Who do you work for and what do you do?
I work in finance at a large consumer payments corporation.
How long have you been working from home?
Since the start of the pandemic.
Do you like working from home?
Yes, most of the time.
There are times where technology can fail us and make collaborating difficult. When we moved into this house last Fall, our internet definitely wasn’t reliable enough. We eventually got our ISP to replace the service line to our house which had been damaged and I also hardwired my office for Ethernet (which I honestly consider a must).
What does a typical workday look like for you? Do you have any rituals or habits? How do you structure your day?
I am very big on morning coffee ritual. Even before working from home all the time I had gotten a Chemex and really enjoy the process that goes into making coffee with it. Measuring out the beans, getting the water to the correct temperature, the actual pouring, it’s all very soothing to me. As a wedding gift some of our friends went in and got us the espresso maker we (I?) wanted. Espresso is an entirely different type of process zen compared to pour over. Even though you’re using a machine, there can still be a lot of craft involved.
The only other morning must is that I make a simple protein shake in our Ninja blender. This habit was originally born out of wanting to stay in bed longer while still getting in some decent nutrition on the way out the door.
As far as structuring my day, it can really vary. I work in finance on a team that supports our client services org. While we have some recurring monthly work, some days I might be in meetings all day , and on others I might be scrambling to remodel a deal proposal. I try my best to log off a little after 5 so that I can get our dog walked and get some kind of fitness in for the day.
Do you find working from home to be distracting?
What are your favorite foods, snacks, or drinks to consume while you’re working?
As I said before, big on coffee. I used to have a solid supply of cashews and other snacks from Costco but I’m currently trying my best to limit how much snack food I keep around. Aside from coffee I’m usually balancing it out with as much water as I can.
Tell us about your office setup.
My setup is fairly unique. The main desk in my office is custom designed and the setup you’ll see here is probably hardware version 4 or 5. Since I have a gaming PC and the case is quite large, I wanted to be able to keep it below the desk surface, but also off the floor. I couldn’t find anything commercially available that could meet this requirement. This lead me to the custom route.
I drew up the frame I was looking for and found a local metal shop to weld and powder coat it for me. The wood top is a butcher block countertop that I cut and stained myself with some help from my Dad. The original version of this setup was quite simple and only had a single monitor. Once we realized we’d be working from home for the rest of the year I got the greenlight to really beef things up.
The setup you’ll see here is built with the express purpose of being able to flip as needed between work and play. My work laptop is connected to a docking station and I keep a separate wireless keyboard and mouse dedicated to that machine. I tried having a my wired mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse on a USB hub and didn’t like switching between devices.
Both the laptop and my main PC are dual outputting to my matching 27″ 1440p monitors. I can select which input I want each monitor to show depending on my need. Typically my main work screen is on the right and my main personal screen is on the left. I have Windows set properly so that second monitor is positioned based on that orientation. Even though I could use it as third screen, I now almost never open my laptop anymore because of the other main feature of this design.
Earlier in 2021, I got tired of needing to worry about a headset. With that in mind, I bought a dedicated webcam (the Razer Kiyo) and a dedicated USB microphone (the Yeti X). Both of these devices run thru a USB hub that can be connected to multiple computers and change connection via a small control switch.
The most important feature however is one that most people will probably not be able to easily replicate.
I produce music as a hobby and as a result, I have a multi-input/output USB audio interface (the Scarlett 8i6) on my desk to help control and send audio to my very studio monitor speakers (the Adam Audio T7Vs). Using the audio interface and the audio out from the laptop docking station, I can run all laptop audio thru my main speakers, such a Teams calls, and use my microphone to talk. The Yeti picks up well enough that I can be leaned back in my chair and still be heard perfectly. Also the combination of speaker positioning whatever magic Zoom/Teams do in the background I’ve never gotten a complaint about echo/feedback.
Above the monitor on the right I recently just added an Elgato Key Light Air. These are often used by Twitch streamers, but I’ve found it to be very helpful more properly light my face on calls. The panel’s color temperature is adjustable on the fly and I typically have it set warm to make me look a little less pale on camera. Both the Key Light and the Yeti (which is arm mounted and can be pulled up or down) are both clamped to the windowsill directly behind my desk.
The long table to the left of my main desk houses all of my music production hardware, various synthesizers, and controllers. I have cable management doing as good of a job as I could manage keeping it from being a complete rat’s nest of cables underneath. That table was also custom built with the help of an Etsy seller for the legs, some Ikea drawers, and a keyboard mount that I made myself. Our dog sleeps underneath that table most nights.
The other feature of this setup is a A LOT of RGB lighting. I will freely admit it can be obnoxious but I really like the vibe it gives the room, especially at night. The triangle shapes on the wall are Nanoleaf panels. All the other lights in the room are LIFX. All of them can be app controlled and set to any color you can imagine, including shifting between multiple colors over their length. They are pricey but high quality. The lighting piece I like most is the LIFX Beam which is directly above my long desk. The combination of that and the wall shelves make for a very interesting background on calls.
This office took months to finish. When we moved in it had a terrible tile ceiling, no overhead lights, and was poorly insulated. I worked out of the dining room for the first 3 months we were here until this room was finished. I’m so grateful to have a dedicated space like this.
Where is your office located?
My office is in a bonus room off of our kitchen. None of this would be possible without having such a dedicated space.
What do you use for your desk?
Custom-built metal frame and butcher block top.
What kind of chair do you use?
Secret Lab Omega
Do you use an external monitor? If so, how many and what kind?
Yes, 2 Acer 1440p 144hz monitors. One is an IPS panel, the other isn’t.
What is one piece of office gear you couldn’t live without? Why?
My arm mount for my dual monitors. Working in Excel all day I am constantly referencing multiple files. The arm mounts let me have both of my monitors directly in eye line so I’m not hunching over constantly. Followed closely by my chair, I credit the monitors being at a proper height for my back/neck not being wrecked.
What is your favorite thing about your home office?
My RGB lighting. Even though I have great natural light sitting in front of windows, if it is gray at all, I can change up the mood in the room instantly with my lights.
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