Best Work from Home Office Setup

Work from Home office setup. warts and all.

You are working from home. Perhaps just in lockdown, maybe looking to the "new normal" after lockdown, or maybe it’s just a side gig. Whether you have a home office, or just work from the dining room table, is your technical home office setup causing you pain?

It’s all fine having a comfortable workspace, but the way you set up your technology can make it uncomfortable.

My blog and other activities keep me in my home office in personal time. In addition, I do work from home often, especially at present, in lockdown. So I spend hours sitting in front of screens and therefore need to be comfortable.

That’s my desk in the picture. Ignore the cables and clutter – there are three systems on that desk doing much more than just my work, and mostly experimentation!

So here’s how to do it.

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Layout Basics – Just Two Things

Ideally your screen needs to be about 12 inches from your eyes, with the top of the screen roughly at your eye level when sitting in a normal working position. Think about that!

A laptop on a desk is neither comfortable nor good for your neck and eyes if you are working on it for any length of time. You are constantly looking down.

In addition your forearms and wrists need support from the desk and chair arms when using keyboard and mouse.

And those two factors really decide the rest of your computer setup.

From there, you can extend that with an additional screen and a few other tricks.

The key components on my desktop as pictured are:

  • 15.6 inch work laptop on its stand;
  • 24 inch monitor;
  • Bluetooth keyboard;
  • Bluetooth mouse.

The laptop may change, depending on what I am doing – it may be a work laptop, my Chromebook, or my Linux laptop. The setup works for them all.

Laptop, Keyboard and Mouse

Bringing the laptop to eye level is the first challenge. Do that by putting it on a stand. Many suppliers, including Amazon, offer a wide range of stands. Regardless of whether you have your own office or are sitting at the dining room table, this will immediately improve your position and posture. I chose the stand in the picture. It’s lightweight, ventilated to keep the laptop cool and works with everything from a 12 inch to 17 inch laptop. It works for all of my laptops. It’s also great if you are working in a space you have to pack up in the evening.

Putting the laptop on a stand creates a small problem. The keyboard and touchpad are now pretty useless.

The solution is to add a keyboard and mouse. Take your pick from a massive range of possibilities. My preference is generally a Logitech product. My choice at present is the Logitech K375 keyboard, matched with a Logitech Pebble Bluetooth mouse. In fact, this keyboard and mouse combination works well with an Android phone in Dex mode, as I mentioned in Make Your Smartphone Your Computer. If you are needing to pack up your home office every day, you may consider a “travel” keyboard. I use one when out and about because it slips easily into my laptop bag or hand luggage.

So there you have the basic setup. It’s reasonably portable, puts the screen at a comfortable level, and allows you to move the keyboard and mouse to the most comfortable position relative to the screen.

The Big Screen

In many offices laptop users have become used to working with the laptop connected to a larger screen. Indeed, my home office and work office setup is almost identical, so that I am working between two screens. Most modern laptops have an HDMI port. Modern TVs and many monitors have HDMI ports. A simple HDMI cable connecting the two, and a quick desktop setup will soon have you running a two screen system. Some older laptops and many lower cost monitors have only RGB ports. That’s not a problem, as there are many low cost adapters available to connect the two.

So – Go and Work at Home in Comfort

Yo don’t need to be forced to work in discomfort at home because your technology is not set up properly. Hopefully these tips will help.

How does your own home office setup work?

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