For the past two years, I’ve bounced from city to city, apartment to apartment, confidently migrating my home office without fear of disrupting my workflow. Before coronavirus, I thought I’d figured it out.
Now that I’m in Arizona with family for the foreseeable future, I’ve had to adapt and figure out how to work remotely outside of the environment I built for myself. For the past couple weeks that’s meant no larger monitor, no ergonomic keyboard or mouse, no comfy chair, and no plants to liven the place up a bit. It’s been a rough adjustment.
Gathering up everything that made my home setup feel so cozy or productive would be costly and tedious, but something needed to be done.
Since I left my monitor back in California and I don’t want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a new one, I started toying with Apple’s SideCar feature, which lets you use your iPad (all Pro models, 6th-generation iPad or later, 5th-gen iPad Mini or later, and third-gen iPad Air) to mirror your Mac’s screen, or use it as a second monitor.
It’s a great feature that works without too many hiccups, but the iPad alone won’t work as a good monitor without some serious ergonomic upgrades.
After doing some digging online, I found the Saiji iPad Stand, a nifty little accessory that will hold your iPad in either portrait or landscape mode, making it act more like a traditional monitor than a tablet. It also has an extendable neck to reach different heights, based on your ergonomic needs.
Since I have the 11-inch iPad Pro, the screen isn’t big enough to be my primary screen, but it’s nice to keep my email app and Slack handy so I can take a quick peek at my messages without getting pulled away from what I’m working on. Even with that limitation, the Saiji stand has given me a lot more flexibility in my work than I’d had before, and at $45 it’s a cheap way to quickly get more screen space if you have an iPad handy.
There’s more to it than that, though. If you like getting your work done on your iPad like I do, this stand is a great way to turn your iPad into a full-blown workstation, paired with the right Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (with iPad OS’s newly added mouse support). While it’s not totally necessary, you should also get a USB-C to USB-C cable for less input lag and a snappier experience. Nobody likes choppy scrolling.
Oh, and once you’ve signed off Slack for the night, you can swap out your iPad for a Nintendo Switch and spend some quality times with your pals on their cute lil’ Animal Crossing island.