After recently furnishing and outfitting my office with a variety of office equipment, I thought it would be useful to compile a comprehensive list of office equipment to consider when setting up a fully functional office, whether it’s a home office, a small commercial office, or a large commercial office with many employees.
My workplace recently received a new desk, office chair, sofa, bookcase, and filing cabinet. While I have a home office, I spend the majority of my time in a modest condo that I rent to use as my office (a really great setup). That was not the end of it for me. My PC setup now includes a third monitor. Some monitor stands were added to ensure good body alignment. I then went out and bought some much-needed office materials. I also invested in some more advanced multi-media equipment, such as a professional microphone and a camera.
Below is a list of the various sorts of office equipment and supplies you’ll need or be able to obtain to outfit a beautiful office, whether at home or in a business setting.
Fast Rundown of Everything You’ll Need in Your Office
Here’s a fast rundown of everything you’ll need for any office setting, including technology, furniture, and supplies.
- Desktop computer
- Printer and scanner
- Webcam: This will come in handy for all those Zoom calls.
- Microphone: Using a microphone can drastically increase the quality of your sound.
- Second Monitor: Having a second monitor will greatly increase your productivity.
- Label Printer: If you print a lot of labels, this is a must-have.
- Office Desk
- Office Chair
- Filing Cabinet
- Good Lighting
- Printing Paper
- Paper Clips
- Heavy-duty hole punch: It is great for staying organized.
- Batteries (AA and AAA)
- Paper Tray
- Bulletin Board
Details of What You’ll Need and Why You’ll Need It
It would have to be a computer if you could only acquire one item for an office. These days, it’s the beating heart of every office. With a laptop, you could practically operate multimillion-dollar businesses. Although I exaggerate, the point is that you will require a computer.
The most important item and suggestion on this list is the use of several monitors. If you don’t work on many monitors, you’re wasting time and not getting as much done as you could. I bought every employee a second monitor when I had a physical and mortar business because I knew they could get so much more done faster. I still find it hard to understand that most organizations do not provide at least two monitors to their employees.
With three displays, though, there are certainly diminishing returns.
I use three and enjoy it, but the benefits aren’t comparable to going from one to two monitors. It also relies on how you’ve set up your system. Two additional larger monitors are certainly worth having if your primary computer is a laptop with a small screen.
2. Desktop Computer
The majority of firms still rely on desktop computers. Although some companies provide laptops to their staff, the desktop still reigns supreme in the corporate world. The reason for this is that they are less expensive in terms of computer power.
All my employees have a laptop. I enjoy it since I can take it with me wherever I go (which I do – to and from work and home). A laptop can easily operate any small business. Having said that, I’m really considering purchasing a Mac desktop computer. I used to work from home, but now I mostly work from my office, and I’d appreciate the extra computer power and a larger screen. Laptops are also perfect for somebody who frequently travels for work. There’s no reason for employees to go out without a computer to meet with clients, vendors, or suppliers when connecting any computer to a network is so simple.
Working on a tablet is not a good idea. They’re fantastic for surfing the web, viewing streaming services, reading eBooks, sending quick emails, and playing games, but they’re not great for doing real work. A Microsoft Surface with a true keyboard or an iPad with a keyboard would work, but they’re still small and lack actual processing capability.
5. Mobile PhoneA mobile phone, like a tablet, is not a decent computer for working on. It is, nonetheless, an essential piece of office equipment for communications.
6. Monitor Stand
I’m a huge believer in good functioning body alignment. Because I’m tall, I require my monitors to be somewhat raised so that I can look straight ahead rather than angling downward, which can cause tech-neck.
A monitor stand isn’t required for everyone. Furthermore, some monitors include a stand that raises them slightly. I recommend trying the monitor without a stand and then getting one if you realize you need to look slightly downward.
7. Laptop Stand
I run everything on a laptop, and while I don’t use the laptop monitor very much, I occasionally do. Therefore I prefer it elevated. As a result, I have a dedicated laptop stand.
A mouse is an essential computer component. While touchscreens are convenient, they cannot replace the efficiency of a mouse.
Although most computers come with a keyboard, I believe it is beneficial to have a high-quality keyboard—the flat keys on the Mac keyboard appeal to me. I’m not too fond of the clumsy, heavy keys seen on so many keyboards.
Many laptops come with a built-in webcam that is adequate, but you will need to purchase a separate webcam if you want anything better.
I make screen share video instructions for another website. Thus I needed a better webcam for better footage.
While many computers include a built-in microphone, the sound quality is poor. You’ll need a good microphone if you’re going to do any audio recording. You can acquire a USB mic for your headset or something more professional.
Trying to run your internet off of some free Wi-Fi is usually not the best choice. Get your own dedicated Wi-Fi network with a router instead, and make sure it’s adequately secured. It’s a good idea to hire a tech specialist to network your office if you have multiple people working there. I work in a shared office space, and my landlord has an IT man who handles all networking.
Investing in a three-in-one business machine that prints, photocopies, and scans are one option. These machines are substantial and costly.
This is a must-have piece of workplace equipment if you produce a lot of documents. This is at my office (shared office arrangement), and while I don’t produce a lot of paperwork, it’s a fantastic machine when I do.
If you don’t use a lot of printing, scanning, or photocopying, though, buying lower-cost individual options is an excellent idea.
The printer is fantastic and much-needed office equipment. Over the years, I’ve purchased a variety of printers, but the best is a simple $200 laser printer that does not print in color. It’s a hard worker. We’ve had our current one for a long time, and it’s fantastic. In fact, every office with a business machine should have at least one of them if the primary printer fails.
Scanning is almost a must-have chore these days since many businesses digital everything. Thus, you’ll need a scanner at your office. If you scan seldom, you can get away with going to Staples and having them do it for you, but you’ll get tired of it quickly.
The cost of scanners varies depending on how much scanning you conduct. You’ll need a high-speed scanner if you scan huge documents on a regular basis. If you only need to scan a few documents every now and again, a simple, low-cost scanner will suffice.
15. Photocopy Machine
In my experience, small individual photocopiers aren’t particularly good, but they’ll get the job done. It’s recommended to invest in a large upright business machine if you photocopy in huge quantities.
You’ll need some furnishings unless you’re just you and your laptop. You should have a desk and a chair as a bare minimum. Of course, there’s a lot more to choose from.
Here’s a list of things to think about:
16. Office Desk
There are many different types of desks to pick from. To accommodate several monitors, I prefer large desk surfaces. From small single-computer workstations to large office furniture systems, you have a lot of options.
17. Office Chair
Because I want to be comfortable and sit ergonomically, I spent the most money on my workplace chair. The Herman Miller Aeron chair was my choice, although there are plenty more office chair possibilities. I confess that the Herman Miller chair isn’t the most attractive, but I chose from the above utility in this situation.
18. Filing Cabinet
While I don’t have a lot of paperwork to file, I have some accounting and legal documents that I need to keep for a few years, so I purchased a tiny filing cabinet. Some firms require rows upon rows of filing cabinets, while others, such as mine, may get by with a single, little two-drawer filing cabinet.
While not required, they can help brighten up your office and provide a place to keep items such as books (go figure). I have a wonderful Structube floor-to-ceiling bookcase.
A sofa isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice addition to any office if you have the space and money. I’d wanted a little sofa for a long time and eventually purchased one.
21. Chairs and Table for Meetings
If you have clients in your office, it can be difficult to meet with them at desks with computers these days, so a little side table with seats can be a nice addition.
Lighting is crucial in any office. Ceiling lighting is standard in most offices, but you can supplement it with desk lamps, table lamps, and floor lamps. Dimmable recessed lighting is my favorite if you have the option of choosing ceiling lighting. You’ll need a lighting kit if you do any kind of multi-media work.
23. Wall Art
While we work hard in our offices, there’s no reason you can’t spice things up with some canvas wall art. It’s good to be able to work in a pleasant place. I purchased a large map to hang on the wall. You may also include plants, side tables, a rug, and pretty much everything else that spruces up a home into an office.
If you entertain customers, it might be worth installing a mini-bar stocked with scotch, vodka, rum, and other libations à la Mad Men. A little wine or beer can go a long way. While drinking in the office is no longer acceptable, it is not entirely forbidden.
I have a phone that came with my office lease, but it isn’t connected to the internet. My business is run entirely on my phone. But I don’t receive many calls then. In my office, I don’t have any staff (they work remotely). As a result, I don’t need a landline phone.
On the other hand, a landline is essential if you run a firm that receives a lot of calls. Mobile phones are great, but the sound quality, crispness, and consistency aren’t quite as good as a landline. Furthermore, you may acquire some complex alternatives with today’s landline phones, such as numerous lines, speakerphones, and so on.
I don’t have a shredder because I have a service that shreds my documents once a year. Rather than shredding their own records, an increasing number of organizations are electing to utilize a shredding service a few times a year. Shredding takes time, and a tiny machine won’t be enough if you have a lot of documents to shred. The commercial shredders can shred mountains of paper very quickly, and are able to recycle it the right way.
The one and the only disadvantage of employing a professional shredding service is that you must keep your documents until they arrive. If you’re a paper-intensive business, you end up paying for storage space which can get costly (or it’s a hassle moving it all to cheaper storage spaces such as a storage locker). If, however, you don’t shred much but need to do so once in a while, a small office shredder will do the job. Many home offices can get by with this.
Stationery and Office Supplies
While we’re kind of paperless, most offices aren’t fully paperless and still require stationery and some basic office supplies.
Here’s a list to help you get started stocking your office, whether a home office or in a commercial space.
I still have a stack of legal pads in my office. Sometimes, I find it helpful to make notes with pen and paper. I also have a box of envelopes for the rare instances where I must mail something. Many businesses such as law firms, banks, insurance companies, financial businesses send out snail mail to customers and clients. In this case, you need proper letterhead and envelopes. If you print, you should buy two to three feet of printer paper.
28. Envelopes and Shipping Boxes
If you send out snail mail and/or ship stuff, have a variety of envelopes on hand as well as boxes for shipping. Packing material is useful when you have to send out delicate items like a Fabergé egg.
If you have got employees in your office, it’s a good idea to outfit them with notepads for taking phone messages or scribbling down notes.
I always have a notepad next to me just in case I need to jot something down. It’s old school but handy.
30. Business Cards
I’m embarrassed to say, but I don’t yet have business cards yet have been in business for 7 years. I don’t really need them, but most businesses do.
If you mail the odd letter, a roll of stamps will do. If you send out stacks of mail daily, get a postage machine that you can load up with funds as needed.
32. Letter Scale
If you send out snail mail regularly, it’s handy to have a scale to weigh correspondence, so you know exactly how much postage to apply.
33. Label Printer
If you send out snail mail daily, it’s worth investing in a label printer that makes it easier to print envelopes. While most photocopiers can be configured to print on envelopes, you might find it easier and faster to print on labels.
I bought a lot of office materials when I just remodeled my office. You can purchase a variety of items to decorate your workplace. Take a stroll around Staples’ aisles, and you’ll find yourself with armfuls of things you think you’ll need.
34. Pencils and Pens
I don’t use pens very often, but I like to use decent pens when I do.
Uni-ball pens are my favorite.
35. Paperclips, Staplers, and Other Clips
While I don’t have a lot of paper, I like to organize what I have with clips and paper clips. It makes life easier and prevents vital documents from being misplaced. Every office should have a clipboard basket.
Scissors are an indispensable office tool, primarily for opening boxes.
I despise attempting to open tape-sealed boxes.
37. 3-Hole Punch
If you keep your documents in binders, you’ll need a reliable 3-hole punch.
I keep a box or two of AA batteries on hand for my mouse and other office devices. Nothing is more frustrating than having your mouse battery die and having none on hand.
Fortunately, I don’t need binders, although many firms still use binders to organize and keep documents. If this is the case, having some binder inventory on hand is a good idea.
Tape isn’t something you’ll use frequently, but it’s handy to have on hand when you do.
41. Paper trays
Organizational knickknacks are popular, and paper trays are one of them. You’re familiar with the famed in and out trays, which accumulate a big stack of odd documents over time.
I purchased a whiteboard and hung it on the wall because it is useful for scribbling to-do lists and other items that I need to see immediately.
Next to me is a man who has a massive 5′ by 3′ whiteboard on his wall covered with various lists. In a workplace, a whiteboard may be really useful. You’ll enjoy it – give it a try.
Things to Get You Through the Day
43. Coffee Maker
I’m lucky that our office sharing space includes free coffee and a coffee maker (which I don’t have to deal with), but if you’re not so fortunate, save a lot of money by getting a tiny coffee maker instead of $5 Starbucks beverages.
44. Coaster and Mug
Obviously, you’ll need a cup to hold your hot beverages, so go out and get a cute mug with a coaster.
45. Headphones for Music
I subscribe to Apple Music, which is fantastic for listening to music at work. Another good choice is Apple Podcasts. If you work in an office with other people, you’ll most likely want headphones, so you don’t annoy them with your Metallica listening.
The majority of my bookcase is devoted to displaying artwork created by my two young sons. It reminds me of them and adds a beautiful touch to the room. Photos of family and friends are another excellent alternative for keeping in mind loved ones while working in the salt mines.
Again, my shared office space includes a kitchen with a refrigerator.
If your office doesn’t have a refrigerator, a mini-fridge can be beneficial for storing beverages and lunch (like yesterday night’s meatloaf).
Office Equipment That is No Longer Necessary
You could have some of the items listed below, but they were once-essential items that have since been supplanted by modern technology.
Actually, typewriters are making a comeback, but it’s more for authors than for offices.
Although we use an actual paper calendar at home to schedule everything, I use a Google calendar at work. Most offices, I believe, rely on digital calendars that can be shared, integrated with mobile devices, send out reminders, and do a lot more than a traditional paper calendar.
The fax machine reminds me of DVDs. It served as a bridge between ancient and new technology. The fax machine served as a link between snail mail and email.
A calculator is found on almost every mobile device. When you Google “calculator,” one appears out of nowhere. We all have calculators at our fingertips, so having one at your office isn’t necessary.
Ashtrays were prevalent in offices 40 years ago, precisely like the Mad Men ad agency. Because smoking is no longer permitted in offices, the ubiquitous ashtray has become obsolete.
Other Out-of-Date Office Supplies
In fact, most of what I wrote could be outdated and is still in use in many organizations. Anything that uses paper (printer, filing cabinets, binders, etc.) is becoming obsolete as some offices go paperless.
However, until computers reached critical mass, the paperless office never fully materialized to the predicted extent.