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To work from the road, we needed the van to also serve as a mobile office. It’s hard enough to have an ergonomic work space at home or at an office. It was an even bigger challenge to make the limited space comfortable enough for both of us to work part (or full) time.
Seating in the Van
Car seats are already built for comfort. Plus, they are infinitely adjustable. This makes them surprisingly good office chairs. The trick is to install a swivel seat in the van so that the seat can face toward the living area. This worked so well on the passenger seat that we’re considering adding a second swivel adapter on the driver’s seat.
The sofa bed also serves as a good seat to work from. We just needed a desk of the right height.
Mobile Office Desk
“Marine” equipment (made for boats) is an excellent search term when looking for things for the van. In this case, we found an adjustable-height table stand for our mobile office. The arm of the table can be removed from the floor:
Note that the tabletop itself did not come with the pedestal. I built it using a standard 24″ round pine board from Lowe’s (about $28), plus some Red Oak stain and Danish Oil. The table stand did include all the other hardware for attaching the tabletop, though.
It’s a bit tight trying to fit two laptops on the 24″ round table. I added an ergonomic monitor arm, which allows a second laptop to float in the air.
I got very lucky here. The Ergotron monitor arm happens to fit the bolt-holes of the Ford Transit 250 perfectly. I simply removed the handle which comes with the van, exactly where the arm is attached to the wall in the above photo, and replaced it with the monitor attachment. I didn’t need to drill new holes because both the top and bottom holes of the Erogtron arm matched those of the Ford Transit’s handle.
Internet and Power
Last but not least, our little home (er, van) mobile office needed internet and power. Throughout the van, I used copper pipes as wire conduit. I ran a DC power line to the front right corner, along with two ethernet cables.
The advantage to this setup, as I explained in the posts on off-grid electricity, is that it never does an AC/DC conversion. This outlet provides 60W of power, which is enough to charge a laptop (like a MacBook Pro). However, I later discovered a 90W adapter:
This exceeds the 87W provided by the official MacBook Pro chargers, meaning it charges a laptop even faster than the above 60W option.