The right home office desk can make the difference between a busy, productive day and a disorganized, harried one. If you are considering replacing your old desk, or buy a new one, consider these important points in choosing the right work desk for your needs.
Will the desk that you are considering buying suit your working style and meet your job needs? Will its size fit well in the constraints and parameters of your work space? Can the desk’s surface withstand the daily-use demands of your job and work environment? These are just a few of the things you need to consider when choosing a work desk. This is because the right desk can aid in accomplishing your tasks in a comfortable and productive and ergonomic manner.
Determine the Use
- Mostly computer work: Choose a desk or workstation specifically made for computer use. If you are using a PC, be sure that the desk offers space or a compartment to hold the CPU underneath. Look for built-in wiring holes or channels for electrical connects to ensure safety.
- Paperwork-generating: Choose a workstation that will have the roomiest surface possible to accommodate bulky books, spreadsheets or piles of papers. You might also want to consider a desk with overhead cabinet space or shelving.
- Combination of paper work, paperwork and meetings: Consider an L-shaped desk setup to allow for both work and meeting space. If space or finances allow, a U-shaped model will give even more space and make for an impressive presentation for guests or clients.
- For a home work desk: Get a computer armoire if you want to hide work clutter in your home. L-shaped desks are usually a good solution and fit when your work desk requires to share space in another room like a family room or bedroom.
- Tight on space: Consider getting a compact computer desk, like the Aurora Computer Desk with Powdercoated Black Accents by Office Star, or mobile computer cart.
Consider Ergonomics and Space
- Your desk should give clearance for your legs. Standard desk heights of 29 to 30 inches from the floor are sufficient for most users.
- When you stand behind the desk, there should be at least 3 ½ feet of space. A minimum of 3 feet of space should also be available in between the desk and another piece of office furniture, and in front of the desk if you use a guest chair.
- For computer-users, keyboards should be placed at a comfortable height. Keyboards placed on traditional desks might be too high and result in significant discomfort or muscle strain on the user. Computer desk should either have a keyboard platform or adjustable legs. Make sure that any keyboard platform is large enough to hold a mouse.
- Desktop equipment and materials should be within easy and comfortable reach, and should have enough space to not overload the desktop.
- If the desk has a sharp edge, consider putting a wrist pad along the edge to prevent unnecessary pressure and pinching on the inner surface of your wrists.
Choose the Best Desk Surface
- Laminate (most popular choice). A plastic finish applied to a wood core, laminate is durable, affordable and withstands more than pure wood or veneer. It also comes in a wide range of colors and wood grain patterns. For quality laminate that can withstand daily use and abuse, look for a desk made with thick, high pressure laminate.
- Metal or steel (most durable choice). It might not have the most professional appearance, but metal or steel desks are reasonably priced and are great for desks subject to long term heavy use and high traffic areas. Better quality desks of this type can be assessed by feeling and checking the desk’s overall weight.
- Wood or veneer (most elegant choice). Veneer is a thin surface layer of wood glued to a more inferior base. Generally, wood and veneer desks look more attractive than other types of desks, but they are usually more expensive and considerably more delicate; they nick easily so they are not suited for heavy or rough use.
Look into Quality and Durability
- The quality of a desk is mostly evident in the construction of its drawers. Metal suspension rollers often show a sturdy suspension. Drawers should open and close easily while bearing weight. You would want the drawers to slide out their full length for easy and full use of space.
- High quality wood drawer are assembled with an interlocking construction; this is stronger than drawers put together with just glue or staples. With a metal or steel desk, look at the drawers when they are closed. If you see a gap where the drawer meets the desk, the desk is not set right.
- Examine the edges and corners of a desk. You would not want to see any fraying. Also, it would be best that you opt for one that has rounded corners as an added safety measure, especially if you have children at home.
- The desk warranty itself will give you an idea of the quality and durability of a particular desk. Warranties often range anywhere from one-year limited to lifetime warranty.
Give Your Back a Break
As you might already know, sitting for hours at a time can be harmful to your back, especially among those already with existing back problems. Consider giving your back a break with a stand-up desk where you literally stand up while working. Many users claim this work method makes them more alert and productive on the job. The Veneer Laptop Table - Cherry by Office Star is one example. Desk tools are also available to be used along with these desks.
Today’s office desk has come far from the simple table with drawers years back. Take advantage of the huge range of choices out there; many of which have reasonable price tags and widely available at office supply stores. Take note of the considerations above when choosing your work desk for an ergonomic, comfortable and productive workspace.