After over a year and a half of working remotely, a recent move, and the need to keep me productive, there have been some changes to my work-from-home setup. This is a quick rundown of what I keep on my desk and how I stay productive.
My Work from Home Setup: The Desk
For my current WFH setup, I opted for the Flexispot E3 height adjustable desk in white. I really like the clean and bright look of my living room and decided to go all the way in on the light color palette. The desk is a single motor sit/stand desk whose keypad allows me to program 3 heights as well as add a reminder to stand. I thought it was silly at first, but I also realized that I could get in the bad habit of sitting in one position for hours on end – not great.
The desktop itself is white chipboard – my big compromise in this desk purchase but because it’s not an all-in-one desk solution, I can always upgrade it down the line (butcher block countertop from Ikea in the future, maybe?). For now, it does what I need it to; the desk is 48-inches across and 30-inches deep, it provides me with enough space for my laptops, speakers, mics, and a monitor.
My Work from Home Setup: The Computers
My productivity weapon(s) of choice are MacBook Pros. While I’m not ballin’ out of control and upgraded to one of those new M1 Max-powered MacBook Pros, I’m comfortably getting a lot of use from a 2016 MacBook Pro (Sans Touch Bar) and a 2020 MacBook Pro (With Touch Bar). Both are used for multimedia creation including photo editing/retouching, some graphic design, and video editing. Truth be told, I’m lusting over one of the newer MacBook Pros if only to cut down on my video rendering times.
To keep things from getting unruly, when not in use I keep the computers sitting on a JARLINK vertical stand. I chose this stand because it keeps with the clean aesthetics of the laptops without taking up too much space on the desk itself. I can position them so that they be easily plugged in for power or to connect to my various docks.
My primary dock is the Zendure Super Hub. I have mostly moved away from the included MacBook Pro power brick because it is a one-trick pony. With the Super Hub, I’m able to power/charge my laptops, have a PD port for my iPhone or iPad (or any USB C device really), a USB A port, and HDMI out port to connect to an external monitor if needed. Best of all, it included a 6-foot power cable and a 3-foot USB C cable and was the length of a credit card and about as thick as Morphie battery pack (this thing is tiny for what it does). Unfortunately, as of this writing, the product appears to have been discontinued.
As far as input/outputs go, I’m currently using a Keychron K2 mechanical keyboard and SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse. Both take advantage of the laptops’ Bluetooth capabilities and with the Keychron K2, I am able to pair the keyboard with both laptops and my iPad – making it easier to transition between devices. The gaming mouse on the other hand was an attempt to try something new – previously I had mostly relied on more traditional Logitech M705 – and see if I preferred it over what I’ve been using.
Video calls are the necessary evil of remote work. If you’re new to the world of remote work, the novelty of Zoom calls has worn off. But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with weird, grainy, or dark videos of yourself. I’ve used several cameras in my personal setup but have largely stuck with using my iPhone or SJCam M10 (the M10 has long been discontinued but I included a link to the updated M20 version). Both offer better image quality than my MacBook’s piss-poor FaceTime camera (sorry Apple, but you know it’s true) and don’t take up much space on my desk. I’ve used my Fujifilm X-T2, a Sony a7 III, and even the Sigma fp L (while in for review) and just kept finding myself going back to the old action cam or phone more and more. I think that speaks to their capabilities and my constant desire to clear space on my desk.
My Work from Home Setup: The Real MVP
Truth be told the most important things in my WFH setup are the 3M Command Strips used to keep everything neat and tidy. I have secured my surge protector, USB hub, and even my audio interface under my desk thanks to the 3M Command Large Picture Hanging Strips. These things punch well above their weight – can hold up to 16lbs., do not damage the surface they are attached to, and are cheap! There is really no reason to have a messy desk these days and the 3M Command strips are my secret weapon to keeping things tidy (full disclosure: I am still in the process of tweaking my desk layout so not all the wiring has gotten the full under-desk treatment). Most recently, I’ve used the strips to clean up my wife’s desk – and her much tidier, minimalist office. I can’t stress just how critical these things are.
A Work in Progress
Nearly six months after moving into our new place I recognize that my WFH setup will never be complete. It’s a constantly evolving work in progress that has me considering what tools I need to have available to me, which have outgrown their usefulness, and if it reflects my personal tastes of the time. Some constants will be an array of notebooks, pens, and various photo/video gadgets laying around. It’s not the neatest but it won’t stop me from trying to wrap my arms around it. Hit us up on social media and in the comments to let us know what your desk setup looks like two years into a world-changing pandemic.