Peek inside our home office setups

Ever wonder what other people’s home office setups are like? Well my friend, wonder no more. (Okay, you can wonder a little. These are only the setups of a couple of people on our team, which probably do not represent the entirety of the human experience. But anyway. Enjoy.)

Where do you work?

Luke Karrys, Senior developer

Luke's Desk

I work from a spare bedroom in my house. I also spend the very occasional afternoon working from a nearby coffee shop, but most of the time I prefer to work from the same spot every day. My home office only locks from the outside which means sometimes I have a system where I lock myself in to deter my 3 year old from busting in BBC style. Then I text my wife at the end of the day to let me out.

Kate Farrar, Designer, Developer

Kate's Desk

I have an extra bedroom in my house that I use as an office. At my old apartment I used to work in my living room, and I’ve found that being able to close the door and walk away at the end of the day is really nice. Having a separate space has been great for me!

Diana Perkins, Designer, Developer

Diana's Desk

I have a separate office in my house. It was a necessity that we purchase a home with three bedrooms: one to sleep in, one for my home office, and one for my husband's home office.

Heather Young, Dev/Ops engineer

Heather's Desk

Home, one of many coffee shops, or a co-working space. I also travel alot so I work from coffee shops or other random spots pretty often.

What’s your hardware setup?

Diana

Luke

I use a 2016 MacBook Pro that is in clamshell mode on my desk most of the time connected to an LG 5k monitor. I also have a previous generation Logitech MX Master mouse and a previous generation Apple Wireless Keyboard (before they were "magic") that I use because they're not broken, although I spend a lot of time looking at new keyboards and mice online.

Heather

  • Keyboard: Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
  • Mouse: Logitech M720 Triathalon Multi­Device Wireless Mouse
  • Backpack: I did a TON of research before buying this backpack and have been soooo happy. It’s roomy but not overly bulky. It’s built for security so has anti-slash fabric and a neat locking mechanism that locks the main zippers in place and prevents it from being opened when locked. It works with a dual-head cable lock that is also made by Kensington. It’s been handy for working in public spaces and I have a lot more peace of mind since I can secure my laptop and backpack at the same time if I need to leave for a bathroom break or something.
  • Ledge Lock Adapter from Maclocks: MacBooks aren’t made with Kensington locks but MacLocks makes a handy adapter called Ledge that mounts in the slot on the side. It’s pretty sturdy and would deter most thieves since you need a non-standard screwdriver to get it off.
  • Raindesign mStand: This raises my laptop a little to prevent neck strain. I don’t use it all the time, but it’s effective.
  • Beats Headphones: I don’t like these as much as the Bose ones that I used to have, but they are functional and have a nice travel case.
  • Oristand standing desk converter: Tragically, this company closed down their operation in December 2017. They made standing desk converters out of sturdy cardboard so they were super affordable. I’ve had this for over a year, and it’s still in great shape. It folds down to a flat piece of cardboard so I can store it away when it’s not in use.

Kate

  • Rain Design mStand: I've had this for 4 years now, and it still does it's job perfectly. Helps keep my laptop cool and also raises it to be level to my monitor.
  • Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth Headphones: I've been using Urbanears for almost 10 years now and I love them. Recently upgraded to the Plattan 2 Bluetooth headphones. They have 30 hours of listening time on one battery, plus I can plug them in using an aux cable. Great for music and calls.
  • Post-its: I'm a note taker and an obsessive doodler. I need post-its on hand for meetings and to jot things down or I forget everything.
  • La Croix: Gotta stay hydrated - Pamplemousse is my favorite flavor.
  • Toys: I have several Lego minifigs, three stress balls, and two Tech Decks on my desk to play with on calls and for little breaks.
  • Inspirational/helpful Post-its: I have post-its on my monitor that include robot doodles, sketches, a Tie Fighter, and a list of CSS property orders that I put up there years ago and never took down :) These make my setup feel like home!

What are your software programs du jour?

Diana

The obvious ones:

The not-obvious ones:

  • Sip: a great little color picker with tons of options. It's great for switching what kind of color value you want copied to your clipboard, which makes switching between project types a breeze.
  • Little Ipsum: a lorem ipsum generator that lives in your taskbar and allows you to choose various lengths of text to copy to your clipboard with a single click.
  • Hocus Focus: hides inactive windows, which really helps me focus. You can also create various profiles and tune how long you want the app to be open on a per-app basis .
  • Boostnote: nice little markdown editor.
  • Astropad: while I do have a Cintiq, sometimes it's nice to use Astropad to connect to my iPad Pro instead. It's got a bit of lag, but it handles it super nicely in a very intuitive way.

Kate

Heather

Work apps:

  • Focus Matrix: Keeps me focused
  • Flux: Reduces blue light
  • Backblaze: Keeps my machine backed up
  • Awareness: Encourages me to take breaks
  • Time Out: A bit stricter than Awareness because it actually locks your computer up and grays the screen until you take a break
  • Coffitivity: Makes coffeeshop white noise
  • SelfControl App: Blocks access to distracting websites

Cooking apps:

Luke

The programs I use most often are iTerm 2 and Sublime Text 3 which I use for coding. They are both very customized although it's in a Rube Goldberg fashion as I copied and pasted different bits from across the internet. I use Omnifocus for remembering to do stuff that I'm supposed to do and Fantastical for remembering if I'm supposed to be somewhere.

What’s one good thing you try to practice every day?

Diana

I like to go outside during my lunch, or any time I need to think through a problem. For me, removing myself from my work area helps refresh my problem solving skills and energize me for the rest of the day.

Heather

I try to switch posture every hour or so and sit as little as possible when I'm not working. Using the Awareness app I mentioned helps to remind me to move around. When I'm at lunch I try to stand a lot and I try to get a sweat-inducing workout in every day, even if it's only 10 minutes.

Luke

Every day I try to write down the things I would like to accomplish and what hours I would like to work in my Studio Neat Panobook. This helps me keep what I'm doing and what hours I keep as intentional as possible. I also do this way less often than I should, and it's immediately obvious at the end of most days when I don't do it.

Kate

Standing up every few hours! Sometimes I’ll go 5 hours without moving from my desk, which is not great. My Apple Watch reminds me to stand every hour so that helps.

Any other office recommendations?

Diana

I think this one is said often by people who work remotely, and it was a piece of advice I very much ignored until it became a problem for me: have a different area of your house where you work. Can I say it again? Have a different area of your house where you work. I used to sit all day and work at my computer, then eat dinner at my computer and play video games all night…at my computer. Both my productivity at work and my mental wellbeing at night suffered immensely; this is one piece of remote-work advice I don't recommend skipping. After separating my work / not-work areas, I've been more focused during the day and more relaxed at night.

Heather

Working remotely is awesome, and often has the advantage of affording more freedom than an office environment. Often I find that my inner voice of judgement says that I should be more productive in a day or I need to be available at my desk every minute of every day, but psychology research suggests that a 5-minute break every hour can do wonders for one's productivity and health. Here's an article with some great break ideas. Personally I've found that short but regular breaks during the day helps me to reset my attention and makes me happier about life in general.

Luke

Working from home has been a huge positive in my life. At the same time it has provided many "opportunities" to find "solutions" to see what works best for me. And many of the solutions stopped working when I moved or had kids or changed roles. So my only recommendation would be to keep evaluating what works and what doesn't on your amazing remote work journey.

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