Coffee Talk: What does your work area say about you?


Hi all. We’ve had quite a few new starters in our company recently, and the ugly spectre of ‘hot desking’ has reared its head. At some point in the near future, we may have to strip our desks of all personal items, reducing them to whatever will fit into an easily transportable box that we can store in our lockers. This caused me to regard my desk in more detail than usual, and wonder what its current state says about me as a person.

Here it is, in all its splendour:

Some initial thoughts:

You can tell from all of the mugs/glasses that I use drinks and snacks to punctuate my day – I have a tall, reusable glass just for lattes, an Asana mug (of course) for tea, a mug for filter coffee and a glass for water/squash. I often find it easier to relax and think if I have hot drink to hand. Maybe this means I enjoy pausing for reflection.

I’ve been flustered so many times trying to find a working pen and some paper mid-call, so now I always have them ready beside my monitor. I suppose that reflects some level of careful planning.

The 1980s film alphabet quiz reminds me of my childhood. And now that I’m watching some of those films with my own children, it’s nice to stare at it once in a while.

Speaking of children, I have the obligatory picture of the offspring, on this occasion dressed as medieval characters at the Alnwick Garden. Having them with me at work makes the less interesting days more bearable. This communicates that family is always a priority for me.

I have all of my messy papers gathered in one box, where they will be ignored until I decide to have a spring clean and recycle most of them, ready to be replaced by the next lot. But the fact that they’re in the box and not scattered across my desk reflects well on my tidiness.

I’m pretty tall, so my monitor is elevated on a weird box. Fortunately, this box has a handy drawer, containing all manner of random items – headphones, some loose change, cutlery (because however much cutlery we have in the staff kitchens, somehow there’s always a mass fork shortage!), and emergency sweet treats for when I need a chocolate hit.

Anyway, I was just thinking that you can probably tell quite a lot about someone from looking at their work area, and hot desking might be about to destroy all of that in our office.

What does your work area say about you? Feel free to post pictures.


Nice idea. I have been a minimalist for a few months so I only have the minimum. 1 pen + 1 paper + 1 large notebook + 1 small notebook. My laptop is slide in a dock (at the back in the picture) that connects to the network and the screen. I work standing up all day every day!

As you can see, I work from home :heart:


I’m very jealous! Your workspace looks so much more calming than mine. Much better view too. I love the laptop dock. I didn’t know that was possible.

I do manage to work from home about once a week, which saves some commuting time. It also means I can listen to vinyl records while I work, which is a nice perk. :slight_smile:


Nice topic, Mark.
I’m a firm believer that a person is more productive in a space where they feel comfortable, relaxed and/or inspired. So my space definitely reflects my personality.

I have a love for all things midcentury so the furniture in my office are my own vintage finds (the bookcase I refinished after finding it at a thrift store). The posters are vintage ads that I had enlarged.

I also like to have a quirky, fun touches - such as a Tick Tack Toe game on my desk to play quick games with my colleagues or visitors, a Doctor Who tardis which spins, and my vintage clock/radio.

I am also an organized, tidy person. I love your view Bastien. I wish I had a window.


@Mark_Hudson for the docks:
Working from home is mostly great :stuck_out_tongue:

@Crystal_Alifanow no window at all? :frowning:


Thanks for sharing this, Crystal. I love your decor, especially the vintage posters. I’m also jealous of @Bastien_Siebman’s view! I’m right in the middle of a large open-plan office, so I can turn my head left or right and glimpse a car park on one side or a factory on the other; that’s if my colleagues next to those windows haven’t closed the blinds to keep the sun off their screens!

I sit next to some lovely people, though, and that certainly helps.


No windows in our entire office. :frowning: I often joke that when I leave through the exterior door to the parking lot, that I feel like I’m Dorothy stepping into Oz.



Nice set up (and slab of wood)! At first glance, I thought there were two monitors. Now I see that it is one. How wide is it and how does that compare to using multiple monitors? I’ve considered getting one large one instead of the two 22" monitors I use now. Do you know of any advantages/disadvantages to either setup?



It is a 34" monitor. The advantage of this versus two monitors is that I have no separation between the two in the middle. It is also slightly incurved, might be more comfortable as well…
And with an app like you can split your apps on the left or right with a simple keyboard shortcut.


You will notice my desk has a little bit of clutter but its still pretty tidy. The papers you see by the keyboard are the ones I am currently working with. I have a water bottle, and of course a cold drink cup. Things to fidget with while I am thinking, and my phone charger. My desk goes up and down so at any point and time I could be standing or sitting.

I have a window with a view of a pretty magnolia tree and a fence. Its not as pretty as @Bastien_Siebman view but its better than my old view which was the trash cans.


I love this topic. I feel envy when I look at workspaces that align with my “ideal self.” In reality, though, I often find my workspace gets a little cluttered. I usually leave empty bottles of Hint water on my desk so I can remind myself how much more water to drink. I always have a few pens lying around, and a Notepad is essential. I try to straighten my desk at the end of the week, but it doesn’t always happen.

I guess what this all says about me is that, while I aspire to be more expressive in my workspace, I end up being fairly pragmatic… and maybe that’s capturing my personality after all!


Nice setup @Daniel_Quick! Your screen is also huge :stuck_out_tongue:
@Jackie_McGregor loving the wood desk! How often do you stand?
I forgot to mention my desk is the cheapest standing desk from IKEA, but I asked my wood worker neighbor to build some kind of wood box to put on top :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing, Jackie! I really like your set-up. Comfy chair, natural light and plenty of leg room. I’m feeling serious screen envy on this thread. I think I need a second screen, or one of these great big, long ones that others seem to have. My screen seems tiny now! I like your cups too.

What’s the device stuck on the wall that’s connected to your PC by a wire? Is it something to do with Wi-Fi?


Thanks so much for sharing your setup, Daniel. Another amazing screen! I feel like I’m working on a postage stamp now.

I think I’m similar to you in that I always aim to keep my desk clutter-free, but things slowly accumulate over time and I end up having to do a big clear-out.

I’m curious about what appears to be a doll’s head next to the base of your monitor. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: Is it a mascot?


@Mark_Hudson the device on the wall is actually connected to my phone so that if I am on it, others know. Its a light so if I am on my headset they can see the light and know I am on the phone. I would love to have one of the larger screens like Bastien and Daniel have. Two screens makes life much easier but a big screen would really help. @Bastien_Siebman my frame is a less expensive one for the desk and the owner bought the wood slab from a Menards (like Lowes if you don’t have one). I stand periodically throughout the day. Usually about half the time.


Good eye Mark!

That’s a Khaleesi doll that my partner gave to me. I love Game of Thrones. Sadly, she never seems to be able to stay standing LOL


Ah, that makes sense! very cool. :smile:


Albert Einstein famously quipped, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” … So despite Einstein’s protests, there may be some benefits to a clean desk. But it’s the relationship between the tests of conventionality and creativity that are perhaps most intriguing.May 23, 2014

:grinning:. Whatever works. I do use a Varidesk stand up or sit down adjustable surface.


It is amazing to see how many people actually work standing up!