Believe it or not, the direction that your desk faces can have a significant impact on how well you perform and how it affects your role. With that in mind, many people wonder should my desk face the wall? Let’s find out if a desk facing wall is the best option for you!
Should my desk face the wall?
A desk facing a wall is preferable for staying focused while completing tasks by yourself. It also minimizes the risk of distractions. Furthermore, it consumes a smaller footprint than a desk facing the room. However, for people who need to collaborate with others or supervise people in the area, a desk facing the room is more inviting and encourages communication and openness. Ultimately, it depends on personal preference and the type of work that you perform. There are many advantages and disadvantages to facing your desk towards a wall which are highlighted in the below table.
Advantages of desk facing the wall
Disadvantages of desk facing the wall
Less inviting to colleagues
Minimizes surface area used in room
More isolating than facing the room
Minimizes trailing cables
Less visibility on people coming towards you
Less risk of objects falling off desk
Wall could become damaged/stained
Easier storage as objects can lean against wall
Can make the area darker depending on the lighting
Easier to read the screen than window-facing desk
Natural light can contribute to a positive mood, encourage improved energy levels and better sleep. Source
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Your desk should face the wall if:
You are easily distracted
Having people passing by your desk or a desk positioned in a high-activity zone that catches your eye can be very distracting, unless you are a very focused person.
Distractions are more likely in a shared office or if you work in a busy house.
Sometimes a wall or cubicle walls around your desk can shield you from distractions and noise.
But there are more things that will catch your eye if you are facing outwards then facing a wall.
Just make sure that if you do face the wall, your wall isn’t covered in distracting features.
You want to optimize storage space at your desk
By positioning a desk against the wall, you can leverage the wall as a means of leaning objects against. Whether it’s a book that you are reading or a calendar. You can even build storage into the wall, by means of shelving or hooks to hold items.
Additionally, you could or add a pegboard which allows you to hang objects off the board.
Conversely, if your desk does not have a wall against it, objects need to be freestanding or else have a separate storage area.
Related: Setting up a home office checklist
You want to minimize space consumed by your desk
Positioning a desk flush against a wall is much more space efficient than having a desk facing outwards. If space is limited or you want to optimize the area that you are working in, then a wall-facing desk is the way to go.
The most efficient way to minimize the amount of footprint consumed is to position the longest side of the desk completely against the wall and the other side in against a corner.
This way, that there are two sides of the desk against a wall.
Since the desk is against the wall, there is less redundant space consumed.
You want to minimize trailing cables
Positioning a desk against wall means that there will be less trailing cables from the wall mounted socket than if the desk was positioned facing the room. Some offices have sockets located in the floor.
If this is the case, then you have more choice in terms of where you want to place the desk, especially if trailing cables as a concern.
However, for the majority of home offices, floor mounted sockets are not usually prevalent.
Therefore, that doesn’t tend to be an option for most working from home.
Your desk should not face the wall if:
You want to be more inviting to colleagues or clients
If you need to be approachable and invoicing to clients, this will be more difficult if your back is facing them.
Therefore, a wall facing desk is unlikely to be the most open position that you can sit in.
You want more visibility of people in your area
As people managers or supervisors overseeing an area, visibility of activities in the area that you are working in will be important. Obviously, this is hindered by a desk facing the wall.
Therefore, having your back against the wall is more than likely the most suitable option if this is a priority for you.
Tip: If at times you do need some time when you are not distracted or watching people, closing out the door or the blinds can be advantageous to help you get some much needed work done.
You want to minimize the risk of your wall getting damaged or stained
When desks are against a wall, there’s a greater risk of them being hit against. Plus, if objects are resting against the wall or attached to it, it’s bound to be bashed and marked by the likes of pens and items scratching against it over time.
Realistically, you probably won’t have to paint it all that more often if you’re careful.
While this may not sound like a major inconvenience, if you want to avoid the hassle of painting more frequently, keep your desk away from the wall.
Tip: Keep your chair away from the wall as this can also leave scuff marks.
You are concerned about feeling isolated from people
Working at a desk where you’re facing wall can be rather isolating and shut you off from people in your office. If this is the case for you, then you may be better off facing your desk towards the room.
Alternatively, you could organize your day so that it is broken up in to chunks of time.
Allot time when you are working items by yourself as well as other times when you are working collaboratively on items with other people.
The room is dark or has poor lighting
If you have a desk which is positioned in a corner, and the window is behind you, it’s likely that there will be less lighting in that area.
This is particularly true if the office location is in the center of the room as opposed to lighting tiles strategically arranged around your office.
The lighting is important if you are involved in activities where precision is important; for example, drawing, stitching or knitting require good lighting.
If your desk is facing a corner or a wall, it may be difficult to get light into the area naturally.
This ultimately boils down to the direction that the window is facing, the time of day and the corner where your desk is positioned.
For instance, I sometimes work in a south facing room where the desk is facing west. It tends to be rather dark here since I have a wall in front of me and to the side of me.
Plus, the window is at my back and doesn’t allow as much light into this corner of the room.
However, if I moved my desk to face east or away from the south-facing wall, it would allow more light in during the day.
If moving the desk is not an option, you can invest in lighting to help brighten the area.
Whether you position your desk against a wall or facing the room is ultimately up to personal preference. But the type of role that you work in and whether you need to interact with people frequently can influence how your desk should be orientated.
What way do you face your desk? I’d love to hear in the comments below!