In this article, you´ll find all the valuable information about appropriately placing your office desk (or office desks) in the office. After reading, you will see that sometimes even small changes can have a great impact.

Where is the best place for your office desk?

Wo Schreibtisch positionieren?

This infographics shows how to best place your office desk.


You should not place your office desk across a window, as this will cause the following problems:

  • You will have unfavourable lighting conditions and a permanent “situation with high contrast”.
  • Your eyes get strained drastically in the long run.
  • Even headache can appear.
  • In addition, there can be annoying reflections on your screen hampering the readability.
  • Therefore, place your desk at a right angle towards the window. By doing this, reflections can’t occur, and lightning is coming from the optimal side.
  • Right-handed people should place their desk in a way that the light is coming from the left and for left-handed it should come from the right side.

This is why most companies choose to place desks in their office at right angles to the windows. By employees sitting sideways to the windows, optimal lightning conditions can be achieved.

What are the consequences of these mistakes?

Schreibtisch falsch vor dem Fenster positioniert

One example of an incorrectly adjusted office desk. With the back facing the window and resulting reflections on the monitor, eyes get tired more easily. Consequences are a loss of concentration and emerging headache.

If the office desk is facing the window for you being able to look outside, there is the risk that you or your employees may get distracted.

It is even worse if you work at your monitor with your back facing the window. When the sun is shining, you´re at a disadvantage because reflections on the monitor will dazzle you. So, your eyes have to perform at maximum in order to see anything at all. This leads inevitably to dry or watery eyes and ultimately to exhaustion and headaches.

How to choose the correct place for your office desk

When choosing the correct place, your priority should be creating optimal lightning conditions. That´s why it´s best to place the desk near the windows for you to sit next to it.

Besides the lighting conditions, Feng Shui advocates recommend against placing the desk with your back towards the door. Instead, you should be able to see the entire room to guarantee a quiet working atmosphere.

What are advantages of placing it correctly?

Schreibtisch seitlich zum Fenster ausgerichtet

Example: This desk is lined up correctly. If you’re working by hand quite often, the desk must be turned by 180 degrees, so that incoming light causes no shadow onto the documents.

Once you found and implemented the correct positioning, your daily work routine will be made immensely easier.

Optimal lightning conditions do not only supply a pleasant working atmosphere and protection for the eyes.

In fact, studies have shown that people not having a window in their office, sleep worse and feel more uncomfortable than people having direct daylight during work. More statistics show that most people are looking for best lightning conditions rather than good technical equipment or the best office chair.

And employees who feel comfortable at work are not only more motivated but also more productive!

When being able to see the entire room, you won´t be distracted at work. At the same time, a calming atmosphere is created. According to the motto “Nobody can easily sneak up behind me and I can fully concentrate on working.”

What are the options for placing my office desk?

There are several options for positioning your office desk correctly, for example when you have to work on projects in teams. Over the past few years, the trend is moving on to variable offices.

This means that, if possible, every office furniture has casters for the user being able to choose the best fitting disposal, individually customized to the actual tasks. For example, two office desks can be placed next to each other so that two people sit opposite and work together on one project. This is possible thanks to different forms of table tops that also allow the arrangement of many office desks into a table group without any gaps.

Therefore, it is also possible to arrange the desks in a “shape of a star” where the team sits around the desks. However, it is unavoidable that someone has to sit with his back facing the window. Because the person’s monitor is more likely to be dazzled than the other group member one´s, he or she takes on tasks that don´t afford using the screen (for example, writing down ideas on paper or drawing sketches manually).

Interesting information and facts

Teamarbeitsplatz im Callcenter-Stil

Typical example of a workplace for a team in call centre style

Did you know that there are legal regulations relating to the workplace at one´s desk?

Even for positioning, there is, among other things, a regulation concerning the access to one´s own office desk which has to be bigger than 60cm. Also, each employee must be given a free space of 100cm, additionally to their office desk, for him or her to move freely and dynamically. These norms also apply to people who work from home for a company per telework.

There are as well several concepts for rooms, listed in the following:

  • Combining office: this contains individual workspaces with adjacent common rooms. Latter ones can ease the interaction between colleagues and encourage new inspirations.
  • Variable office: as the name suggests, this is an office concept providing specific partitions which can be removed as required, for example when working in teams.
  • Model of a call centre: in most of call centres, many people work in one big room rather than in single cabins. For that, headsets are required so that every employee can concentrate on their own conversation. Staff members are sitting at a right angle to the windows at long rows of tables. For making use of the rooms space, they almost always sit in front of each other too. This guarantees that one supervisor (gaffer who controls work of call centre agencies and provides guidance) can be responsible for as many employees as possible.

Examples for placing individual workplaces

Anordnung Einzelplätze gegenüber und nebeneinander

These workplaces are arranged in a way that provides sufficient space for each employee. Also, the light is optimally directed from the window onto the office desk.

If there must fit, e.g., four individual workplaces in one room, you can arrange as follows. When aiming the optimal position along the window, two seats can be placed next to each other and two in opposite line-up.

For separating the office desks that are standing next to each other, two additional desks can be placed in between. Therefore, a corner table as workplace is created at each side. This solution is quite interesting in an office with a separate room for meetings or when individual tasks need to be done.

If there is no separate room for team meetings, each office desk can be placed viewing the wall too. In order to maintain the right angle to the window, two office desks should still be placed next to each other. At the same time, the space between those two workplaces can be left vacant while there is still enough space in the middle of the room for a shared desk on which the team can meet up for discussions.

Examples for placing team workplaces

Offenes Büro mit Teamarbeitsplätzen

An open designed office with workplaces for teams

In favour of the optimal ergonomic position, there are several solutions conceivable. Firstly, there is the classic option of a conference desk where many office desks can be placed next to each other without any gap. Here, the team members can sit around one desk easily.

If there is enough space, it should be formed to a rectangle that stands at right angle to the window – exactly like an individual workplace. Therefore, as many people as possible can sit opposite and don´t have to look directly into the sun.

Also, very popular is the U-shaped desk arrangement, mostly familiar from school. It provides the benefit of free space in the middle of the room for stacking materials and later on results.

As already mentioned, the star-shaped arrangement grows in popularity too, thanks to the simplified use of casters sticking below to the furniture.

Our best office desks, ideally for working

The post "Placing your office desk correctly – what you should pay attention to" written by:

Sophie Voigtländer

Expertin für Bürogestaltung und Ergonomie

Sophie joined deskonia at the beginning of 2021. Since then, she is mainly responsible for translating all kinds of texts into English.

She studied International Communication and Translation.

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