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My Home Setup

·1611 words·8 mins

Like many others in the startup world, working from home was always a thing for me even before sh*t hit the fan earlier this year. While I enjoyed the social aspects of working from the office, sometimes you just need to shut out everything and focus on a task that needs doing, and that’s when I found working from home the most useful. Back then, most meetings happened in person and I could just push a meeting to the next day or so when I would be available in the office for discussions. It was a good life, and it worked for the most part. Then everything changed when the fire nation attacked. Or, well, COVID-19 happened.

Working from home: 2020 edition>

Working from home: 2020 edition #

Once the pandemic hit India and remote work was enforced in early March, the transition was rather exciting. The excitement around working from home as a digital nomad died in its infancy when it was clearly apparent that the balance between work and personal life had just vanished into thin air. Endless online meetings, long work hours and a lack of social activity don’t work well with each other. With many companies declaring WFH to be the de-facto permanent state of being, it is important to have a home office which actually works to help rather than hinder your productivity. Now I won’t claim to be a productivity guru, but I know what works for me and maybe it will help you have a comfortable work desk as well.

My Productivity Nook>

My Productivity Nook #

Monitors, a keyboard, mouse, laptop
My productive nook in the home. L-R: Lenovo Legion Y540, 2x LG IPS 22” Monitor, Hyper-X Alloy FPS RGB keyboard, Logitech MX 2, Scarters desk mat.


Desk #

A simple wooden desk with enough space to accommodate my monitors, laptop and peripherals. Ideally, you would want one at least 50 cm wide and 30 cm deep, but ultimately unless you have a lot of stuff you need to keep on the desk, this size should do. When working with multiple screens, you will need a screen-stand and if your desk is open at the back where you can clamp your monitor stand, there’s nothing like it. One of the most important things about choosing a desk is that it should be at a height most comfortable to you. You should be able to sit in your chair with your arms at 90 degrees, and your neck straight. If you can have your desk and chair set up in such a way, you can ensure that your body keeps up with your mind at work.

Desk Mat>

Desk Mat #

Unless you are a keyboard freak who works solely out of VIM on a CLI-only Linux system, you would use a mouse. If you don’t have a choice in the surface of your desk, or if your desk or table is made out of glass, chances are that you would find it very hard to use a mouse. You could then buy a mousepad, but a better option is to use a desk mat which covers most or all of your desk so that you are not restricted by available area and can use your mouse more freely. I use a Scarters desk mat because

  1. It’s got this nice, leather-like sober feel to it

  2. I like the colour a lot

  3. It’s reversible if you are bad at keeping your desk clean



Monitors #

There is no such thing as too many screens. Ideally, I would have gone for an ultra-wide monitor where I could arrange my windows just-so when I work. I don’t have the luxury of space on my desk, so I went for a multi-monitor setup instead. If you’re like me and have to pay attention to a lot of things in parallel and many fires to douse, you would want a larger screen area so that you can keep different things on at the same time. A simple laptop screen doesn’t suffice. You have to be very careful in choosing your monitors because bigger in size does not necessarily mean bigger in resolution and there is nothing worse than ending up with 32-inch monitor with a maximum resolution of 1366x768.

I use dual LG 22MP68VQ monitors primarily because:

  1. They’re affordable

  2. IPS screens, with decent colour-reproduction

  3. Thin edges, allowing a better flow between monitors

  4. They comply with VESA mounting standards (more on this in the next section)


Monitor Stand>

Monitor Stand #

Multi-monitor setups are great but they pose a big problem: They take up space on your desk and can be a pain to set up just right. This is where you want to have a stand which you can mount your monitors on, not unlike the way you would mount your TV on the wall. Not all monitors can be mounted on a stand, so you should be very careful in choosing your monitor and stand. Always look for VESA compliance and choose a stand which supports your monitor size. You also want a stand that allows you to adjust the height of the stand and the length of the arms so that you can adjust both to a comfortable position in such a way that you don’t strain your neck working with the monitor. If your desk allows for it, choose a stand which you can clamp to the back than something that you have to place on top of the desk. In my case, I did not have that luxury, neither did I want to screw my stand in the wall, which could also be a viable option if you expect some degree of permanency in where your setup will be in your house.

I went with the AmazonBasics dual-LCD stand. It’s not the best money can buy but it does the job:

  1. Adjustable arms

  2. Central pipe to route wires

  3. Hooks at the back for cable management


Laptop Stand>

Laptop Stand #

This can be omitted if you work with your monitors exclusively or use a desktop instead. If you do use a laptop and the screen it comes with then it is important that you mount the screen in line with your monitors, to ensure fluid cursor movement through your screens. Amazon has a surprisingly sturdy metal stand that I’ve found perfect for use with your laptop if it is smaller than 15” in screen size. There are many alternatives that you can use, so choose any one of them that allows for your laptop to be mounted properly.



Keyboard #

I can go on for days about choosing the right keyboard for your setup, and maybe I might. However, I would say one thing - if you do a lot of typing, do your poor hands a favour and get a good keyboard. You don’t need to use a mechanical keyboard, but if you can get your hands on one, you should get one. I use a Hyper-X Alloy FPS RGB with Kailh Silver Speed switches as my primary keyboard, but when I am faced with some for some serious typing, I switch over to my secondary Cosmicbyte CB-GK-11 Black Eye keyboard with brown switches.

Mechanical keyboards vary greatly in form, key layout and switches and it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. To make things easy for you, if you touch-type, then get anything with blue or brown switches. If you don’t touch-type and are ok with bottoming out your key when you type, then get a red, silver or any of the other switch types.



Mouse #

Needless to say, the mouse follows the keyboard as the second-most useful tool in my armoury. Depending on the kind of work that you do, a good mouse may or may not factor into the equation. I tend to wear multiple hats at times and a high-DPI ergonomic mouse allows me to work fluidly when it comes to any kind of graphic editing and creative visuals. I use my trusty Logitech MX Master 2S, which has been a constant companion in my toolkit since 2018. One of the reasons why I choose the MX Master series is

  1. Feels good and solid to handle

  2. Works on a wide range of surfaces

  3. Can connect, switch and transfer between three devices

  4. Free and lock scroll, which allows me to navigate lengthy documents fast

The MX Master 3 has since been brought to market as the newest model in the series so you might want to go for that, but if you want to check out the 2S, you can use the link below:



Laptop #

I use a Macbook Pro for work and a Lenovo Legion Y540 for my other stuff. In all honesty, it doesn’t really matter because when you set up your own productivity nook you will probably build it around the computer you already possess.

That’s pretty much it when it comes to how I’ve set up my desk at home to maximize my productivity. The productivity nook is always a work in progress, and I keep on fiddling around with it to improve my work experience. What you see now is way different from how it was set up 6 months ago, and 6 months from now you would probably find a drastically different setup with a bunch of upgrades.

I would love to see the setups you use, so please do share. Bonus points if you’re a fellow mechead!

If you liked the article, don’t forget to share with your friends. See you next week, and stay safe.