Having a neat setup can often really help with productivity, morale and health problems.
Recently, I decided that my desk setup just wasn't cutting it for me. My desk wasn't neat, I ached in places such as my back, legs and forearms, and I just wasn't happy with my equipment.
The old desk
Last year (June 2021), I properly upgraded my desk for the first time. This included purchasing dual monitor arms, a docking station, a wireless vertical ergonomic mouse, an ergonomic keyboard, an orange leather desk mat, a ring light, and a microphone with an arm.
Decided to upgrade my desk & equipment. There's a lot more space than there used to be thanks to the monitor arms.
At the time, these were beneficial upgrades, or at least most of them were. The dual monitor arms created more space on the desk and allowed the monitors to be more easily adjustable - if I wanted to rotate a monitor to be portrait, then I could easily do so.
The docking station was a tidy way to keep my cables centralised and allowed me to easily dock and undock my laptop if I ever needed to move it elsewhere.
However, in all honesty, I just didn't get on with some of the equipment I had purchased...
I purchased the ring light and microphone because I originally intended I'd be creating more video content, but that never happened and they just ended up being in the way.
The wireless vertical ergonomic mouse is overrated in my opinion. Maybe I just purchased a poor mouse and shouldn't reflect all vertical mice, but my hands struggled to grip the mouse and the mouse would often topple over.
I had high hopes for the ergonomic keyboard with the way the keys are split down the middle and rotated to reflect natural wrist positioning. For about 12 months, I really struggled to get used to this keyboard layout, and the keyboard was too big and clunky and took up a lot of room on my desk. The bottom of the keyboard made it awkward for me to use wrist support because of the curvature of the keyboard and the large built-in wrist rest, which you can't really call a wrist rest because it's not comfortable.
The desk mat was good for protecting the actual desk, but it was too small as it didn't cover most of the desk, the mouse struggled to glide along it, and it was really difficult to clean. The orange also felt too bright at times.
After 12 months of not being particularly happy with my desk, and having some time and money to invest in it, I decided to replace a few items.
New setup for 2022
Decided to upgrade my new desk slightly. Compared to how I used to have it, this definitely feels more clean and modern, and is a desk I'm happy with! I especially love the white keyboard and new style of wrist support!
Firstly, you'll notice the orange mat has gone! Despite orange being my favourite colour, the bright orange mat wasn't doing me any favours. I replaced this with a large black smooth fabric mat. Already I feel this alone makes my desk more clean, modern and mature, and I love how easily the mouse glides across it.
I replaced the so-called "ergonomic keyboard" with a keyboard I used to use - a black Microsoft wired keyboard 600 - that I absolutely loved using, but I was getting bored of using a black keyboard and didn't think it would look as good against my new black desk mat... so I purchased the exact same keyboard but in white! The fact that it is a wired keyboard doesn't bother me because, unlike a mouse, I'm not constantly (or ever) moving my keyboard around, so the wire for the keyboard never gets in the way.
I've loved this keyboard so much over the last 4 years, I decided to also buy it in white 😁 The white looks so much better in my opinion! Plus it's nice to have a little change.
I was window shopping for mice for a while because, in my head, I knew what I wanted, but I just couldn't find it and didn't want to make the same mistake with the mouse I currently had. After some Amazon surfing, I opted for the simple Amazon Basics Compact Ergonomic Wireless Mouse. It's not vertical but that's ok, I still find it extremely easy to grip and use and it's really comfortable. If you have small hands, like me, I really recommend trialling a compact-sized mouse, rather than a full-sized mouse if you're struggling to grip it properly.
You may also notice there is a large grey cushioned mat in my new setup. This is actually a wrist/elbow support. I've tried so many wrist supports in the past but none ever seem to actually be comfortable, and they always used to move around a lot and never stay in the same place. This was a random find on Amazon and I instantly knew that this new style of wrist support was going to be so much more comfortable and it certainly is! It takes up some room but it's just enough room to rest your forearms on nicely at a comfortable distance from the keyboard.
Amongst all that, I did some general tidying up. I put the microphone and ring light away in a drawer so I can pull them out if I ever need them. And I purchased a vertical laptop stand to store my laptop neatly out of the way and this position allows the laptop to be well-ventilated.
Whilst this doesn't seem like much, it has made my workday so much better and much more comfortable. The wrist support encourages me to type in a comfortable position and stop resting my forearms on the edge of the desk. I feel the aesthetics of the desk are more modern and I'm loving the contrast of the white keyboard against the black mat.
My next steps are to replace my office chair with one that supports my lower back more, and one I can sit in properly - I often slip down in my current chair because of, I suspect, my small figure. I'll also be looking at replacing my physical desk with one that adjusts for seated and standing positions.
It's important to invest a little time and money into your desk setup. I sit at my desk 7.5 hours a day, 5 days a week, so I want to love my workspace and feel comfortable in it. Check with your company to see if they will help finance any equipment for you that you may need. I opted to purchase my equipment with my own money so I can own it forever, and so I can choose the exact brands and colours I want (most companies will often buy a standard brand, design and colour, or grab whatever is in their store cupboards).
I'm no expert at tidying cables behind the desk but I often try and keep these as tidy as I can, at least so my feet don't accidentally pull on the cables and pull the monitors with it.
I see so many different setups online: gamers' setups, setups on the beach, expensive setups, cheap setups, standing setups, etc. The most important thing is to make sure that you are happy with it and can work comfortably in it.
You see a complete up-to-date list of everything I use by visiting my 'Uses' page.