Sit-stand Office Desks Buying Guide

Contents

Introduction

Why choosing a good desk is important

Don’t guess what works best

Types of office desks

Why choose a sit-stand office desk?

General Ergonomics

Questions to ask before shopping for a sit-stand office desk

Choosing a sit-stand office desk

Office furniture safety tips: do’s and don’ts when using a desk

General best practices when buying office furniture

Further information

 

Intro

Choosing the right desk for your work shouldn’t be a decision you make lightly. The desk is the nerve centre of your workstation and it is where you’ll be based for the majority of work you do. There is a bewildering range of styles and options available when choosing a desk and it’s important that you pick the right one for you and your work.

Considering we spend almost a third of our adult lives at work, it’s no surprise that the desk you work at can have a big impact, not only on the way you work, but also on your general health and wellbeing. Sedentary (or seated) workers are at particular risk of obesity and other medical conditions caused by lack of exercise and sitting at an uncomfortable desk can also lead to a variety of musculoskeletal disorders.

The right desk is also about organisation: choosing the right one could make a massive difference to your productivity, leading you to become more organised and having an efficient workflow, while choosing the wrong one could lead to chaos and disorganisation, causing you to waste time looking for items, paperwork or shifting around to carry out various tasks.

In this buying guide, we’ll give you a general run-down on the styles and types of desks that are available, with a focus on sit-stand desks. This newer technology has become very popular in recent years as businesses give increased focus to employee wellness.

Sit-stand desks allow the user to vary their working position from sitting to standing over the course of the day which can improve health in a variety of ways. We’ll talk you through why you should consider choosing a sit-stand desk, as well as things to look out for when making a decision on a purchase.

Follow this buying guide and you’ll find selecting the right desk will be much easier.

 

Why choosing a good desk is important

Choosing the right desk could change your working practices forever. For a start, a good desk will have many health benefits. Sitting at the wrong kind of desk, whether it’s too low or too high, causes you to reach for items too often or doesn’t have enough space to comfortably store all your equipment, can lead to back strain and muscle problems down the line.

Sedentary workers are at risk of a number of illnesses caused by sitting for too long and these include obesity and diabetes. On top of that, sitting uncomfortably can lead to increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) that can have an impact on your ability to work. This can lead to sickness absence and ultimately could mean long periods of treatment in hospital.

Stress can also be caused by exhaustion and pain from sitting in the wrong position or at the wrong kind of desk.

It’s also crucial to be organised at work and the wrong desk can have a negative effect on productivity. If you find it impossible to store daily items on your desk or don’t have enough space for all your paperwork, you’ll eat into productive time by searching for things or by going to other storage units for the paperwork you need.

A good, well-designed desk can help you to be more organised; for instance, if it has more space on the desktop, you might have more room for paper trays and organisers, or if the desk has built in shelving, you might be able to store crucial items and paperwork close to hand.

Don’t guess what works best

It’s easier than ever to buy furniture online and while it’s a fantastic way of viewing a large number of items in a shorter space of time and also to carry out price comparisons, you don’t get to try before you buy.

However, if you have the opportunity to try out a desk before purchasing, you can make sure that it works for you. If a colleague has a desk you think would work well for you, ask if you can spend an hour sitting at it while you work to test it out.

If you have the opportunity to test a display model at a shop, take it; you don’t actually have to buy from that retailer if you find a better model or price elsewhere, but just having the experience of sitting at a desk can tell you if it’s the right style for your requirements.

If you are purchasing online, try calling the retailer to ask if they will allow you to buy a desk “on approval” – this means that the purchase is only finalised once it’s been delivered and you’re completely satisfied. This is often an option if you open up a business account with a retailer.

Finally, if none of these options are appropriate, it’s worth keeping in mind that you usually have 14 days under consumer law in which to return an item if you aren’t happy. Ordering furniture to try out, only to send it back if it doesn’t suit, can seem like a hassle; but remember that you’re going to be working at this desk for years, so it has to be perfectly suited to your requirements.

At Office Furniture Online, we’re happy to offer a ‘no quibble’ 14-day guarantee for returns. If you’re not completely happy with your purchase, you can return it no questions asked.

 

 

Types of office desks

Writing Desk

These are minimally-designed open desks that have little to no storage and a large desktop. They are ideal for placing against a wall and are usually more suited to paper-only work or for using a laptop instead of a desktop PC. This makes them ideal for hot-desking; they take up less space than other types of desks and are well-suited to a minimal, elegant office design.

Computer Desk

These are practical and utilitarian. They have a large amount of desktop space as well as storage. They can be purchased with shelves or drawer pedestals and many styles have a storage shelf for your PC tower to keep it up off the floor and free of dust.

Executive Desk

With a large footprint and plenty of drawer space, these big desks are suited for single offices, usually for senior management. They tend to come in carved wood, making them expensive but classy and are designed to give off a timeless, professional appearance.

Credenza Desk

These are rarely found in offices, although if space is at a premium, they could be considered ideal. They combine a desk with a shelved credenza and are great for storing books and equipment while also having a large desktop.

Corner Desk

Corner desks are fantastic when you have less space to work with. They are efficient and convenient and come in a variety of styles, with or without storage and drawers. Some styles have high shelving whilst others come in an ‘L’ shape design, effectively giving you two desks to work from. These could be ideal for users who carry out more than one distinct task over the course of the day.

Secretary Desk

This is now mainly out of style and usually only used for decorative purposes. The desk has a hinged surface allowing for storage and is usually topped by shelves or a bookcase with drawers. They are an option when a desk is required for occasional purposes and take up less space than other desks.

Floating Desk

Mounted directly onto the wall, these desks are ideal for when floor space is at a premium. Usually one unit with a desktop and shelves, they allow for plenty of storage while keeping the floor free. Some of these can be closed or locked, or used as standing workstations and can have industrial uses.

Sit-stand desks

Sit-stand or height adjustable desks are standard desks that can be raised and lowered either manually or electrically with a gas-powered lift. They allow users to choose their working position and they can vary this from sitting to standing over the course of a day without clearing the desk first. They are ideal for allowing users to be fitter and more mobile if they spend long periods at their desk.

Bench desks

Bench desks are the simplest desks available; flat rectangular worktops with bench legs and the possibility of combining them into a variety of configurations make them ideal for hot-desking environments and call centres, with the option of screens.

Each of the types of desk outlined have their advantages and disadvantages. The primary considerations will be the type of work carried out at the desk, desktop size, storage and available floor space, as well as budget.

For example, it would not only be incredibly expensive and wasteful but also highly impractical to kit out a full office in executive desks, no matter how valued and important they might make everyone feel! Similarly, few senior executives would be happy with a corner desk facing away from the door; they usually prefer to face anyone entering the office to talk to them.

Make sure you’re choosing the appropriate desk for the job at hand. Try not to be seduced by new technologies or fancy materials if budget is a concern. Sit-stand desks are great for improving health, but it would be inadvisable to fill the office with them if they go unused and employees remain seated throughout their shifts.

Later in this guide we’ll give you some advice on choosing the right desk and how to understand your requirements before you purchase, but for now, remember that you should only buy the kind of desk you need.

 

Why choose a sit-stand office desk?

There’s an obesity epidemic in the West and it’s caused by an increase in sedentary work and lifestyles. Not only that, but recent studies have shown that inactivity is even worse for you than obesity. If you sit at your desk for more than six hours a day, you risk of heart disease increases and you can take up to 7 years off your quality life. Sitting is literally killing you.

When you sit down to work, your muscle activity slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to about a third of your walking rate. After two weeks of sitting for more than six hours a day, cholesterol and insulin resistance increases, which causes weight gain. This makes even working out harder and is why you probably get out of breath climbing the stairs to the office in the morning.

After a year of sitting for six hours a day, you’re at risk of weight gain and high cholesterol and over 10-20 years of this increases your risk of dying of heart disease by 64 percent and your risk of prostate or breast cancer increases by 30%.

And yet, for most of us, there’s no getting away from the fact that our work involves us sitting for between 6 and 8 hours every weekday.

However, there is an alternative: the sit-stand desk.

Sit-stand desks offer a number of benefits to the sedentary worker. They can reduce your chance of obesity; standing to work burns 50 calories more per hour than sitting does, and standing to work usually results in more activity generally. You’re often freer to walk away from your desk so you tend to do so more often.

They can also help you to improve your posture, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. As long as the desk is set up correctly, the act of standing to work will improve your core strength which will hold your back correctly in place.

Standing to work can lower your blood sugar levels, decreasing the risk of diabetes. In fact, standing for 180 minutes after lunch can lower the blood sugar spike by 43% compared to sitting for the same length of time.

On top of these physical benefits, standing at your desk to work can also help improve your overall mood and energy levels. In a study on standing to work, it was found that those who used standing desks had less stress and fatigue than those who sat for the working day, while 87% of standing participants said they had increased energy. Crucially, when the participants returned to sitting at their desks, their mood dropped back to their original levels.

Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to increased depression and anxiety and this has a massive impact on business as productivity falls due to sickness absence. Encouraging employees to stand could have a massive impact on their physical and mental health, and boost productivity.

 

 

General Ergonomics

“Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.”

– International Ergonomics Association

We’re all familiar with the word ergonomics and most of it broadly know that it relates to how we sit at work. However, the reality is a complex system of relationships that govern our interaction with our environment.

At work, is it mainly about how our desk and chair can be best adjusted to allow us to work in comfort and free from negative impacts on our health.

The study of ergonomics has given us some incredibly useful information on how we can assess our workstations and remove or minimise anything that can cause damage or harm, especially to the musculoskeletal system. This can also have a positive effect on our concentration, productivity and efficiency.

The benefits of workplace ergonomics

If you feel that your office desk is reducing your ability to be productive or risks harming your health, you’re probably not going to be able to rush out and buy a replacement. It’s likely you’re have to convince whoever holds the purse strings to allow you to do so first and that means making a business case for it.

When it comes to health and well-being, it can be tricky to convince people when all you have is your own subjective, qualitative feedback. What you need are cold, hard, quantitative facts:

1 – Reducing sickness absence: Failure to consider ergonomics in the workforce is hitting businesses in the bottom line; around 8.8 million working days are lost in the UK every year to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Much of this can be attributed to poor furniture design and lack of ergonomics and it leads to an average of 16 days of sickness every year per person who suffers from MSDs. That’s almost a third of all sickness absence. Ergonomically designed furniture could have an immediate beneficial impact to your business.

2 – Better productivity: Working at badly designed workstations leads to distraction and a lack of focus, as well as exhaustion and fatigue. This cuts into productivity as workers spend more time shifting in their chairs or rearranging their desks constantly than focusing on their workload.

3 – Boost morale: It’s time you drop the outdated idea that looking after workers is a woolly, nice-to-have but unnecessary factor in your business; it’s crucial that you put employee wellness first. In times of economic difficulty, businesses are haemorrhaging staff as people seek employers that look out for their best interests. Loyalty is earned and if you want to put an end to that revolving door and astronomical recruitment costs, you need to show your workers that you care. The easiest way to do that is by visibly making their health and wellbeing a priority. A full ergonomics assessment of the workplace and workstations designed for your workers individual needs with show them that you value the great time and effort they put into making your business the best, and it will give you the edge on your competitors, too.

4 – Improved health and safety: Another myth that needs to go the way of the dodo is that health and safety is simply a matter of bureaucracy getting in the way of you doing your job. It’s your legal responsibility to look after the health of your staff and failure to do so could run the risk of expensive litigation. However, adopting best practices with regards to health and safety can actually improve efficiency, productivity and morale. It’s also worth considering that many clients now prize health and safety when choosing a business to work with, so getting it right, and shouting about it, could win you more business.

 

 

Key regulations

There are some key pieces of legislation that you should make yourself aware of as an employer that relate to ergonomics and the reduction of MSDs. These are:

Thankfully, much of the information in these regulations is common sense and you don’t need to know them inside and out. Just make yourself aware on any legislation that particularly pertains to your business and implement those appropriately.

Ergonomics in practice

When applying ergonomics to a workstation, it’s important to know that any checklist can only give you guidelines. Every user is different and workstations need to be adjusted to individual needs; what works for one might not work for another. With that said, following these key tips on adjusting your workstation for comfortable and safe use:

  • Your chair: Your desk should come to elbow height when you are seated, and your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees bent at 90°. If the height of your desk and chair makes this impossible, use a foot rest to raise your feet to the right position. Your arms should also be bent at 90° with your hands resting comfortably above the keyboard.
  • Backrest: To ensure proper posture, your back should be well-supported by your chair. Remember that too straight can be just as bad as not straight enough; your back should follow its natural curve and if this isn’t possible, use a lumbar roll.
  • Armrest: Some people like to use armrests but if you do, ensure they are adjusted so that your shoulders aren’t raised too high. It’s also important to make sure that the armrests don’t prevent you from getting close enough to the desk.
  • Desktop layout: Make sure that everything you need on the desktop is within easy reach so that you are not stretching or over-reaching to access items you use regularly.
  • Monitor: To prevent eye strain, you should not be too close or too far from the screen. To prevent neck strain, the top of the screen should be roughly level with your eyes, although with larger modern monitors, this might not be exact. Make sure it’s right for you.
  • Keyboard and mouse: Both your keyboard and mouse should be situated in your “primary reach” area, directly in front of you without stretching. You should be able to use your mouse without having to straighten your arm. If you have to angle your wrist upwards to reach the keyboard you can cause repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome over time, so use a wrist-rest.
  • Telephone: Never reach or stretch to use the telephone; it should be within comfortable distance and you should rearrange your desk if this isn’t the case. Also, never cradle the phone between your chin and your shoulder. If you use the phone regularly over the course of the day, consider asking for a headset.

 

 

Questions to ask before shopping for a sit-stand office desk

Height range

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) suggest that the optimal height range for a sit-stand desk is between 22.6” and 48.7”. However, this will depend on the requirements of the individual who will be using the desk. If there will only be one user, taking accurate measurements both sitting and standing is the way to go. If there will be a number of users, look for the widest range possible.

Depth

This will be dependent on the type of work carried out and the individual requirements of the user, but the depth of the desk will decide how much work they can spread out. If they need a monitor, desktop, shelves or trays and a variety of paperwork or stationery they’ll need more depth and a 30” depth would be a good minimum, although a smaller footprint may work for those with less paperwork or using a laptop.

Noise

Electrically-operated mechanisms can be noisy, so it’s worth finding out how loud they are before purchasing. If you work in a busy office, the mechanism could be disruptive or obtrusive, and loud sit-stand mechanisms is a sure-fire way to ensure that no one uses the standing function; the opposite of the effect you’re looking for.

Ease of movement

Sit-stand desks come in a variety of mechanisms, including hand cranks, electric motors and pneumatic lifts. The ease with which the mechanism can be operated is a critical factor in choosing the right model.

Speed

A fast mechanism will, without doubt, encourage users to adjust their desk more frequently throughout the day. However, a slow mechanism will break their flow of work and will put them off using it.

Power

If your desk is operated via an electric motor, you’ll need to ensure you have easy access to power points so that it can be operated.

Leg fatigue

Particularly in the early days of use, users can get tired legs when standing at their desks. However, there are a number of ways to mitigate the effects of fatigue. These include gel mats or risers that allow users to take the weight off one foot while they work. Some models of sit-stand desks will include these, while for others, you’ll need to purchase them separately.

Weight

You should always check the load capacity of a desk before purchase and sit-stand desks are no different. Work out what will be stored on the desktop and ensure that the desk can comfortably take the load without pressure over time.

Programmability

Some models of sit-stand desk will allow you to program settings into them, meaning that a variety of adjustments unique to the user can be stored in memory. This means that the desk can be adjusted to the right height with one button-press, making them incredibly easy to use and reducing the barriers that can put users off getting the most out of the desk.

Functionality

You’ll also need to ensure that the desk you choose is not only fit for the requirements at hand but also fits in with the overall functionality of the office. Can you add privacy screens if required? Does the desk suit a hot-desking office? Do you need to accommodate lighting, or run cables through a cable tidy? There are a host of functions you’ll need to consider that will be specific to your own working environment.

 

Choosing a sit-stand office desk

Now that you know the various considerations you need to factor in before making a purchase, let’s look at the specific ways in which you can choose the right sit-stand office desk for your environment.

Measuring

First of all, you’re going to need to take your measurements to ensure that the desk is appropriate for you. Using a tape measure, measure the available space for the desk. This will include both the footprint of the desk and the width and depth of the work surface.

Then measure yourself, firstly your seated measurement of the height of where your keyboard should be. Then take the same measure, but standing. This will give you the ideal range and will allow you to choose a desk model that matches this.

New desk or attachment

The next major consideration is particularly crucial if you’re watching your budget. You could opt to purchase a brand-new sit-stand desk if you have the spare money and you’re looking to replace your desk, but if your budget is tight or if you have a desk you’d like to keep, you could consider a desk attachment.

There are a number of options available that allow you to convert an existing desk into a sit-stand desk. Some of these are shelving systems that have a variety of notches for the shelves, allowing you to situate your monitor and keyboard at various height, although adjusting these can be time-consuming.

You can also buy electric or pneumatically-powered worktop units that sit on top of your existing desk and allow you to adjust the height according to your needs.

Whatever you choose, bear in mind that you should still consider your measurements. It’s also worth noting that desk adjustments usually don’t offer the same degrees of flexibility as a full sit-stand desk and will lack certain features.

Accessories

There are a number of accessories available for use with a sit-stand desk. Possibly the most crucial of these is an anti-fatigue mat. When standing for long periods of time, the effects of gravity can be hard on your joints, particularly your ankles. A cushioned surface can absorb some of this, and while specific anti-fatigue mats are available, any soft cushioned mat can take the pressure off and allow you to stand comfortably for longer.

Cable management should always be a consideration when purchasing a desk but there are some specific things to think about when buying a sit-stand desk. Think about what will happen when you raise the desk; if there isn’t enough slack in the cables, you could find your keyboard, monitor or mouse being pulled by the raising motion. Think about purchasing longer cables or, if appropriate, retractable cables, and always use cable tidy or management system to ensure that cables don’t become trapped in the mechanism of the desk.

Stability

When buying a sit-stand desk, remember that all of your equipment and storage needs to be stable when using it. Don’t always go for the cheapest option; you may find that the mechanism judders and your monitor falls over, for example. Go for a good, solid model that doesn’t wobble when you engage the mechanism.

Chair

Don’t forget your chair! Just because you’re opting for a sit-stand desk doesn’t mean you should leave out buying a chair. You’re going to need to sit at times as it’s the rare individual who can stand all day for work. You might want to go for a stool that allows you to ‘perch’ instead of going into a fully-seated position, or a draughtsman chair that has extra height so that going from sitting to standing isn’t such a leap in height.

 

 

Office furniture safety tips: do’s and don’ts when using a desk

 

DO

  • Ensure that you read the provided documentation when assembling your desk on delivery. Some items will arrive assembled while other will be flat-packed.
  • Ensure that all the pieces are fitted together properly and that screws and bolts are tightened correctly with a tool (not just by hand)
  • Some sit-stand mechanisms will have grease applied; check to see if you are advised to re-grease this over time
  • Be very careful when handling or inserting gas canisters for pneumatic lift mechanisms; follow the instructions carefully as these units are highly pressurised and can cause an explosion if they become damaged
  • Regularly check the desk (every 6 months is ideal) to ensure that it remains stable, tightening any screws or nuts and bolts as necessary
  • Always ensure that your desk is adjusted to suit your particular frame, according to the directions provided. If hot desking or swapping desks, readjust on every use.
  • Make sure the work surface is large enough to accommodate your screen, keyboard, mouse, documents and any other equipment you need

DON’T

  • Don’t lean heavily on the desk or sit on the worktop as the desk may not be built to accommodate that weight and you could cause it to collapse

 

 

General best practices when buying office furniture

Buying a desk is a major investment and you should use the same judgement as you do when make any significant capital purchase. It’s important to follow the suggestions in this guide to ensure you get the right product for the job and that it meets all of your requirements.

Don’t skimp on cost, as you’ll want to make sure that the desk lasts and doesn’t need replaced in a year; this is particularly important when purchasing a sit-stand desk as there is extra equipment to maintain.

It’s also crucial that you choose the right supplier. Follow reviews if you can, shop around and compare prices and make sure you always check the small print. The following best practice guidelines will help to lead you in the right direction.

Choosing a supplier

There a number of factors to consider when selecting a supplier. Some people like to always buy from a well-known name or trusted retailer, either in store or online, while others will look for the best deal or customer service and aftercare regardless of whether they’ve heard of the supplier or not. There’s no hard and fast rules here, just exercise your own judgement.

Many of us now choose to shop online due to the many benefits it offers; speed and ease of use, flexibility, online reviews, price comparison and a variety of others. However, when you’re shopping online there are some things you should be wary of. The internet isn’t the Wild West it once was, but you can still come across fly-by-nights or disreputable retailers, so exercise caution.

Here are some key things to watch out for if you’re buying online:

  • Modern browsers have robust security built-in and will usually flag up a site with a warning if it is known to be illegitimate, insecure or has been used in the past for phishing scams. Always heed these warnings and avoid those sites.
  • Legitimate retailers will always have a postal address and registered office. Check this before buying online and avoid anywhere with no address or a PO Box
  • Customer reviews can be a good benchmark for the trustworthiness of a retailer. Many reputable retailers will post up a variety of customer reviews, good and bad, as this tends to foster trust. They might lose sales on one product, but because visitors appreciate the retailer being upfront, they will tend to convert more readily to customers
  • Always check to see if you can contact the retailer by phone or email. For major purchases, you might need some extra help or advice and reputable retailers will offer that as an option. At Office Furniture Online, we have a sales team who would be happy to help offer advice on choosing the right products and can give you extra specifications if you can’t see them online.
  • You can often judge a website on appearance; check to see if it looks professional. Sites that have broken links and images, poor grammar and spelling or plain bad design could be a warning sign that the retailer is new or doesn’t expect to be around for long; legitimate retailers invest time and money in making sure their websites are professional and user-friendly.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it usually is; and that’s often the case with pricing. If you see a model of desk that is significantly cheaper on one site compared to all the others, be wary. It could be scam, or you might find you’re hit with hidden costs when you reach the checkout. Always check the small print.

You can use other services to check if an online retailer is legitimate. For example, the WhoIs service lets you look up the owner of a website. It will give you registration information, including an address, so you can see what country it is based in and how long it has been operating. Some retailers may hide their address behind that of their host company; while there may be legitimate reasons for doing this, be wary if this is the case.

Phishing and scamming have become very persuasive over the years and while it’s rare, there have been instances where scammers have entirely cloned authentic sites, using them to skim money or phish for information including credit card details. Thankfully, most modern browsers can now spot unusual activity like this and will warn you of it. This is why it’s always important to keep operating systems and browsers up to date, including regular security patches.

Avoid buying from companies that seem to very new or which you haven’t heard of before. Some young retailers will offer great deals on prices to undercut the competition, but they will be far less secure. If they go into administration, you run the risk of warranties or guarantees becoming invalidated and if something goes wrong with your desk, you would be left having to replace it out of your own pocket.

Finally, watch out for overseas retailers. They can often offer much lower prices than UK-based suppliers but products are often inferior and in some countries, health and safety standards are far lower than they are here or in the EU. If you by a product overseas and it becomes defective and injures an employee, you could be held liable for not upholding your duty of care to the employee by ensuring the product met relevant health and safety standards.

Reviews are a great tool

Most trustworthy retailers will use customer reviews and this can be a great help when deciding on a purchase. In order to foster trust, most of these retailers will post good and bad reviews so it can help you to avoid products that aren’t fit for your requirements.

However, it’s worth noting that any site that allows customers reviews will have some drawbacks; some customers like to moan, and you’ll definitely find reviews that complain about things that aren’t relevant to the product or the retailer, like the postal service or damage from transit. Low scores from reviews like these might look bad, so make sure you check the average score and a sample of both high and low scoring reviews.

Customer reviews can also be a good source of other information, such as the suitability of a product for a specific purpose. This can sometimes help you to narrow down your choices to the one that’s most relevant for your needs.

At Office Furniture Online, we post customer reviews of our products provided by the reputable external site, Trust Pilot. Based on 6,506 reviews, we score 5 stars and a rating of Excellent.

Compare prices

It’s never been easier to compare prices online between retailers. You can do this yourself by going to a variety of sites, or by using price comparison sites and you can quickly compare prices, models, styles, add-ons, aftercare and more. It can take a little longer to make a purchase by doing this, but it can help you to ensure you make the right decision.

Some retailers offer price guarantees which means they will refund the difference if you find the desk cheaper elsewhere. In reality, this often means you can get the best deal but still make your purchase from your preferred vendor. However, you should always check the small print on such deals; sometimes it’s not exactly what it seems. Also, if you don’t see an offer like this on a site, it might worth calling or emailing the retailer to ask!

Contacting the retailer directly can allow you to source extra information that can help you to make a decision about your purchase. If you don’t see exact specification that you require on the site, call them and ask them.

If you’re considering setting up a company account, it could be worth talking directly to the retailer to see if they can offer you a discount as a first-time buyer or for buying in bulk. If the retailer knows they are likely to get repeat business from your company, they might be willing to sweeten the deal.

Look for hidden costs

Lastly, always check the small print before you finalise any purchase. Sometimes, hidden or extra charges only show up when you go to the final checkout page. Make sure you read over this carefully so you don’t get any surprises. Here are some of the main things to watch out for:

  • VAT: In the UK, Value Added Tax currently sits at 20%. This is a fifth of the cost of the product so it’s worth ensuring you know whether it has been added or not. Some retailers will show their prices inclusive of VAT while others won’t do this until you get to the checkout.
  • Import/export fees: Buying from overseas can result in some great deals on prices, but many people don’t realise that a lot of products are subject to import/export taxes and fees. These aren’t paid on purchase so they won’t appear on your final bill; instead, you’ll only find out how much you are liable to pay on delivery of the product. If you’re determined to purchase from overseas, do a search on import/export fees to try and give yourself a rough estimate of what it might end up costing you.
  • Delivery: Office Furniture Online offers free delivery on all of our items. Some of these are eligible for free Next day delivery too, and we’ll show an estimated delivery time for every single item. They are a guide, but if there are changes to the estimate, we’ll let you know. A lot of our competitors will charge for delivery and the prices can vary, especially for bulky items. Also, you might have no idea when to expect the delivery of your goods; don’t hesitate to call them and ask for an estimate if it’s not clear.
  • Admin and sundries: It’s rare nowadays to see this, but some companies will add extra admin costs to your invoice. This is something to watch out for, especially if you’re opening up a Credit Account. Talk to the retailer in advance if you’re not sure what you should expect on your bill or invoice.

The final thing to note is that you get what you pay for. It might seem like it’s a good idea to save money when purchasing office desks but it’s most important to get the correct equipment for your requirements and ensure that you or your employees are safe. Find the balance between cost and quality; it might take little longer to make the purchase, but it’ll be worth it.

Check aftercare including which warranties and guarantees are provided with your purchases too. Ask if there are maintenance options available to ensure your products remain in top condition.

 

Further information

At Office Furniture Online, we have a fantastic selection of all kinds of office desks, including a wide range of sit-stand desks to suit any requirements. Available in a range of styles, materials, finishes and colours, there’s something to suit every individual and office.

We show full specifications for all of our products as well as upfront pricing, so you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for. If you need a little choosing the ideal sit-stand desk for your work, contact our sales team for help and advice.

Just call 0844 248 7001 or email us at sales@officefurnitureonline.co.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Ask us about opening a credit account if you’re considering making a number of purchases.

John

Head of cool things at Office Furniture
Bit of this, bit of that but love cats.

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Author: John