After we already answered how high an office desk has to be, in today’s article we want to pursue the question which has been asked very frequently: how deep and wide a desk should be? Giving a general answer to that is not appropriate, however there is a minimum size required for offices.

Minimum 160cm in depth

Schreibtisch Breite: ein breiter Schreibtisch im Büro

When using three monitors, a wide office desk is obligatory.

Common office desks are 160cm deep. And the reason is as follows:

The German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends for office work an office desk with the minimum size of 160 × 80cm. If there is a CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitor placed on the office desk, the desk should be minimum 100cm deep. A 160cm desk width is a good indicative value for working from home too.

Why not get a smaller one?

It’s that simple: for working effective, we need space for documents, the keyboard, monitors, a lamp, and other stuff required for working. Furthermore, enough leg space must be provided, e.g., while rotating with the office chair.

Are there any exceptions?

There are workplaces only equipped with one monitor, which are not covered with documents and where no shifting tasks are carried out. In this case, the office desk width can be 120cm without restricting the work performance. As a guideline the office desk has to have minimum 0,96 m2 (1,2m × 0,8m = 0,96m2).

What are the most common sizes in practice?

Beispiel für einen Schreibtisch mit Rollcontainer

At this office desk, the leg space is narrowed massively due to the placed pedestal. If using a bigger one, the problem would be fixed.

Regarding general office work, the most common desk size is 160 × 80cm. But especially for workplaces equipped with several monitors, the desk would rather be 180 × 80cm big.

Bigger desk sizes provide a better arrangement, right next to the benefit of additional space. Therefore, you can locate several stations for different tasks. For example, you can work on the computer while the monitor is placed on the left side and documents and trays are laying on the right side of the office desk, so they can be completed over there. Therefore, you are forced to move, and every movement is beneficial for the office worker’s back.

Bigger desks also have the advantage that pedestals and standing containers can be placed under the desk and make the access to commercial documents easier. But placing a pedestal under a small desk can reduce the space for moving the legs.

But why are you also selling small desks – e.g., 80 x 80 cm?

Beispiel für 160×80 Zentimeter breiten und tiefen Tischen.

One example for a workplace with a desk size of 160 × 80cm.

These small desks are intended to be desks you can put next to another one because not every office desk can be expanded with a docking system easily using an additional tabletop.

In this case, a smaller desk is used. Ideally, it is the same brand and has the same decor and frame colour for the new working surface to still look good. For sure, some smaller desks can be ideally used for placing the printer on.

What desk sizes do we use in our offices?

We are using a combination of office desks with 160 × 80cm and 180 × 80cm metrics in our offices. These sizes are working effectively, and our employees feel really comfortable using them. For seats equipped with two monitors we are using a desk with 160cm width, for three monitors a desk with 180cm is applied.

The post "How deep and wide should an office desk be?" written by:

Sophie Voigtländer

Expertin für Bürogestaltung und Ergonomie

Sophie joined deskonia at the beginning of 2021. Since then, she is mainly responsible for translating all kinds of texts into English.

She studied International Communication and Translation.

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