As a consultant, I don’t typically stay in one office for very long. But, one thing remains the same – my must-haves to keep at my desk. Unless the project is very short (my shortest ever was only 1 week), I typically have a small number of items I try to keep with me during the work day.
(in no particular order)
Especially in the winter, there’s nothing worse than being stuck at your desk with your hands (or arms, etc.) painfully dry from the weather. Ok, there are always worse things (like late phone conferences or grouchy co-workers), but it’s pretty uncomfortable. I got this gift set of hand creams and lotions from the Body Shop at a post-holiday sale for pretty cheap. I also like to keep a bottle of regular lotion, if I have the space.
2. Salt, pepper, & other condiments
I usually eat lunch at my desk. This means I either grab something quick for take-out or bring something from home. Besides the fact that almost no office I’ve worked had salt and pepper (what’s up with that?), I sometimes don’t have time to wander around looking for salt and pepper. And sometimes food just really, really needs some kind of seasoning added, ya know (I may take after my dad as far as enjoying a little more salt than most)? And french fries without ketchup? Not for this girl. Sushi without soy sauce? I’m thinking not so much. They’re supposed to give you these things when you order take-out, but after having one too many snafus, I started keeping my own little collection at my desk.
I’ll never forget the shared sponge at one of my first offices. It was discolored and smelled really weird from as far as 5-6 feet away. They told me they kept it in check by dousing it in bleach or something every once in awhile. Whoa. Not for this germiphobe. Even if the sponge wasn’t questionably safe, I probably still wouldn’t want to share it. I love to have hot tea at my desk, and I usually use a non-disposable mug (hmm…perhaps the mug should be on my must-have list, too?). I also like to keep some non-disposable plates at my desk, so the sponge is definitely required when those are being used daily. I store my sponge in a solo cup at my desk so it can dry out after use without getting everything else in my desk wet. (If you’re in a bind, I’ve found you can use a paper towel instead of a sponge.)
This one doesn’t get used much, but boy, has it been a life saver! Depending on your parking situation, keeping an umbrella at your desk can be very helpful. If you can access your car without going outside, then you can probably just keep an umbrella there. But for days with sudden, surprise rainstorms and your car outdoors, it can be great to have this back-up waiting.
5. Sweater, blanket, space heater
This group may be the most important for me. Why do all offices seem to be set to “icebox”? I find most offices way too cold for my liking, so I’ll keep things at my desk to stay warm. Most offices don’t allow space heaters, but if they do, that’s usually my #1 choice. Otherwise, I like keeping cardigans (nice ones you can wear around the office – or even a pretty wrap) and blankets (that’s right blankets! sometimes you get desperate. what?) at my desk.
The original list I had in mind had only 5 items…until I remembered that I needed to add my snacks. Did I say the heating items were most important? I may have to rethink that. I’m not sure what’s worse – to be shivering cold and unable to concentrate or starving and unable to concentrate. Either way, I definitely have to have things to eat at my desk. You can check out my post on healthy snacks to keep at the office by clicking here.
I have some more items that are more nice-to-haves. Perhaps I’ll share those next?
What are your desk must-haves at work?