Have you ever cooked in someone else's kitchen and felt like a lunatic because you couldn't find anything you needed at just the right time? Dinner would have taken one hour at your home but instead took two. 

I find that this same thing happens to me when I am trying to do work at a desk that isn't my own. My task always takes longer than it should and my stress levels rise. After a recent bout of what I'll call "Workspace Confusion," I started thinking about what tools I would need to bring with me to have the perfect workstation at all times.

But on a grander scale, it got me wondering what a workstation tailored specifically to me would be like. What features would it have? What items would I not actually need? What would make my work experience better?


First of all, I think that for any workstation to be dubbed The Perfect Workstation, it needs to conform to the needs of the person using it and adjust to their particular work needs. A recent study [pdf] found that:

  1. Given the opportunity through workstation adjustability, people will exert control over the work environment.
  2. Physiological signs of stress are reduced when people have workstation adjustability and the training to use it. 
  3. Motivational performance is enhanced when people have workstation adjustability and the training to use it.

Reduced Stress, motivational increases – are there more? Another study also found that stress is reduced, but they also found that work efficiency increased along with job satisfaction.

Most people only think about chairs, desks, keyboards, and monitors as being adjustable, but in reality the entire workstation should be able to customize to your needs. Things like where storage is placed, how bright the lighting is, how the temperature feels, private/open plan requirements are all dials that can be adjusted to increase your levels of satisfaction, comfort, and efficiency. 

Different Jobs, Different Workstations

Accountants, executives, developers, and office managers often sit at the exact same workstations. While this might be good for egalitarian office plans and company morale, it is important that all staff have the right types of equipment for each individual's set of tasks.

Designing the Perfect Workstation

If you're looking to create the perfect workstation, here are some handy steps I've thought of that will help you hone in on the perfect design:

  1. Write a list of activities you will need your workstation to accommodate.
  2. Write a list of equipment each activity will need.
  3. Find adjustable furniture that will provide enough space and storage #1 and #2 require.
  4. Place all equipment in your workstation area where you think it should go.
  5. After regular use, add needed items and remove unnecessary ones.

What adjustment have you made to your workstation to make it perfect?

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