Desks have really evolved over the years, the early styles of desks were very much rectangular and were generally designed for reading and writing. The desks had slots and hooks built-in for writing implements. Desks from around the 15th century had large structures due to manuscript volumes being so big and heavy.
Slimmer structures started to come in during the Renaissance and later eras due to woodworking techniques becoming more intricate and cabinet making became a distinct trade. Desks of this era often have drawers built into them with dividers to create sections for the ink pot, the blotter and the powder tray, they also allowed room for pens.
Desks were being mass produced during the industrial revolution in the 19th Century. New steam-driven woodworking machinery had been introduced, meaning the number of hand-crafted desks which were produced by master cabinetmakers were becoming limited. These mass produced desks could be manufactured in many shapes and styles, a lot of which we still use today.
The desk form that we were most familiar with during the late 90’s and early Millennium was the ergonomic corner desk, these are still popular today. They work well because they have the deep corner section for monitors and we tend to work in a semi-circular fashion. They have evolved in the fact we are using more compact versions with the development of flat screen computers rather than the ones with the larger backs and we also have less paper on our desks with new storage solutions, emails and the fact we like to be more environmentally friendly.
One of our most loyal customers IOSH, used to use huge 1800 x 1800mm corner workstation with special extensions however, they are now moving towards straighter bench styles “Historically we required larger desks due to large computer monitors and paperwork however, over the last year or so we have found our employee’s just do not need that amount of space anymore. We have therefore changed the desk shapes to rectangular solutions and invested more in breakout areas and storage solutions that suit individual job roles.” Gary Harrison, Facilities Manager.
We are finding this shift towards rectangular workstations more and more, especially in the last year or so. Our customers tend to either go for individual rectangular desks as they did at Griffiths Waite in Birmingham or bench desking sytems as they did at Leicester City Council this year. “We chose bench desking because of the flexibility in the system put forward, particularly in terms of cost saving, stability and the speed at which it can be put together. We took advantage of the cable management offered and also had desk mounted screens fitted.” Lorna Simpson, Project Manager – ASI Programme.
Straight desks and bench desking systems do save space and as mentioned before they are extremely popular at the moment, however, a lot of companies do tend to use a selection of desk shapes. More ergonomic desk shapes are still favoured within individual offices, generally because we like working in this formation and for practical reasons, storage units can lead off of a corner desk creating more desk space and meaning you do not need to get out of your chair every time you need to grab a file.