Ryan Schlecht built his first PC battle station in 2012, before his daughter was born. Recently, however, he felt the need to shake things up. He was nothing if not meticulous about it. After a year of planning and research, he spent the entire summer slowly but surely assembling his state-of-the-art hardware piece by piece. “It came out better than expected,” says Schlecht, who maintains a YouTube channel dedicated to the ins and outs of crafting a command center like his.
Thus, when the order came down that he was to work remotely full-time during quarantine, he was unfazed, if not excited, for the transition. “Not just [for] having a dedicated workspace. The functionality and aesthetics of my battle station have been huge,” he tells me. “I’m able to get my job done and be comfortable doing it.”
As millions of others stumble their way into Week Three of transforming their homes into their offices on the fly (with middling, often unsatisfying results), battle station enthusiasts like Schlecht have been comfortably hunkered down in the trenches with dual-screen, backlit, multifunctional desks, light-up keyboards and surround-sound speakers. And while their setups may have originally been built for gaming, their battle stations are proving equally effective against seemingly interminable WFH quarantine.
For his part, Schlecht built his bunker around the exact environment he needs to stay focused. For starters, in order to properly separate his work from his personal life, he keeps his personal and work computers apart via a custom-built L-shaped desk with IKEA countertops. Then, for added texture and ergonomics, he’s created an “accent wall of 3D panels” and installed Philips Hue lighting that he “can change based upon mood or time of day.” Not to mention, he splurged on a great chair, which has proven to be a game-changer now that he sits in it all day, every day.
Brian, a 26-year-old student in Virginia, on the other hand, is using quarantine as an excuse to break out the power tools and finally build his “dream desk.” “So far, the project has been very time-consuming, and it seems like these types of things are never perfect,” he says. “But there’s definitely something to be said about improved productivity when you’re happy with your space. Coming from a desk with a usable area of 47 inches by 23 inches, my new desk is almost twice the space at 74 inches by 25 inches, which really allows me to spread out and have multiple projects going at once.”
In particular, now that he’s a full-time online student, his multiple monitors have been helpful for reading and writing — “a vertical monitor is a must-have for any work/school set-up,” he says — but he also enjoys using them to watch movies while simultaneously browsing Reddit.
But, of course, it doesn’t stop there — despite this being his maiden battle-station voyage. “On the far left is my Uniden SDS200 scanner for monitoring police and fire/EMS traffic in the area,” he explains. “In the center is my prized, custom Drop CTRL keyboard with DSA profile PBT caps, Kailh Navy switches and a homemade cable. On the back to the left of my laptop is my jar of MX Cherry Blue switches, which came out of this keyboard. To the left of that is a thirtysomething-year-old LCD digital clock that’s been passed down from my dad.”
To a mere civilian, it might look like overkill. But for Brian, it’s a whole new world. “Now when I have to pull out my laptop to complete homework assignments anywhere else, without my extra monitors and desk area, I can tell you that there’s a significant lack of motivation.”
And so, you better believe that guys like Brian and Schlecht will be strapped into their battle stations till the quarantine is no more. Because for them, there’s no such thing as plopping down on the couch to “send a few emails” — and the road to success in this quarantine will be paved with LED lights.