On the Job

5 items that should be in your work bag

One of the joys of working from home is all our stuff is with us. We don’t need to worry about forgetting a phone charger or wanting to freshen up with some mouthwash after lunch. It’s all there with us in the same location.

The frustration can be when we have to go on a business trip or commute into the office. Maybe even go to a conference. We need a work bag that’s going to help us get through the day, but not be overloaded with things we don’t need.

First, before putting together items for a work bag, think about what would make a good work bag. Maybe it’s a big tote. Or a backpack. Either way, your work bag needs to fit your needs. It should be easy to carry and hold the things you want to have with you.

Now that you know how you’ll cart your gear, here are five things to consider keeping in a work bag:

1. Create a mini-tech kit. There’s nothing worse than seeing your smartphone is running low on battery life and realizing you don’t have a charger handy. Put together the basics for using your technology: charger and charger cord, tech wipes to clean your devices, and a flash drive. It can be stored in a small bag and always available.

2. Pack your favorite instant beverage and snack. Sometimes we want a beverage or snack and there’s an incredibly long line at our local coffee shop. Or we’re at a meeting and we don’t want to eat what’s being served. Having a tea bag or some trail mix in your work bag can take the edge off until you’re able to have a proper meal. Also consider carrying a water bottle. It’s eco-friendly and will save you some dollars.

3. Have something to read. As much as technology is all around us, there are times when either the WiFi is wonky or we want to disconnect for a few moments. Consider having a small book or the newspaper in your work bag you can easily pick up/put down.

4. Keep a pad and pen ready. Studies say that writing information down could be a key to retaining it. Next time you’re at a meeting, think about taking notes old school instead of using a computer. Notetaking is also more enjoyable if the pen and paper are high quality. That doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, just that they’re nice to use.

5. Have toiletries to freshen up. If you have a long commute or are coming back from a lunch meeting, you might want to freshen up a bit before going back to your desk. Think about those things that would help you feel refreshed: toothbrush, toothpaste, mints, antibacterial wipes. Consider putting together a little bathroom kit. You can keep it in your desk or in your work bag.

Today’s jobs allow us to work from home, office or the local coffee shop. The right work bag helps us maintain productivity and energy. Find the bag that works for you and fill it with the things you need. When in doubt about an item, carry it around for a couple of weeks and see if it’s necessary. Eventually you’ll find the right combination of necessities to make your work day a little more productive and enjoyable.

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