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Instagram Nightmares Part One – The Worst Desk Set-Ups Online

  • 3 min read

When it comes to setting up your home office space, it’s often easy to settle for style over comfort, and as a result, neglect your ergonomic working needs. While having a great looking workplace is a positive in theory, in reality, it tends to cause a myriad of unseen problems that can cause all sorts of further issues.

It’s easy to make these mistakes in the modern workplace, with platforms like Instagram and Pinterest showing off everyone's beautiful setups and making it a competition of whose desk looks the most aesthetically pleasing… Therefore, we’re going to be analysing and critiquing some of these so-called “setup goals” so you can make more educated choices when it comes to what you want included in your setup.

The workspace in question…


From simply looking at this workspace, you could struggle to find issues; it’s aesthetically pleasing, it seemingly has a good amount of light reaching it, and they’ve even added plants for a touch of greenery. However, when you begin to look closer, there are more issues than you may think… 

Natural vs artificial lighting 

Ideally, you want as much of that natural light in your workspace as possible, as it helps regulate the body's circadian rhythms (sleep-wake schedules) stopping you from getting sleepy before nightfall. This isn’t always possible in the winter months as the sun sets way before the workday is over, and so that’s when you will need to rely on artificial lighting. 

However, this setup only has one lamp, which will cause uneven lighting in the evenings and make the worker less productive during that time. The best way to combat this, in a way that encourages productivity, is to mimic the natural light as best you can with evenly distributed lighting and the use of temperature bulbs. You can find some good flexible lighting examples here

Angles and posture 

Another immediately noticeable issue with this setup is the seating arrangement. The chair they have chosen to use, while it may be comfortable for a short period, is incredibly inappropriate for use during an entire working day. A proper office chair should be adjustable with the necessary support of your back to encourage a good seating position to aid your natural posture and not cause any back or neck issues after long periods of sitting. Some great examples of good and supportive office chairs can be found here. Under-desk drawers are a problem we’ve seen more of recently. Whilst drawers are handy for storage, having them directly under the desk means you’re unable to get your arms and legs in the ideal positions. 

To further help keep your back and neck supported, your viewing screen should be elevated so it’s placed in your natural eye line. In this setup, they’ve simply got their laptop placed on the table which will cause them to look down all day - likely ending in a sore neck.  It is recommended that you put your wrists in a neutral position when typing for minimal issues, and so ideally the laptop should be placed on a stand to elevate the screen with a separate keyboard, some great examples of which can be found here

The effect of aesthetics and nature 

While there are issues with this setup, it wouldn’t be fair to just ignore what elements they’ve included that do improve productivity. Working in an attractive setting for example has been shown to create more of a desire to put effort into your work, and the use of muted colours encourages a calm and determined mindset. 

Not to mention, the inclusion of a few houseplants makes good use of biophilia, the innate human instinct to connect with nature, something which has been found to aid cognitive function, health, and psychological wellbeing - all things which encourage a healthy working lifestyle and help an individual produce good work in the long term. 

Many elements go into creating a good office setup, most of which you wouldn’t normally even think about. But here at Osmond Ergonomics, we can think about those elements for you, and create a space that not only makes you want to work, but keeps your body and mind feeling great at the same time. If you want advice on your setup, get in touch by calling 0345 345 0898 or email

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