Developer Desk Essentials: What you need at your workstation

Reach your desk nirvana

Chris Brandrick
Jun 15, 2016 · 6 min read

Considering you spend so much time sat (or standing) at your desk, it’s important to create a space that not only works for you and aids your productivity but is also an area you actually enjoy being in.

With this in mind we recently reached out to our Twitter followers to ask them what they considered an essential must-have for their desk space or cubicle.

Many people told us what they considered vital, whereas others shared what makes their space unique.

So, here’s a collection of items, accessories and other things that developers recommended for a 👌 sweet desk setup:

Dual Monitors

The benefits of having dual monitors (or more) to expand your desktop space are well established, and many developers got in touch to recommend this as a necessity.

Multi-tasking, copy and pasting, detailed editing, and making side-by-side comparisons are all much easier with the extra screen real-estate. Plenty of research has also been carried out to highlight the productivity gains having an extra screen can bring — so it’s definitely worth considering if you haven’t already joined the two-screen club.

As for what monitors to get? Well, you can’t go wrong with the 24" Dell UltraSharp U2415 — as recommended by the knowledgable folks over at The Wirecutter.


No desk is complete without a good sound setup, be that a booming pair of speakers or a good set of headphones.

A few people reached out and suggested that a quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be a worthwhile pick towards perfecting your desk setup.

Unlike regular headphones, a noise cancelling pair (like these from Sennheiser) will use soundproofing techniques to reduce ambient sounds around you — like office chatter, and noisy fans to help you stay focused.

Trying to stay focused at your desk? You may like this article:

However, Noise cancelling headphones are not only a benefit for the wearer. Due to them isolating outside sound, it’s possible to listen to your tunes without having the volume set at an excessive level. A nice bonus for any nearby colleagues who have often had to hear (suffer) your Taylor Swift sessions. 😉

Here’s a good round-up of noise cancelling cans from CNET to peruse if you’re in the market. Oh, and a headphone stand/holder for whilst they’re not on your head is a good consideration for your desk too.

Stress Ball

Tough day at work? Stuck on trying to solve a particularly tough programming problem?

One Twitter user suggested that having a stress ball within reach is a worthy addition to your work area.

Throwing around a ball, squeezing a plushie or grasping a stress ball will often take your mind off of whatever issue your facing. It’s simple sure, but relaxing in this way for a few minutes can often result in you coming back to your problem with a fresh mindset.

Beyond relieving tension and stimulating nerves, a stress ball can also help strengthen the muscles in your wrists, helping to combat computer related injuries such as repetitive strain injury (RSI). Although, if RSI is an issue for you I’d swap out the stress ball and instead recommend a gyroscopic wrist exerciser.

Desk Essentials: Pencils, Paper and Post-It Notes

The paperless office never really happened, and for good reason — sometimes its just easier to grab a post-it and jot a note, or grab a pencil to illustrate a concept. I’ve always got a Moleskine notebook within easy reach.

Plenty of those who we asked came back and said that pencils, notebooks, and post-it notes are all essential, so stock up.

A Great Chair

Just like having a great mattress is really important to your sleep, ensuring you’re sitting in a supportive chair is of equal importance.

You spend so much time sat at your desk, having the best support, position and posture can really make a difference.

It’s worth splashing out a little extra for a good seat considering the amount of time you’ll spend sat in it.

Regard it as a sound long term investment.

Here at StatusCode we’re fans of AK Racing and Nitro Concept chairs. They look good, are durable, well upholstered and really comfy.

Popular chair choices in the developer community include those from Herman Millar, and HumanScale’s range.

Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror has a good round-up of seats to consider.

Desk Companion

Many people like to personalize their desk with photos, LEGOs, vinyl toys and other fun trinkets. Sprucing up your space with these sorts of items gives you a sense of ownership over your office desk, making it your own.

Of course, desk companions come in all shapes and sizes, so if you’re in the position to, many folks also like to bring an actual companion along — be that your dog or freelance friendly cat. 🐶😺

Misty and Max hard at work (Say hello to some of the StatusCode cats 😻)

The items above are just a few picks that you may find useful to have on or around your desk. If you need further inspiration YouTube is a great resource for deciding what #deskgoals 👍 you may want to reach.

Plenty of vloggers share desk tours, featuring detailed looks at their setups and gear. Here’s an example from tech-focused YouTuber Dom Esposito:

Reaching desk nirvana can really help you focus, destress, get work done and most of all enjoy your working space.

Got any suggestions for what should be on a developers desk? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter.


Keeping developers informed.


Keeping developers informed.

Chris Brandrick

Written by

Editorial Director at Cooperpress | Curator of Switch Weekly


Keeping developers informed.