The working from home thread: tips and advice

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  • Haven't really worked out the best way to have the mains cable to allow the desk to move up and down but still look neat and still need to tidy up a few cables

    If you're willing to screw things under the back of the desk and this fits then I heartily recommend it: https://www.humanscale.com/products/cabl­e-management-tools/neattech-system

    I have a 12 socket rack power extension in mine... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07C2W2DP2/ and all of the power bricks for the USB dock, the USB hub, etc.

    Basically my cable tidy is crammed full of cables, absolutely everything in there... and it's strong, the material yields to the odd shape of things, and it's a couple of tool-free clips to access things to manage the cables.

    I have the large one that is the width of the desk, and it doesn't interfere with the monitor arm mount, it works great. The picture on that shows two small ones at either side, also looks great but I wanted way more power sockets!

    These can be opened from both sides, so if the desk is against a wall you can raise it and go under and still get full access to the cable tidy.

  • I used 3M command strips to stick things to the underside of my desk. Currently stuck there are:-

    • 5 port switch
    • 4 gang mains extension (from the UPS)
    • 8 gang mains extension (non-UPS)
    • work laptop power brick
    • work laptop USB dock
    • personal laptop power brick

    This way the only cables that hang down are:

    • 1 power cable (from the UPS to the 4 gang extensions)
    • 1 power cable (for the non-UPS extension)
    • 1 network cable (to the switch)
    • 1 HDMI cable (to the ESXi box that lives on the floor)

    It's an unholy mess under there but it keeps the cables away from my knees. Due to the layout of the desk in the room there's no real way to see the mess under the desk unless you bend down.

  • Cheers all.

    The humanscale thing looks nice but is very pricey. I don't actually have that much in the way of wires (all network stuff is elsewhere where I have managed to run out of sockets on a 12 way power rack) so I've gone with double sided tape and zip ties for the moment with a few screws for the heavier things.

    I've only got the one cable dangling down which is the mains cable (once I sort those stray wires which are there until I can get my NUC working with a HDMI to Displayport cable) so the slinky thing seems a bit overkill but may be the only option other than having enough slack cable on the floor to allow the desk to go up and down.

  • any recommendatins for good quality desk tops?

    I bought IKEA idasen legs because you can set it at a height that suits me (67cm floor to table top) - but used an old cheap battered laminate desk my wifes parents house, i'm about to finish decorating my office and looking for something nicer and longer lasting.

    ideally some nice ply, or solid oak maybe? nicely bevelled edges etc

  • Perhaps a kitchen worktop? Solid, hard wearing, not too expensive.

  • Could aways hunt down an old dining table and pinch the top from it.

  • I got an Ikea kitchen worktop and super happy with it


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  • I went with a lump of oak worktop. I bought it from worktop express, and therefore had it cut to size, the edges finished how I wanted etc. could also have have things like wireless chargers installed too. Was pretty reasonably priced too.


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  • Anyone successfully dealt with a wobbling Aeron? I had a Size B on loan when C was out of stock, now I've got a C and it feels much less stable. Having sprayed GT85 all over the mech it at least stopped creaking constantly.

  • second vote for worktop express - choose the wood, the edging finish, add holes where needs be, round off any bits you want, provide measurements etc etc.

    The more customising the more expensive obviously, but not crazy money.

  • worktop express is a great shout.

    I was limited in options for desk based on room size and only one i could find to fit my needs (200x60cm) was a £35 paper jobby from ikea and it's working in a pinch but i do not trust it to support the amount of stuff I have clamped and stacked onto it at all.

    next paycheck i'll be replacing it with one of theirs.


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  • desk tops

    If you're able to DIY check out https://www.kitchen-surplus.co.uk/ to see if there's anything available that you like.

  • IKEA also have a returns/resell section near the check outs. The one in Croydon always has a bunch of desk/worktops.

  • Where did you get those lights from?

    Currently using IKEA tertial lamps as I sit with my back to the window so the lighting is all over the place

  • They look like Elgato key lights to me, especially given the stream deck…

  • I think the under-desk lighting is done nicely as well 👍

  • correct, overkill but nice and very pricey.

    being able to have full on daylight style lighting has been a lifesaver since i got them (near start of pandemic) to stave off the SAD and warm light at very low brightness is perfect in evenings.

  • It's like you guys actually want your colleagues to see you clearly?

  • Having the best video/audio quality in any meeting gives you an edge on attention and being memorable. If "the guy with the fancy mic" gives good questions and answers in multiple sessions, people recognise it's the same person, so your brand becomes "person who asks good questions and has good answers and happens to have a nice and distinctive setup".

  • I aspire to be unmemorable. So far I have mostly succeeded

  • I want to get involved in less obscure stuff than the apps I develop that started 11 years ago in a team of 4, since I've been a team of 1 for a few years now and it doesn't seem to be getting better yet. I don't use branches in git because there's nobody else to merge with.

  • Ha. I'm heavy into the Elgato stuff (Key light, Wave 1 mic, Stream Deck mini) but it makes a huge difference.

    Previous job was audio only. I worked with one colleague for over 10 years and the only visual of him was a photo that was obviously taken years before then (as it was never updated). I never ever saw him as a moving image and I worked with him for 10+ years. My boss of 4 years (!?!) I only ever saw a moving image of him on a "surprise" Zoom call in my last week. Never met either of them in person either (all three of us were on different continents).

    New place and video calls are the absolute default, and the difference is amazing. The only time I ever turn my camera off is when it's a presentation type call with 20+ people on it and I won't be saying a word at all. If I have any conversation with a colleague that gets past 5 back-and-forths on Slack it more than likely moves to a video call and that really does work well.

    I aspire to not being unmemorable.

    (That's slightly different to being memorable for the wrong reasons...)

  • Never met either of them in person either

    I love jobs like this.

    In fairness, I've had many jobs where I have sat next to someone for over a year, and never spoken to them or even learned their names.

  • Also, out of nowhere, had a 2 second power blip last night. Everything else in the house shat it itself to varying degrees but my ESXi box under my desk happily carried on as if nothing had happened thanks to the small UPS I have.

    (UPS is an ancient APC CS650 that my dad found at his local tip [which allows him to take things away] and the battery was useless but it was a simple replacement with a standard Yuasa battery for £20 and that's given it a brand new lease of life. I only need it to ride out these rare blips anyway, if the power goes out for more than a minute or so then it also gives me the time to shut things down or just shit itself if I'm not around to power things down safely. What was more annoying were the 4 or 5 house alarms near by that carried on for a good hour after the power had come back on.)

  • I don't have a video camera. No one forgets me.

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The working from home thread: tips and advice

Posted by Avatar for andyp @andyp

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