Here are simple work from home setups that you can use to be more productive while you adapt to working from home as you shelter in place.
I’ve been working from home for nearly a decade with a full setup that I’ve fine-tuned, but for the last few weeks, I’ve been working in a new location with a simplified setup.
If you don’t have a permanent place to set up your new home office, that is fine. I’m using the kitchen table for all of these setups, but you can adapt them to almost anywhere you find yourself working.
It starts with a laptop, I am using the MacBook Pro 16-inch, but you can use whatever you have on hand. If you are looking at an upgrade I recommend the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 16, Dell XPS 13 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
From there you can add in a keyboard and mouse, a stand that you buy or make, a second monitor or an iPad and a few other upgrades that will supercharge your setup.
- Laptop on the Counter
- Standing Desk with Books
- Laptop Stand, Mouse and Keyboard
- Work From Home with Video Call Focus
- Power User with Second Monitor
In each section below I share a breakdown of how each of these setups work and tips that you can use for your setup. All of these work from home setups can be set up in minutes and broken down at the end of the day.
Laptop on the Counter
The simplest setup is to put your laptop on the counter and get to work. I prefer a counter to a table personally, because the ergonomics work better for me, but you can use a table.
Yes, this is a very obvious setup, but it’s one that you can use anywhere you find yourself. I like this much better than sitting on a couch all day.
Shockingly, all you need to make this work is your laptop and a flat surface.
Standing Desk with Books
The next setup is to make a standing desk at your table or counter using books or a box. I like to use books if I am going to be typing on the laptop while using this setup, as a box is often too wobbly.
With this setup, you can get a little bit of movement into your workday and standing at work can help you burn more calories during the day. This may help you come out of isolation in better shape.
Another benefit of this setup is that you may be able to avoid some of the back pain that comes from using a makeshift setup.
Laptop Stand, Mouse and Keyboard
Adding in a laptop stand, an external mouse and a keyboard is the best way to upgrade your work from home setup. You can go as cheap or as expensive as you want here.
I’m using the Yohann MacBook Pro Stand, an Apple Magic Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad 2. This works great for me because it is very portable and I get the same typing setup on my phone as on my laptop.
If you want to emulate this setup and you can’t get the items I am using, check Best Buy for a laptop stand, keyboard and mouse. Most stores are still open for curbside pickup. Amazon also may be able to ship to you in a quick manner, so you can check their options for laptop stands, mice and keyboards.
Work From Home with Video Call Focus
Are you on Zoom calls all the time as you embrace the work from home movement?
The first part of this setup is to raise your laptop up higher so that the camera is pointing head-on instead of up your nose.
The next step here is to have a light behind your camera so that you’re light from the front. You can use a Lume Cube Air VC, any small video light that you have on hand or can find or even position a desk lamp behind your laptop pointing at you.
Power User with Second Monitor
The setup that I am using the most includes adding a second monitor into the mix. If you are using an Apple laptop and you have an iPad, you can easily use the iPad as a second display.
This is called Sidecar and it is a standard feature in macOS Catalina and iOS 13. With it, you can choose the iPad as a second display for your Apple laptop.
I use the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro 16, and it allows me to be way more productive at set up on the counter. When I’m done I can put everything away in seconds.
You can also check out this list of the best monitors for your MacBook Pro.
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