How many desks can you fit in an office?

Whether you’re moving your business to a new premises or you simply want to rearrange your current setup, you might be wondering how you can optimise the area and use it to its full potential - including how many desks you can fit into the space.

Offices obviously vary significantly in terms of size, shape and layout, making it difficult to state exactly how many workstations you will be able to include. So, to help you work out what might be best for your particular office, keep reading.

Why is enough desk space so important?

An employee’s office desk is arguably one of the most important elements of their overall work setup. With this in mind, it’s essential that each member of staff has a spacious, comfortable and practical surface to work on every day.

Ideally, the desk space should be large enough to accommodate all of the employee’s equipment, including their computer screen, keyboard, mouse and any other accessories they may need, such as a telephone handset or paper filing tray. 

There should also be ample space to ensure your employees don’t feel cramped, crowded or uncomfortable. Once all of their computer equipment and accessories are in position, there should be enough room left for your workers to rest their forearms on the surface in front of them, as well as room to each side. You may also want to make sure that there is adequate space for carrying out other tasks, such as writing and reading paper documents.

The truth is, failing to provide your employees with adequate desk space could lead to a number of problems. For instance, your personnel may feel like they cannot focus on their jobs properly, and it could even be that some members of staff develop work-related illnesses, such as back, neck or shoulder pain, due to the fact that they are simply lacking the space to get comfortable.

As a result, you might find that productivity, morale and the general happiness of your workers takes a significant dip, which can be bad news for your business. So, to ensure your employees are happy, relaxed and comfortable throughout the working day, it’s absolutely crucial that you give careful thought to the style, shape and size of desks you provide for them.

How much desk space is needed per person?

Since every office environment is different in terms of shape and size, it can be tricky to say exactly how much desk space should be dedicated to each person. However, there are a few basic guidelines you can follow to ensure your employees are safe and comfortable.

According to Regulation 10 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, your employees are entitled to work in a space which provides sufficient floor area, height and unoccupied space for the purposes of health, safety and welfare.

Moreover, the Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) state that there should also be enough free space to allow your members of staff to get to and from their workstations with complete ease. 

In terms of numbers, the ACOPs provide a more specific formula. These guidelines state that when empty, the total volume of the room divided by the number of employees that normally work within in it should be 11 cubic metres as a minimum. To apply this calculation, the room or any part of the room that is more than three metres in height should be considered as three metres high.

However, you may find that this calculation is insufficient, especially when you take into account how much of the room is taken up by furniture, equipment, fittings and the layout of the area. 
modern office with wooden desks, big windows and plenty of lighting

What are the health and safety regulations for an office?

Making sure that each employee in your business has a comfortable, spacious desk is important for wellbeing and productivity - but there are also a whole host of other ways in which you should enforce the correct health and safety regulations within your workspace. In fact, as an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect your members of staff from getting hurt or becoming ill as a result of their work, so it’s important that you take these regulations seriously.

When it comes to health and safety in your office, it might seem like there is a lot to get your head around. However, despite this being a complex topic, it’s not necessarily as difficult to suss out as you may think. So if you’re keen to understand the basics, keep reading.

Lighting

A poorly-lit workspace could seriously impact on your employees’ mood and wellbeing. In turn, this could hinder their ability to perform well. Failing to provide suitable lighting could even lead to problems such as eye strain, fatigue and headaches. So, to avoid issues like this, it’s important to make sure that your office is well-illuminated.

Temperature

If your office is too hot or too cold, you may find that your employees end up feeling uncomfortable and unhappy, so it’s crucial that you make sure the temperature is just right. While there isn’t a law which states what temperature you should stick to, it’s thought that 16°C is the ideal minimum in an office. However, you may find that a slightly higher setting is more suitable.

Ventilation

Making sure your workspace is well ventilated is key. By allowing air to enter and circulate around the office, you can help minimise the spread of illness, which in turn can reduce employee absences. Ideally, you should have a high quality ventilation system in place, or ensure that there is a flow of clean, fresh air being drawn in from outside.

Walkways

Your employees should be able to move around the space freely without putting their health and wellbeing in danger, so it’s essential that you ensure all walkways are kept clear at all times. This will ultimately help reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.

Welfare facilities

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide the basic amenities to ensure your members of staff feel comfortable while they’re at work. The welfare facilities you should provide include working toilets and hand basins, as well as soap and hand dryers or towels. Your personnel should also have access to clean, safe drinking water, in addition to a place where they can rest and eat meals, such as a kitchen or breakout area.

First aid

In the event that an employee is injured or falls ill, you will need to have a process in place that makes sure they receive the immediate attention they may require. As a minimum, you should have a suitably stocked first aid box, as well as a dedicated person to take charge, such as a qualified first-aider. In this case, you will need to select at least one member of staff to complete an approved training course to gain a suitable first aid certification.

There’s no denying that providing your employees with a comfortable, pleasant working environment is extremely important, so it’s worth keeping these tips in mind when you’re arranging your office space.

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