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Cover image for My Remote Office Tour 🚀

My Remote Office Tour 🚀

wassimchegham profile image Wassim Chegham Updated on ・7 min read

Hey friends,

Those of you who've been following my recent activity on Twitter already know that I am currently working from Home (for the last 3 years to be precise).

Working from home meant that I had to invest in a proper office environment. And since we just moved to our new apartment, this is something that I had to do anyway, and I had to literally start from nothing and buy everything. 

DISCLAIMER: Apart from my work laptop, every item described in this guide is a personal purchase!

As some of you had requested a few months back, in this post I'd like to share with you my journey into building my desk for my remote office with all the links to my equipment and some tip and tricks for the cable management part.

Let's start...

tl;dr:

The desktop frame: FlexiSpot E2B

For the desktop panel, I had decided to buy a standing desk as I wanted to reduce my low back pain and give me the flexibility to work either sitting or standing. I chose the FlexiSpot E2B Height Adjustable Electric Standing Desk Frame.

If you are curious to know how I managed to hack and control this desktop using my voice, you can read about my DIY project here:

The desktop top: Raw Beech panel

Next, for the desktop wood, I choose a nice all solid 170x70x4 cm raw Beech panel, which I ordered online. As a side note, the wood panel weighs more than 45Kg!

The office chair: Herman Miller Embody

When it comes to the chair, and even if I had a standing desk, that didn't mean that I will not be sitting! I chose a custom made black and white Herman Miller Embody which a friend of mine had recommended me. I really don't regret it! The chair offers so many configurable parts and the seat and back surfaces automatically conform to your body's micro-movements.

"More than 20 physicians and PhDs in the fields of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics contributed their expertise to help guide the development of this chair."

The monitor: LG 38UC99-W

Choosing a new monitor is always a tough choice. Thankfully, I knew exactly what I needed based on my daily use: Coding, Music production and photo editing. So, naturally, I choose the LG 38UC99-W curved widescreen. This beast is a 38" IPS panel with enough real estate to show up to 3 apps side by side, even though I'm always using 2 apps side by side most of the time. One of the remarkable things that this monitor offers is a USB-C port! We'll come back to this later...

See how curved is that monitor!

The monitor arm: Hx Desk Monitor Arm

The LG 38UC99-W is a great monitor, but it has one downside: it weighs 8Kg, which means that most monitor arms that you will find online won't support that weight. I have tried 2 of them and I had to return them! But just recently, I came across a brand called Ergotron. These guys make serious monitor arms. And I was super happy to finally find an arm that supports my LG monitor size and weight. I choose the Hx Desk Monitor Arm in white to match the color of the back of the monitor.

Audio and video equipment

Video Webcam: Logitech BRIO 4K webcam

Working remotely means that I had to have a decent webcam for my meetings, or recordings. The built-in MBP camera wasn't an option for me (see why below). I did a quick bench of the currently available webcams in the market and simply chose the Logitech BRIO 4K webcam.

Microphone: Rode Procaster + Rode PSA1 + Rode PSM1

The built-in MBP mic wasn't an option for me neither (see why below). The BRIO mic was OK-ish. And I was looking for a more professional setup. So I tried 2 microphones, the Blue Yeti (USB), the Samson SAC01 C01, before deciding to choose the infamous Rode Procaster dynamic mic which in my opinion offers better performances and aesthetics. The mic is attached to the Rode PSA1 arm and the Rode PSM1 suspension shock mount.

Speakers: Yamaha HS 5 + Millenium BS-500 WH

The built-in MBP speakers weren't an option for me (see why below). As a music amateur, I needed decent office speakers. After doing some benchmarks and watched many youtube videos, I decided to choose the Yamaha HS 5 (two of them) in white with the Millenium BS-500 WH speaker stands. And I am happy with them.

As a side note, these speakers are not Stereo Speakers but Powered Studio Monitors (read about the difference). I choose these types of speakers because I am also starting learning about music production and they were perfect for the job, but that's maybe a topic for another article.

Sound Interface: Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen).

The built-in MBP sound interface wasn't an option for me, for 2 reasons:

  1. My MBP is placed under my desk, so it's not convenient to use the audio output; and even impossible to use the camera or mic.
  2. The MBP doesn't offer the right inputs to host the Rode Procaster XLR input connectivity, neither the Yamaha HS 5 TRS output jack.

After watching a couple of product tests on Youtube, I choose the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) which was enough for my needs.

Cable management

When it comes to cable management, this was my number 1 top priority. Instead of explaining how I did it, A picture is worth ten thousand words:

Yes! That's my MacBook Pro 2019 (the most expensive piece of this setup!) hanging out under my desk. But trust me, it's well tightened to the desk panel using 3 small hooks. To be clear, the MBP is really just hanging out under the desk, it's not mounted and I can easily slide it out and take it at any time when I need to go out!

The MB Pro is powered by this single USB C Thunderbolt 3 cable (connected to the back of the LG 38UC99-W monitor). This means that I am using only ONE cable to connect both the external display and power the MB Pro.

All the other external peripherals are connected to the back of the monitor through the Anker USB 3.0 hub:

If you are wondering what's that skin, I am using for my MB pro.

The other cables are also managed and go through a dedicated rail. See for instance the audio interface:

Keyboards

All right! Now comes the hot topic. Unbelievably, I have spent months trying A LOT of mechanical keyboards (5 to be precise) until I found the perfect one for me.

I am not going to do a full review of these keyboards in this post. However, you can easily find many reviews on YouTube, for each keyboard. So, I have tried (from top to bottom):

Other accessories

Here you can find my Amazon (France) list I created with every single item I bought for my desk (office), including cables, lights, decorations, adapters... even the footrest!

That's all for me. See you in 2020 for another desk setup tour 😂

Cheers.

Posted on Oct 9 '19 by:

wassimchegham profile

Wassim Chegham

@wassimchegham

Angular and Bazel contributor ★ Senior Developer Advocate at Microsoft ★ Creator of xlayers.dev, ngx.tools, nitr.ooo, autocap.cc, hexa.run, async-await.xyz ★ GDE for Google

Discussion

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Not sure if someone already asked you about this, and risking a bit sounding obvious: why a Macbook and not a Mac Mini (provided you're simply not using either the keyboard or the retina display of the actual laptop computer). Everything looks so crisp that I wouldn't move away from the home office at all! Thanks!

 

Or new Mac Pro which is even more powerful

 

Part of my role as a developer advocate involves traveling and meeting developers at different events and conferences. It's easy for me to just grab my MBP from under my desk.

That makes sense. I thought it's unremovable, that's why it surprises me.

 

Great setup. You are saying that you bought webcam, mic and speakers because your MBP was mounted below desk. You know that you could save all that money by simply putting laptop on the desk right? Just admit that you wanted the best stuff for the sake of it :) One question that I have is what headphones are you using? Speakers during Slack/Skype call are not the best solution.

 

What's the purpose of building an office setup at home if you can't get the best stuff? Putting the laptop on the desktop is worthless for me since I don't interact with it. I only use it for its computing power. Also, I do music production and some recordings so using the built-in webcam and sound card wasn't compatible with my setup (speakers+mic).

For meeting, I just use the mic and the speakers. I do rarely use headphones, but when I do m I use the Parrot Zik 3 ones. Yep, I like bass ;)

 
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I genuinely feel very sorry for you if you believe the two are mutually exclusive.

 

Surely, you've heard of separation of concerns.

 

Thanks for sharing this setup! I really love (and hope to purchase one day) those Yamaha monitors. They are definitely a beauty, and I'm sure they sound amazing! Thanks for sharing the Keytron (now Keychron) keyboard...I just went online and ordered one. They were out of stock :( so it won't ship for a couple of weeks, and then I have to wait on it to arrive from Hong Kong. So, thanks for the recommendation on the keyboard!

 

I would expect your MBP to start overheating if your doing something computationally expensive. When the MBP is in the closed position it will cover up some of the heat vent. Did you do anything to combat this?

 

I have been doing heavy work with my laptop closed and on the desk and it can cool down enough trough the back.

 

aren't your eyes hurt work with huge monitor in that distance?

 

Not at all. I'm sitting at the recommended distance.

 

do you always working with less lamp?

Sometimes during the night. And only when I am not coding nor writing.

 

wow! Ton bureau est tout simplement incroyable. Je comprends le besoin de le mettre parfaitement à ta main, après tout tu y passes des heures et des heures chaques semaines. Je serais heureux en tout points d'utiliser un espace de travail comme le tiens. J'espère avoir quelque chose d'aussi génial un jour.

 

This is an awesome setup, but that MBP mount makes me nervous. Might I suggest/plug a video from one of my favourite youtube channels - youtube.com/watch?v=tGX34631pdk

It should be possible to mod his technique to mount your laptop under the desk instead of the wall. Gives you the same clean setup, with the added benefit of disconnecting the laptop easily.

 

Amazing!! Thanks a lot for sharing this.

 
 
 

Storing the computer under the desk - pure genius!

 
 

Such a good chair. I had one at my old job, and it's the only thing I miss about that place. I'm saving up some money to buy one.

 

Coding, music production and photo editing... that sounds soooo me although I do need a proper setup haha.

 

Okay, THIS is a premium setup! 😂
Good job!

 
 
 

Hubba hubba to this setup. I really need to upgrade mine!

 

Awesome setup!

The link for the monitor is incorrect.

 
 

Are you working with that pink glowing enabled? 😅

 

Not all the time. I also change to different colours depending on my mood 😁

 

Nice job! It makes me want to start working on my office space and get myself a similar standing desk 😍

 

Hi Wassim,
I'm interested in the details of how the laptop hangs under the desktop. I saw this and thought it would be very useful. What kind of hooks or tools did you need to do that?

 

Such a nice setup! I envy you ;)

 
 

Awesome setup. I've used a curved 21:9 monitor for the past few years and its surprising how much more productive I am using this to a traditional aspect ratio.

 

Nice setup, this is motivating me to do the same. That MBP under the table is giving me anxiety though.

 

wow!! really cool. I like the monitor and the monitor arm.

 

Love your work layout. Thanks for sharing.