Comfort Works


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Hot Desk: A programme manager's WFH desk setup

Hot Desk is a new series featuring our desks.

The pandemic has changed the way we work as we know it. This series will feature various professionals – all of whom require very different set-ups and workday essentials. Some may be fully WFH, some a hybrid set up as the world opens, and some with an actual office outside of home.

Whatever the set-up, we’re curious to know where (at home) you work, how you work and what you do. Tell us about a productivity hack, a ritual you do to get your workday started, or if you have something on your desk to remind you of life outside of work. We want to know about it! 

Wern Wong is a 33-year old technical programme manager at a tech company based in Seattle, Washington. As a programme manager, her work day is filled with meetings. (“Essentially, meetings with people I would see if I didn’t have to WFH.”) 

Like the rest of us, she had to retreat into her home in March 2020 and has been working from home exclusively ever since. By this coming September, however, she will begin to move towards going into the office 3 days a week. For full workdays from 8.30am to 6.00pm, she has to sit in front of a computer. She lets us in on how she breaks the monotony with a few fun things and what she misses the most from the office.

Wern’s WFH setup

What does a workday look like for you?

“My day consists of meetings. I would like to have focus blocks but I just take whatever time I can get when I don’t have any meetings. If I were to break it down, I spend 80% of my time in meetings or preparing for meetings. 20% of focus time is probably accurate, which is sprinkled in between all the meetings. It’s not ideal but it is reality. My day-to-day varies a lot.”

Tell us about your WFH set-up.

“Why I need this set up is because I spend a lot of time sitting at this computer staring at a camera. I also spend a lot of time typing and taking notes physically – to-do lists, sketching on pieces of paper and puzzling things out. I like physically writing things, drawing and writing it out.”

Fidget spinners and origami keep Wern’s fingers busy between calls

What do you miss about the office?

“People and whiteboards. I now have an iPad and an Apple pencil to do all the aforementioned drawing and writing but I miss whiteboards.

Wern’s WFH must-haves

Chair: “It’s a pretty epic chair, it’s the single most expensive piece of furniture I own. It’s the Herman Miller Aeron.”

Keyboard tray: “The desk height was giving me neck and shoulder problems, so I have a keyboard tray because my ideal typing height is lower. ”

Squirrel acorn toy:  “All it does is shoot acorns, but its presence entertains me. My colleague was running an impromptu randomness competition and I won the randomness. It was a gift basically. I also have a bag of acorns that’s fallen underneath the desk.”

Fidget spinners: “So hilariously, the fidget habit is new. I used to be able to walk between buildings to get to meetings so there obviously was way more physical activity. But now I need something to play with since I’m stuck in just one spot while I roll from one video call to another.”

Massage ball“I also have a massage ball, which is just a lacrosse ball. Sitting in the same spot for a long time hurts – you’ve seen the reports. I lean against the wall which is next to the desk and it massages out the pain and suffering – not the suffering, just the pain.”

Succulent: “I have this succulent, is that sentimental?”

Mabel Ho is a writer and editor. She loves pop culture criticism and podcasts, often listening to them at 1.5x speed like a monster. Follow her at @lynnegweeny