As flexible working arrangements become the norm across the world, more and more Australians are adding computer desks to their homes. This seemingly simple purchase is often not so simple, with potential buyers faced with many options, add ons and strange features.
We’ve compared common desk types and put together a list of common considerations to consider before purchasing a new computer desk. You’ll also find a list of our must-have desk gadgets to get you through the work day below!
Photo by Michael Soledad on Unsplash
3 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a New Computer Desk
Ensuring the computer desk you purchase is the right height will save your future self a lot of pain. To do this, ensure you see the desk in person and make note of the height you’ll be sitting at whilst working.
When seated, you’ll want to ensure you can do a few things, including crossing and uncrossing your legs under the desk. If you can’t, the desk may be too short. You’ll also want to try placing both feet flat on the ground with your knees bent at a right angle.
Remember, it’s likely you’ll be spending hours at a time at your new computer desk, so make sure it’s comfortable and ergonomically designed to save your future self from back pain.
If purchasing online is your only option, use other tables around your home to find the right height to get measurements before commiting.
2. Surface space.
If your job requires more than simply typing away at a computer all day, you may require more surface space at your computer desk. For those who do need more room, like those who need to take notes, sketch or anything else, you’ll want to ensure you can do so ergonomically.
Essentially, ergonomics are things which help you carry out tasks without causing damage to you. Part of this is ensuring you have enough space to carry out tasks without being squashed into a corner.
A good test for this is to discount the space your computer will occupy and see if you can comfortably perform a daily manual task with your elbows pointed outward. If you can, the desk is likely the correct size.
Besides hiding all your mess and snacks, computer desk storage is an important element to productivity and often an overlooked consideration. Depending on your occupation, it’s likely you’ll require different equipment at your desk.
For example, a teacher may require room for folders, books and trays for sorting class work. In contrast, a photographer may need large, deep drawers and above-head cupboards to fit equipment in.
If you are struggling to find a desk with plenty of storage space, consider asking your local furniture specialist if they offer custom designs. This service often comes at a slightly higher price, but, unless you enjoy having an erratic filing system across your desk top, it’s a price worth paying. Did we mention you can likely claim your new desk on tax?
Types of Computer Desks in Australia
Traditional multi-level computer desks:
Traditional multi-level computer desks were all the range in the 2000s. They had the perfect amount of space to fit your computer tower, monitor and keyboard all in one compact unit. Although less popular now, these desks are one of the most affordable and are perfect for those who require little working space.
These desks are great if you have limited room and need a compact, affordable computer desk. They commonly come with a roll-out keyboard tray and slim set of drawers, so they’re ideal for small offices and apartments.
Ergonomically, the desk’s higher position for the monitor and keyboard tray provides good ergonomics when you have an adjustable computer chair. This will be good for your posture in the long-run.
The biggest flaw of the traditional multi-level desk is their lack of storage. While they fit a computer perfectly, they are short on extra space for storage or even for a multi-screen display.
The price point for this type of desk is one of its greatest assets. You’ll be looking at anywhere from $100 to $400, depending on the material of the desk.
Sit Stand Computer Desk:
The rise in health conscious consumers has seen sit stand computer desks become the norm across many Australian offices. They provide employees with the ability to adjust their desk height, enabling them to work while either sitting or standing.
As mentioned, these desks provide you with the opportunity to work while standing. Standing is far healthier than sitting for eight hours a day. In fact, research has found links between standing desks and lower blood sugars, decreased risk of heart disease and reduced back problem, just to name a few.
Similarly to sitting, standing, without movement, can cause joint and back pain. You’ll need to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day to get a good balance.
These desks are also quite bulky, so they do require a larger surface to put them on, or place if the entire desk is adjustable. Finally, the price is often a deterrent for potential buyers. However, as these desks have risen in popularity, more affordable options have emerged on the market.
In Australia, the average price of a sit stand desk is between $480 and $1,500. The simple sit stand add-on workstations retail at much less, starting at $200.
L-shape or corner computer desks:
As the name suggests, these computer desks are manufactured in an L shape, fitting perfectly into the corner of any room. This type of desk design comes in many sizes and materials, with a vast range of storage options also available. They are most commonly used by those who require a little more space for physical work, rather than simple computer-based activities.
One of the biggest perks of an L-shaped desk is having a lot of storage space. In fact, some companies offer storage customisation solutions, allowing you to ensure the computer desk is a perfect fit for your needs. Options often include inbuilt filing cabinets, draws and even tall shelving for overhead storage.
The main disadvantage to this type of computer desk in a home office is space. These desks often require a 2 metre by 2 metre space, which may not be applicable to those living in smaller homes or apartments.
You’ll likely have to face a wall. Whilst this is a concern that can easily be remedied by some DIY interior decorating, it can be a serious demotivator for others.
Executive computer desks.
You’ve likely seen an executive desk in the movies; the large mahogany desk the protagonist businessman has in his home. They create a commanding look within any room they sit, especially when paired with an equally regal chair.
If you have the space, the executive computer desk is full of storage. Traditionally, they encompass both inbuilt draws and a filing cabinet, sometimes lockable, so their grand size also allows for plenty of surface space. You’ll be able to work with endless monitors!
Another pro is many different shapes and sizes this traditional-style desk comes in. While the desks were originally strictly rectangular, they can now be found in L-shapes and U-shapes. The most common materials used to build these desks is mahogany or other premium woods, meaning they’ll last a lifetime. If you look after these desks properly, they may well become a family heirloom.
Executive desks are normally very large and bulky in appearance, making them unsuitable for many Australian home offices. Most models also come in one piece, making it difficult to maneuver them within the home. Unsurprisingly, the price on these stunning desks is a drawback for many potential customers, with the most basic of models exceeding $1000.
Executive desks are the most premium desks on the market. However, the long-lasting materials used in manufacturing is the main reason for their high price point. In Australia, on average, an executive desk will set you back between $1500 to $5,000.
6 Computer Desk Gadgets You Need ASAP!
1. Sit stand desk add-ons.
Sit stand desk add-ons are great as they turn your average desk into a standing desk, without the price tag of a standing desk. This must-have accessory — or productivity enhancer as we like to call them — simply sits on your desk with your computer and keyboard on top of it. When you’re ready to stand for a while, simply raise the tray and lock it into position and off you go!
Depending on your budget, you can also get electric sit stand desks, which move to a set height at the touch of a button. Your average manual sit stand desk add-on will set you back around $200 to $400 in Australia.
2. A temperature-controlled mug.
With Australia coming into the cooler months, a temperature-controlled mug is just what you need to get you through those chilly mornings. These mugs heat through an element hidden in the base of the mug, with the temperature controlled via a free phone app. They are great if you’re anything like me and forget about your coffee until it’s too cold to enjoy.
One of these mugs will, however, set you back about $170. If this is out of your budget, a mug warmer may be for you. These retail for around $20 to $50 depending on the features and quality you’re after. They work by connecting via USB to your computer and heat your mug through a heating pad, designed to look like a coaster. They’re a great gift too!
3. Cable clips
Cable clips are an absolute must-have if you’re forever unplugging devices from your desk! If you’re anything like me, cords seem to just disappear into thin air and you waste half your day searching the floor for them. These clips are a lifesaver as their adhesive base sticks to the side, top or bottom of your computer desk, with the cords simply clipping into the front.
4. A stepper or under-desk elliptical
Does your day job make it hard to stay as fit as you’d like? You’re definitely not alone, which is why a stepper or under-desk elliptical machine may be a great addition to your office. These machines allow you to exercise discreetly throughout the work day.
Steppers are great for those fortunate to have a sit stand desk, as you should be upright to get the full benefits of these machines. They allow you to walk on the spot while you work. Retailing for as little as $40, they’re an inexpensive way to increase your daily exercise.
Another option is an under-desk elliptical machine. If you don’t have access to a standing desk, this one may be for you. These machines allow you to peddle the day away under your desk, with different resistance settings they’ll give anyone a good workout. Retail prices start from $115, with the top models on the market retailing for around $400.
5. A miniature desk vacuum.
Besides making amazing Secret Santa gifts for your messy coworkers, these little gadgets make tidying your computer desk that little bit more fun. They come in a variety of designs and actually pick up dirt and dust! Simply plug them into your USB port and begin cleaning. These nifty little vacuum cleaners retail for $30 on average.
6. Phone tripod with attached ring light.
These phone tripods are gold to anyone who works in the social media industry. Using a bulldog-like clip the flexible tripod connects to any computer desk allowing the user to film TikToks, Instagram stories or just take selfies at their desk handsfree. The attached ring light creates perfect lighting in even the darkest of offices. The portable phone tripod with attached ring light retails for $30 on average.