When I first told friends I was quitting my job to go freelance, the first thing most said was how I could work from my bed, or the sofa. Anywhere I can place a laptop I could work, they reasoned.
While this sounds perfect to anyone accustomed to wasting two or three hours a day commuting, spending nine hours in an air-tight office, and developing a whole range of clicks and cracks in their soon-to-be RSI-riddled wrists, all I could see was a slippery slope.
Is working from bed or the sofa really such a good idea? No, it is not. At least for me - if you work from bed while wearing pizza-stained pyjamas then more power to you, quite frankly. Perhaps you’re a more evolved work-from-homo sapien than I am.
From the outset, from the moment I handed in my notice, I knew I needed a proper workspace. I even started following loads of Instagram accounts dedicated to cool-looking work space.
Thankfully, a housemate used to work from home but for a real, grown-up financial service company which provided him with a big desk and a swivel chair. He’s since changed jobs so I’ve commandeered said office furniture and have wasted no time in turning the corner in our lounge previously reserved for junk and emergency party seating into an office.
I also stole his PC monitor, for which I bought a USB-C cable to connect my MacBook Pro. I then dug an old wireless Apple keyboard out of a drawer, bought a Magic Trackpad from eBay, hooked up a pair of Bose desk speakers which I’ve had for about a decade, and I was good to go.
But then I thought, if this is going to be my workspace - not just an office I go to each day, but my own space, where I am to effectively run my own company, be my own boss and forge a career, shouldn’t I do a bit more than the bare minimum?
Yes, obviously. So I bought some plants from a website called Patch, which operates in London, gives its plants human name (I bought a Susie), and is generally just a cool company with an attractive website and friendly customer service. Susie (a plant literally recommended by Nasa, which gives off oxygen at night and is, quote, ‘almost impossible to kill’) was joined by a couple of succulents. Of course, I now have the desire to fill every spare place with plants, but these three will do for now. As soon as I find a rectangular planter to fit under the monitor, there will be more.
I also bought an Anglepoise lamp - or rather, a knockoff of one of those lamps which looks like the Pixar logo. It’s really cool. I have it clamped to the desk and it moves to pretty much any position with minimal effort.
The only issue I have with it is self-inflicted. I was sent a set of smart Ikea lightbulbs to try out - light bulbs which wirelessly connect to a hub, which is turn connects to your Wi-Fi router and a smartphone app that can adjust the brightness and warms of our bulb. Smart, but the bulbs are heavy and mean my finely-balanced lamp can’t stand up in a couple of positions. Also, I can’t for the life of me get the system to work, so it’s just a bulb. A dumb bulb with no app or internet connection. Am I even a technology journalist anymore? Who knows.
Tucked away in the corner, to the left of the monitor, is an Awair air quality sensor. I was sent this to review as part of a feature on I wrote on using technology to help improve sleep. The Awair monitors temperature, humidity, CO2, chemicals and dust, then gives a score out of 100. Where my bedroom is always in the 90s, I’m struggling to get the air in the lounge/kitchen-cum-office above 80. The dust levels are always very high, which can affect concentration and cause headaches, so I’ll be looking to air this room as much as possible during my working hours. Also, this is a damn cool-looking gadget - it’s made of wood, for crying out loud. I love it.
Other office stuff includes my iPad Pro with Apple's keyboard dock and the Apple Pencil, which is super useful for note taking while out and about, and by far the most convenient way to sign emailed documents. No more printing and scanning.
On top of that is the Moleskine smart pen with notebook and a 2018 planner. The pen works as normal, but also has a camera which beams everything you write to an accompanying iPhone and iPad app. It's awesome, but even better is the new annual planner, which puts events into your iPhone or Gmail calendar when you write them in the diary. Genius.
Finally, I bought a poster. I’ve always loved the style of 1960s and 70s Monaco Grand Prize posters. I once printed a dozen out and blu-tac’d them to my bedroom wall, only for the paint to stain, knocking a few quid off my deposit when I moved out. Learned my lesson and bough white-tac this time around. The poster is a collection of three, from 1965, 1966 and 1970, and I think they look brilliant, adding a bit of Cote d’Azure style to an others blank wall.
That’s about it, for now. I want to buy a few more plants and I should really buy myself an office chair - one which is a) more comfortable, b) actually mine and c) doesn’t sink down every so often for no reason at all. Then I can buy a footstool, because I’m short and working all day with dangling legs isn’t advised after primary school.