My Working From Home Setup During COVID-19

Google, like many other companies, has a required working from home (WFH) policy during the COVID-19 crisis. It has taken me a bit, but now I have found a decent WFH setup.

The Hardware

School bench on two chairs. On top of the school bench are shoe boxes with a laptop on top and two iPads surrounding it.
My COVID-19 working from home setup

The Software

  • The Sidecar feature, so I can use my iPad Pro as a second screen with my MacBook Air. The coolest about this feature is that I can multitask it away (see next bullet) without the laptop readjusting the screen arrangement.
  • The Hangouts Meet app on my iPad Pro, so my laptop performance stays unaffected when I am on a video call. A nice side-effect is that the camera of the iPad Pro is in the middle of my two screens, so no weird "looking over the other person" effect when I am on a call.
  • The Gmail app on my iPad Air, so I can always have an eye on my email.
  • (Honorable mention) The iDisplay app on the iPad Air with the iDisplay server running on the laptop, so I can use the iPad Air as a third screen. Unfortunately, since I do not have another free USB C port on my laptop, it is really laggy over Wi-Fi, but works when I really need maximum screen real estate.
  • (Out of scope) The Free Sidecar project promises to enable Sidecar on older iPads like my iPad Air 2, since apparently Apple simply blocks older devices for no particular reason. It requires temporarily turning off System Integrity Protection, which is something I cannot (and do not want to) do on my corporate laptop.

The Furniture

  • A school desk—This is a desk we had bought earlier on eBay, placed on two kids' chairs to convert it into a standing desk.
  • Some shoe boxes to elevate the two main screens to eye height. I had quite some neck pain during the first couple of days.

It is definitely not perfect, but I am quite happy with it now. I very much want the crisis to be over, but (with the kids back in school), I could probably get used to permanently working from home.