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11 Upgrades For a Better Home Office Setup

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11 Upgrades For a Better Home Office Setup

Working from home is the new norm with the pandemic and with a rise of people looking to start their own business, however not every person is prepared to do that. Even with this pandemic going on for so long, there are still many people who decide to work from a couch or in a kitchen. That or maybe you’ve scrounged up some money to get a few used furniture for you new office.

Regardless of the circumstances, upgrading your home office setup is important. With every passing year, there are new office furniture that can help you be more productive, organized, and more. While you don’t need to upgrade everything every year, it’s still important to upgrade where you can and once every year or so. With that in mind, we prepared a list of some of the ideal home office upgrades to consider.

What Makes These Items Ideal Upgrades?

Before getting into the list, we want to explain why these items are for you. Based on our research, we’re recommending these items as they fit the following criteria:

  • Long-Lasting: This list has some serious high-priced upgrades in their respective categories, however, they’re worth it as they’re made by quality brands. Buying any of the items from this list will ensure that you’re keeping these products around for well over 3 years making it a quality investment.
  • Trusted – Our recommendations are from trusted brands that have a history of providing great quality. Many of these products are products with 4-star ratings or higher from reviewers.
  • Multi-purpose – These upgrades aren’t only for looks but they also improve your overall quality of life. Whether these help you in boosting your health, happiness, or productivity, you’re getting more out of these products than an expensive item that looks nice.

An Ergonomic Chair For Better Posture And Productivity

    How often does this happen – you’ve slumped over your desk with your neck craned over for so long that what was once an annoying ache has become a health concern. Part of the reason that happens so often is many jobs these days require us to sit and chairs. Furthermore, it’s only been in the past few decades where we’ve had decent chairs.

    These days an ergonomic chair is even more important as they are designed to support your lumbar – or lower back. This will mitigate lower back pain and allow you to have more focus on your work. Science even backs this up with a 2003 study finding that employees working in ergonomic chairs reported less negative symptoms and a productivity increase of 17.7%.[1]

    In terms of a proper chair though there are many cheap brands out there with decent chairs, though those aren’t an upgrade. What is an upgrade is getting a chair from a well-known brand like Herman Miller. They build quality ergonomic chairs that are built to last you for years while still providing great quality.

    Buy the Hermon Miller Aeron Chair here.

    Good Quality Speakers To Crank Tunes For Focus And Productivity

      Depending on the beats that you are playing, music can help you get energized or allow you to relax. Either way, these two things will help in improving your productivity. One study from the University of Miami found that those who were listening to music while working finished their tasks with superior quality and speed compared to those without.

      To have an upgrade in your office, it would be good to have a quality sound system. We suggest the Sonos Play1 Speakers. These allow you to play your favourite mood music and wash out ambient distractions and improve your overall focus. In terms of what kind of music works, we suggest getting simple chord progressions, instrumentals or catchy rhythms.

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      Buy Sonos Play 1 Speakers here.

      Soft Light Desk Lamps For Optic & Mentality

        Another part of the desk and a productive work environment is a soft light desk lamp. A soft glow gives your work environment a warm, cozy feeling that mellows the environment and makes it feel less stressful.

        There are also studies that show that exposure to natural light during the day will make a positive impact on mental and physical health as well.[2] So letting the blinds open and the light pour in will help too.

        Our pick of a soft light desk lamp was the Xiaomi Mi LED desk lamp. It has a great light to not cause eye strain and sets a great mood to get into work mode. It also has wifi capabilities which allows you to change the brightness and color temperature amongst other things.

        Get the Xiaomi Mi LED Desk Lamp here.

        A Wireless Keyboard For Relaxed And Speedy Hands

          After spending a lot of time focusing on work, the last thing you want is your wrists and hand to be straining from craning your hands onto a keyboard. Rather than grinning and bearing it, invest in an external keyboard. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome isn’t a pleasant thing to be dealing with. Especially if you plan on working at a desk typing away.

          On top of that, incorporating more ergonomics in your life can improve your overall productivity while of course lowering your risk of causing your body harm. One study conducted by ChevronTexaco found that implementing ergonomic accessories, 44% of the participants reported lower risk levels of injuries, boosted productivity and morale.[3]

          There are many quality external keyboards out there but one brand that is reliable is Logitech. They’ve developed all kinds of devices – including ergonomic keyboards. This upgrade will move your standard keyboard to wireless while also providing a pad for your wrists to rest. It’s a great and affordable upgrade.

          Buy Logitech Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard here.

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          Desks Can Define A Person But Also How Well They Work

            Just as a chair is important, your desk as well can play an important role in your overall comfort. Furthermore sitting at a desk all day can give you a risk towards diabetes and weight gain. With that in mind – and following recent trends in desks – it makes sense to go with a desk that requires you to stand up. After all, standing up will do the opposite.[4]

            For those who have bought a chair though, we wanted to ensure you get the best of both worlds. As such, our recommendation is Vivo’s adjustable converter workstation desk. Not only can it turn into a standing desk for you to work at, you can also bring it back down so you can sit down at it.

            Buy Vivo Adjustable Converter Workstation Desk here.

            A White Board For Ideas and Inspiration

            Despite us having all kinds of technology at our disposal, there are still some limitations in what we have. One aspect of it is that many of us are working on 13” or 23” monitors with that monitor already maxed out leaving little room for anything else.

            In these kinds of circumstances, it’s opportunities of having older accessories that can be helpful. In this case – a whiteboard.

            A whiteboard is able to give you an alternative for jotting down ideas or brainstorming whatever. It’s essentially a space that you can capitalize for all kinds of things. It’s a huge boost in your productivity.

            Our pick is the Lockways Magnetic Dry Erase Board. It’s smooth scratch resistant surfaces ensure it won’t get damaged too quickly. It’s also very easy to clean up anything off of it.

            Buy Lockways Magnetic Dry Erase Board here.

            A Reliable WiFi Router To Keep Your Internet Going

            Since a lot of our work is internet-based – and the fact many work from home – having a stable connection is vital. Since you are at the mercy of your internet provider, having a reliable router beyond the one they provided will ensure you won’t get spotty wifi.

            A good upgrade for a router is the Netgear Nighthawk Smart Wifi Router. It offers fast performance speed with a wireless coverage of 1500 square feet. It can work with upwards of 25 different devices making it a fantastic productivity tool.

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            Buy Netgear Nighthawk Smart Wifi Router here.

            A Trusty Laptop That You Can Count On Not To Crash

            With Mac’s getting an upgraded OS recently, many of the older models probably aren’t able to keep up with the latest versions. Or perhaps Apple is done upgrading them. If that’s the case, it might be a good enough time right now to get an upgrade of your computer.

            Not only will you be getting faster loading speeds with more recent models, but there is a certain level of satisfaction that comes from getting a new – or new to you – computer. That said, it’s important that you consider your own needs for what you are looking for in a computer. Unlike the rest of the other items on this list, do give some thought about an adequate computer.

            If you’re looking for a suggestion, one that we consider a sizable upgrade is the Apple MacBook Pro. It has a 13” monitor and is one of the strongest macbooks around offering 8 gigabytes of ram and 256 gigabytes of SSD storage. Beyond that, it offers a host of other features including a magic keyboard making it easy to navigate and access features quickly, more colors, true tone technology, and wide stereo sound.

            Buy the Apple Macbook Pro here.

            Large External Monitors To Ensure A Screen Doesn’t Get Cluttered.

            Whether you’re getting a laptop or a desktop, chances are the monitor alone isn’t going to be enough. Similar to the white board, having another space to place stuff can be helpful in your line of work.

            In the case of another monitor it allows you the opportunity to save yourself time from hopping between tab to tab or program to program. In fact one study found that by having a second monitor, people’s productivity increased by 20 to 30 percent.

            When going for a second monitor, you want something with a readable screen and one that doesn’t cause headaches or eye strain. Also as a rule, the larger the monitor the better it will serve you as well since it’ll save you from scrolling.

            Our recommendation is the Asus ZenScreen. It’s a 15.6 inch monitor making it portable compared to other monitors. It also is designed to prevent eye strain.

            Buy the Asus ZenScreen here.

            Chargers To Keep All Those Devices Going

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              The last upgrade on the list is of course a charger. With so many devices these days that operate on batteries or need charging, you need a quality charger to keep everything going. Even if you’re not the most tech-obsessed individual the average person at least has four or five devices they use on the regular that need charging.

              But you don’t want to settle with any plain charger though. One we consider as an upgrade is Anker’s Powercore Fusion 5000. The Powercore Fusion combines the reliability of a wall charger and the convenience of it being portable as well. The beauty of this charger is that it charges up your devices – which it can charge many at once – before it recharges itself.

              Buy Anker Powercore Fusion here.

              A Mat To Mark A Devoted Exercise Spot To Boost Circulation And Help With Posture

              One next-level productivity hack is having designated spots for various activities and having rooms devoted to specific environments. On top of that even if you have the comfiest chair in the world, sitting down all day isn’t the healthiest for you.

              You can hit two birds with one stone by investing in a quality yoga mat. Not only can you use this as marking a section of your office for exercise but you can also combat poor posture that a sedentary desk life gives you.

              Even if you’re not big into yoga, there are a ton of basic exercises that you can do. Furthermore, many companies like GM, Google, Apple and Forbes offer classes to their employees. There are a lot of benefits to yoga beyond helping with posture. It also reduces joint and back pain and can energize you too.

              While you can get any simple mat on the cheap, if you want to make a better return on your investment, we suggest the Liforme yoga mat. It is designed to be the most innovative yoga mat on the market with great grip, extreme comfort, and comes with an alignment program. It’s even biodegradable making it environmentally friendly.

              Buy Liforme Yoga Mat here.

              Bottom Line

              With technology developing at such a rapid pace, there are bound to be tonnes and tonnes of upgrades to these devices in the near future. What matters the most, though, isn’t about keeping up with trends but knowing when it’s time to let go of old gear and move on to better gear.

              With this list, you can be safe with purchasing and leveraging these items for several years to come, improving your productivity thoroughly while keeping up with the current trends.

              Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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              Reference

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              Last Updated on January 13, 2022

              15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

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              15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

              Many of us dream of living abroad but can often be scared to make such a big change to our routine lifestyles and leave our home countries behind. Daunting as it may be, living abroad can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor and can give you the quality of life you have been looking for.

              From a warmer climate to a more easy going way of life, there are many foreign countries favored by expats who stay for a long time – and sometimes forever. Taking into consideration livings standards, opportunities and social aspects, here are our top 15 best places to live as an expat and why.

              1. Thailand

              A hot spot for expats, the ‘land of smiles’ as it’s commonly known offers expats a tropical climate, a huge array of sandy beaches and islands to explore, and a rich culture. The cost of living in Thailand is extremely low, and when combined with the friendly tax system means that disposable income can be very high.

              Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, offers expats great employment opportunities.

              2. Switzerland

              Another popular destination for expats, Switzerland offers exciting employment packages and a high standard of living. It’s great for those who love the outdoors, as there are many beautiful lakes, mountains to hike in and skiing in the winter. The school standards for expats are also excellent, making it appealing for those with children. English is also widely spoken so day-to-day living can be stress free.

              Unemployment in Switzerland is low and expats moving here don’t need to worry too much about finding a job before they arrive.

              3. Australia

              Many foreigners who visit Australia don’t want to leave as it offers a great quality of life, beautiful beaches and a warm climate. Making friends in Australia is easy too, due to the lack of language barrier and the large number of expats who already live here. Australia is a great place to move to if you have children because of its wide range of schooling possibilities and recreational outdoor activities.

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              Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live.

              4. Singapore

              Expats in Singapore can benefit from generous financial packages, great career opportunities and low tax rates. Although education is expensive here, it is rated one of the top places for raising children abroad due to the quality of the education system and the array of schools.

              Public transport such as buses and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) are cheap and very reliable in Singapore.

              5. South Korea

              South Korea offers expats a unique range of opportunities and a very different way of living. Jobs for expats are easy to find and usually very well paid, with apartments provided by the employer on the most part making living costs even lower. There are also many tight-knit expat communities in South Korea, making it easy to socialize and meet new friends. The excellent education system is also a pro for families wanting to move to this culture-rich country.

              South Korea has a cheap public healthcare system and offers great medical care, with most doctors speaking English.

              6. New Zealand

              New Zealand is constantly on the lookout for skilled workers to expedite to the country – especially those under the age of 30 – and skilled migrants can be granted a stay for up to five years. It offers a good climate and although income levels can be lower than other countries, quality of life is high, with its awe-inspiring scenery, low crime rate and state sponsored healthcare.

              New Zealand is great for those looking for a laid back and active outdoors lifestyle.

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              7. Canada

              Its national healthcare system, friendly locals and very high quality of life are just a few of the reason expats choose Canada as a place to live. It’s very welcoming to expats and skills shortages encourage foreigners to move here in order for the country to grow economically. It’s easy for expats to feel comfortable quickly in Canada due to its multicultural environment.

              Canada was largely unaffected by the economic crisis, making it a very popular country for expats.

              8. Qatar

              Qatar is becoming increasingly popular among expats with an estimated 500 new arrivals every day. The salaries are generous and are tax free too, making disposable income very high. Car and housing allowances are part of many remuneration packages, and education for your children and airfares are often included.

              The cost of living is lower in Qatar than in other UAE countries but salaries can still be just as generous.

              9. Hong Kong

              Where east truly meets the west, this bustling island has a population of over seven million people. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment and an active nightlife, Hong Kong is definitely the place to be. Benefits for expats include its advanced healthcare system and elevated standards of schooling for children, along with great employment opportunities. The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high, so trying to negotiate a housing allowance with your employer can be beneficial.

              Hong Kong is great for those looking for high incomes and career advancement.

              10. Japan

              As an expat destination, Japan offers a rich culture and a chance to experience a very different day-to-day life. Currently around two million expats live in Japan, and in the larger cities such as Tokyo a large portion of the population speaks English. English speakers are also in demand and there are a large number of opportunities for language teachers, especially in the capital.

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              Japan offers a high standard of living for expats and a good education system for those with children.

              11. Spain

              Spain is a very popular destination for expats due to the high temperatures and year-round sunshine. EU residents don’t require a visa to work here, meaning the move can be a lot easier. Skilled foreign workers also continue to be in demand with jobs such as engineering, customer service, skilled trades and language teachers widely available.

              A huge 14% of Spain’s population are expats from a variety of foreign countries.

              12. Dubai

              Two of the main attractions of moving to Dubai are the tax-free salaries and the warm climate. Some of the most popular jobs for expats are in construction, banking, oil and tourism. You can also enjoy a busy social life in Dubai as the expat community is thriving. Although it can be an expensive country, the tax-free salary means you experience a higher quality of life than in other countries.

              You will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to live in Dubai as an expat.

              13. Germany

              Germany is one of Europe’s most populous countries, with around 82.4 million people. It’s a lively and inexpensive country to live in as an expat, and if you have children the education system is great and healthcare is to a high standard. An estimated 250,000 expats live in Germany currently, with the numbers rising every year.

              If you are already an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to live and work in Germany.

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              14. The Netherlands

              The Netherlands is a great place for expats who love the outdoors. Cycling is one of the main modes of transport and looking after the environment is widely recognized. There are a lot of English speakers in the Netherlands too, but learning the language can work to your advantage and make day-to-day life that little bit easier. Skilled expats can also benefit from a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% if they meet the correct criteria.

              It is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when looking for employment in the Netherlands.

              15. China

              China offers expats great employment opportunities with little competition. Those who embrace the culture and decide they want to live in China long term can see a host of employment opportunities as its economy is growing rapidly every year. Economists predict it will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2018. China also offer expats low living costs and high disposable incomes, which is why many look to live here for a higher quality of life.

              Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular destinations for expats who live in China.

              Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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