In this post, I will share practical considerations for the placement of your home office desk. These insights were uncovered as I was revamping my home office over the last few months.
Place your home office desk in a place where there is adequate daylighting, where you will not be facing distractions such as strong sunlight in the day or the television. You will also want to consider setting up a presentable background for online meetings.
In the next few sections of this short post, I will elaborate on what adequate daylighting means, specific tips on how to avoid facing distractions and more.
The Key Considerations When Deciding Where Your Home Office Desk Faces
Studies have shown that daylighting improves productivity. So, in setting up my work desk in the home office, I have ensured that I placed it in a place where I can let daylight in.
In sharing about daylight, I feel it’s important to explain the difference between daylight and sunlight – something I learned while in the process of earning my diploma in built environment – daylight is filtered sunlight while sunlight is direct sunlight. Daylight is not glaring to the eyes, while sunlight will cause you to squint.
In deciding where I will place my work desk, I also consciously made the choice to not have it face distractions such as areas in the room where at certain times, direct sunlight can shine on me and make me feel uncomfortable.
In addition to avoiding direct sunlight, I also avoided placing my work desk near points of entertainment such as phones/television/gaming consoles.
With online meetings becoming such a norm in the workplace nowadays, having a nice background to any work desk will be a good to have so that you don’t have to rely on a virtual background or move to a separate room when that is unavailable.
Having a presentable background to my work desk in my home office is something that I am working on improving as the small space that I have to work with in my home office meant that my background is my bed. Later, I will share how I intend to improve this aspect.
How Do You Know You Have Adequate Daylighting For Your Home Office Desk
You don’t have to be an interior designer/architect to determine this. Here, I will share 2 simple questions you can ask to ensure that you have just the right amount of daylighting for your work desk.
- Does the place where I want to place/face my work desk become glaring or uncomfortable with sunlight/daylight at certain times in the day?
- During daytime, is there any point in time where I have to turn on artificial lighting to adequately light up the room to complete my work?
If your answer to the first question is yes, you may have too much sunlight/daylight at the area where you want to place/face your desk.
If your answer to the second question is yes, you may have insufficient natural lighting for where you want to place/face your desk.
If your answer to any of the 2 questions is yes, you may wish to reconsider where you want to place/face your desk.
If your answers to the first and second questions are no, then this is a good indication that you have adequate daylighting for your home office.
Although daylighting is the preferred option, if it is absolutely not an option for you, then you may wish to consider desk/wall lamps.
What Counts As Distractions For Your Home Office Desk
Placing your desk beside an xbox will definitely be a major distraction. But there are some things that are subtler. In this section, I will list down every thing I can think of that you might want to avoid facing with your home office work desk.
I will also share some insights on what you might want to face your desk towards so that you can increase your focus on your important work.
Just like driving distractions, there are generally 4 types of distractions that you will want to avoid: visual, auditory, manual and cognitive.
Visual – things that tempt you to look at things other than your main work.
Auditory – sounds that cause you to focus on things other than your main work.
Manual – things that cause you to physically manipulate physical objects other than things that pertain to your main work.
Cognitive – things that cause you to think about things other than your main work.
These could include potential distractions such as:
- Gaming consoles (manual)
- Mobile devices
- Any area where there is high human traffic
- Areas where there is strong artificial lighting
- Public roads
- Places where you will be exposed to loud noises
- Clutter (e.g. an area where you know will be messy in your house)
- Places where you will be tempted to multitask (e.g. the kitchen)
- Areas near snacks/food
- Your bed
Instead of facing your desk towards any of the potential distractions listed above, face your desk towards something that is boring/unchanging.
Better still. You could face your desk towards something that inspires you to want to get your main things done – things like quotes, paintings or pictures that remind you of what is important are all things that you could consider.
How To Setup a Presentable Background For Online Meetings
A presentable background for your home office desk need not be something that is overly complicated or fancy.
The simplest background that anyone can pull off will be a plain background that shows the wall.
In any case, you will want to ensure that your background is not left to chance.
Where the situation allows, your background could even show something that represents who you are. Something that you intentionally want your audience to see.
If a plain background is not an option or you’d want something more elaborate, you could consider:
- Folding room partitions
- Video conferencing background privacy screen
- Your library
- Your living room
- A window with a nice view
Beyond the insights shared here, you might also be interested in the other productivity tools I am using that can help spruce up your home office.