Minimum Desk Space Requirements in the UK

Minimum Desk Space Requirements in the UK

The idea of filling every available space with workers to minimise expenses might be tempting, but it only results in negative outcomes, including reduced work efficiency and lower employee morale. Adhering to the UK’s minimum desk space requirements doesn’t have to be complicated. Discover how implementing these requirements boosts well-being and productivity.

Minimum Office Space Requirements

The requirements of office spaces in the UK are dependent upon Regulation 10 from the Workplace, (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992. In simple terms, it requires all work areas to have sufficient space, be tall enough, and have plenty of room for people to work comfortably.

The British government’s legal guidelines are a way of ensuring there’s enough room in workplaces for individuals to move about and comfortably carry out their responsibilities. Although there is no set number of individuals allowed to work in a space, it depends upon the total room area, and the quantity and arrangement of furniture. These requirements must be kept in mind when designing new workspaces or modifying existing ones to ensure that there is enough room for everyone to be comfortable.

A young office manager sitting at a desk before his computer screen

Types of Desk Space Requirements in the UK

In the UK, minimum desk space requirements vary depending on the type of desk, the same goes for the distance between tables. Whether you’re furnishing your meeting room or upgrading your office cafe, it’s important to be aware of the legal requirements of the space concerned.

  • Office Desks 

According to British Fire Safety regulations, the minimum space between office desks should be at least 60 cm. For people using wheelchairs, desks should be 90 cm apart. But, in reality, desks are often placed about 100 cm apart to make sure there's enough room for chairs and workers to move around comfortably. When desks are placed back to back, there should be 200 cm of space between them. It's also important to leave enough room between the desk and the wall for chairs.

  • Boardroom Tables

Boardroom seating table sizes vary widely owing to the varied shapes they come in. The shape determines the number of people that can be accommodated, which makes it hard to set minimum desk space requirements. However, a minimum of 70 cm along the straight edge of the table is recommended per user.

  • Cafe and Restaurant Tables 

When it comes to restaurant and cafe tables, at least 80 cm of space between tables is necessary to ensure that people can comfortably sit and rise from their seats. This is also needed for foot traffic and mobility, ensuring that people have enough room to walk through comfortably.

  • School Desks

For school desks, it's good to have between 140 and 180 cm of space around rectangular desks. This amount of space helps make sure there's enough room for chairs and for people to move around easily.

A businesswoman listens to a businessman’s requirements for a project with a laptop on a boardroom table in the foreground

Whether you’re planning a layout for your new office or would like to revamp your existing one, adhering to the UK’s minimum desk space requirements ensures that there is ample room for each individual to perform his or her role. All that’s left now is to source top-quality office furniture and get your workspace up and running.