Home office transformation…er… creation

When the pandemic hit, pretty much no one around us (and certainly not us) thought that it would mean a long-term work-from-home situation. Neither of us work from home in our day jobs, and even those things we did do at home were always at different spots around the house, depending on the space requirements at the given moment. The only commonality across all our home workspaces was that none of them had enough space 😒 . A home office, we did not have.

Enter: The pandemic.

[Henry: So. I only had my work laptop at home when this century’s big pandemic hit.

Not at home: my two 22” work displays, full size keyboard, mouse, headset, ultrafast wired internet connection, or cubicle work space that comfortably accommodated all this hardware and still gave me plenty of space to do handwritten work on legal-sized sheets (yes, I’m old-fashioned that way).

Which meant that my first work-at-home day left me with just a laptop whose screen wouldn’t let me easily work with my 30+ column spreadsheets or anything else that I normally do. After less than an hour of this, I dug out my ergonomic keyboard, wireless mouse, and decade-old 17” monitor. Not great (again – decade-old monitor), but at least, better than just one laptop monitor.

But with all these things on our small dining table, I really ran up against the issue of not having enough space. I mean – you can see nearly half the eating area’s gone.

Everyone knows dining tables are fine workdesks, right?
Is it a problem that my keyboard is bigger than my computer?

Putting things away at the end of the day wasn’t fun either. A few days of this hilarity was enough for me to get fed up. So I made up my mind to find a different, more permanent location, and to cut down my space requirements. Off I went to the one corner in the guest room that had a small dresser which kinda looked like a desk if you squinted hard enough. And I made the decision to downsize where I could. In came my wireless Adesso Tru-Form 3150 ergo keyboard with integrated trackball and a Mosiso laptop holding stand.

Wireless is the way to go!
I’m typing on this right now.

Well, “in came” – I had to buy this all online. Fortunately, when these items arrived, they proved their worth pretty much immediately. My workspace area increased instantly, and the keyboard’s trackball was sensitive enough that my spreadsheet work actually sped up!

Two laptops? No problem!

Still, going from having three screens to two (one of which was old and lower res) made work less efficient. So, one final purchase!

[Mariam: You mean “splurge”, don’t you?😜].

[Henry: Heeeeyyy…

Well, you all let me know whether this is a splurge or a necessity : A Philips 34″ ultrawide monitor!

[Mariam: It’s a “splurge”, Henry😉 ].

[Henry: Ahem. Necessity😜.

Anyhow, a 34” monitor wasn’t even the size I was targeting. 49″ is the real way to go! But hey, space concessions…

[Mariam:🤦🏿‍♀️ ].

[Henry: Nonetheless, at 34″ it was big enough that I could do all my work on one display. I tried out monitor management apps DisplayFusion and PowerToys, and stuck with the PowerToy (because while DisplayFusion was smooth and had more functionality, PowerToys had the advantage of being free!).

This now is how the setup looks:

Still a mess of cables, but at least I can work properly!

And that’s it. How I went from having no home office and putting away my stuff every day to having something pretty functional and space efficient. It certainly doesn’t replace an office in any way, but there’s no compromises now!

[Mariam: I must admit, now that there is a 34″ monitor in the house, it does look nice and work well…]

[Henry: Mine! All miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine 😜]

Let us know how you all have set up your work-at-home solutions. We’re curious!

Note: we are not getting any payment for having described the above products – this was simply to show others what’s worked for us. Hope it helps inspire other remote workers in the building of their ideal home workspace!

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