Minimalist WFH setup help (again)
March 27, 2022 9:32 AM   Subscribe

My WFH setup is different than last time I asked a similar question, and I'm again seeking help with peripheral selection as well as organization to have an aesthetically pleasing work space that is also technologically sound and easy to work with.

The biggest change from previous setup is I bought a vertical laptop stand that holds both laptops, and it sits next to the docking station. I also had to replace the docking station as part of a troubleshooting journey to solve getting kicked off the VPN too frequently.

Currently, I have 2 monitors on a single arm via grommet, with one laptop connected at any given time. Work exchanged the Kensington docking station for an HP docking station that I hate. (It has twice the cords, no pd charging like the other one had, but replacing the old dock with this one solved my VPN problem for some strange reason.) I'm thinking of getting my own docking station to be sure I have what I want.

I need a docking station that has the following features:
- space for 2+ USB receivers
- pd charging
- Ethernet port
- dual monitor capabilities via HDMI or DP ports (A:BB and A:B:C), although one that could also handle triple monitors would be good in case I expand in the future.
- can successfully run a plug and play webcam via USB (Current webcam is freezing up since changing docking stations, but only on the work computer/TEAMS etc.. it's still fine on the personal computer using Google Meet and Zoom. Prior to changing docking stations, the webcam ran fine on the work computer but had started flickering intermittently using Google Meet on the personal laptop.)

I also want a nice clean look. Right now all those cords are a mess and it stresses me out. I've got the docking station perched on yoga blocks next to my vertical monitor stand so I can slide it onto the desk if I need different access, both on the top shelf of an Ikea RASKOG. Most of the cords go under the desk where I have power stations and such.

I don't want a bunch of cords on my desk. I see picture reviews of docking stations on Amazon and it is like nails on a chalkboard to see what level of visual chaos other people can tolerate.

Additional complications: it's an electronic sit/stand desk so my cords need to work under variable heights. Most of the height-dependent stuff is plugged into a power strip clamped to part of the desk leg that stays static when adjusting the height.

I am logistically challenged and fairly tech savvy but less so for the hardware side of things. Any suggestions for optimization, specific docking stations that meet these requirements, etc are appreciated. If my description of the current setup is not adequate for you to help, please say so and I'll try to link a photo.
posted by crunchy potato to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How much money are you willing to throw at cable management? If you have a Cadillac budget, Humanscale will take (a lot of) your money.

For something cheaper, look for a power strip designed to be wall mounted and attach it to the underside of the desktop itself. Then you would only have one power cable that needed slack in it, plus I guess a network cable. For those two you would set the desk at its max height and use something like these to bundle them into one thing that can coil somewhat more neatly as the desk lowers. Rack mount computers designed for data centers have cable management arms so you could fake something like that with wood and some hinges, although it might look a bit too janky. I'd start with a power strip attached to the desktop and ties or velcro for the (reduced number of) dangling cables, and see if that's enough.
posted by fedward at 10:11 AM on March 27, 2022

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