Home Office: Your Desk BY the Window – Yes; Your Desk FACING the Window – No

When I see online photos of home office makeovers, if the desk is near the window, it is up against the wall and facing out the window. The inspiration for this may be Carrie Bradshaw’s desk on Sex in the City. But her desk was arranged this way for dramatic camera angles focused on Sarah Jessica Parker’s face. This may be great for Hollywood, but it is not great for your home office.

Carrie Bradshaw at her desk

Sarah Jessica Parker - Yes; Your desk facing out a window - No

While I encourage you to position your desk near your window, facing out the window presents problems that interfere with productivity and comfort.

Why a desk facing out a window decreases your productivity:

  • You are looking into the sunshine outdoors. This sunlight is brighter than your computer screen – making it harder to see the screen. And looking into bright light (even on an overcast day) causes eye fatigue and headaches.
  • The view beyond your window can be distracting. This can lead to a lack of focus or daydreaming.
  • Your back will probably be to the door. If you have an active household with family members “visiting” you while you work, this will trigger your hard-wired vigilance response when you feel your back is exposed. This subconscious vigilance makes it harder to focus and be effective.

Solution: Place your desk at right-angles to the window, facing into the room and at the door.

  • This will avoid glare from the sunlight and sky
  • This will illuminate your desktop with natural light, coming in from the right or left.
  • Views of restorative nature will be just a head turn away – giving you mental and visual breaks from your work.
  • Being able to see the door, if you have a heavily trafficked office, will prevent the distraction of your vigilance response.

If you want to learn more about how to position and set up your desk for a more functional home office check out Chapter 1 in my book, The Smarter Home Office; 8 simple steps to increase your income, inspiration and comfort.

How do you position your desk in your home office? How does this work for you? Share your ideas in the comments below.