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If I get a new desk, what will happen to the old one?

As we plan to return to the workplace, furniture procurement is possibly not high on the immediate agenda, but as flexible working strategies and new ways of working take hold and organisations look to their office portfolio, downsizing may be an inevitable by-product of lockdown. If that is the case, is your current furniture fit for the future workplace? What will be the priority if it isn’t? Buying new or repurposing what you have?

Recycle is better than nothing at all, but let us look at how an existing desk can be reused.

Though they are very much out of fashion now, old L-shaped r monster desks that were designed to support a jumbotron of a monitor do still exist in some workplaces. Your personal computing solution is now more likely to be a laptop, docking station and one or two monitors on desk-mounted arms. What size of desk do you really need access to when your organisation is moving paper-lite or as you are increasingly going to be working from home more often? For most job roles 1400x800 is more than enough desk real estate within the workplace, and if it’s really just a touch-down spot or a hot desk for a few hours, even 1200x700 might be sufficient.

There will be occasions when an old desk has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be disposed of. That doesn’t mean a trip to landfill straight away. It can be broken down into its constituent elements and what can be recycled is then processed accordingly. There will always be some fraction of the original desk (or chair for that matter) that can’t be viably recycled, but even then, more and more ingenious uses are being dreamed up for most materials.

If the desk is in reasonably good condition but is just ‘unfashionable’ or too big for the returning to workspace plan, what then? It is possible to reuse or adapt an existing desk frame and transform it into something sleeker and of a more appropriate size. Desktops can be changed out to a clean, crisp white finish, or with a nod to biophilia, can be in different wood finishes; desk legs can be repositioned and powder-coated in different colours also. We’re not talking the new desk containing no trace of the original piece of furniture. There is a definite connection between the old and the new. In fact, the ‘new’ can be ‘better than new’ quality.

There is obviously a perception with reused office furniture, with connotations of second-hand and cheap quality. That is not the case. We work with businesses, to assess existing furniture and give you an honest appraisal of what the best option is (in terms of cost, corporate social responsibility and timescale). There is worth in old office furniture. Maybe not for your organisation, but for someone else this may be the opportunity to get that piece of perfectly usable workplace furniture that would be unaffordable direct out of the wrapping, but which might just transform their working environment.

So, before you get out the furniture catalogue, have a think of what the alternatives are and ask yourself, “if I get a new desk, what will happen to the old one?”

If you would like to learn more about how Recycle Scotland can help you reuse your existing office furniture please get in touch.