New Work Desk (Caution, Windows ahead)

I work within Compliance across areas such as Information Security, Data Protection, Quality and Health & Safety. Much of my work is screen based with systems and Spreadsheets alongside lots of facetime on Teams meetings.

Before the pandemic, I was very office based, with a 50 mile commute and a very busy workload, where possible, I’d work from home 1 day a week (for concentration alone) which consisted of sitting at the dining table with my Laptop.

Bizarrely, when the Pandemic started, I spent nearly as much time in the office (one of very few people who did) because I didn’t really have a decent space to work from home, and the idea of working from a 13” laptop screen for weeks really didn’t appeal. I worked in the Energy industry and we needed to support keeping the lights on, so I had the Luxury of being one of very few people who could work out of the office.

Then, 2 things happened within a few months.

  1. I picked up a cheap Dell WD15 USB C dock which allowed me to “Twin” my mac setup in my very small desk in my bedroom so I could share my larger monitor between my Mac Mini and my work laptop.
  2. I changed employer with no option to work in the office during lockdowns

So from November 2020, I was completely home based for 5 months until we reopened the Manchester Office and I could work there, which I did for 3 days a week, squeezing into my 80cm x 50cm workspace for the other two days. Which became 4 days at home a week as our Office became very full and very noisy.

Some recent rearrangement at home though provided some space in our Conservatory so I visited IKEA and bought 2 x Alex drawer sets and a 120 x 60 desktop to setup a workspace so I don’t spend about 18 hours a day in our Bedroom during the week.

It’s a windows setup with a 13” Dell work laptop and a Dell 2k monitor along with my iPad.

The Keyboard is a Logitech Pebble which allows switching between the iPad and Laptop with a Wireless HP Mouse.

The plant in the back lefthand corner is a Money Plant which has roots (see what i did there) back to a gift to a previous Boss in 1973 for an act of kindness.

My Streamdeck may make an appearance at some point, but not yet. I’m off to Ikea later to pickup a Monitor stand.

My Mac Mini stays setup in the bedroom to separate my work and personal lives.


A few questions on the ergonomics of the layout …

  • What advantages do you have from the laptop being splayed fully opened versus only partially opened but still showing its screen at the desired height location? I find its positioning as such to be … distracting.

  • Are you right handed or left handed? As a right hander, I would be inclined to put the white board where I would not be reaching across myself and my desktop to mark on it.

  • Why a monitor stand? Where is your head position relative to the monitor when you are sitting? Are you looking upward to the central horizontal line of the monitor or downwards? The latter is less tiring.

  • Have you positioned the distance to the central (main) monitor in its best location to accommodate focus and field of view issues? It seems a bit too far back to me.

  • Have you considered mounting a keyboard + mouse platform below the desktop? I have one each of these at my office and home. I have a regular desk at a different location, where the keyboard and mouse (trackball) are as you show sitting immediately on the desktop itself. I always feel a bit poorly positioned when I am not using the setup with the keyboard + trackball platform.

  • Does the lighting arrangement with all the surrounding windows cause too much glare or distraction (eye fatigue)? I’d be inclined to put some sort of half-height partition wall behind and to the left.


Thanks @DrJJWMac, I’ve numbered the questions for easier reference. As part of setting up the desk I’ve completed a Display Screen Equipment assessment (my Health and Safety qualifications kicked in :wink:)

  1. The workspace is only 60cm deep and I’d like to keep as much space in front of myself for working on as I can (Reading books, flipping out a pad to write, working directly on the iPad) By angling the laptop as shown, I get to retain a tiny bit more available space where the deskmat is, and the screen is higher. Many years ago I tried a second desk riser to put laptops on where the base was flat, but I found that the keyboard and trackpad were more distracting in my vision when focusing on the laptop display. I’ve worked with my laptop in this orientation/angle for 3 years now and I don’t even notice the base.

  2. Right handed, So far I pick the whiteboard up and rest it on the front of the desk to write on it. The index cards can be removed. The Whiteboard is a new addition so I’m wondering how will it’ll work.

  3. My eyeline is at the top bezel of the monitor, so I’m looking slighly downward at the screen. I tried the monitor on its own for a few days, but felt I needed to lift the base and bought a riser. The monitor is at the same height with the riser, but per your point 6, I felt like I was getting a little glare off the silver base.

  4. I sit close to the desk, so I find this to be the best setup. TBH if it was a little further I’d be happy with that too. I have an L shaped desk in storage which is larger and deeper, where the monitor would be further away. As and when I can get it out of storage, I’d probably spring for a larger monitor.

  5. The desktop is at the perfect height for the keyboard. I tend to have my chair set so that my feet sit flat on the floor with my legs at a 90 degree angle and my forearms level with the desk. It’s very comfortable

  6. Prior to setting this desk up, I’ve worked in the same space on a Friday morning on a much smaller desk. I’ve not found light to be an issue but if required, I can angle the blinds to reduce any glare.

Overall, the ergonomics are far better than my previous “temp” arrangement where the desktop was shallower, the monitor wasn’t high enough, and I was just cramped in a corner anyway.


I’d have put your eye level at the mid monitor position. With what you’ve said though, the laptop and iPad seem to be far too low.

Glad to hear otherwise that you have worked out the ergonomics. They were not all that apparent from first blush.


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