It started with my neck. On the very first morning of Azure‘s coronavirus-induced transition to remote work, a deepening stiffness began to settle into my spinal column. The next day – after a series of sad experiments in working from the couch, a makeshift book-pile desk, the kitchen table and my bed – a sore back became my ever-present companion. A mere week later, and my whole body feels (at least) a decade older.
It’s only temporary, I tell myself. But even so, it doesn’t have to be quite this uncomfortable. As much of the global workforce transitions to working from home in the face of COVID-19, architects Perkins and Will and furniture manufacturers Stykka are creating inexpensive solutions to help our make ad hoc set-ups much more ergonomic – all thanks to cardboard.
“Our backs were hurting from hunching over our laptop screens at the kitchen table, and our coworkers were often treated to unflattering angles on our video calls,” write Perkins and Will, describing a transition painfully familiar to many of us. (I, for one, was happier not knowing I had so many chins).
As a result, the global architecture firm has developed an easy – and eminently affordable – solution to improve home office ergonomics. Dubbed the Insta Office, the design allows a standard cardboard delivery box to be re-made into a laptop or monitor stand, bringing screens to more comfortable heights. The cardboard stand can be configured to comfortably accommodate a keyboard, or to support a larger stand-alone screen.
The plans are freely available to download online via a PDF template, along with detailed step-by-step instructions written in plain language. “All you’ll need is a delivery box, markers, and scissors,” note Perkins and Will.
While it may be tempting – if prohibitively expensive – to splash out on a sophisticated home office for those that have the extra space, it also helps to remember that COVID-19 won’t last forever. Fortunately, Danish furniture start-up Stykka has introduced a compact do-it-yourself desking solution that reflects the precarity of our time. In name and function, the #StayTheF***Home Desk is nothing if not a product of March 2020.
The desks can be ordered online and delivered, or – for those with an ample supply of cardboard and a laser cutter – they can be printed at home. While the flat-packed desk retails for a mere US$85, the open-source design is also freely available to replicate.
Stykka’s compact desk measures 120 centimetres wide, 62 centimetres deep and 82 centimetres high. Held together with cable ties, #StayTheF***Home can be assembled in as little as eight minutes. When all is said and done, it’s also recyclable.
From sore backs to unflattering Zoom angles, these simple innovations offer inexpensive fixes for the home office.