Minimum Space Between Desks

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There is barely any office in the world without a desk, with the number of desks in place usually correlating with the number of employees who work there. This is challenging for companies as they expand, as when the number of employees and desks go up, a bigger office space is often required. However, it may be the case that moving to a bigger office is not feasible.

In that instance, the gap between desks needs to be thought about carefully to maximize the amount of space available. However, this brings up other problems such as privacy for the employee, them being disturbed in their work, and there is also a safety element too.

Optimum Use of Space

The No. 1 reason to think about the minimum space between desks is the optimum use of the office space you have available. This space should be taken as the prime constraint when thinking about the number of desks and employees that can be accommodated.

To make efficient use of limited space, a business should create a plan using a diagram on paper or a computer, to look at possible layouts for the desks. These plans should incorporate a balance between the space between desks and the comfort, safety, accessibility, and privacy of the employees. All of these factors are essential for good workplace practices.

Privacy And Personal Factors

It is a fact that many people work at their best when they are in relative isolation and not being constantly disturbed. This applies in the case of office work. If you are too close to your colleagues, you might feel that they are constantly looking over your shoulder at what you are doing. Instead of completely focusing on your work, the thought of others looking at your work can play on your mind.

Conversely, you yourself may also have the temptation to look around at what other people are doing.

For many offices, this can contribute to a decrease in overall efficiency. There is also the issue of employees seeing private or sensitive data and information that they are not authorized to.

To avoid all of this, having reasonable spacing between desks can help, and better still, placing screens between desks should be considered, as long they do not take up too much space.

Desks on a Wall

While trying to make optimum use of office space, the possibility of placing desks against a wall is one that is often overlooked in businesses, where open-plan offices seem to be the norm.

Pushing desks towards the wall increases space in the middle of the floor for more desks. If employees are not comfortable with working with their back to the room, the next best option is to place the desks perpendicular to the wall.

How Far Apart Should Desks Be Placed?

For desks which are parallel to a wall and a person is supposed to fit between the wall and the desk, a space of 100 cm or 39 inches is recommended. This is the distance between the closest edge of the desk and the wall. Though this is not the absolute minimum you can go, this space maintains a balance of all the factors mentioned above.

If two employees are sitting back to back, it is recommended that this gap is doubled to 200 cm allowing 100 cm for each person. This ensures that no chair collisions or entrance/exit problems while the employees are moving during the day.

For parallel rows of desks, an aisle space of at least 75 cm (30 inches) should be kept as a general rule. This permits easy movement of employees from their desks if they need to go to another part of the office. It also allows two people to pass each other at the same time.

The Absolute Minimum Spaces

According to fire regulations if the United States, there are certain criteria on the absolute minimum space allowed between desks in offices. The space between desks with all employees facing one direction should be at least 60 cm (24 inches).

The same gap applies to the space between a desk and a wall between which an employee is supposed to sit. This number is increased to 90 cm (35 inches) if the desk is to be used by a wheelchair user.

For employees sitting back to back, a minimum of 120 cm (47 inches) must be kept between two desks. The walking aisle also has a minimum limit of 60 cm (24 inches). Adhering to these standards is not only required by law but also important to maintain a comfortable and healthy working environment.

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