Featured image of post The optimal home office

The optimal home office

The perfect home office setup achieves two things: it helps you stay focused for extended periods, allowing you to be in “the flow” and it prioritizes ergonomic design to ensure that long hours at the computer don’t compromise your health.

Optimal ergonomics

I’ve spent a lot of time and thought creating my personal setup so that it that optimizes home office efficiency and inspiration. Here’s a glimpse into my workspace:

  • At the center of my workspace is an extra wide, curved monitor. It sits on an elevated shelf, at eye level. This positioning keeps my neck straight, reducing tension in my shoulders.

  • The heart of my setup is an adjustable electric desk. I can set it to the perfect height, so arms maintain a comfortable 90-degree angle. This eliminates slouching, saving my lower back from unnecessary stress.

  • With my desk is a comfortable chair, adjustable for the most optimal positions. The design ensures my feet and waist maintain the right angles. Plus, its wheels offer the flexibility to slide it away when I prefer standing.

  • At my fingertips is a wireless mouse and an ergonomic split keyboard. This design allows my wrists to rest, and my elbows to angle outward at a comfy 45 degrees, reducing wrist pain or carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • I keep my workspace feeling fresh and at a cool, consistent temp with an air conditioner. Additionally, a higher ceiling ensures ample airflow, while my laptop sits on a cooling fan.

  • Positioned above the keyboard and behind the monitor is a strategically placed light source. This minimizes eye strain and can also be used to cast a flattering light on me during video calls. Speaking of which…

  • My external high-resolution camera equipped with a microphone and supplemental lighting, so I’m ready to take video calls. It’s easy to adjust, so I can look my best on screen.

As you can see in the pictures, my office doesn’t have windows. A distant view can provide a restful break for the eyes, so having windows would be good, but natural light isn’t always optimal. A room illuminated solely by engineered light ensures I always optimal conditions even into the wee hours, as I tend to be a night owl. To avoid disrupting your circadian rhythm remember to use display settings that avoid decrease emitted blue light in the evenings automatically.

Home office (click for larger image) Desk drawer and built-in USB ports Air conditioning

Elevated laptop stand with cooling fan Quntis computer monitor light MEE CL8A HD webcam with detachable tripod

Cable management and docking

Ensuring cables are arranged efficiently, and accessibly, guarantees not just an aesthetically pleasing office but a functional one, too. Hidden from view (not pictured) is a metallic shelf beneath the desk with an extension cord boasting multiple electrical sockets and USB ports. This solitary extension powers the entire desk setup, with just a singular cord discreetly extending to the wall. Its design is flexible, moving in harmony as I adjust the desk’s height. A one-button power-off feature on the extension cord is particularly handy when I’m about to leave for a trip and want to quickly shut everything off.

My monitor isn’t just for visuals—it’s also a hub. Equipped with USB ports, it connects my keyboard, mouse, and monitor light. Docking my laptop is a breeze. A single USB-C cable handles both charging and connectivity to all peripheral devices (monitor, keyboard and mouse).

Integrated within my desk are two USB ports. One port for a USB-A to multi-device converter which charges essentials like my phone and headset. Despite having numerous USB-powered gadgets like my laptop cooler, watch winder, and LED light strip on the table, I always have ports at the ready for anything else that needs a charge.

Staying in “the flow”

Harnessing the elusive state of ‘flow’ is the holy grail of productivity for those engaged in creative endeavors. It’s that state of immersive focus where hours can feel like mere minutes and often where our most significant accomplishments emerge. Central to this deep concentration is the environment in which I work.

The foundation of my productivity temple is its isolation — a dedicated room free from distractions. This tranquility, essential for anyone looking to dive deep into their work, forms the cornerstone of my home office. I’ve chosen background lighting that sets the right mood to help you get ideas. Every item on my desk has been chosen intentionally and there is nothing extra. A clutter-free workspace translates to a clutter-free mind. With integrated USB outlets, a comprehensive cable management system, and a single power cord, I ensure my physical space remains pristine. A concealed drawer further houses miscellaneous items, keeping them out of sight but within reach.

The acoustics of my setup is the only thing that needs more work. The rug behind my computer and the carpet on the floor help cut down on echoes, but I want to add acoustic panels to further minimize the echo. Next time I can choose the room layout, I will try to avoid a wall behind my screen and narrow walls as it creates echo too easily.

Over time, I tried integrating scheduled breaks into my routine, using apps like Workrave designed to prompt hourly pauses. However, these frequent interruptions shattered my flow state more than they helped. So, I’ve shifted my strategy. Instead of disrupting the rhythm, I ensure the ergonomics of my space support extended hours of comfortable, strain-free work.

Optimized breaks

Thanks to having my laptop docker with a single USB-C cable it is convenient to unplug and transition from a stationary work setting to a mobile one, be it another spot in my home or stepping out for a change of scenery. 

The audio experience shouldn’t be tethered either. Investing in a high-quality Bluetooth headset equipped with noise-cancelling capabilities is invaluable. While it’s an obvious tool during travel or cafe-work sessions, its utility extends to the home office too. With it, I can freely roam my living space during remote meetings, providing a much-needed break from prolonged sitting. 

The importance of physical activity during break times can’t be overstated. Interspersing work hours with moments of physical exertion, whether through pull-ups or exercises with parallettes, combats desk-bound fatigue and invigorates the mind.

Working out-of-office

One of the healthiest things we can do is keep active and go for a walk. On occasion, I’ve joined meetings with my headset on, walking outside, absorbing the content of the conversation and the rejuvenating effects of nature. Even though this may be limited to meetings that don’t require my visual attention, I find myself reenergized and coming to projects with fresh perspectives. 

I can envision a not-so-distant future where technology may also play a role in this. Imagine augmented reality goggles paired with headsets that allow you to both view and participate in presentations as you walk a woodland path. Visualize crafting emails or designing projects using intuitive hand gestures while you’re perched on a park bench. This immersive, tech-driven experience could redefine our notion of a ‘workspace,’ transforming the outdoors into a potential office.

As technology continues to evolve and offers us new ways to work, the value of a dedicated workspace—especially a home office setup—remains undeniable. While the boundaries of ‘workspaces’ may expand and become more fluid in the future, the significance of a well-optimized home office is an investment that will stand the test of time. Here’s to many more productive days and better work habits!

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