Well I've gone awfully quiet since the world had turned upside down...
To be honest my creative juices dried up the day the WHO declared the corona virus outbreak a pandemic, that was March 11th. It feels like I have been watching this train coming around the corner since end of January but the reality still feels like it blindsided me. From one day to the next my work put us on a work from home arrangement and I figured that this would be the best time to create a nice and ergonomic home office environment, so I quickly placed orders for a new desk, monitor arm and mouse pad. The upgrades are fantastic so far and now that it's been a few weeks already I can say I should have done this much sooner. So I figured I could spend some time reviewing what I've got!
My fancy new setup!
For my desk I opted to get an UPLIFT V2 Standing Desk with electric adjustable height.
I noticed that both my husband and I were using this brand at our workplaces and after working on one for a year I felt like it would make a worthwhile investment. I rarely work in a standing position but I do tend to switch my desk chair for a sitting ball on a daily basis and the ability to adjust the height for this is amazing. I realized this will also come in very handy for my Wacom Cintiq drawing screen in combination with a monitor arm (which I'll cover down below, after the desk).
I love sitting next to my husband while we game or work so I decided to opt for the 80 x 30 inch version which is ample amount of space for multiple monitors and two people sitting side by side. Our previous lousy IKEA desk started buckling under the weight of my 22 inch Cintiq and one monitor and it looked absolutely awful and dangerous. I love knowing that this new desk can hold up to 355 lb of weight, so I don't even need to think about weight being a potential issue anymore.
I love how I was able to fully customize the desk and all its fixtures. I love white furniture so of course I opted for all white. There's a wide range of accessories to pick from as well and I opted for a small drawer and some cable management parts. The desk arrived within 3 days and it took about an hour to two to assemble it and some additional time to perfect my cable management skills. It was definitely a two person job since the parts were quite heavy and large but I don't think the expert desk assembly that UPLIFT offers would have been worth the additional 250$ - unless of course you are in a single person household and have no assistance available.
So far the white finish of the laminate seems quite sturdy and well made, the edges are slightly rounded and it feels quite comfortable when I rest my arms on the desk to type. Like I mentioned, I've been using an Uplift desk at work and never ran into any staining or scratching issues.
I did opt into the extended warranty so the desk will be covered for a total of 12 years, since I don't trust the electrical parts to hold up on their own. It was definitely an investment but like I mentioned before, so far I have absolutely no regrets and I actually enjoy spending 8 hours a day at my desk as I'm working from home. My usual back issues haven't visited me in a while so I do think the overall ergonomic setup I have now is doing it's job!
Oh and it comes with two (three with coupon code) free gifts that you can pick out. I let my husband pick a standing/balancing board and an selected a white organizer set for myself. The coupon code that I found through Honey added in a free desk lamp as well, it's nothing fancy but I'll take it since it's free and came in all white haha!
I also can't forget to mention how pretty and organized everything looks!
Now for the monitor arm I had to Google around for a while. At first I was going to simply opt for the UPLIFT accessory option desk arm but I saw it wouldn't cover the weight of the 22 inch Cintiq screen which is around 8 kg or 18 lbs without the stand.
I didn't want to go for a cheap one and risk the monitors well being. It's only been a few years since I bought it (2015) and I hope to get a few more years out of using it. So I ended up with the Ergotron desk mount brand. I read reviews on how some artists use these to pull the Cintiq into their laps and I was pretty much sold! I did have to decide between mobility of the Ergotron LX vs the stability Ergotron HX models but I figured I will be moving this tablet around a lot so I picked the mobility version.
I ended up ordering the Ergotron 45-537-216 Lx Desk Mount with the 13" pole through Ebay by a seller located in California (beachaudio) instead of Amazon (which is usually my first choice just for their stellar customer support) because I didn't really want to wait around another one or two weeks - which ended up being a smart decision since many states closed non-essential businesses three days after I placed my order. I saw that seller was actually based here in Manhattan Beach and contacted them via phone and had a really pleasant experience with them!
It arrived one day later and the setup was a bit confusing, but once it was all done I was extremely pleased. I'd say it took me an hour to figure out how to loosen and tighten all the different sections as well as the detachment of the Cintiq stand and mounting of the screen. The main issue was the unclear instruction manual.
I have to say the Ergotron brand seems extremely sturdy and well made, also it came in all white and it even has a nice compartment / hollow area for cable management!
I never had a monitor arm before and I absolutely love it! I like how I can adjust it on a whim and position my screen behind my work laptop and use both screens at the same time! The arm extends and swivels around any way I need it, which is fantastic! I'm glad I went with the better mobility model even if it does get a bit wobbly from movements like extensive typing occasionally, however I might be able to tighten the arm settings a bit more which could alleviate that a bit but overall I'm super satisfied!
Next was a cute keyboard mat because the combination of a white desk and me will end in inevitable tragedy! I had my eye on the Razer Goliathus Proma in Quarz Pink BUT the mat itself would come in grey and only the LED strip/plastic parts are pink. I mean come on Razer, that's not aesthetic enough! So I hopped on Amazon and looked for the largest and pinkest thing I could find, I gotta say I'm happy with the cheapo pink monstrosity that I found. It also features an LED strip and it's all pink!
This cute little (actually gigantic) keyboard mat is the MoKo RGB Gaming Mouse Pad (32 x 12 inches)
It comes in black and this absolutely amazing pink! It even features a USB port which is fantastic when I wanna charge something on a whim! It has a bunch of color options and I always have it set on a very soft pink (there is actually 3 different shades of pink, you won me over Moko lol!) Usually I'd go for the nice "brand" item but I'm not gonna sit here with a GREY mat when there is a pink one out in the wild for $18.99 when the "pink" Goliathus would be $59.99! Oh not to mention the reviews showing that the Goliathus can arrive warped and not lay flat at all... check out the Amazon picture reviews ~ ouff!
It arrived two days later thanks to Amazon Prime! I figured that since it's bright pink it will definitely discolor over time with use but I can alleviate it by coating the mat in shoe protector. The magic spray people coat their fancy sneakers in that keeps them looking like new for a long time? Yup, that's it! After I unboxed it I laid it out nicely next to the window for ventilation and gave it a good coating. I let it rest for an hour while I ran off and did other things and it's been in use for a bit over two weeks and I haven't gotten a single stain or mark on it.
I do think I'll give it a monthly re-coating in the future since I'm sure the friction of my mouse movement and typing is going to wear down at both the coating and the mat material but for the low price I can literally just order a new one without feeling guilty.
After those purchases I was pretty much set and working from home has been quite enjoyable. I'm trying to make the best of the situation and I know my mental well-being is affected by my surroundings, so I try to keep it nice and clean! These upgrades definitely helped getting used to working from home so far!