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'Couch desk,' the latest work-from-home gizmo, deserves a sitting ovation

Do you have Don Draper aspirations but Homer Simpson's love of not wearing pants? Then you might want to check out the Couchmaster CYCON, an ingenious invention that allows you to conquer those spreadsheets and leverage your wheelhouse from the comfort of your sofa.

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FARGO — Sure, more employees are being called back to work, but some employees have found remote work has become a permanent option for them.

As the boundaries between home and work — or “hork" — have blurred, it makes sense that some visioneers out there would capitalize on the trend by inventing hybrid furniture.

Is it simply a matter of time before someone invents an air fryer that gives us performance reviews, a shower that shows us training videos while we shampoo, or an exercise bike that requires our heart rates to reach a certain point before it allows us to make copies?

But until then, we have to settle for already-existing hork inventions, like the Couchmaster CYCON.

Do you have Don Draper aspirations but Homer Simpson's love of not wearing pants? Then you might want to check out the CYCON, an ingenious gizmo that allows you to conquer those spreadsheets and leverage your wheelhouse from the comfort of your sofa. It also can be used for gaming.

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The Couchmaster CYCON2 allows everyone from remote workers to gamers to work (or play) from the comfort of the couch.
Contributed / Nerdytec

The Couchmaster CYCON was designed by German company NerdyTec, but is manufactured in China. At $179, the CYCON2 is the mid-priced model — sort of the Mercedes CLS class of the couch-desk world — but seems to have everything a conscientious couch jockey would need to conquer that low-hanging fruit while synergizing one's bandwidth.

If you happen to be a Fortune 500 CEO who works from a futon, you might consider the Titan edition for $399, with a support board containing “inlays made of precious titanium” and cushions covered “with finest nappa leather.” (Apparently it can be offensive for a billionaire’s rarefied wrists to rest on plebian plastic.)

I ordered a review desk from Couchmaster (translation: I did not pay for it) several weeks ago and have tried it several times since then. Here are my thoughts.

PROS

  • It was carefully packaged and well-made. The two armrest cushions come in a vacuum-sealed bag, which helps reduce the size of the box for shipping. Once cushions are removed, they'll need at least a few hours to naturally “grow” back to their full size of 23 ½ inches long by 6 ½ inches high.
  • It's sleek and nice-looking, and comes with extra perks like a handrest for the keyboard, a mousepad and an attachable storage bag for holding a mouse.
  • The desktop is surprisingly spacious, measuring 32 inches wide by 13 inches deep. 
  • The cushions on either side give you a comfy place to rest your arms while typing (as long as you aren't super-tall).
  • It's hard to find an office chair as comfy as your own couch. Granted, once your spine ages, the lack of support from marathon sofa-sitting sessions might cause lower back distress for old-timers like me.
  • This bad boy even has cord management. The bottom side of the desk contains two large panels (which — ugh — you need a Phillips screwdriver to remove) where you can plug USB cables into a hub and wrap extra cables around internal pillars.
  • The device has six integrated USB 3.0 ports, so all required input devices (keyboards, mice, gamepads, headsets) can be connected directly to the Couchmaster. Mobile devices can also be connected and charged by the fast-charging USB port. However, it can take time to figure it all out. (See below.)

CONS

  • It comes with many mysterious cables, along with a sparse, one-page installation guide. Fortunately, it also had a QR code, which leads you to a more helpful installation video. In the end, I skipped over the USB ports inside the couch desk and simply plugged my mouse and power source directly into my laptop. 
  • The screen monitor seemed a tad too close when using the CYCON.  I would not recommend the Couchmaster for Zoom meetings, as it seems perfectly engineered to make you look like Jabba the Hut. (However, you also have the option of using a full-size or TV monitor, which could be hung up or positioned further away from your CYCON desktop.)
  • It isn't as portable or affordable as a folding lap desk.

Overall, the Couchmaster CYCON seems like a superior, sturdier and more spacious alternative to those wobbly, foldable lapdesks or portable desks which consist of a work surface atop a single, thick cushion.

In short, I give it a sitting ovation.

More Tammy Swift columns
While everyone else is devouring "Stranger Things" subreddits on whether beloved metalhead Eddie will come back from the dead, columnist Tammy Swift admits she's busy admiring all the '80s details — from protagonist Eleven’s floral thermal undershirt to Steve Harrington's Andre Agassi-inspired 'do.

Related Topics: WORKPLACE
Tammy has been a storyteller most of her life. Before she learned the alphabet, she told stories by drawing pictures and then dictated the narrative to her ever-patient mother. A graduate of North Dakota State University, she has worked as a Dickinson, N.D., bureau reporter, a Bismarck Tribune feature writer/columnist, a Forum feature reporter, columnist and editor, a writer in NDSU's Publications Services, a marketing/social media specialist, an education associate in public broadcasting and a communications specialist at a nonprofit.
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