Office Design

5 Versatile office desks for the flexible workplace

David Spence
May 10th, 2016
desk office space design

The type of desk chosen for an office may not seem like an important decision, but desks can be an integral part of a company’s work atmosphereThe desk has always been one of the most pivotal pieces of furniture in the traditional office setting. Today, it’s still one of the most important things in your workplace. However, the notion of what a desk actually is is quickly changing, as many adapt to the new flexible workplace design.

Depending on your workers’ unique needs and desires, what you choose for your office can either improve or impede your employees’ productivity.  

If you’re looking for a fresh take on the desks you’re using or are in the mist of developing a new workplace strategy, then check out our five versatile, yet functional desk options for your office layout design that will be sure to meet your needs and the needs of the Millennials entering the workforce. 

1. Standing desks

standing stand up desk

With recent scientific studies suggesting the dangers of sitting, most office managers are now outfitting their office spaces with standing desks. These innovative desks are usually adjustable, so an individual can choose to either sit or stand while working.

Some standing desk options are built to a specific worker height, while others have a mechanism that allows the height to be easily adjusted. Source Office Furniture offers both electric and crank variations of the standing/adjustable desk, while Humanscale’s QuickStand clinched a top spot in Interior Design magazine’s Best of Year awards in 2015.

Standing desks do require an investment as they’ll usually run at least $200 for a lower level option, so make sure you have the budget before looking to outfit your entire office.

Though it seems harmless enough, sitting down for long periods of time is bad for your health. Those who spend most of their day in a chair have a higher chance of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and colon and breast cancer. Staying seated for most of the day can also affect life expectancy; according to a 2012 study by BMJ Open, Americans could add two years to their lifespans by limiting the time they sit to three hours a day.

Given this fact, standing desks are becoming a trend, not only among tech giants like Facebook but also among schools ranging from the elementary to college levels. Some of the desks can convert from a sitting to standing option, while others come with convenient adjustable height options. To encourage a healthier office environment, consider putting some of these desks in your office.

2. Movable desks


Movable desks can cater to both collaborative and solo work environments. These desks will typically be lightweight, and can be easily moved into multiple configurations. The Everywhere Tables by Herman Miller are a great example of this innovative thinking that allows for fluidity in space (hence the name).

This allows teams that have collaborative meetings and breakout sessions to get down to work wherever, whenever. Mobile desks are also a great choice for fast-moving offices that need a desk setup that will fit their ever changing work style.

3. Treadmill desks

A variation on the standing desk, the treadmill desk takes staying healthy office even further by allowing workers to get some exercise in while they do their work. These special desks are designed so that they’re not too rigorous; most of them only allow speeds of up to 1 to 2 mph so that you aren’t out of breath by the time you step down from the treadmill. Plus, there are other benefits to using this type of desk. According to Forbes contributor Kate Taylor, “standing in front of someone walking in place while elevated about half a foot by a treadmill is a unique and strangely intimidating position.”

4. Leaning desks


Leaning desks are minimalist, movable and chic space savers. Plus, they’ll help you stay energized throughout the work day. If you have a smaller office layout and you’re looking to maximize space while providing a fresh working environment, these leaning desks can be an effective choice.

However, leaning desks need a wall for support, so make sure you have enough wall space before investing in them for your office. They also come in varying heights, so you can have desks that cater to both sitting and standing workers.

5. Communal desks


Communal desks are an extension of the open office setting. Instead of each individual worker having their own desk, you have a large table (or set of tables) that accommodates many workers. This setup is especially handy for more extroverted workers (or those who prefer in-person communication). Haworth offers an entire Collaborative series as you can see from above, and Teknion’s Expansion Desking is engineered specifically for open-plan, communal seating.

This allows for easy collaboration and mimics the environment found at many local coffee shops. Communal desks are also great for managers who are looking to bring their team together and add more creative flair to the office.


A lot of companies are seeking ways to freshen up their work environment. Updating your desks can be an effective way to do just that. But we also know that all office settings are different; some of these desks will be better suited for large expansive spaces and others for smaller, tightly knit teams. It’s up to you to decide what best suits your office.

Photos: ErikaWittlieb, Humanscale, Oristand, Startup Stock Photos, [email protected], Startup Stock Photos