1080p model from Logitech will have you looking cleaner than most of your coworkers. Logitech also makes a more affordable 720p option

Sold by Amazon

Union Scale FlexFit Hyken Task Chair

Union & Scale FlexFit Hyken Task Chair

Don’t cheap out on your chair. Cheap chairs break or wear down quickly. A good chair, like those from Union & Scale, helps fight fatigue, soreness and long-term stress injury. 

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Xpiyaer Tabletop Fountain

Xpiyaer Tabletop Fountain

Few sounds can help calm and focus the mind like the running water from a compact tabletop fountain. Make sure to use distilled water and possibly a mild algaecide and clarifier to keep it running perfectly. 

Sold by Amazon

Drevet LED Desk Lamp

Drevet LED Desk Lamp

Don’t underestimate how nice an adjustable desk lamp can be. This one offers three brightness and temperature levels in addition to one USB and two AC outlets. 

Sold by Amazon

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.