Set up your workspace efficiently

If you followed our instructions so far, you are by now a qualified Ingenieur or Beamter and on your way to become the German model citizen. Congratulations! [INSERT STRONG HANDSHAKE HERE]

When you arrive at your new office, we’re sure you will be assigned your own workspace in the flawless and efficient way you would expect it from a German company. Just to make sure that everything is in order, please check if the following items are present:

  • Big desk, light colour, easy to wipe
  • Office chair, height-adjustable, flexible backrest, on wheels
  • PC or a screen for your laptop
  • ergonomic mousepad
  • Lamp for those long, lonely extra hours

Yes? Good. No? Point out the missing parts in a slightly annoyed, yet polite fashion to your new assistant (of course you have an assistant. You’re an engineer/Beamter, ergo a demi-god).

As soon as you have your desk to yourself, waste no time. We need to get you into efficient working order asap.

Of course, you haven’t been idle before your first day at the office and have been shopping at your trusted stationery shop. Therefore, you bring:

  • write-on desk pad
  • Assortment of fully functional pens, different colours
  • out-tray, in-tray
  • notepad (for meetings and emergencies)
  • huge calculator
  • stapler, staples
  • ruler
  • hole punch
  • variety of post-its, different colours
  • customized stamp with your name, ink pad

First, arrange your assortment of pens in one of your desk drawers, preferrably the highest. Secure said drawer immediately with a padlock. Greedy interns could „borrow“ your pens and replace them with broken ones. Now, take the ruler and measure the exact length of your desk, then of your desk pad. Use your huge calculator to calculate the area where you place your desk pad – it’s exactly in the middle of your desk.

Proceed then to carefully arrange the rest of your supplies on your desk or in it. Always have in mind: Which items do you need every day, therefore quick access is important? And what makes you look even more competent if you place it visibly on the edge of your table? Definitely get one of these:

Newton's Cradle

Newton’s Cradle

They’re considered the pinnacle of good taste in German offices. Trust me.

Now, a very crucial moment of your setup has arrived: The precise position of your desk lamp. Where does it need to stand to shine on your desk pad and keyboard, but not blind you at the same time? Of course, German bloggers have your back on this one: Here and here you can find plenty of information on how to illuminate your workspace correctly.

Now lean back and admire your work. Make some small adjustments, place a picture of your boy-/girlfriend, family or mother next to your monitor. And that’s it! You’re done!


Do: Not. Mess. This. Up.

Read: Blogs about office illumination

Drink: Lots of coffee. Tea is for foreigners.

Title Photo Credit: Startup Stock Photos via

Featured Photo Credit: Sheila Sund via


Written by Julia

Your average non-model citizen. I am a writer, online marketing expert and world traveller, yet also a scholar of the German Holy Trinity: Organisiation, Self-Improvement, Complaining. Love music, cycling and philosophical conversation, hate peppers.



Sort the books behind your desk by color. There has to be order.
Every day after you finished work: sort your files, place them exactly parallel on your desk. Do the same with the rest of your stationery. What would the cleaning lady think if there was a mess?
Never hang posters that say something like “success – prize of people who never give up”. This is for touchy-feely Americans, you would get ridiculed by your co-workers.
Use the signs of your position when it comes to decorating: the bigger the office plant, the conference table and the carpet, the higher you have risen.


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