When planning a large office space, flexibility is often a critical factor when choosing your desk style. Is it best to choose traditional, stand-alone desks or a more cost effective bench desk system?
The conventional desk, whether cantilever, +I' frame or panel end, certainly offers flexibility in that it can be easily moved to an alternative position with little need for alterations to the desk structure. The problem with conventional desk styles is that they can be expensive, particularly when necessary extras, such as modesty panels and cable management, are added. They are not the most aesthetically pleasing choice either, as there can be a lot of metal leg frame on view.
Modern bench desk systems are engineered to allow the sharing of the central leg (between workstations). With no obtrusive leg in the way, employees have more space to move freely in their work, an essential contribution to wellbeing in the workplace. Teamwork and improved communication are promoted as employees can easily join their neighbor at the adjoining desk for an impromptu meeting or discussion regarding their work. Bench desks are usually constructed with a central beam, out of sight, on the underside of the desk, which creates an exceptionally strong work surface; handy if you are operating with heavy IT equipment such as large screened iMacs. With a central beam, 18mm work tops are usually adequate but look for stronger 25mm tops to be sure your requirements are met.
The biggest advantage of bench desks is their modular design, which caters for changes, whether additional desk space is required or your existing layout needs reconfiguration. A well designed system will have add-ons (extensions) for small meetings, movable shelves and screens as well as matching storage solutions, all of which are infinitely configurable to meet your office needs. The Gate Bench Desk system by Innova is a particularly good example of this. The modular nature of these systems creates the impression that your office has been designed for its intended purpose, with a clean, flowing, efficient look. Some bench desks have additional features. The Linnea Bench Desk system by Elite offers sliding work tops which provide quick access to power and data modules. This can be very useful for +hot desks', where the desk is shared by a number of people or it is used as an occasional desk for visitors. The ability to be able to quickly plug in a laptop, without the need to crawl under the desk, is a real bonus. The Elite Linnea Bench Desk also has cable management built in at no additional cost.
The modular design of bench desksallows structural components to be shared, saving quite considerable cost in a large office plan. They are, quite simply, a cost effective desk system with no compromise on quality or functionality.
Neil Remnant writes on behalf of Office Furniture Scene www.officefurniturescene.co.uk