While remote work is prevalent in 2022, Camber Creative has been fully remote since its inception. This pretty much makes us experts on what consists of a great remote workspace for maximum comfort and efficiency.
This new series called Camber Workspaces will give readers a glimpse into our team’s unique workspaces and how these workspaces set our magic-makers up for career success.
Meet our Senior Client Engagement Manager, Joe Bushey, and read all about his workspace and how crucial an efficient and versatile setup is to his career success.
Products Included in Joe’s Workspace
Above is a bird’s eye view of where I spend the most time focusing on work.
The most important part of the setup starts with the infrastructure. Based on the amount of video conferencing required, it’s a must. The entire house has structured wiring that basically allows for a hardwired network connection wherever needed. The wireless network is the latest generation Wireless 6E, wireless mesh system, the Netgear Orbi RBK 963. This puts wireless hardware on each floor of the house and the wired backbone that ties it all together is 2.5 gigabit. There’s great wireless coverage anywhere on the property. As icing on the cake, we were fortunate enough to score internet service with Gigabit upload and download speeds. So regardless of where the work is getting done, my bases are covered when it comes to connecting quickly and reliably.
Investing in Philips Hue smart bulbs gives me complete control over the lighting, day and night. EVERY bulb in the house is a Philips Hue smart bulb. Setting the lights to a bright white during the day helps with concentration. Setting the lights to a dimmer, warm hue, to filter blue light at night automatically, helps me wind down in the evenings.
While I’ll touch on three different workspaces I use in my home, I’ll go most in-depth when talking about what’s included in my primary workspace, since I spend the most time working there.
Workspace #1: Joe’s Primary Workspace
A lot of work was put into this setup. Below are the details for most of the items included:
The desk itself is just a 48” table top, originally intended for a conference room table. As a plus, there was no metal trim to get in the way of mounting things to the table top using desk clamps.
The 55 inch wide monitor riser / desk mounted shelf gives me space to tuck things underneath as needed and gets everything out of my way to minimize distractions. It also helped get the monitor mount at the height needed to be ergonomically correct.
Tucked behind the left monitor is a Razer Core X, external GPU. Basically, this offloads graphics processing from the laptop to a gaming capable, 3D GPU. It helps the laptop to run cooler, which makes it less noisy. It has a supported Nvidia 3D graphics card inside.
A dual monitor mount attaches to the elevated monitor riser / shelf. This is extremely adjustable but they are usually in the position shown.
Dual 28” Samsung 4k Displays are attached to the monitor arms. The laptop is partially open to help with cooling. 56” of screen real estate is more than enough for a typical work day. Due to not having the greatest vision, the display scaling is set to 200%. This also helps when presenting documents during video conferencing as well.
A Logitech Brio 4k Webcam is above the monitor on the left.
A “Blue Yeticaster Professional” Microphone is on the left. It really is second to none in terms of audio quality.
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II Noise Canceling Headphones Bluetooth or hardwired.The hardwired cable is kept handy as a backup to the Bluetooth, though they get decent battery life. The microphone built into these is probably good enough for most people.
The laptop sits on top of a notebook cooling tray with built-in fans. These fans are much quieter than the fans in the laptop and helps keep it running cool. There’s an extra piece of glass mounted between the monitor mount and the riser to give the room needed for the laptop and cooling tray.
Plugable Thunderbolt Dock - With USB 3 hub, gigabit ethernet, Thunderbolt 3 PC connection and second Thunderbolt 3 connection to the Razer Core X eGPU. The laptop doesn’t have many ports, so this is required to connect all the accessories. There’s another USB hub as well to provide a couple of additional ports, if needed.
The mouse is a Logitech MX Master 3.
The keyboard is a Corsair K100 Mechanical Keyboard. The “clicky” mechanical keyboard is really satisfying, and, no, the microphone doesn’t pick it up when on calls.
Bose Desktop Speakers for when not using my headphones
Mesh desk chair made for all day use with great adjustments for chair height, armrest height, etc.
Dell Alienware x15 R2 laptop with the following specs:
15.6” UHD display (I keep it off while docked)
32 GB RAM
Intel Core i9 processor with speeds up to 5Ghz
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU
Dual 2TB SSD Hard Drives running RAID 0
Running under Windows 11 Pro
Optionally the dock also supports my MacBook Pro! Every bit of the hardware is Mac compatible and “just works.” And yes, the Camber team gives me a hard time about the HP Color Laserjet printer monstrosity on the left. Thankfully there isn’t much printing to do, so it does the job just fine.
Workspace #2: Joe’s Secondary Workspace
This is for the MacBook Pro setup (which is the last model with the touch bar above the keyboard.) This is my preferred, mobile laptop of choice when leaving the house. It has a basic monitor mount that also has a built-in stand for the MacBook Pro to raise it to eye level.
Workspace #3: Joe’s Workspace When Lounging
This setup has an amazing laptop stand that allows you to sit, stand or anything in between. In fact, it was great enough to get two of them. Most importantly, it helps you to work in a more ergonomic fashion, which can be challenging with a couch.
I get the urge every now and again to work in a different space than my usual desk and this helps to do so productively. It’s comforting to know that I can work from just about anywhere. It helps to keep remote work interesting.
Reasons this Setup is Effective
I know I can count on this configuration and have a ready to go backup should anything fail. Both my MacBook and PC can do all I need to do for my position. The various workspace options provide a tremendous amount of flexibility. Each workspace provides fantastic ergonomics and in turn helps me to maintain good posture and health.
I enjoy gaming just enough to want the option to do so if the right game comes along. It can be a welcomed break from a hard day’s work to get lost in a good game.
The overall specs are unapologetically overkill. As a technology enthusiast, it’s great to keep pace with cutting edge technology. It comes in handy to be able to virtualize multiple machines and complex environments when testing.But the real reason for it was all about flexibility and the desire to be able to tackle anything that may come up – for work or play.
Joe’s Favorite Work-from-Anywhere Tips
Having an ergonomically correct workspace is crucial to health and productivity. By sitting up straight and putting your shoulders back, you gain more than 30% additional lung capacity on every breath. It has profound impacts on your health. The equipment you choose directly contributes to how well you can maintain good posture. Here are the most important items to consider:
Don’t look down at a screen at desk height, etc. You want to have the top of your screen at eye level or even a bit higher. It encourages you to sit up straight. Plus you will have considerably less neck pain after a long day.
Get a great under desk keyboard tray that’s wide enough for your mouse. This is because reaching forward for the mouse over the course of the day can cause injury over time.
Get a really well-built, adjustable office chair. This should include adjustable armrest height and adjustable chair height at a minimum.
Invest in a highly adjustable laptop stand that puts your laptop at a comfortable viewing angle and height and also adds a mouse tray. There are many laptop stands that work well. This is for working at the couch or similar cozy chair when you want to get away from a desk.
Conducting Effective Client Meetings Remotely
It’s downright stressful when you lose control over the environment when trying to conduct meetings. I have young children which really compounds these challenges. Some of the most effective tips that have helped me to adapt to my environment and overcome these challenges are as follows:
If at all possible, try to get a dedicated space for meetings. This is usually a quiet room with a desk or other space devoted to work. I’m fortunate enough to have a large space devoted to work.
Get a great microphone if you can. There are some great PC headsets with good quality microphones. I prefer something more like a professional streamer set up with a boom mic.
Now with that big, boom mic, you’re probably thinking “That’s crazy, it picks up every noise in the house.” That’s entirely true. That’s where Krisp.ai comes in. Their online subscription service is just $60 currently for individuals and it removes all background noise from your calls. It’s far better than any other technology I’ve tested. If you’re a Windows user, you can even train it to only detect your voice and it filters all other voices from the audio. We did some wild tests with the kids, drumming on my desk, and all sorts of noise like clapping and singing and it was 100% effective filtering all but my voice. It’s as if their voices were dubbed out entirely. You can find more details at https://krisp.ai (and we hear that Mac support for “voice cancellation” is in the works!) It also filters out the obnoxious, mechanical keyboard noise as I type.
Get a high-quality webcam. Many laptops have built in cameras that aren’t very good. Higher-end logitech webcams are usually a good option.
Use some high quality headphones. This helps avoid echo and helps to minimize distractions. I use Bose QC 35 II noise canceling headphones to further cut down background noise while working.
A great internet connection is a must. Get the fastest available option if you can. 50Mbps is probably about the lowest speed you can get away with.
Practice Remote Workplace Healthy Habits
It’s easy to fall into the pattern of working long stretches without a break when working remotely. This makes you susceptible to a lot of health issues if it goes unchecked over time. The following habits are highly recommended:
Every 30 minutes or so, take a stretch break and look at something far away for a few minutes. If you can take some deep breaths while you’re at it, your brain will thank you for it.
Don’t forget to exercise! A good portion of my workspace has a range of exercise equipment. This includes a treadmill, an elliptical, hand weights and more. A “rebounder” – basically a mini trampoline, is awesome right before a big meeting to help get you pumped up. You can do jumping jacks, pushups, sit-ups and other related exercises.. There’s also always the option of going for a walk.
Use good posture. Slouching for long periods of time can really cause neck problems and other health ailments.
Make sure to schedule lunch breaks and other times to recharge if at all possible. Make sure to block off focus time, lunch breaks, and start of day and end of day routines on your calendar.
No two workspaces are the same and that’s one of the beauties of working remotely. You are free to customize and iterate to continue building on success, not only in your careers, but for yourself as well. Are you going to try any of these work-from-anywhere tips? Drop your own work-from-anywhere suggestions in the comments!
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