COVID is not going away any sooner and many people are getting used to working from home. So, you should consider getting proper equipment for your work setup. Here are my recommendations.
Have a dedicated place for you to work. Make sure you have enough space on the surface to put your computer, screen and other equipment, books etc. Make this the default place you work then you will feel the sense of working when you’re there. Don’t do or try to avoid doing other things there, such as eating, watching movies, or playing games. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel it a work place anymore. But of course, if you don’t have enough space in your house, this is inevitable. But try as much as possible to limit to work on your work desk.
You don’t need a fancy desk for this. A simple, yet rigid table is enough. The desk I have now is a typical plywood table top with metal legs with 150cm W x 75cm D x 70cm H in dimensions, and I got it for around €30 from a second-hand shop. This holds my two laptops (work + personal), my 34″ ultra-wide monitor, and still have enough space for other equipment including a desk lamp.
This is also something we don’t really pay attention to, but we must get a ergonomic chair despite the price we have to pay. It will save a lot of problems on your back, neck, wrists and even legs. So, do invest in a good chair and you will thank yourself later.
You can get a proper work chair from €100 to even €1,000 but I would try to stick somewhere in the middle. Herman Miller makes really good chairs, but they’re quite expensive. So, if you can’t afford them, try to go for a cheaper, but a comfortable one with your requirements, such as ability to adjust height and arm-rest angles.
I don’t really have any recommendation for chairs, because I’m still using my old work chair, but it does the job. But I will buy a better one soon, and I will keep you updated on that.
Many people easily ignore this because getting a good monitor can be expensive. But trust me, that money is worth it every penny. My company offered us to take the monitor at our desk home. But, I didn’t want that because I wouldn’t have a screen in case I need to go to office once in a while. So I decided to buy one.
Of course, there are thousands of options you can choose from, but be careful what you’re paying for. I’m not going to explain things in detail on how to choose a monitor, but here is the summary. And if you need to see the review of my monitor, you can check if here are well.
The smallest your should consider is 27″ widescreen (16:9) or 29″ ultra-wide (21:9) and the largest would be 32″ widescreen and 34″ ultra-wide. Any screen size below or above that range will be too uncomfortable to work with on desk. Also, get a height-adjustable monitor or a separate VESA stand if possible.
Tip: If you are a programmer and/or a video editor like me, you will love the 21:9 aspect ratio.
Many people think higher the resolution is the better, but it’s actually not. 1080p monitors are fine at 27″ range, but you need more resolution at bigger screen sizes. So you can get a 4K screen, but I think it’s an overkill for many people. And, think about the pixel density of your screen when you consider the resolution. If you get a high resolution screen with a smaller screen size, everything will be super small and you have to scale things up anyway. The minimum size I recommend for a 4K screen is 32″. However, I went for a 1440p (2K) screen and it’s the sweet spot. It’s a 34″ inch ultra-wide screen with 1440p screen and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!
This is something many people don’t think when buying a monitor, but it’s very simple. Let me summarize.
|Panel Type||Good for||Drawbacks||Price|
|IPS||Video editing, graphic designing, photo editing.||No high refresh rate monitors are available (or they’re expensive).||High|
|VA||Gaming, any work which doesn’t rely on color accuracy.||Low color accuracy, viewing angles are bad.||Medium|
|TN||Don’t buy this!||Colors are off, too old tech.||Low|
Keyboard and Mouse
Some people just go to a shop or an online store to buy a random keyboard-mouse pair, and I feel so petty about them. These are the two main equipment which you will engage with your computer(s), so you must chose them wisely.
One thing you MUST consider is, whether you want to use these with multiple computers. I have my work laptop and my personal laptop hooked into my big screen and I would like to continue my personal work at the same desk. So, I wanted a keyboard/mouse combo which can be connected with multiple devices.
First, the key travel of the keyboard should be good. Some people like mechanical keyboards, but I don’t. I don’t like the clunky noise it makes. And I like keyboards which are comfortable to type for hours and hours.
I bought the Logitech Craft keyboard because:
- it’s super comfortable to type on, and I like the sunken shape of the keys.
- can connect up to 3 different devices and I can easily switch between then with Bluetooth.
- battery lasts for months from a single charge.
- has the fancy rotatable dial. But you can get the other version (MX Master Keys) without the dial for a cheaper price.
I used the Apple Magic mouse with my office laptop, and Microsoft Precision Mouse with my previous Windows laptop. But after getting a new Mac as my personal laptop, I decided to go with Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, which also can connect up to three devices via Bluetooth. It doesn’t have all the swipe gestures of the Magic mouse, but it’s way comfortable to work with.
Other Computer Accessories
Depending on your requirement, you can get as many equipment you want. But try not to over-buy things like me.
- Cooling pad for you laptop.
- Thunderbolt dock.
- Chargers, cables, and dongles.
Other important equipment
I have two more very important equipment I have on my work desk.
If you don’t have ceiling light right above your desk, or you don’t sit next to a window, you MUST buy a table lamp. If you’re staring at your screen the entire day, having no ambient light will make your eyes super tired quite easily. So, it’s a good idea to buy a small, yet bright desk lamp and use it whenever you’re working at your desk. This has helped to work hours and hours with very less eye-fatigue.
A digital clock
Yes, you read it right. A digital clock. A dump digital clock. You may ask why! Well, let me explain.
I don’t see my wall clock when I’m sitting at my desk, so I need a way to tell time. But, I know, I can check time on my computer, or even on my phone, or on your smartwatch if you’re crazy as me to wear it at home. But, point is, if you check the time on your laptop, it’s still on your screen! And checking time on your phone will lead you to check notifications, reply to messages and what not. So, I wanted a very simple solution for this, and I bought this very dumb, yet very useful digital clock which helps me not just to be on time for meetings, but also to have a chance to take my eyes off the screen.
Many people don’t really bother getting equipment for their work setup, even after one year working from home. But it’s not too late! We need to invest the money that could’ve been spent on traveling to make our life easier and healthier. So, make smarter choices when it comes to your work environment, and that can really boost your productivity and your mentality!