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Office Furniture - Desk Height Adjustability

    Up until about 10 years ago most desk top heights were fixed at around 72cm from the ground.
    There were some manufacturers who offered height and tilt adjustable desks, but these were mainly for specialist requirements such as designers and draftsmen.
    Nowadays however most ranges of desks, apart from some of the very basic forms of budget desks, offer various methods of adjusting the height of the desk.
    The first and simplest form, usually found as an inexpensive option on steel framed desks, is the telescopic frame, where the lower section of the leg frame fits inside the top section, and is held in the desired position by locking screws or even a sprung lug.
    This method of height adjustment is designed to be set when the desk is assembled for the first time, or at a later date if the desk is reassembled. The adjustment cannot really be made by the user and usually requires dismantling the desk. It is a low cost option however, and can accommodate very tall or very short member of staff, on a more permanent basis. It also enables the employer to meet his responsibilities with regard to the Disabilities Discrimination Act at a relatively small cost.
    The second option is a mechanical desk top lift mechanism, either worm screw or scissor jack, operating by a crank handle or lever. This enables the user of the desk to adjust the height very easily and as option as required. Typically these desks can accommodate sitting or standing working heights and can be adjusted many times each day, making it ideal of use in areas where desks are shared. Some of these desks even have a separate crank handle to alter the angle of the desk, which is ideal for designers and architects.
    Cost for this option is considerably higher that a standard desk, but the additional flexibility of the system makes it more than worthwhile.
    The third method uses similar mechanics to the crank handle version above, but instead uses an electric motor to turn the drive shaft. This is the ultimate in desk height adjustment as it provides instant adjustability at the press of a button. This type of mechanism is ideal for users who want to adjust their desks many times a day, or for areas where the desk is shared with wheelchair users. This is the most expensive option, but it does provide the most flexibility and is very user friendly.
    All of the above options are built into the desk at the factory, but should you wish to provide some degree of height adjustability for one or two of your existing desks, then this can usually be accommodated by substituting your existing desk frame for a set of hydraulic telescopic tubular legs which allow the desk height to be set at between 65 and 85 cm by a single user.
    Most manufacturers of office furniture are available to supply these legs at a very reasonable cost.
    As more and more customers are requesting height adjustable desks, most manufacturers are working on designing this feature into their desk ranges, in a more economical and cost effective way. In the next decade it is anticipated that most desk shapes and styles will be offered with some form of height adjustability as standard. Already in some European Countries all new desks are supplied with height adjustability as standard. It will not be long before UK manufacturers follow suit in order to compete in the European and their own home markets. There are already directives in place which put a responsibility on the employer to provide the option of height adjustable desks for any prospective employee, whether or not they are disables, and a prudent and considerate employer would already be thinking about these issues, without having to be reminded by Health and Safety.

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