5 steps to building the perfect trading desk setup

11 min readOct 20, 2020

We’ve all seen the Hollywood version of the glorified trader. Think Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street” drowning in champagne and drunk on luxury, partying hard on million-dollar yachts, and driving flashy sports cars. In reality, day trading more often than not happens at home … alone. You’re sitting around in front of the computer wearing your PJs, watching the markets move, and that sweet passive income roll in. Even from the comfort of your own home, day trading is an unpredictable and highly stressful job, as there’s always the possibility of making the wrong move and losing your investments. And no one likes to lose. This is why investment firms often equip their brokers with ergonomic standing desks as a way to counter the effects of stress on their employees and promote better focus when scanning the market. But how do you create the perfect trading desk setup at home? Keep reading as we cover the essential components that make for the best home trading desk setup.

Traditional desk vs. Trading desk

So what’s the difference between a regular work desk and a stock trading desk setup anyway? The main differences can be defined by the following elements: PRICE, QUALITY, and ERGONOMICS.

Believe it or not, specialty trading desks can cost anywhere between a hefty $5000 to $10,000 depending on the degree of customizations. These desks mean serious business and are sold by specialized furniture manufacturers who take part in every step of the process, including bespoke design, manufacturing, and installation of entire workstations. Unlike your more standard office furniture with no possibility for customization and adjustability, trading desks are designed for the specific needs of individual brokers. These include the number and combined weight of screen displays, office dimensions & room layout, color and aesthetics, and also maintenance services and warranties post-sale.

Traditional vs trading desk

Commonly when trading firms invest in customized trading furniture, they’re often looking to order 50, 100, 500+ units to cover their professional trading floor. Making such a huge commitment, big-ticket clients such as investment firms, banks, and insurance companies want to make sure that the desks they’re buying will not break after 2–3 years of use. Purchasing trading desks are a 10+ year investment decision, which is why the quality of materials is essential. Metallic or aluminum frames are used rather than wood, and custom-designed components are integrated rather than generic parts produced in bulk. These premium trading desks are also fitted with top of the line electric motor systems and smart technology.

Apart from premium materials that guarantee stability and reliable longevity of use, specialized trading desks really bring the most value through their ergonomic design. Ergonomic features might include integrating urethane surface edges for a more comfortable position when typing, electric height adjustability for sit to stand work positions, modular monitor arms capable of holding 8+ LCD screen displays, and cable management solutions for a clutter-free work environment. As trading requires constant focus, every minute of the working day ergonomics will help you perform at your absolute best.

Now let’s be real. If you’re reading this article, you’re most probably not a “Wolf of Wall Street,” and you’re perhaps just entering the market and looking to start making some passive income on the side of your full-time job. This means, like the rest of us, you don’t have a spare $5,000 to drop on a new trading desk computer setup. And you don’t need to! We got you, boo. We’re here to show you how to build the perfect home trading desk setup for only a fraction of the price.

STEP 1: Get yourself an electric height adjustable standing desk

Standing desks are fast becoming the norm in many of today’s workplaces. And for a good reason. Height adjustable standing desks are essential for a healthier work environment. Benefits of a standing desk at work include:

Reduces the risk of obesity and weight gain: Studies have shown that standing for one entire afternoon has the potential to burn more than 170 calories. That translates to over 1,000 extra calories burned each week before even factoring the contribution of exercise and other activities. When you stand, you’re much more likely to mitigate weight gain and obesity with less struggle.

Lowers blood sugar levels: High blood sugar levels are harmful to your health. Fortunately, a recent survey involving 10 participants revealed that standing for just 3 hours after lunch intake reduces blood sugar by 43%. Further research links excessive sedentary time to a scary 112% increased risk of developing certain types of diabetes.

Dramatically reduces back and neck pain: Many office workers complain of back and neck pain. If you properly use a standing desk, you can effectively reduce the pain by 54% within just four weeks.

As trading from home requires endless hours of work at your desk every day of the week, it only makes sense to invest in a desk that allows for the most comfortable experience to benefit your overall well being and encourage BIG WINS! On top of these health benefits, it’s important to ensure that your standing desk provides enough ample workspace, as well as the required stability and power to support your entire trading desk setup. You’ll require A LOT of powerful, heavy-duty tech (we’ll cover more about that later in this article), and so you’ll want a desk that’s strong and reliable enough to give you peace of mind.

Simple and clean: Autonomous provides several height adjustable standing desk options that are perfectly suited for home trading. The bestselling SmartDesk 2 comes in an XL size with an enormous work surface of 70.5” x 30”. With more than enough space to house whatever your trading desk setup may need, the SmartDesk 2 is the perfect blank canvas for you to configure your desk setup to work best for you.

Spread out your work hub: For a more dynamic layout to your trading desk setup, consider the L-shaped SmartDesk from Autonomous. This mammoth standing desk is perfect for users who want to make the most of an awkward corner office space, and for users who may be juggling a full-time job alongside their trading ventures. You can easily dedicate one side of the L-shaped SmartDesk to house your multiple screen displays and trading tools, and conveniently setup the other side of the L-desk to suit whatever your other full-time job requires. Setting up your workspace this way, you’ll easily be able to switch between multiple working caps. Simultaneously keep an eye on the market whilst working your full-time job remotely from home.

Get yourself an adjustable desk

Teamwork makes the dream work: If you’re not a solo trader and work in a small team of like-minded day traders, then why not deck out your communal workspace and equip your team with the unique Double Desk from Autonomous? A single unit built for both privacy and collaboration, the Double Desk conveniently provides two adjustable standing desks that can be controlled independently of one another. The most attractive feature of the Double Desk for us would have to be the PowerBeam. An outlet that turns your workstation into a hub of connectivity. Both desks come equipped with one, which includes 2 x USB ports, 2 x AC outlets, 1 x Ethernet port, and 1 x phone port. Better yet, the powerful metal frame also comes equipped with wire management that will keep both parties calm and collected all trading day long.

All SmartDesks from Autonomous provides more than enough ample tabletop space to set up your dream trading desk setup. A spacious desktop gives you the physical and mental room to breathe so you can stay focused and productive whenever you need it. SmartDesks come equipped with a sturdy metal leg frame powered by a dual-motor system that can easily support up to 300 lbs of whatever top tier tech your personal trading setup may require. Every SmartDesk comes with four programmable presets allowing you to adjust the height of the table on the fly. With just the touch of a button, you can move your entire trading hub from your ideal seated position to standing. Stay flexible and fluid, and keep active throughout the day with a dynamic range of physical movement. Your peace of mind is further guaranteed with a huge 5-year warranty across all SmartDesks.

Whether you’re just starting out, a seasoned professional, or part of a team of passionate day traders, there’s a standing desk out there to match your needs.

STEP 2: You’ll need an ergonomic chair to match

Of course, every perfect trading desk needs the perfect trading office chair to match. From the minute the market opens in the AM, to the end of each business day, you’ll need to remain focused during every minute to successfully take advantage of every rise and fall. An ergonomic office chair is undeniably the best solution to complement and enhance your trading desk setup. Why? Add an ergonomic chair to your trading desk arsenal, and you’ll instantly (and comfortably) reap the following key benefits:

  • An ergonomic chair with adequate neck support effectively reduces the risk of developing stiff neck and shoulders, greatly reducing the risk of chronic neck problems. Consistent stiffness in the neck that is not treated can lead to terrible complications such as cervical spondylosis.
  • An ergonomic chair aids in relieving back pain. Lumbar support provided by an ergonomic chair keeps your backbone free of strain whilst trading for hours on end. Avoid the risk of developing chronic back issues, which are an absolute nightmare to treat. Remember, prevention is always better than trying to find an answer!
  • Hands down, an ergonomic chair is just so much more comfortable. We often experience uneasiness and discomfort sitting in more standard types of chairs due to pressure constraints on our bones and joints. A quality ergonomic chair allows for complete comfort, providing the physical and mental clarity to trade efficiently and make the right crucial decisions.

The ErgoChair 2 by Autonomous is one of the market leaders in ergonomic chairs with lumbar support, making it your number one option if you’re looking for a trading chair designed for back pain. As a day trader, you’ll be completely blown away by the difference switching to the ErgoChair 2 is going to make.

an ergonomic chair to match

Completely adjustable, the chair allows for adjustable height, adjustable tilt of the backrest, adjustable headrest, adjustable armrests, and a flexible lumbar system with both height and tension adjustability. By allowing the lumbar support design to be flexible, the chair can actively optimize itself to help support your back in real-time. The ErgoChair 2 completely caters to your body, whatever shape or size you may be.

The back of the chair is made from a breathable material to help keep you from sweating during those long hours of trading, and the seat cushion is made from a luxury material that prevents any sort of soreness during prolonged sitting periods. The adjustable headrest helps to support your neck while you’re typing, keeping your head straight, and prevents poor posture. Avoid the distraction of physical discomfort and stay focused on the trade!

STEP 3: Screen space is power

Simply Google search “Trading Desk” and you’ll soon discover that a minimum of four screen displays seems to be the norm. Some trading desk setups may even include up to twelve display monitors! That’s a crazy amount of screen space. Now, do you actually NEED a dozen screens? This really depends on whether you’re a big fish or a small fish in the game, or if you really do plan on growing fast in the trading world. As a rule of thumb, we generally recommend starting off with at least two screens (bump it up to three if you can afford it) and you can always expand your number of displays as your trade power and investments grow.

screen space is power

To free up precious desk space, definitely invest in a few monitor arms to keep your displays elevated, with the flexibility to ensure the perfect ergonomic viewing angle. The Dual Monitor Arm from Autonomous is a single arm that is super easy to install and conveniently holds up to two monitors. A Single Monitor Arm is also available so that you can easily accommodate that third screen when you need to. And with so much ample desk space and dual motor lifting power from any of the Autonomous SmartDesk range, you’ll easily be able to add an extra row or two of displays as your portfolio grows.

STEP 4: You’ll feel the need. The need for SPEED!

Trading is all about scanning the market in absolute real time. To make sure you keep up to date with every tiniest movement on the exchange, you’re going to need to invest in the strongest high-speed internet connection that you can afford. Online connectivity is a vital facet of trading. Without the ability to have the market know about your desire to buy and sell, trading ceases to occur. It sounds pretty obvious, but a steady and reliable internet connection is a must for the dedicated day trader. Not being able to do your job properly can be really costly to your investment. And stay safe! Use a high-speed physical connection and have a mobile connection backup. You’ll be thankful that you do when you experience an internet outage during trading hours.

Speed is the need

You’re also going to need to invest in the fastest computer your budget will allow. If you’re serious about day trading, you need to have a fast computer. Computers are an expense that appears maybe once every few years. Spend the money on a reliable machine that performs. As a simple guideline when shopping around for a driver, if gamers think it’s a good computer, it will most likely be great for day trading too! Don’t let a slow computer bog down your trading efforts. High-performance laptops are also an option for traders on the go who need portability on the4 daily. Whatever computer you choose, make sure that it is never the factor holding back your trading.

STEP 5: Desk cable management

Now that you’ve got all of your prized tech hooked up and installed, you’re going to want to do something about that tangled mess happening beneath your desk. To keep things looking organized and free from chaos, cable management is essential to maintaining your peace of mind and focus whilst trading.

Desk cable management

Thankfully, all SmartDesks from Autonomous come with a bundle of handy cable ties to help order your cable connections and keep things clean. The Cable Tray from Autonomous is another simple, handy solution to help lift your cables away from plain sight.

Now you’re ready to lead the pack!

You’re all set, buddy! You now have the perfect home trading desk setup, and you have everything you need to make your investment grow, grab those big (and small) opportunities by the teeth, and become the ultimate “Wolf of Wall Street.” Of course, these are the physical, trade’s ergonomic tools you’ll need, but make sure you get yourself educated on the ins and outs of the trade and how to make the best decisions for you. Go get em!




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