Computers and printers? Check. Copy machine? Check. Coffee maker? Check. Paper clips? Check

Running a business involves juggling so many moving parts—and so much stuff—that keeping track of everything can seem like a full time job of its own. But there’s much more to operating a well-stocked office than simply having enough desks, chairs and computers for everyone.

From cleaning supplies for the break room to foot rests for each desk, from paper towels and toilet paper for the bathroom to pens and printer cartridges, running out of certain items can have a ripple effect on employee productivity, motivation, morale and even retention!

Here—in no particular order—are the top 5 business supplies to never, ever forget:

  1. Writing utensils: pens, pencils, markers
  2. Printer paper
  3. Ink and toner cartridges
  4. Envelopes
  5. Toilet paper

These may be essential, but there are other—almost as important—supplies that business owners tend to forget or overlook.

Office Supplies

Of course, your business can’t run without pens, paper, envelopes, staplers, tape, sticky notes and paperclips. But what about those other supplies—you know, the ones that don’t get used quite as often but are still essential for a smooth-running office? Here’s a checklist of frequently overlooked office supplies:

  • Batteries
  • Postage stamps
  • Packing tape
  • Mailers in assorted sizes
  • Scissors
  • Trash cans
  • Shredders
  • File folders and hanging files

Bathroom Supplies

Perhaps nothing will lead to disgruntled employees quite as quickly as a bathroom without hand soap, paper towels or—worst of all—toilet paper. Business owners take note: Forget the bathroom supplies at your peril. Here’s a list to make it easy:

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Hand soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Air freshener

Kitchen Supplies

When compiling lists of supplies, business owners often overlook the kitchen or break room. That’s a bad idea, as employees rely on the break room as a place to sit, relax, eat and have a nice hot cup of coffee or tea. Breaks lead to greater productivity, as well, so make the kitchen a well-supplied, pleasant place of relaxation for your employees. Ensure that the following items are stocked in your office kitchen or break room:

  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee, tea, sweeteners and creamers
  • Cups
  • Knives, forks and spoons
  • Plates and bowls
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Dish soap, disinfecting wipes and other cleaning supplies
  • Straws
  • Salt, pepper and other spices
  • Water cooler—not required, but a nice touch
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen—again, not required, but having such items on hand lets employees know their health is being considered

Meeting Supplies

When you’re holding a meeting, the last thing you want to do is look unprepared. However, that’s exactly what will happen when you reach for something and it’s not there. Keep your boardroom stocked with these supplies for more successful meetings:

  • White board and dry-erase markers
  • Corkboard
  • Chalkboard
  • Tissues
  • Cups
  • Writing utensils
  • Notepads
  • Paper clips
  • Stapler
  • Tape

Don’t Forget the Feet!

Finally, there are a few items that just make working conditions that much better for employees. Although they’re not absolutely necessary, these supplies increase productivity and morale. A prime example? The ergonomic footrest.

Though often overlooked, footrests serve a number of purposes. These devices provide support for employees’ legs and feet, making them more comfortable during the workday. Footrests also contribute to active sitting, in which workers make small, repetitive movements throughout the day to improve their fitness and health.

Keep track of your office inventory by using a checklist. Careful monitoring ensures that you won’t run out of essential items. Keeping your employees happy through adequate supplies will lead to a productive, successful business environment.

Felicia Baratz is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media addict living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor to, Felicia discusses new, innovative technology and it’s relation to the business world and social media marketing.