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Office Workstations

From cubicles to modular workstations: desks benching and more

Employees sit (or stand) at office workstations to complete their tasks and assignments. However, a workstation can be so much more than just a desk. Workstations typically consist of a work surface, such as a desk or table, a seat or chair, and the equipment and tools that are needed to carry out specific job responsibilities (often a computer). While the design and setup of office workstations depend on each worker’s role, the culture of the company, and other specific needs, the goal is a functional and comfortable space that facilitates productivity, collaboration, and employee well-being.

Office workstation

Shop workstations

​You are likely to find the following elements within the standard office workstation:

Desk or Table:

This is the primary surface on which workers place computers or laptops, audio devices, personal belongings, and other items (maybe even a plant!). Desks come in many different shapes and sizes.

Seating:

​Workstations are often equipped with ergonomic chairs that offer both comfort and support over long hours of sitting. However, standing desks have become quite popular; many workers now spend some time sitting and some time on their feet.

Computer and Accessories:

​Most modern workstations include a computer as the most essential work tool. Accessories such as a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse are usually part of the setup, too.

Cord Management:

To accommodate multiple electronic devices, workstations often incorporate cord-management solutions to keep wires and cables organized, which prevent clutter and eliminate tripping hazards.

Storage:

Storage options such as drawers, filing cabinets, or shelves help employees organize work items and other personal belongings.

Lighting:

​Sufficient lighting is important for productivity and comfort. Workstations may have adjustable desk lamps or overhead lighting.

Privacy:

Some workstations, such as cubicles, are partitioned with panels or dividers to create privacy and reduce distractions.

Workstations Joyce Contract Interiors

Types of Workstations

“Workstation” is a broad term. Within the category, there are a number of different types to choose among. Many factors are relevant in considering the type of workstation that is best for your needs, including office layout, company culture, and the specific needs of employees. Here are some of the most common workstation types:

Computer Workstations:

Height adjustable workstationss

​These workstations are designed for tasks that heavily rely on computer usage. They typically include a desk or table with ample space for a computer or laptop, keyboard, mouse, and other accessories. Computer workstations often feature cord management systems, adjustable monitor stands, and ergonomic chairs to support long hours of computer-based work.

Bullpen Workstations:

Workstation - height adjustable

Bullpen workstations feature an open layout; employees work in a shared space without physical barriers, such as walls or cubicle partitions, between them. Instead, walls surround the team within the bullpen, creating a large multi-person cubicle space. This design promotes collaboration, communication, and a sense of belonging.

Collaborative Workstations:

Workstation with Hi - Low panels

These workstations facilitate teamwork and collaboration. They often include shared tables or desks, open layouts, and flexible seating arrangements. There is a recent growing interest in collaborative zones that aim for comfort, evoking the sense of being in a living room. The architecture, design, and furniture industry calls this concept resimercial. Collaborative workstations may feature whiteboards, pin-up boards, or digital displays to encourage brainstorming, idea-sharing, and discussions.

Benching Workstations:

4 person workstation

Bench workstations, also known as benching systems or bench desks, feature a long, shared work surface for multiple employees. A bench workstation is designed to maximize collaboration, flexibility, and space efficiency within an office environment. Bench workstations are particularly popular in open office layouts and in organizations that emphasize teamwork and communication.

Cubicle Workstations:

6 person workstation

Cubicle workstations are individual enclosed workspaces created with partitions or panels. These workstations offer a degree of privacy and help reduce noise distractions. Cubicles often include a desk, a chair, storage options, and panel-mounted accessories like shelves or bulletin boards.

Hot-Desking Workstations:

workstations

Hot desking workstations are shared workspaces where employees do not have assigned seating. Instead, employees choose an available desk or workstation when they arrive at the office. This setup promotes flexibility, encourages interaction among different teams or departments, and optimizes office space utilization.

Home-Office Workstations:

Home Workstation

With the rise of remote work and flexible work arrangements, home office workstations are common. These workstations are set up in employees’ homes to replicate a productive work environment. Home office workstations can vary widely, depending on available space, personal preferences, and budget, but they typically include a desk, chair, computer setup, and the necessary equipment.

Specialized Workstations:

office furniture trends

Certain industries or job roles require specialized workstations tailored to specific tasks. For example, graphic designers may have workstations with high-resolution monitors, drawing tablets, and color-calibrated displays. Architects or engineers may have workstations with large drafting tables and specialized software. Specialized workstations are always designed to meet the unique requirements of the profession.

Reception Desks:

Reception Workstation

A reception desk is the central point where visitors, guests, and clients are greeted and assisted. They are typically located in the main lobby or entrance area of an office

Private Offices:

Private office workstation

A private office is an individual workspace, a dedicated and enclosed area for one employee or higher-level executive. It is a separate room or area within the office space that offers privacy and seclusion from the rest of the workspace.

Modular Workstations:

Modular Workstation

A modular workstation is made up of several individual components that can be assembled and arranged in different configurations to suit varying needs and preferences. These workstations can be arranged in a variety of shapes, sizes, and layouts.

Standing Workstations:

height adjustable workstations

Standing workstations are increasingly popular, as they provide the option of standing rather than exclusively sitting while working. These workstations are typically adjustable-height desks or standing desks that can be raised or lowered as desired.

Cubicle Design
Open Workstations

Key Considerations for Choosing Office Workstations

Key Considerations for Choosing Office Workstations

 

Employee Needs

Employee needs play a significant role in determining the best workstation type. Individuals have unique work preferences, job requirements, and physical considerations that influence their workstation requirements. Employee needs may impact workstation selection in these ways:

  • Job tasks and requirements heavily influence workstation type. For example, employees who work on computers primarily may require workstations with ample desk space, adjustable monitor stands, and ergonomic keyboard and mouse setups. On the other hand, employees who engage in creative work, such as designers or architects, may need specialized workstations with drafting tables, drawing boards, and/or specific software and equipment.

 

  • Collaboration and communication are important for teams that frequently engage in group discussions, brainstorming sessions, or project collaborations. These employees may benefit from shared workstations or collaborative work areas that encourage easy interaction and idea-sharing.

  • Employees may require privacy, concentration, and minimal distractions to perform their tasks effectively. Private offices, soundproof cubicles, or designated quiet work areas may be the most suitable workstation arrangement, allowing for the necessary seclusion and concentration.
  • Technology requirements may be important for employees whose workstations must accommodate specialized equipment or multiple monitors. These employees may require additional space or specific connectivity options to support their technology setups.
  • Accessibility considerations may be needed to accommodate individuals with disabilities or mobility challenges. Features that include wheelchair accessibility, adjustable height, and other assistive technologies may be important components of these workstations.

Maximizing Space vs. Employee well-being

Employers’ primary goals used to be to get the most “bang for their buck” on real estate costs and to maximize the office layout and workstation design to accommodate as many employees as possible. Over time, thinking shifted to place higher value on employee well-being, comfort, and happiness. Employees are more important to a business than office space; employees are typically more expensive as well. Today, offices are less likely to cram in workstations and are more likely to focus on creating an inviting workplace.

 

Productivity vs. Comfort/Creativity

Should a workstation be built for optimal productivity or is it more important to foster creative thinking? That depends on who is using the workstation. This trade-off is a great example that demonstrates that office/workstation design is never “one-size-fits-all.” The ideal workstation for an employee in sales or data entry is not likely to be the ideal workstation for a writer or designer.

Modular and Customized Workstations

Today’s workplace is becoming increasingly dynamic; as a result, more emphasis is being placed on the flexibility of office layouts and furniture. Modular workstations can ensure some flexibility in adapting a layout for changing needs. The growing emphasis on employee happiness also encourages more customized workstations.

workstations
3 person workstation

What is the standard size of an office workstation?

As it often is in office design and furniture, the answer is “it depends.” Here are “typical” dimensions for a workstation:

  • Desk width – between 48 and 72 inches
  • Desk depth – between 24 and 36 inches
  • Desk height – between 28 and 30 inches
  • Total workspace per employee – between 150 and 325 square feet

Employees Needs

Employee needs play a significant role in determining the workstation type best suited for each person. Individuals have unique work preferences, job requirements, and physical considerations that influence their workstation requirements.

  • Job tasks and job requirements heavily influence the workstation type that is needed. For example, employees who work on computers primarily may require workstations with ample desk space, adjustable monitor stands, and ergonomic keyboard and mouse setups. On the other hand, employees who engage in creative work, like designers or architects, may need specialized workstations with drafting tables, drawing boards, or specific software and equipment.
  • Collaboration and communication are both important for teams that frequently engage in group discussions, brainstorming sessions, or project collaborations. These employees may benefit from shared workstations or collaborative work areas that encourage easy interaction and idea-sharing.

  • Employee privacy and concentration needs may necessitate a setup with minimal distractions to ensure that employees can perform their tasks effectively. In these cases, private offices, soundproof cubicles, or designated quiet work areas may provide the necessary seclusion and concentration.
  • Technology requirements are important considerations, when workstations that can accommodate specialized equipment or multiple monitors are needed, for example. Workstations may require additional space or specific connectivity options to support the technology setup.

To accommodate individuals with disabilities or mobility challenges, accessibility considerations result in features such as wheelchair access, adjustable-height furniture, and assistive technologies.

Workstation design

Office-workstation design is complicated with employee/employer/industry limitations, requirements, preferences, budgets, etc. JCI’s experience makes the planning, design, selection, installation and setup smooth and easy. Call us today or contact us at sales@joycecontract.com to learn more about our services.

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