Relief in the land of the cubes

I've always wanted a really huge desk - a big, polished one that would hold all the things I'm working on as well as the personal touches that make the space my own.  But like so many of us, I work in a cubicle surrounded by more cubicles, and I'm constantly balancing what is in front of me.  One of my favorite things on the desk is also the biggest obstacle to that balance:  my monitor. Having a second monitor is a huge plus - working between multiple spreadsheets is much easier, and the added size is a big plus when I'm creating presentations or editing pictures.  I could do a whole blog on the value of a second monitor.  That said, it takes up a lot of desk real estate, and my particular monitor has no adjustment for height at all, only tilt. 

Today I took the ten minutes required to install Lenovo's new Extend Arm (part number 57Y4352), three of which were looking for a screwdriver needed to remove the existing stand.  Mounting the display to the arm was tool-less simplicity itself - I put the pole at the edge of my desk and used the screw clamp to secure it.  Four thumb screws mount the display to the arm, and the arm mounts to the pole using a quick-release clamp very similar to what you'd see on a bicycle.  There are some convenient hooks for threading your cables and keeping them out of the way. The transformation of my workspace was instant.  Where my monitor used to sit and take up space I can now put a medium pizza, my coffee cup, pictures of my kids or, of course, more work.  Adjusting the height of the display is a three second task with the quick release clamp, and I can very easily move the monitor to show co-workers the screen or push it fully out of the way to maximize desk space.

One unexpected benefit was the ability to use Portrait mode:  I swivel the monitor, switch to portrait mode and instantly news sites, portals and blog sites are  a whole different experience.  If wide-screen is what you want for movies and video media, portrait viewing is perfect for many, many websites like Wall Street Journal, USAToday, Engadget and Lenovo's MSN landing page.  Video media is wide, but the web is tall.  Writing up speaker notes in PowerPoint proved a lot more convenient as well.


Now when I look at my desk, not only do I see a lot more usable space, I also see an old display that has learned some new tricks, and my cube feels a little less like a box and more like an expansive workspace.