How to Arrange Your Work From Home Desk Setup

Cultivate better work habits with the magic of interior design.

One of the many joys of working remotely is the leisurely commute from the couch to a home office. But if you find yourself fidgeting, constantly interrupting work to complete minor chores or get (yet another) snack, you may be among the 47% of telecommuters who struggle with managing distractions at home.

One answer to staying on task is creating a clean, cozy, and productive work from home desk setup — in other words, a space you actually want to spend time in. The good news is you don’t need an extensive budget or a Pinterest board. In fact, making even the tiniest of changes to ergonomics, design, and lighting has been shown to improve focus. Here’s how to create a slice of productivity paradise in your home.

Creating a new work from home setup or looking for ways to improve your existing home office? Read our guide for practical tips and principles.

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Essential components of a productive work from home desk setup

Let’s start with the basics. Audit your current workspace and see if you’re missing any of these essentials or perhaps need an upgrade.

  • Computer desk: Whether you prefer sitting, standing, or walking while you work, make sure your desk sits at the right height for you. The top of the desk should be just above or at the same level as your elbows. If you like to alternate between sitting and standing, get an adjustable desk or monitor stand.
  • Office chair: There is no shortage of ergonomic chairs on the market, but the most important consideration is your continued comfort, so choose whatever suits you, whether that’s a classic office chair, a kneeling chair, or a stability ball. The OSHA ergonomic workstation guidelines do recommend chairs that provide support for your elbows, forearms, and lower back if you log a lot of hours at your desk.
  • Your technology of choice: Common tools of the trade for a work from home computer setup include a laptop or a tower, monitors, as well as an ergonomic mouse and keyboard. Luckily there are a plethora of options that suit all preferences, from hulking mechanical keyboards to minimalist, barely-there boards. If you spend a lot of time in virtual meetings, a good pair of headphones and a microphone may be a worthwhile investment. For audiophiles who like working with music, a good pair of speakers is also a must.
  • A scanner and printer: A scanner or a combination scanner printer can save you a trip to a FedEx or UPS store when you need to scan or print something at a moment’s notice. The ScanSnap iX1300 is a great example of a compact, one-touch model that provides double-sided scanning at an impressive 30 pages per minute.
  • Personal touches: One of the benefits of having a work from home desk setup is that you’re free to make it completely your own. Plants, wall art, favorite coffee mugs, or collectible figurines are all great ways to spice up your workspace. Check out some workspaces of creatives around the world if you crave some inspiration.

Ergonomics of a work from home desk setup

Aligning desk and chair heights

Make sure your chair height is adjusted so your hips are at a roughly 90° angle and level with your knees. Your forearms should be at a right angle with your desk, so you’re not reaching up to type on the keyboard or angling your wrist downward.

If you are using a standing desk most of the time and are on a hard surface, you may want to use a pressure relief mat to reduce strain on your shin and ankle muscles. And if you’re a treadmill fan, don’t forget to change into a pair of walking shoes before you begin your indoor walk.

Lighting and avoiding eye strain

Your monitor or laptop screen should be a little below or at eye level and an arm’s length away from you. Make sure to adjust the brightness of your screen to the lowest setting comfortable for your eyesight. If you find that your computer screen gives you headaches, you can try using the “night light” feature on your computer or laptop. Some people believe that blue light glasses can help prevent eye strain, but research on their effectiveness hasn’t been conclusive.

Your best bet for preventing discomfort is to take regular breaks from the screen, once at least 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile, a soft light LED lamp or any other decorative light can give your work from home desk setup a cozy, welcoming ambiance.

Arranging peripheral items

Ideally, items you use all the time, like your keyboard and mouse, should be within easy reach — if you find yourself twisting or leaning forward when typing, try moving the keyboard closer to you or using a wrist pad. Arranging other items around your desk is a matter of personal preference and taste, but keep in mind that setting up an ergonomically sound workstation not only helps you feel more comfortable but can also prevent chronic health problems like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Another important consideration for a work from home desk setup is cord management. Besides being a tripping hazard and a dangerous chew toy for pets, cords are unsightly and create a sense of chaos. Luckily, there are cord management systems for every kind of workspace and budget, though you can always DIY your own.

Did You Know?:The Ludsin Method is used by businesses across industries to keep track of documents and stay organized. Learn how you can use it to tidy up your home office.

Managing noise and distractions

Remote work offers a lot of flexibility, but sometimes that can make it hard to have a consistent schedule. Create a dedicated workspace, even if that means setting up some screen dividers if you don’t have an entire room. Establishing and sticking to official work hours so you can protect time with friends and family can help keep work from seeping into your personal life.

Our recommendation: ScanSnap iX1300

We know you have no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a scanner for your work from home desk setup. We pride ourselves on having spent the last 50+ years designing and developing some of the most beloved electronics in the world, including our line of award-winning, easy-to-use, one-touch ScanSnap scanners.

ScanSnap iX1300 is the desktop scanner for home offices, with a compact design that doesn’t compromise on speed or accuracy. Besides clear and crisp JPEGs, you also have the option to create searchable PDFs and editable Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, as well as scan photos and small booklets. Click here to learn more and shop the full line of ScanSnap scanners.

Note: Information and external links are provided for your convenience and for educational purposes only. PFU America, Inc. makes no representations about the contents, features, or specifications on such third-party sites, software, and/or offerings (collectively “Third-Party Offerings”) and shall not be responsible for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of such Third-Party Offerings.