I’ve moved jobs! With this momentous and quite scary step (after 12+ years at the same place) into the unknown, I needed to hand back the equipment that I had borrowed from my previous employer during the global pandemic. In doing so, I noticed that my desk was looking more than a little bare.
Rather than living in a dream world of creating a masterpiece worthy of a highlight spot on the Battlestations or Workspaces sub Reddits, I just wanted to create a working environment that I was happy to be engaged in for the best part of 40 hours a week. I needed to be happy looking at it, and comfortable working there. The previous setup, was a little bit of a rush job in March of 2020 and I never really got to adjust it to satisfy my needs.
I knew there were things that I needed to bring into our box room home office if I was going to have a chance at settling into my new role successfully. I started to research the options. There were lots of things to consider but for the most part, I’ve narrowed this post down to the 5 biggest game changing purchases for me.
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My new work laptop has a screen with a 4k resolution. It looks beautiful. However, cramming it into a 15.6” case wasn’t going to be sustainable for me. Needing to have multiple windows open and switching between them, I could already feel the eye strain brewing.
My visual solution on loan from my previous employer was 2 matching 24” Dell 1080p monitors. I had always been a big dual screen fan for work and would struggle to complete a successful day’s work without them.
With the energy crisis looming, I figured that 2 monitors would be more expensive to run. That was my excuse which helped me into purchasing a 35” ultra wide monitor. I was slightly apprehensive to change to this form factor after being a die hard dual screen fan.
The difference was striking, it fills the desk and gives me lots of desktop real estate to play with. Transitioning back to a single monitor wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined. I highly recommend it for all IT workers that are working from home, or if you’re back in the office and your company has some budget for upgrades!
I had a cheap webcam that I used in my previous job. In the abundant Teams meetings, I was often complimented on how much the picture quality resembled that of something that was taken on a potato. Or maybe it was that I looked like a potato after my shaved head lockdown look. Either way, I wanted to represent myself a bit better with my new colleagues.
It benefits my colleagues more than it does me I think, maybe, but the webcam upgrade was a no brainer. I think even a potato would have been an upgrade, but I opted for a Logitech C925e WebCam*. I can keep my laptop closed and out of the way and still join in the team catch ups.
On reviewing content it looks pretty good and the best part is that I haven’t had to deal with the camera quality jokes.
Buying a computer mouse probably isn’t something that would normally qualify as extravagant. But this was an upgrade. An upgrade that I mainly made to change from a micro-USB charging cable to a USB-C charging cable. Now I’m crazy.
Trying to phase out charging cables is hard, but I’m getting there… very… very… slowly. But in the end it will make for a cleaner desk.
I was previously using a Logitech MX Master 2S* that was an insanely comfortable and precise mouse and moved to a Logitech MX Master 3*. It’s tremendously comfortable, precise AND has a USB-C charging port.
There are not a huge amount of differences between these mice, but they both pair nicely with my Logitech MX Keys* Keyboard. I also sold the old one on eBay to offset the cost.
Trying to get another tick in the box for a clean desk setup, I wanted a docking station. I wanted to be able to plug one cable (USB-C) into my laptop to charge it, to output to my new monitor and to allow connectivity for varying peripherals.
The Dell WD15 Dock* did exactly the job I was after and when stuck to the underside of my desk with some heavy duty Command Strips*, provided that clean desk aesthetic I was after.
It allows me to plug in a network cable rather than using wireless which is always a bit of a faff in my office, and has its own power button so I don’t even need to take the laptop out of the 3D printed stand (that I plan on designing at some point) to power it on.
It’s not really something you’d expect to see on a list of tech gadgets that I bought for my home working desk. It’s not USB-C and doesn’t need charging!
I would usually have a pint glass on my desk, full of water that would become less pleasant as its temperature rose and always gave me the worry that I, the dog, or kids would spill it. With a bottle, I have to worry less about this potential scenario.
It’s themally insulated so that I can keep cold things cold for ~24 hours. Or longer. It also could keep hot things hot for an extended period if you were that way inclined. It’s always so nice to have a sip of water that is just as cold as the first one.
I opted for the 750ml Super Sparrow Stainless Steel Water Bottle*. It’s a bit micro fire extinguisher looking in size but I wouldn’t be without it. So much so that I bought another one for the Gym and being out and about.
We would find it very hard to go though life without spending anything. But when you do find yourself needing to spend, particularly on more expensive purchases, buyers remorse can creep in. If you know you didn’t plan things out, or just bought something because it was more expensive than an alternative, there’s going to be a whiff of regret that will be hard to neutralise.
Doing my research in the first place, having a clear plan of my working environment and with a goal in mind, I have been more than happy with these purchases. They are all used for 8+ hours a day, are comfortable and easy to use and just make the working day that little bit nicer.