Desks and Workstations

Desks & Workstations


Your office desk or workstation is usually your home base. Through all the activities you have during the day, it is where employees store most of their important documents and tools, and often where they do most of their work.


Below is a quick overview of desk configurations.  In all cases, multiple types of storage options can be specified.

L-Shaped Desks

An L-shaped desk is exactly what it sounds like—a desk shaped like the letter ‘L’ with the “return” surface in either the left or right side of the main desk. Another type of L shaped desk can be created using a “corner” worksurface that is dedicated for computer monitors and keyboards. Additional worksurfaces can be installed on the sides of the corner surface.

U-Shaped Desks

With a desk, a credenza, and a bridge in between, U-desks offer a ton of space to work on. They are most commonly used in executive style offices.

Single Surface / Executive Desks

Speaking of executive offices, a large, single surface desk may be all you need. Although executive desks only have a single work surface, they are often paired with a credenza and a hutch for additional workspace and storage.

Sit-to-Stand Desks

The benefits of standing desks have been a hot topic for a while. Both L shaped and Single surface desks can be adjustable height through the use of a base that is either electric or pneumatic. Many people believe there are health benefits to standing periodically throughout the day. Another popular reason is a sit to stand desk offers the option to break up the workday from just sitting, to having the option to periodically stand throughout the day. Although an electric or pneumatic height adjustable base is a big investment, below are some things to consider: – Increased productivity by having the option to sit or stand (less being fussy and fidgeting or leaving your desk). – Increased blood flow – the more you move, the more your blood flows, which is good for your health. – Due to health related benefits, it can be a cost savings and a worthwhile investment in the happiness of your employee.

Desk finishes

Desk chassis and tops can be ordered in either veneer or laminate, or in some cases, a combination of both.


Veneer furniture is made with substrates, which is typically plywood, particleboard, or medium density fiberboard – also referred to as medium density overlay, MDF, or MDO. The substrate is covered with a very thin layer of real wood. This is done by applying the wood veneer with an adhesive to adhere it to the substrate. Below are a few pros and cons of choosing veneer over laminate:



– The feel of real wood is generally preferred – Can offer more of a real wood look than laminate – Scratches can generally be sanded and fixed


– Scratches and marks easier than laminate – Very susceptible to moisture


Manufacturers are producing furniture with two types of laminate products, High-Pressure Laminate and Thermo-Fused Melamine, also know as Low Pressure Laminate.  Laminate furniture is a more durable and typically more affordable option when compared to veneer. It’s made with sealed plastics, making it highly resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. Below are some common pros and cons of laminate:


– Cheaper than solid wood and most veneer pieces – Little effect to it when it comes in contact with water or heat


– Repairing scratches, chips or gouges is very difficult – Low pressure laminate can be susceptible to water and other liquid damage. The higher the pressure, the less susceptible it is.


So, how do these two laminate products compare and which should you use? Both High-Pressure Laminate and Thermal-Fused Melamine provide a durable, low maintenance solution for any office space. Both materials are available in a variety of finishes; High Pressure Laminate is offered in more patterns and textures. The Thermal Fused manufacturing process skips the step of fusing the decor paper to a layer of kraft paper, and therefore is produced at a lower price point. The Thermal Fused Melamine surface is thinner than High Pressure Laminate, so it is more vulnerable to scratches and chips. And while both materials are moisture resistant, the results of liquids left on the surface of each overnight would be different. The Thermal Fused Melamine surface would likely bubble up and visibly damage the desk. The High Pressure Laminate would only show minimal damage to the desk because of its’ superior durability. There are pros and cons to each material, and most often the best choice depends on the application.


Workstation cubicles, also know as panel systems, have played a big role in the life of the office worker for several decades now, with no signs of slowing down. In the beginning, cubicles were used maximize floor space by giving staff an office to call their own but without having to build four walls to do so. As of late, there has been a major shift in how workstations are being designed.  Many space designers and facility managers feel the traditional cubicles are a waste space, limit collaboration, and have the potential to stifle creativity, making an open workplace environment the preferred direction. By getting rid of the walls, you can facilitate frequent conversation, leading to increased creativity and productivity. Another huge benefit of open plan offices is the reduced costs. When more people work in less space, you can save money on real estate. Plus, smaller desks or low-wall cubicles cost less than traditional cubicles.  While some might miss traditional style workstations, open plan offices can be a great alternative to a typical office, particularly with so many companies offering telecommute options and flexible work schedules. 

However, research is being gathered that shows open office plans may actually be disruptive to individuals’ focus, morale, and health. Because of this, we are seeing some push back on workstations with little separation between fellow workers. So what is the best layout for your company’s needs? The key to choosing the right type of workspace design, elements and layout depends on a number of factors.  Most importantly, keeping the wants and needs of your employees in mind will help in coming up with the correct balance between privacy and proficiency in your office environment.  Not all office spaces and workstations function like what can be termed as traditional anymore. Below are common types of workstations

Traditional Workstations

The purpose of traditionally designed workstation is to separate workers and managers from the sights and noises so that they may concentrate with fewer distractions. A typical workstation will have panel heights ranging from 48” to 65” in height. The panels can be monolithic or segmented with finish options such as fabric, embossed or perforated metal, laminate, and whiteboard.  Glass can be incorporated into the panel, or with up mounted frameless glass.  Power and data components can be specified to run though the panels in a variety of ways, depending on the manufacturer. Worksurfaces can be in an L or U shape configuration and are offered in six inch increments, allowing to adjust the size of the workstation to meet the needs of the user.  User needs also apply to the amount of storage components that can be specified.  Storage components include overhead shelves and closed cabinets, under-storage drawer pedestals and freestanding storage and wardrobe cabinets.

Open Plan Office

An open plan office space layout is an alternative to traditional cubicles.  It utilizes a workstation that encourages more interaction, and a sense of space. Rather than having an individual workstation for each employee to work in, an open plan office has everyone together. Characteristics of open plan office furniture usually include short screens or panels which are sometimes see-through acrylic or mesh.  Employees work on freestanding tables or a system known as benching, with smaller offices for upper management.

Call Center Workstations

The primary function of this type of layout is to provide a semi-private setting from which staff can make calls and perform other administrative tasks. A basic call center station has a small footprint often with panels low enough for the supervisor to monitor calls and perform on-the-spot training. Call center workstations, which may also be referred to as telemarking workstations, are designed for a single person to use a notepad, computer, and a phone.  Often there will be very limited storage components.

Private Offices in Open Floor Plans

While collaboration is important, distractions can occur and it can be hard to focus in an office with an open floor plan. There may also be the need to conduct private and sensitive conversations. To solve these and other frustrations, there is the private office workstation. And while they may be called workstations, they are actually state-of-the-art executive offices. Along with tall panels, modular private offices can be specified with glass add-ups or all-glass panels to maximize natural lighting and avoid having the employee feel shut off.  These stations can be specified with glass or wood panels, with hinged or sliding doors and can be customized to include additional components to maximize the space, while still providing needed privacy.

Collaborative Workstations

The purpose of a collaborative workstation can vary as much as the look and feel itself. The key to successfully utilizing an “Agile” office layout is by creating collaborative workstations throughout the office. Instead of each employee having their own cubicle, there are collaborative workstations strategically placed throughout. Collaborative workstations can be specified to have soundproof walls, standing tables, and high-definition videoconferencing for communicating remotely. Other collaborative workstations are set up to serve the function of meeting rooms and can be equipped with comfy couches, built-in interactive screens, hidden storage areas and lots of lighting. A recently emerging product is Pods, which are designed for single individuals to use when privacy is desired.

Height adjustable, wired, or traditional

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