A few years ago there were very few options if you wanted a bench desking system so you just stuck a load of freestanding desks together in lines, but now it seems that every office furniture manufacturer has produced their own version, with various degrees of sophistication.
So many are on offer that we have had to dedicate one page of our main site for office desks, just to bench desks.
So whatever you budget and requirements, there will be a system which will be ideal for you.
The idea behind bench desking is simple. You start with a basic rectangular or wave desk, which is designated a starter unit, and then to this you bolt your add on unit so that all of the intermediate legs can be shared. In addition the desk frame is designed to support two desk tops facing each other.
The advantages are obvious. Shared legs mean less legs which means less cost, and more space under the desk. The intermediate legs can also be set back towards the centre-line of the bench desks, to give more space to the users.
Most ranges offer different widths of desk, from about 1 metre wide up to 1.8 metres – big enough for 2 people.
So that is the simple concept behind bench desking, but from here on it becomes a great deal more complicated.
Most systems have various divider screens to go with these desks, and these range from simple fabric desk top screens mounted to the desktop, to fully cable managed screens with integrated power and data sockets. These office screens can also be made for a sound absorbing material which can absorb up to 75% of the noise which hits the surface.
These or standard fabric upholstered screens can also be fitted with tool-rails which can take anything from a suspended paper tray to a 19 inch flat screen monitor. If noise is not a problem, opaque glass or Perspex, or even coloured melamine panels can be specified instead of a fabric screen.
These are the main options for the central screens, but the desktops can also be divided into separate working areas, by using smaller fabric or glazed screens running from the centre line out to the edge of the block of desks.
Then you have to consider you cable management requirements and just how sophisticated you need it to be. Most bench desking systems will have some sort of wire basket arrangement running underneath the centre line of the desks, into which your power and data sockets can be dropped, along with extra wiring and transformers.
This keeps all of the hazardous electrical stuff hidden out of the way, whilst still being fairly easy to get to. Some bench desks also offer a sliding top option, which makes cable access even easier, although this does have a bearing on the overall costs.
Whilst most systems make do with open cable baskets, suspended just below the gap in the middle of the bench desks, some ranges also offer a flip up panel to cover this area.
These are definitely the neatest of all the systems, but once again the overall cost is increased.
This may not be a problem is you just want the best and most usable system for your top sales people to use, but if you are kitting out a 200 person call centre using bench desks, some of these options are simply a luxury which you cannot afford.
Bench desking systems can range in price from a few hundred pounds per person to over £1,000, so you really do need to contact your office furniture dealer and tell them what you want to use the system for. Without professional advice it is very easy to make the wrong choice based on the wrong criteria, and end up wasting a great deal of money