As a fully remote company, we’d like to think we know a thing or two about what it takes for teams to collaborate effectively when they’re not in the same room.
Today, we’re going to continue this theme by examining another critical component of remote work success: the home office, what’s in it, and what a great setup looks like.
At Mattermost, our team is spread out across the globe, and we all work from home. We understand that equipment is essential to being successful at Mattermost, so we are glad to help our staff acquire the gear and gadgets they need to bring their best self to work.
We recently asked some members of our team to share a peek at their home office, including the equipment they use, what they like, and what they wish they could change. Here’s what they had to say.
Aaron Rothschild’s Home Office
Team: PM on Integrations Team
Region: Truckee, California (Lake Tahoe)
Coworkers: 5-year-old and wife
Dog: Cienna, a Labrador
Laptop: Apple MacBook Pro 15” with 16GB RAM
Monitor: Monitors can distract me. I use my single pane of glass to try to manage my focus. I’ve used multiple monitors before and am considering getting a second one again—after seeing that everyone else has one. Someone at Mattermost even has a portable side monitor for their laptop…I may cave.
Keyboard: The crappy keyboard that comes with my MacBook, which consistently catches my finger swipes as something intended to press the stupid “Touch Bar” which inevitably closes a window, switches a tab, or gets Siri to ask me “How can I help you?” To which I rage yell at it to “stop. Stop! STOP! Stop Siri! Why can’t Apple get this right!” (If you have this problem too, check out Karabiner for Mac.)
Mouse: The trackpad on an Apple MacBook. It feels so far away from the bundle of crap that is the keyboard, yet is right next to it. The oversized glass plate somehow knows when I want to right-click without prompting. It’s seriously amazing—the best trackpad anywhere.
Laptop stand: Stands are so 2008. I stand and my laptop sits on my stand-up desk.
WiFi/router: Ubiquiti Edgerouter with two separately wired 2/5 GHz access points. It’s solid. Doesn’t need restarts, doesn’t degrade.
Printer: I have a photographic memory. But if I need to print something, I steal my wife’s ink/printer. Or I fax it to the nearby Kinko’s to pick it up (jk).
Headset: Bose QC35 II—good quality, but too expensive. Definitely don’t pay $85 extra for “Alexa Control” capabilities. Why don’t all headsets have a mute button that works with Zoom?! Please, take my money.
Water carrier: I try to keep my big plastic (pink – from CVS on sale for $1) cup filled, but if I get back to back meetings I’ll pour from the Mattermost Aluminum flask on my desk.
Standing mat: You could spend $50+ on one, or you could go to Costco and get a kitchen standing mat for $13. Saves your back when you stand.
Charging accessories: Zerolemon USB charger. It has a USB-C port and three USB ports. Not like some chump at Apple who thought making charger adapters was all about removing charging ports. Who hires these people? I get it, you want to remove ports on computers. Put them on the chargers at least!
Favorite Item on your desk: My daughter’s artwork. It reminds me that I should plan ahead, but even when plans go awry, you can always fix it.
Favorite piece of Mattermost swag: Classic Blue T-shirt circa 2019.
What Aaron likes: I realize it’s a bit of a luxury, but having my desk in front of a window as my foreground is so nice! Having a dedicated room is great, too.
What Aaron would change: I considered making the bed in my office into a fold-up Murphy bed so I can pace more during meetings. I’ve also thought about having an “On-Air” light outside my office to show I’m on a Zoom call. Could also use a robot babysitter for my kid. Even better, a “Push to Talk” button for my laptop, where it’s always on mute unless I push the button…
Key applications I use everyday:
- Mattermost and browser (duh)
- 1password (highly recommend Family plan if you are the family IT person still)
- Snagit2019 (great for capturing audio, video, editing briefly, then sharing. It has a library for past captures)
- Balsamiq (an oldie, but functional UX sketching program)
Carlos Panato’s Home Office
Team: Cloud Team
Region: Europe, Germany, Berlin
Laptop: Macbook Pro 13”
Monitor: Samsung Curved LED Monitor – CF39x Series
Keyboard: KBParadise; 60% Star Wars key caps
Mouse: Logitech M579
Laptop Stand: Amazon Basics
Desk: Autonomous AI
Printer: HP Color LaserJet MFP M282nw
Microphone: Yeti Blue
Webcam: Logitech C920
Headphones: HyperX KHX-HSCP-RD Cloud II
Other: Elgato Stream Deck, Elgato Key Light, Jabra Speaker, WAVLink Docking Station, Green Background.
What Carlos likes: I really like the desk; I can stand when needed. I’m also in love with the microphone.
What Carlos would change: I wish I had a dedicated room to make my office instead of my bedroom.
Eric Sethna’s Home Office
Region: Squamish, BC, Canada
Desktop: Custom-built (Intel i7 8700k, GTX1080), Windows
Monitor: Dell U2718Q 4K (x3)
Keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard (original AA battery version)
Mouse: Razer Mamba Wireless
Headphones: AirPods Pro
Webcam: Logitech C920
Desk: Built using Anthrodesk electric standing legs and IKEA Karlby 74″ counter top, with a custom cut glass to fit
Other: Qi wireless charger Anker 10W
What Eric likes: I LOVE my legacy magic keyboard. It’s quiet but still satisfying when you hit the keys. The new rechargeable one doesn’t have the right key travel. I’m also happy with the portrait orientations for two monitors since most of the work I do benefits from a taller screen.
What Eric would change: I wish the AirPods Pro were better compatible with Windows!
Isabel Alorro’s Home Office
Region: Burlington County, New Jersey, USA
Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 (14”) laptop
Monitor: Lenovo ThinkVision E2054 19.5″ monitor
Keyboard: Logitech wireless keyboard
Mouse: Logitech wireless mouse
Desk: Autonomous stand-up desk
Favorite item on desk: My three monitors. They’re very important when working with multiple Excel spreadsheets!
Favorite Mattermost swag: Mattermost mug (not pictured here)
Other: Lenovo – Thunderbolt Dock and Apple EarPods with 3.5 mm Headphone Plug; Autonomous Dual Monitor Arm, Autonomous LED Desk Lamp, Autonomous MyoChair with headrest and leg rest.
What Isabel likes: I love my standing desk and ergonomic chair!
What Isabel would change: Nothing! I am pretty satisfied with my workspace. Sometimes, my husband asks to borrow it when he has to write because he loves my workspace too!
Hanna Park’s Home Office
Team: People Team
Region: Toronto, Canada
Laptop: Macbook Pro 13inch, 16 GB i7
Monitor: Dell 23.6″ FHD 75Hz 6ms GTG IPS LED FreeSync Gaming Monitor
Keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech Logi
Laptop Stand: Apple
Printer: HP DeskJet3752
What Hanna likes: I really like the laptop stand. I find I am crouching less.
What Hanna would change: I wish I didn’t buy an inkjet printer. Ink goes by fast—especially the black ink—and it’s super loud.
Marco Kundt’s Home Office
Region: Berlin, Germany
Laptop: Lenovo X395 with Fedora 32
Monitor: Dell P2418D
Keyboard: I own a bunch of keyboards. The two in the photo are a Leopold FC660M with a replaced PCB (Clueboard) with QMK firmware (for macros, custom keymaps, etc.) each. My others are a Kinesis Advantage, a DZ60 (with QMK), and—on some days—a Redox with an oak case.
Mouse: Logitech MX Vertical
Laptop stand: Adam Hall (everyone who wants to be a DJ owns this one)
Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 32 Ohm. I really like simple but powerful stereo audio hardware. There’s no need for surround sound or noise-canceling.
Speaker & TV: XTZ Spirit 4, Onkyo A-9010, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (DC), some Samsung 55″ TV with an Mibox Android TV
Printer: HP Laserjet P2055dn
Favorite item on my desk: My own Dell XPS13
Favorite Mattermost swag: Mattermost mug and the T-shirts (a hoodie would be nice, too!)
Other: A dinosaur, a self-printed Buddha Farnsworth, Mario, Lakitu, and a Maneki-neko.
What Marco likes: I love my standing desk (Autonomous with custom table top) with its tech stuff on it and my sofa and the audio setup. Because my current chair is really uncomfortable, I can’t stand all day long, and I love music,I work at least half of the day on the sofa. While I’m alone at home, I place myself in the stereo triangle, open Spotify and my laptop, and enter the zone.
What Marco would change: The ErgoChair I ordered arrives soon! My back will be thankful.
Sven Hüster’s Home Office
Region: Berlin, Germany
Laptop: ThinkPad X390 with Fedora 31, although I also have a separate SSD in my desktop with Ubuntu 20.04 for Mattermost stuff if my laptop isn’t powerful enough.
Monitor: Dell U2719D and Samsung C32HG70
Keyboard: CM Masterkeys M with Cherry Red, CM MK750 with Cherry Brown, CM MK750 with Cherry Blue. I recently built myself a negative tilt wrist rest to combat some of my hand pain. It works good so far but is not quite finished yet.
Mouse: Logitech G640
Laptop Stand: Don’t have one
Desk: Custom built with a height adjustable frame and a 180cm walnut table-top.
Chair: ErgoChair 2 without armrests. They are super annoying because they always keep me from sitting comfortably and also they feel super cheap considering the price of the chair.
Printer: HP LaserJet M2727 and Creality Ender 3 Pro
Headphones: Superlux HD-330 (basically a knockoff DT-990 Pro), Sony wh-1000-xm3, Sennheiser HD25. These have been through hell and back with me; I think they’re almost 20 years old. I’ve sat on them, stepped on them, and have thrown them around, I’ve only had to replace the speakers once.
Microphone: Superlux E205
Favorite item on desk: Probably my audio interface, Steinberg UR22. Best audio interface I’ve ever owned, great for my microphone and recording guitars. Also, it just works out of the box on every operating system I’ve tried it with and has great sound quality and separate volume control for my speakers and headphones.
Favorite Mattermost swag: The blue shirt and the pictures from Mattercon 2019 and 2020.
Guitars: GIO Ibanez GAX 70 (with new locking tuners and Seymour Duncan JB-1 in the bridge), Ibanez RGIR20BFE-WNF (with new locking tuners and EMG80 and EMG81), Ibanez RGAIXFM (with Seymour Duncan SH4/SH2 and Goldö Locking Tuners) and an 8 string Harley Benton, but that one was just for fun.
Other: A PostgreSQL stress ball that I got at Fosdem 2020. I really only have the PC on my desk because the cables are too short and I’d really like it to be under the table again to make some room on the top. But to do that, I have to order new cables for almost everything.
What Sven likes: I really like the chair and desk. Standing from time to time really makes a big difference.
What Sven would change: I wish I could reclaim some desk space by moving the PC back to the floor. I also want to get some new VESA Mounts for the screens and a new microphone arm because the one I have now is starting to fall apart.
Harrison Healey’s Home Office
Region: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Laptop: 2018 MacBook Pro 15″
Monitor: 2x Dell S2719DGF (1440p 144Hz Freesync)
Other PCs: My gaming PC (on the left under my desk) and my media server (on the right under my desk)
Keyboard: Corsair K70 RGB (Cherry Blue)
Mouse: Razer Naga Trinity
Laptop stand: None (but I’ve been saying I should get one for two years now)
Printer: Brother HL-L3270CDW (wireless color laser printer because my last inkjet got clogged and I decided to go for something overkill even though I rarely print stuff)
Desk: Ikea BEKANT standing desk
Chair: DXRacer King Series ZERO
Other: A webcam arm so that I can point the webcam straight down to play paper Magic over Discord, a $5 button to switch between headphone and speaker audio output, lots of sticky notes (to remind me of things to do and music to listen to)
Favorite item on desk: One of the following:
- An old Magic card that’s signed by the artist that my parents got me for Christmas (Field of Dreams signed by Kaja Foglio for anyone interested)
- Piles of Magic cards that are always around (great to shuffle when you need something to fiddle with)
- A couple 3D printed models I made (my main WoW character and an N-scale model of the world’s largest Muskoka chair)
Favorite Mattermost swag: My color-changing Mattermost security mug
What Harrison likes: I’m really comfortable with my keyboard, mouse, and monitor setup, and I like that I can move them between my PC and desktop fairly easily.
What Harrison would change: My chair might get replaced at some point since it’s a bit too big and that causes me to hunch or slump backwards. Despite the above, I could use a KVM switch so that I don’t have to swap my monitors from my PC to laptop by moving cables constantly.
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