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I would like to rearrange my home office, currently my desk is located next to a window which has an all-right view. The question is whether I should relocate the desk to a spot where there isn't any window views.

I have worked in cubicles where I can't see any windows, and I have worked on desks right next to a large bay windows. Over time at these locations, I haven't been able to detect any bias towards one option to the other.

I think that the only aspect that really boosts my productivity is the presence of natural lighting, artificial light just doesn't cut it with me.

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+1 somehow like this question, despite its imo hard to answer with proven arguments...you have any hints or suspicions beside the light factor? I think it may damage motivation & creativity looking only at a wall & screen for hours. I often look out of the window when brainstorming, imo i have the best ideas, when not staring at the problem. But this i pretty subjective. I wouldnt work in a office without windows for years, simply doesnt fit me... –  Hauser Aug 15 '11 at 11:22
    
@Hauser, I don't have any hints at all. I mean, I didn't keep any stats, and if I did, how would you correlate stats with productivity (another can of worms here..) I find that I would rather go for a walk or something similar when doing brainstorming. –  tehnyit Aug 15 '11 at 12:40

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I can speak from my current situation that people are, without question, more productive when a window view is available.

To make a long story short, the company has downsized quite a bit. When I started, the company took up most of the 3rd floor of the building, an office lined with big windows and lots of natural light. Regardless of where you were in the office (except for the kitchen), you had a window in view.

People were motivated, cheerful and productive - profits and revenue were quite high.

As the number of employees shrunk, so did our office space, until they decided to move into a basement office. There are no windows or natural light sources at all. The handful of employees left with the company have no motivation, are generally pissed off that they have to be there and do as little as possible in order to keep their jobs.

Many times the running joke in the office is for someone to ask "Hey Rick, how's the weather?" - since there are no windows, we have no idea if it is raining, snowing, or a beautiful day outside.

So to answer your question, if you have a a choice - put your desk somewhere where you can see the window, even if not directly in front of you.

Remember, if you find yourself daydreaming or feel distracted, you can always close the blinds.

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+1 great answers. I like that it was backed up with some scientific-ish data. –  tehnyit Aug 17 '11 at 6:09
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Note that in this case it sounds like there are other possible reasons for the decrease in motivation - the company was shrinking and presumably not doing well, which could also make people unhappy. –  weronika Aug 17 '11 at 15:42
    
That is true, but believe it or not the lack of a window has been a fairly large part of the problem. Personally, having the ability to see the outside world and get something other than artificial light always seems to help with mood and motivation. –  RGW1976 Aug 17 '11 at 22:04

I think having a window right in front of you as you work might be too distracting, but having one nearby, preferably somewhere to the side, would definitely be better than none at all.

I find it relaxing to have a feeling of space and not being locked in a small room, which windows definitely help with. They're also great for taking short breaks - looking out a window lets me get my mind away from work, and having something far-away to look at helps my eyes relax.

In my previous workplace we did a move from a window-less space to one with windows - the two spaces were otherwise very similar. I definitely felt better in the one with windows, though that might also be due to the fact that I got a quieter spot that time.

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+1 for the too distracting information. It also depends on the scenery outside as well. –  tehnyit Aug 18 '11 at 9:06

Nobody wants to work a place without window(s). Like Joel says;

Every developer, tester, and program manager is in a private office;all except two have direct windows to the outside (the two that don't get plenty of daylight through two glass walls).

I thinks this is the perfect office desing for everybody.

Your front is wall, (not distribute the your attention)

Your behind is wall, (people wants protect their behind (instinct))

Your right or left is window (with a cool view) or glass wall. (Like Fog Creek)enter image description here enter image description here

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Thanks for the pics. I think that working at Fog Creek, you would get the whole package rather than just an office with some nice windows. Not something that I have monetary resources to duplicate. –  tehnyit Aug 15 '11 at 12:43
    
Also brings up the question of if it's worth it to have a view that's just a bunch of buildings like that, or if improvement is only noted with a more natural view. –  Brian Knoblauch Aug 17 '11 at 14:06
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@Brian: I think a view of buildings would still do some good - sunlight, weather changes, etc. Unless you happen to get really ugly or badly maintained buildings. –  weronika Aug 17 '11 at 15:41
    
Also hard for Fog Creek guys to get any non-building scenery as they are right in the middle of NYC. –  tehnyit Aug 18 '11 at 9:04

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