Let’s imagine you work at a company. It’s a pretty good company, good enough that it decides, after much talk, to move to a bigger, fancier office. This office is much-heralded by those who have created it. And yet, it is still an office. It still has flaws, like any living, breathing thing.
Here is how to, if not fix those flaws, make them a little more bearable, until the cold place where you make your cold hard cash starts to feel a little bit more like a warm womb of love.
Before I worked for Jezebel, the kind people at Betabrand apparently sent us a Vagisoft blanket in the limited edition color of pink. Former editor Tracie Egan Morrissey would use it to warm her legs in the cold (or warm) months, and when she sadly left us, it sat under the desk in a gross pile, until one day, I took it home and washed it. I wasn’t sure that the dirt would come out but it did, and looks good as new. (I was so pleased I got a brown one for my mom for Christmas. She loves it.) It is a soft and sturdy thing that’s easily machine washable, perfect for the germ-infected hellscape you likely work in. Also, it has a fun name that is bound to start up some good conversations with your coworkers—or deter awkward ones from talking to you. (Betabrand, $80)
I can’t vouch for these particular headphones from Samsung (though the internet can)—I currently use a half-broken pair kindly given to me by my coworker Madeleine—but in general, I’m a fan of over-the-ear headphones for work because I figure they’re better for your hearing than in-ears, which I use for walking around life. Also, they’re a really good way to (again) deter people from talking to you or blocking out annoying office noise if an emphasis on actually talking out loud instead of via Slack has taken over your work space. (Amazon, $102.99)
I’ve never used an anti-fatigue floor mat, but a good friend who works at a tech start-up swears by them, especially it you have a standing desk. Idk why you’d have a standing desk, but if you do, make it better with this fancy yoga mat. (Amazon, $77.32)
“Everyone looks better in the dark.” — Kate Dries™ date unknown. Unfortunately for you, your office may no longer look like a glorified night club, with brick walls and dark wood desks, but is now a barren landscape of concrete and white sheetrock. That’s okay; in both places, you will benefit from some lighting that isn’t overhead. This Ikea desk lamp is small enough to sit discreetly on your desk without garishly screaming I’M THE KIND OF PERSON THAT BROUGHT MY OWN LAMP. (Ikea, $14.99)
Despite the fact that, as the amount I have to pick up a pen decreases with each passing day, my handwriting gets worse, you and I do occasionally need to take notes, make lists, sketch out beautiful drawings of what we want a graph to look like for our much more talented Art team, etc. For those purposes, Moleskines are my notebook of choice, as they come in endless sizes and many fun styles. They’re a classic for a reason ok? (Molskine, price varies)
I have been using the same (now wrongly-sized) laptop cover since… 2009? Don’t be like me: when you have to take your new office laptop home but also have to go to a Yankee game first and the guard at Yankee Stadium is like, “Um, ma’am, you can’t bring that in here” and you’re like “Um, wish that had been made clear before I schlepped it up here and no I don’t have a car to put this in, I took the train here like most New Yorkers” and then you have to check it at this Yankee memorabilia store for $10 that takes 20 minutes to find, you’ll be glad you have a cute case. Especially if it is pink. (Incase, $39.95)
Not every office has snacks. Some offices do have snacks, but the majority of them are healthy. Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups might be the best snack they have, outside of their gorgonzola crackers. Buy a box and become incredibly popular to yourself. (Trader Joe’s, $4.29)
For when Vagisoft just won’t do: invest in a walking sleeping bag. REI makes a more basic one but the pattern, man, the pattern of this guy! In this world, where everyone and their mom has a snuggie (maybe even with the name of their tech start-up on it), you will be the most impressive person in the office. (Urban Outfitters, $130)
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top image via Getty, all other images via their respective vendors.