Understanding The Need To Upgrade to Have More Space
I’ve had a home office for over 30 years in all kinds of types of residences. I do understand what it’s like to work with a minimal space at home or not having the right kind of setup. And there are those who don’t understand the needs beyond having a table and a laptop. Fortunately, my wife is not one of those people, as we both have experienced working together from home in the past. It’s a given that having more space on the desk is imperative to having a productive work environment.
This article references comparisons “at work”, although I do realize that not everyone has that situation. Some people, for example, don’t have an actual work space at work or don’t have an office per se. In addition, at home, some individuals have additional needs, interests, or are aspiring to have future alternate options and use their home office space to gradually achieve those wonderful goals. So, with that said, please use what you can from this article that hopefully will provide you with a flexible guide to adjust to your own situation and preferences.
Your Home Office Desk Workspace
So, with an established work area and the minimum basics of equipment, you have your home office. You’ve been using it for an untold period of time and you’ve discovered you would like it to be more efficient and perhaps your desk just has too much stuff on it. You’ll want to have more space by saving space. Coincidentally, the Feng Shui experts will also advise that you would feel better if you organize the desk so you can focus on work, instead of the disruptive clutter surrounding it. They also say that lots of cables and wires that are visible are considered stressful “hot” areas and need to be covered, organized, or bound. In the business world, the Information Security SMEs reference it, stating they need to be secured, labeled, and well managed.
It’s About Upgrading to Modernize Your Home Office Desk
This article is designed to cover what are the upgrades to give you a more modern home office desk. If you’re performing modern day work with inadequate tools and space, changes are recommended to reduce your stress and improve your performance.
I’ll also will show you an example desk that was used in this process. Your own desk will dictate what you can do regarding certain upgrades. The upgrades referenced in this article are considered acceptable standard additions or changes to any home office. Any differences might be due to you having alternate work needs. Your work might not determine a need for a 4K webcam, for example. The changes shown here are designed to give you more work space, improve productivity, as well as to maintain an appropriate level of décor.
My ideas that I’ve done and presented here are to spawn your own creativity for your own individual needs. It has significantly improved my work efficiency and now it’s a pleasure to approach my desk as I know I’m being more productive, things are better organized, and the wires are hidden away. I hope you obtain an enhanced experience as well.
Visit https://Linxent.com/blog often for new articles on ideas for the home, cost savings, reducing recurring maintenance, easy-to-follow DIY procedures, product reviews, organizing and saving space, and much more!
Comparing the Workplace Setup and Home Office
With the private and public sectors, out in the workplace, there is a reason that the space is setup the way it is. Mostly, it’s for productivity, feasibility, communications, and cost control. Your “form” and “function” regarding working at home are naturally different than “working at work”. If your home setup doesn’t do well for how you work, it can gradually build an emotional tension that is difficult for others to understand. Let’s briefly look at that, to check if there’s a true need to upgrade.
After you work in your home office space for awhile, you get to know what’s lacking. It’s quite common to compare “at work” capabilities with those at home. We might get a little stressed when we don’t have some of the conveniences with the setup at work. You start to think through the “what if” and the “I wish I had” possibilities. Here are some examples:
- You can print at work for your filing or signing but maybe you don’t have a printer.
- You have multiple monitors at work. But, you might not even any monitor for your laptop at home.
- You might have access to a scanner at work. At home, perhaps you can only “scan” by taking pics using your phone and emailing them to yourself.
- The desk itself might be larger at work, giving you more space to work.
- Budgets at work are designed completely different than yours at home. Qualitative priorities often take precedence with home budgets. Quantitative necessities usually are the driving force with work budgets.
The Desire for a Modern Home Office with More Space
Eventually, the desire for achieving a more modern home office becomes easy enough to understand. So, confirm some of your needs by reviewing how you’re currently working in your home office. It will naturally guide you towards building a list of what you’re going to supplement or change, even if gradually over time. Let’s begin by seeing how you work at home.
Self-Observing HOW You’re Working in Your Home Office Space
This is sometimes hard for people to analyze. Many people just simply work in their home office. Stresses of life already occur at home. Having an inefficient work environment at your home office desk can add to it. It may happen like this. Example 1: You’re working away and you’re using your phone to take 15 pics of a document received in the mail that you had to work on. Your scanner app worked okay except 2 of the pics weren’t legible or clear, according to your recipient. You’re asked to rework it and send it again. You think “I wish I had a regular scanner”
Example 2: Later on, you’re looking for filing some papers but your usual file drawer is full. You usually e-file everything but there are some items that require paper still. You’re now looking to put them on a shelf as you think “I’m going to start to put some papers here but just temporarily”, followed by “Where did I put the spare empty folders?”, and concluding with “I have too much on my desk:, which concludes with “I can’t work like this”. Then, your work cell phone rings and you’re asked to do something with some other papers.
After Justifying the Need to Improve More Space on the Desk
So, you justified the need to improve the actual workspace itself, which is now routinely expanding beyond your full desk. If you’re running out of room to put papers, you’ll find you’re putting them on a credenza or another side table nearby. Sometimes, you might even be putting them on a book shelf for a short period of time. Or, papers are placed on top of the printer or on the waste basket edge! Basically, you need your desk to have enough extra space to handle temporary papers storage until you can get to it later. Your solution is one of 2-3 ideas:
- Organize papers better with filing. However, if you’re working on those papers, you’re not planning on filing them yet.
- Get a bigger desk.
- Find out some ways to remove some items from your desk surface to have more space. Your work items & papers coming on and off your desk need to be able to flow to match how you work.
Focus on an Orderly Process, Not the Whole List
You also might be thinking of the locations of the printer, files, pens, stapler, router, scanner, UPS, NAS, and you want a bigger monitor (or two), and so on. And you have a budget. All of these thoughts of needs and improvements are going through your mind. Hopefully, this article will help you keep your focus. I’ll illustrate later how I handled my home office desk scenario, following an orderly process. It starts with discovering the need to free up desk space as the starting point which often brings the fastest ROI for more productivity. It resulted in a more modern, less tense work environment. If we follow a good process, we’ll have less total changes to perform, spend less money 9over time), and we’ll see how our improved changes will change how we work and thus, will alter our future upgrade needs.
Review What You Have: The Basics
So, the startup basics of a home office area probably started with something like these items:
- desk or table
- chair, cushion, or other seat
- computer, laptop, tablet, or other device
- Internet access
The more common basics of an established home office will potentially have these items:
- the office space will be a dedicated significant area or a separate room
- office desk, chair, files section (e.g., drawer(s) or cabinet)
- computer, laptop, tablet, or other device
- Internet access via a router (might be in another room but you have direct access and control)
- printer, depending on the nature of your work
- waste basket
- possibly a scanner, depending on the nature of your work
- bookcase, shelves, storage area
Stage 1: Define a Brain Storming List of ALL Wants and Needs
This is where you’ll be defining what you want to supplement or change. It’s a good idea to start by listing literally all the things you would consider you want, which will also include the items needed, of course. Also, it’s very important that you include multiple solutions to the same problem. This is a wide open brain storming list of ideas and all known possibilities. However, these items would only be those that you might consider implementing. You’ll narrow it down later as it will take eventually a coordinated list of items that will work together. Here’s an example. It’s a startup brain storming list, not yet completed, but it does focus on achieving more space.
- Add one or two 21-inch (or 24-inch) desk monitor(s) for the laptop.
- Use a distant, corner ceiling mount, including a large suspended monitor
- Add a desk mounted adjustable arm for the 21-inch monitor.
- Add a desk mounted adjustable arm for the laptop.
- Install a desk riser stand (with storage) for the monitor, laptop, cell phone, and papers.
- Add a deeper riser stand (with storage) for the monitor, laptop, printer, cell phone, and papers.
- Replace the desk to have one that has drawers and a place for the printer.
- Replace the desk and include a credenza to accommodate several items (printer, files, miscellaneous desk items)
Stage 2: List the PROs and CONs and Update Your Brain Storming List
After you make the list of your wants (and needs), look it over and make a note by each item, stating what would it improve. Base each improvement on key aspects of form and function. But, also include the “Cons”. You will find that, during this stage, you’ll be no longer including some items from your original brain storming list. For example, you’ll discover that the “PROs” clearly don’t outweigh the “CONs” due perhaps to work and cost involved.
Here’s a short working example of how this stage might start to look. Observe some of the example items from the earlier list above have been changed, combined, or dropped.
Example: Starting Brain Storming List of PROs and CONs
|ITEM TO CHANGE||PROs: form and/or function||CONs|
|Add a 21-inch desk monitor||Helps aid in easier viewing compared to just the laptop screen. Also, could use the laptops screen as a 2nd monitor, adding to productivity.||The monitor mount takes up additional desk workspace.|
|Add a desk mounted dual-adjustable arm for monitor||Keeps the added monitor stand(s) off the desk which increases available workspace.||Adds the mount to the desk edge. Blocks view outward a little bit more. Might not look as good from that side of the desk. Uses a small amount of desk workspace but it’s edge space which is normally not used anyway.|
|Need a printer stand to put the printer on.||Gets the printer off the desk which increases available workspace and improves the look of the desk.||Adds another piece of furniture. Printer stands often aren’t an appealing addition to a home as most don’t look as good as the desk.|
|Add a riser stand with storage for the added monitor, laptop, & papers.||Helps get a lot of things organized on the desk workspace.||Actually consumes more desk workspace. Monitor and laptop are somewhat fixed and high; might get knocked off. View is noticeably obstructed. Some choices don’t look very good from that desk side.|
|Replace the desk to include a credenza||Desk is the office base infrastructure for current and future multiple solutions if selected well. Will now have drawers available for multiple organizational needs. Some have a placement for a printer (out of wide open view). Easy access to paper files.||Cost is highest of all office items. Resets all previous use of current desk. Can be considered a long ROI.|
Stage 3: Finalize List and Focus on Items for More Space on the Desk
So, with your vast list, do you start with getting a scanner or printer or two 32-inch monitors? Well, there will be the tendency to simply acquire single items that are easy enough to just buy and put in place. But, let’s focus on that list you have. Look it over and reaffirm if you’ve identified correctly the pros and cons of each item. What really causes you the most overall tension? Know that the common infrastructure of a home office is going to be the desk and its work space as well as its ability to help you organize your work and tools you use. However, if there’s not a budget constraint, and if you’re confident you’ll get around to the other desk related items later, then go for it. Just keep the following in mind, which is why we focus on the desk and its workspace first.
- Each time you make an upgrade anywhere to your home office, it will change how you work.
- After you’ve changed how you work, your remaining needs will change. Thus, the subsequent set of needs may be different than originally listed.
The Example Desk to Upgrade to Have More Space
I started with the following Kirchoff desk and credenza (Wayfair). It’s kind of hard to find now, as it was popular. Cost was total about $1700. I started my planning with just a laptop, mobile mouse, a lamp, a few items on it, and a surge protector on the floor. As I’m not focusing on the printer for placement on the credenza in this article, I stayed on my immediate need to have more space on the desk for work.
- I started with this Kirchoff desk and credenza which my lovely wife found. This was the perfect home office infrastructure set that satisfied both form and function. Both pieces had a modern appeal with a touch of old world. The desk had a good workspace and 3 drawers. The credenza had various sized drawers and one key one for files. The open center shelf was removed so that the bottom pull-out-shelf remained for the taller multi-function printer/scanner.
- I started with the desk, credenza, laptop and mobile mouse.
With this basic setup, I began with a small list that expanded over the next couple of months as I was changing the way I worked after each change. Shown below is the final complete list. My goals were to maximize productivity for blogging, and prepare for a later plan of vlogging. The focus was to have more space on the desk, as this article suggests.
Final List of Modernizing the Desk to Have More Space
Here’s a final pictorial list of the items changed in a sequential order over about two months to significantly modernize and improve this desk workspace as my example.
Change # 1: Wireless KB+Mouse
- Added a wireless keyboard and mouse to the keyboard drawer on the desk. This enabled the removal of the mobile mouse from the desk. This had a very specific set of factors and the cost was about $150. There are many that are less costly, as your needs may differ.
Change # 2: Monitor on a Desk Stand
- Added a basic ultra-wide 25-inch monitor (no speakers) to the desk. Cost was about $170. Most usually cost about $300 with speakers. The purpose was to have multiple apps viewable at a time for increasing efficiency. After this, I worked with it for a few weeks and then I realized the desk was too full, even when moving the monitor way back. This is why I now say to focus on desk space FIRST.
Change # 3: Dual Arms Monitor Support
- Installed a basic but solid dual-adjustable arms support to the desk edge. Cost was about $50, like many basic ones but this one had a large set of good reviews and was extremely solid. The common good ones are often around $180. I didn’t need that level of adjustments nor flexibility; however, you might. Then, this removed the monitor from the desk surface. I have noted, as some reviewers reported, you might not move the monitor arms around much each week. The 2nd arm will be used for a future 2nd monitor but, for now, it will be used for adding a laptop shelf.
Change # 4: Laptop Shelf for 2nd Dual Arm
- Installed an adjustable VESA mountable shelf onto the 2nd monitor arm support. Cost was about $40. This was added to remove the laptop from the desk surface. It was reasonably flexible for adjusting to 2 completely different sizes of laptops (12-inch & 15-inch).
Change # 5: 4K Webcam
- Mounted a 4K webcam. Cost was about $70. Most 4K good webcams will be about $180-$300. It’s hung on the monitor to maintain more space on the desk. This is for a near future plan of vlogging and creating quality videos.
Change # 6: Surge Protected Power Strip
- Mounted an Alexa-enabled surge protector power strip to the upper inside rear of desk. It includes several USB charging ports. Cost was about $40. It frees up more space from the floor, hides wires, and also prevents tripping on a bunch of them.
Change # 7: USB Hub with Network Port
- Added a 3.1 USB hub with Network port. The device is referenced as a type of docking station. No software needed. Cost was about $26. Due to also adding a 3.0 USB (5 Gbps data transfer speed) extension cable, it’s placed in the keyboard drawer to keep more space on the top of the desk. The speed rate was needed due to camera and network intended usage. Cable cost was about $8.
Change # 8: Gigabit Network Switch
- Mounted a network switch to the rear of the desk to retain more space on the top. Cost was about $30. Then, using the previous USB hub, a network patch cable gives the laptop wired Gigabit network capabilities. This switch in particular was designed for handling network traffic collisions well with a healthy 1 Gbps bandwidth per port. This also enabled future devices to have direct network access from a short distance on the desk. Also, added a flat (Cat 8) network patch cable under the table and floor to connect to the router..
Change # 9: Floor Mat
- Acquired a $45 plexiglass chair floor mat for 2 purposes:
- to allow the chair to roll easier and quicker and
- to help cover the flat network cable running between the added network switch over to the router (residing on the rear credenza).
Change # 10: Wire Guides & Coverings
- Added wire guides and covers for all wiring. Cost about $10. Amazingly, it included a whole lot of items to manage cables and wires in many different ways. I still had a bunch left over for future use and changes. I wanted to ensure the coverings or straps were easily removable and they were with this kit.
I worked with this layout for a few days. The way I worked changed so, I moved the dual-arm monitor support further down the desk edge. This would not have been possible if I originally chose to permanently mount it, which I didn’t, thank goodness.
The aesthetics appearance is excellent. From all sides, I covered the wires. Yet all are easily removable for future changes. The webcam cabling remains outside (but clipped along an open path for easy removal) for mobile usage on a tripod.
- The final outcome of a modern Home Office Desk Upgrade. Lots of available workspace now and rear and bottom wiring is hidden.
Occasional, temporary mounting of other devices to the desk edges (e.g., microphone and smartphone mounts) can occur when needed.
I followed the processes discussed in this article when making changes in stages. I implemented 1 to 3 changes at a time. Then, I waited to see how my work usage changed. I cannot tell you how much that helped in each subsequent cycle of the next desired set of changes. I implemented this final pictorial list in stages and it changed along the way. The entire list above is to show you all the different ideas that might transpire as you gradually upgrade the tools you use on your desk to free up more space as well.
Sometimes adding a new item created a new discovery of something else that could be resolved in a way that wouldn’t have occurred before. For example, when I added the USB 3.1 Hub, it didn’t look that great next to the laptop. So, later adding a 10 ft USB 3.0 extension cable enabled me to put the entire USB hub hidden into the pullout keyboard drawer (behind the keyboard). And the wiring covering kit helped in securing it along the way. So, embrace the benefits of patience, follow the process, and implement in stages. Work through a few changes at a time and you can then confirm if each particular new product will do its job well.
- Regarding the credenza, see the related article on how to Modernize Your Home Office Credenza Technology . Both articles go together.
More future changes are coming. There are upcoming office changes for storage and placement of office supplies. Watch for those articles down the road.
I hope this helps you to develop your own process and ideas you can execute to modernize your home office so you enjoy more space on your desk!