My WFH Set Up


Inspired by my friend Meri's WFH Setup Tips, I thought I'd share my home-working setup.

We've moved house recently, so I'm still finding my feet - but as I work from home fairly often, and have a bit of RSI, I thought I'd show you what I've got and how I use it.

A corner desk, laptop, chair, vertical monitor and assorted junk.

The desk is just a plain IKEA table. Supplemented with a cheap Argos desk which didn't quite fit all my kit - so it becomes a side desk.

Floor

Much like Alec Guinness, I start with the the shoes. I don't wear any at home, and my floor is cold wood laminate. So I use a toilet mat!

A carpetted toilet mat on a wooden floor.

Look, I know it sounds daft, but scrunching up my toes on a bit of carpet is relaxing. The mat was part of a set, and has never been used in the bathroom.

Power

Nothing gets done without electricity. I use a Meross smart surge protector.

A power strip.

Each socket can be switched using an app, and the 4 USB ports can supply 2.4 Amps. Good for charging all the gadgets I have.

I also use a powered USB hub. So many problems with a MacBook's accessories are due to weird power requirements.

Input

The MicroSoft 4000 is the best ergonomic keyboard in the world.

Microsoft 4000 Keyboard

The mouse is a ridiculously expensive Evoluent Vertical Mouse.
3 vertical mouses.

I'm using an older one - I have several - because I left my best one at work. The shut-down order came in a hurry, so I didn't have time to pick it up.

Display

A new addition! My work has generously given me a small budget for a screen. It's the Iiyama ProLite B2482HS-B1 24".
A vertical monitor.
I read lots of long documents - so a vertical monitor is an absolute necessity.

I've been using multiple monitors since 2001 - and I've never lost the habit.
3 CRT monitors in a row.

Lighting

This is so important - especially if you're doing an important presentation. Webcams look shit in low light.

It's just a standard lamp with a WiFi controlled LIFX bulb. I can change the colour to match my mood. I've only once had to switch it to BRIGHT RED when on a video call.

Ideally, I'd have one of those fancy circular lights - like proper YouTubers.

Phone

I've upcycled an old car dashboard phone holder into a desk phone holder.
A phone holder for a car, but it is stuck to a desk.
It's like a really inefficient third monitor. Having it at eye level is useful - for glancing at Twitter and WhatsApp video calls.

Sound

I finally found some USB-C powered Bluetooth Headphones - the Life Q10 from Anker.

I tend to use those for listening to music when working. I normally use my laptop's built in speaker and mic for calls.

Occasionally, I do strap on a headset. I hate the way they make me look like a cheap pilot.

It's a Plantronic's Mono. The best thing about it is the physical mute button. Handy for making sure no-one can hear you howling.

Seating

A decent chair is the cornerstone of any home working setup.

Got mine from Office Furniture Online. I really wanted something with a bit of head support. It reclines and spins - useful on interminable conference calls.

Wrist Support

To stop my hands breaking so much, I use wrist guards.
A wrist guard.

And a padded mousemat.

Laptop and Stand

Work provide me with a MacBook Air. Although soon I'll be getting a Linux machine.

I've no idea where I picked up the desktop riser. But it mostly hides the mess of cables.

What's next?

The MacBook's webcam is a bit crap. Something with higher definition would be good - although it might overload my colleagues' bandwidth.

Microphones are a tricky one. Bluetooth is never quite reliable enough, and flimsy headsets are usually low quality. I keep thinking about getting a decent mic with a pop-shield for a bit of light podcasting. Perhaps it would improve my calls?

A phone holder with wireless charging would make life easier, but I'd also need a phone which supports it.

There are a bunch of cheap-ish standing desks
A c omplex mechanical unit to adjust the height of a laptop.
Might be nice?

So, go on then, rate my rig! Or, share yours!


3 thoughts on “My WFH Set Up

  1. Dave Cridland says:

    So... Ikea desk, yep. I've been considering getting one of their sit/stand adjustable desks, but so far not yet. Chair - I went for a 24x7 "operator" chair, made in Barry, not far from here. A good chair and proper desk is an essential start point.

    Monitors - I use three 2.5K screens, one in a portrait orientation. The Iiyama screens are lovely (I had a 17" CRT from them years ago), but I've used Dell ones for a decade and a half (and the two I started with - 20" 4x3 panels - still work perfectly although I don't use them at my desk anymore). For what it's worth, I think I started on multiple monitors about the same time you did, but my portrait addiction I borrowed from Dave Baggett after watching him work that way.

    A big difference from your setup is that my screens all live on monitor arms that clamp on the desk - makes a huge difference to placement and desk space. Monitor arms are quite cheap, and well worth it. I use a fixed dual for two screens, plus a gas-arm that's easy to reposition for the monitor with the webcam balanced on it.

    Which reminds me - yes, even a cheap standalone webcam is infinitely better - and better positioned - than whatever is built into whatever laptop you have, and a decent (ideally wireless) headset is a must, both for you to hear your calls with appropriate confidentiality, and for your callers to hear you. I really hate having calls with people who don't bother with a headset. Look for a headset with a noise-cancelling microphone, or just buy a Logitech G533 like everyone else. If you're buying a wireless headset, note that you can buy cheap magnetic-coupling USB cables to charge them with, which saves an amazing amount of fiddling. Bandwidth isn't really a concern, as your callers have much more downstream than you have upstream, and in most systems the SFU will send them a suitably-scaled stream.

    I've used a Linux desktop for years, and it remains my primary development platform. When I'm on the road - clearly not much these days - I use a Dell XPS 2-in-1 running Windows, and rely on WSL 2 for any development I urgently need to do. I used to run it as dual boot with Ubuntu, but I found it just a bit fiddly on a touchscreen laptop. Meanwhile, for reviewing long documents, Legacy Edge and One Note with the pen are the best tools I've found on the same device.

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