When you had to work remotely temporarily, it was easy to get away with a thrown-together work-from-home desk setup. Sure, that one side of your kitchen table, a shaky table in the corner of your bedroom, or a TV tray by the couch worked in a pinch.
But now that you’re working remotely permanently — or at least for the foreseeable future — it’s time to say goodbye to the ramshackle area you threw together and level up your workspace.
Not sure how to pull together a spot that helps you feel your best and perform your best, too? We’ve pulled together tons of desk organization ideas and other work-from-home desk inspo to help you create a remote workspace that you genuinely enjoy working in.
Whether you have a whole room to dedicate to a dreamy home office or you need to make the most of a small multipurpose area, you can use these work-from-home desk ideas to take your space from cluttered chaos to streamlined and serene.
Desk organization ideas to improve your physical wellbeing
You spend a lot of time at your desk — dozens of hours every single week. And, as strange as it sounds, all of that stationary work can be tough on your physical health.
In fact, experts have conducted numerous studies to understand the impact of so much sitting in one spot. One report from the Mayo Clinic, which analyzed 13 different studies, found that people who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to that posed by obesity and smoking.
So what are you supposed to do? These quick desk organization ideas will help you change up your work-from-home setup in a way that supports your physical health — no pricey treadmill desk required.
1. Elevate your monitor
If you end the day with a crick in your neck, it’s time to pay attention to the position of your computer monitor. Looking down at your screen all day could be wreaking havoc on your neck.
The ideal position is to have the top of your monitor at or slightly below your eye level. To raise your screen, you might need to purchase a monitor shelf (there are plenty of affordable options available) or even place it on a book or two to give it a boost.
While you’re at it, make sure your monitor isn’t too close. You want it at least 20 inches from your eyes — even more if you’re using a particularly large screen.
2. Find the right office chair
That extra dining chair worked in the short term but now it’s time to look for a high-quality desk chair that will quite literally support you as you get your work done.
The “right” chair could look different for everyone, depending on your specific needs. But ergonomics experts state that you should search for one that has:
- A backrest that’s 12 to 19 inches wide
- Adjustable seat height and armrests
- Lumbar support for your lower back
Consider function over aesthetics when selecting your desk chair. And keep in mind that you’ll spend a lot of time there, so it’s worth a decent investment.
3. Position your most-used items by your dominant hand
This is likely something you already do without thinking about it. But if not, it’s worth rearranging some things on your desk to put all of your most-used items near your dominant hand.
If you’re right-handed, that means you’ll want your mouse, pen and pad of paper, and beverage all on your right side. If you’re left-handed, put it on your left side.
It sounds like a small and inconsequential change, but it makes your desk setup feel far more natural. Plus, it saves you from twisting and reaching to get to the items you frequently need.
4. Think about your lighting
The lighting in your office matters — not just for Zoom calls, but for your overall health and wellbeing. Poor lighting can cause eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and more.
Finding the right lighting depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Research shows that warmer orange or yellow lighting helps you feel more relaxed and less stressed, while blue and white lights are better for waking up and concentrating. You might want to experiment with a few options to find what works best for you or even change up your lighting depending on your mood or time of day.
If you attend a lot of video calls with your remote team, then it’s also worth purchasing a ring light so your team members can clearly see your facial expressions during your chats.
5. Use a timer
Even if you have the most thoughtfully curated work-from-home desk setup, you still need a break from it. In fact, taking short and frequent breaks from your desk is one of the best things you can do for your physical wellbeing.
That’s why it’s helpful to keep a timer handy — whether it’s an actual timer on your desk or a digital one you use on your computer.
Set it for dedicated work chunks. 25 minutes is a good place to start and is the default for the Pomodoro Technique, a beloved time management method. When the timer goes off, take a quick five-minute break. Use that time to:
- Stretch out your muscles
- Go for a quick walk
- Refill your water
… or really anything that gets you up and away from your desk. Your body will thank you at the end of the day.
6. Choose the right accessories
There are plenty of other smaller accessories you can add to your home office setup to make it more comfortable. A few ideas include:
- Bike pedals for under your desk
- Ergonomic cushions for your desk chair
- Large water bottle to stay hydrated
- Standing desk converter for the top of your desk
- Wrist rests for your mouse or keyboard
These simple additions can help you make the most of your workday — without your body paying the price.
Desk organization ideas to improve your mental wellbeing
It makes sense that the wrong desk setup can cause some aches, pains, and other complaints. However, your workspace also has a big impact on your mental health and overall outlook.
Here are a few ideas to organize your desk to ensure you’re working in an area that makes you feel focused and fulfilled — rather than flustered.
7. Clear the clutter
A growing amount of research shows that clutter can increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression. So it’s worth taking the time to pick up all of the discarded sticky notes and used coffee mugs at the end of your workday.
Pay attention to your digital clutter, too. An overflowing inbox or a desktop that’s full of random files and screenshots could have a similar impact as real, physical clutter.
If you’re someone who struggles to stay on top of the mess, set aside five or 10 minutes at the end of each day to pick up. It’ll help you keep your space tidy in a manageable way and is also a helpful routine for transitioning out of “work mode” when you work remotely.
You could even consider setting this as a team-wide ritual for ending the workday. It’s a great way to share good habits and encourage the self-organization of your teammates.
8. Choose a relaxing desktop background
There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a photo of family or friends on your desk — those personal touches are beneficial. But if you really want some instant stress relief, set your desktop background to a nature photo, like clouds, waterfalls, fall foliage, or the ocean.
Studies show that looking at these sorts of images activates your parasympathetic system — the part of your nervous system that combats feelings of anxiety and fear.
9. Add a plant or two
A little greenery on your desk certainly doesn’t hurt. Not only does a desk plant or two add a much-needed pop of color and life to your workspace, but it can also help you feel less stressed.
One study found that indoor plants suppress your autonomic nervous system activity, which reduces both your psychological and physiological stress. Plus, there’s something soothing and rewarding about caring for a little life that’s perched on your desktop.
10. Sit near a window
If you have some space to rearrange your home office furniture, try putting your desk near a window so you can benefit from some sunlight.
Getting some natural light throughout the workday helps your physical health by reducing eye strain, drowsiness, and headaches. But letting the light in also boosts your serotonin levels, which improves your mood, increases your focus, and helps you feel more calm in general.
Desk organization ideas to improve your productivity
You want your home office setup to make you feel good. But positive feelings aside, you’re in that spot to get work done — and, ideally, as much work as possible.
The good news is that your surroundings don’t only impact your physical and mental health. When you’re thoughtful about your workspace, you can set things up in a way that helps you work more efficiently and effectively.
Here are a few work-from-home desk ideas to help you reach your peak productivity levels.
11. Use a password manager
Estimates state that the average employee uses an average of 191 passwords. Regardless if you hit that high number, you likely have at least a dozen passwords. That’s way too many to remember on your own, yet repeating passwords is a major no-no for keeping your accounts secure.
That’s why using a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password is so helpful. It stores all of your passwords in a vault and will autofill them on all of the sites and platforms you use. It can even generate super-secure passwords for you.
All you need to do is remember one master password to access all of your accounts. That means less time racking your brain, searching through sticky notes, and sending yourself password reset links, and more time spent on your actual work.
12. Create a cheat sheet or templates
Reinventing the wheel over and over again takes a lot of time — time you could save if you set up a simple cheat sheet or some helpful templates that you can easily copy and use.
Whether it’s creating a handy document or checklist of little reminders, canned email responses for messages you frequently send, or a templated workflow that you can use to kick off new projects, find ways you can improve your consistency and reduce your effort by creating resources that are easy to reuse.
13. Keep your frequently used documents accessible
Similarly, you don’t want to waste time searching for the information you need to do your job. And, when you’re working remotely, most of that information is bound to be on your computer.
Create an easily accessible and centralized place where you can store and organize all of your important and frequently accessed documents — whether that’s tax forms to send to vendors or SOPs that your team often refers to.
You can take this tip a step further by using project management software such as Wrike with your remote team. Not only does it keep all of your files in one spot, but it also gives your whole team a single source of truth for streamlined communication and collaboration.
Wrike makes remote work work for everyone
There are plenty of benefits of remote work — but there are some challenges too, including setting up a work-from-home spot that encourages your focus, creativity, and productivity all while supporting your overall wellbeing.
From prioritizing ergonomics to adding a desk plant, there are plenty of desk organization ideas and tips to create a remote workspace that helps you not only get more work done, but also enjoy the process.
And if you want to make working from home even more effective for your entire team, check out Wrike to increase visibility, streamline communication, plan projects, and collaborate with less stress and chaos. In addition to features such as automatic task assignments, file storage, and templates, we also create resources (such as our comprehensive remote work guide) to help teams of all kinds do their best work.
Ready to work from home without all of the stress and hassles? Start your free two-week trial of Wrike today.