Fog Creek

The Price of (Dev) Happiness: Part One

Okay, let’s just assume that you’ve bought into the idea that a happy developer requires a clean, attractive, comfortable workplace that encourages healthy, sustainable productivity.

You don’t want to do this piecemeal. You asked for a big monitor and you got it. Now, you ask for a sit-stand desk, and you’re suddenly the guy who always needs another “toy.”

You just want to know what a top-notch work station costs so you can tell your boss.

We use these products every day and have for years, and we love them. (Disclosure: None of the following links are affiliate links. We get nothing from recommending these products.) Here’s what our offices contain:

  • Fully-loaded Aeron chair, fully assembled  – $988 from
  • AirTouch Adjustable sit/stand desk  and non-moving side desk –  $1738 from Steelcase – Excellent for pranks.
  • Optional anti-fatigue or bouncy Kybun mat for those folks who choose to stand all day – $68 from Amazon or $335 from Steelcase, respectively.
  • 30″ monitor for work and a side monitor for your bug tracker – $1520 from Dell
  • Beefy workstation so you can’t pull this move – also $1520 from Dell
  • Whatever keyboard you want (because we’re all snowflakes) – up to $270 for a Kinesis keyboard
  • Whatever mouse you want (beautiful, fragile snowflakes) -up to $70 for an Apple Magic TrackPad or a fancy trackball.

That’s a cool $6,174.00 maximum. (Yes, I know, we’re paying for a chair for people who stand all day, but we’re talking maximums here.)  All of these except maybe the computer have a depreciation schedule of  about five years. So that comes out to $102.90 a month. But, that’s not $102.90 per month extra; it’s the total cost of everything we use in our offices except the phones. (Which, for a dev, who cares as long as it never rings.)

We could do some research on and come up with some depressingly small number representing the minimum you could spend on a dev to get them nominally productive, but we really don’t want to go there.

Good luck!

Next: the real cost of private offices.