Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Getting the office layout to work for your team while keeping the work flow within the office efficient is a big investment of time and money that will pay off in the long run if done strategically.
After meeting with your architect, the next call is to visit with your office furniture consultant at the dealer of your choice, and also a designer if you plan to use one.
Make an appointment to visit with a furniture consultant who understands your needs and gets a feel for your business. If you feel they don’t understand what you are after or the connection is not there, ask to work with someone else. It is important to have the right help and suggestions all the way through the process and get the end result you want!
Someone who has been in the industry for years will make invaluable suggestions that can save you time and money. Have them visit your space and see what your plans are for the various rooms. They can then further suggest office furniture placement, room usage and how to be most proficient in what you are purchasing and how it will be configured. If you plan to add on later to some larger rooms, you can tell them at that time so that they quote accordingly with plans to expand later. Sometimes there are significant savings/group discounts when ordering all of the furniture at once as opposed to waiting until later especially if you are sure you will be adding on to the same types of workstations in that area. This is especially true with cubicles.
As they look over your rooms, discuss with them their suggested location for electrical outlets, phone/computer lines, and ask their help and recommendations with desk placement, so that as furniture if being quoted, these things are taken into consideration.
Most of the time they will want a file emailed to them so that they can drop furniture into the floor plan already drawn out by the architect. You can connect them with your architect for this information so that they can coordinate getting the right format, etc. This will speed up the process of getting layout and quotations back. It will likely also save you money if your architect can provide that information to the dealer so that the rooms don’t have to be re-drawn which will end up being another expense for you unless it is complimentary which is not typical.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you proceed with your space planning. Use professionals who are easy to deal with and solution oriented so that the process is less stressful and the end result is a perfect fit… just like your office furniture will be with the right help!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Getting the right accessories! There are many options like keyboard trays, task lighting, center drawers, laptop drawers that lock, desk mounted stands for 1 or multiple monitors, CPU holders, and more.
Here are just a few of the most popular to consider:
1) Keyboard Trays
Depending on your job type and how many hours you will spend on a computer, you can determine whether you need a basic pullout tray or one that adjusts.
For a home office or job where you are using the computer for only an hour or two at a time, a simple pullout tray with wrist rest should be sufficient.
For a job that revolves around the computer, having an ergonomic tray that locks, lifts, and tilts, you will have more flexibility and less arm & back strain.
Try several styles when shopping to see what fits you the best.
For laptop users, a riser might be your preference. For a more permanent application & added security, locking laptop drawers are also available.
2) CPU Storage
For office furniture that does not already have CPU storage, there are mobile options that can roll under a work surface for easy access, and accessibility for minimal cost. Most are adjustable to accommodate different size equipment.
Also available are CPU Stands that mount to the side of a work desk. These look more like a part of the furniture for a fixed solution. Some can be ordered in different colors to match the décor of the space. With finishes like silver or Black, generally they will look better with more modern furnishings but if they are mounted under a desk even in a more traditional setting, typically they aren’t seen anyway from the approach side.
3) Printer Storage
These options will be similar to the CPU options. Mobile options allow it to be shared. Especially if printer is wireless, this is a handy solution.
Task lighting can help reduce eye strain. It illuminates the area evenly to give overall light and ambience.
Lamps or LED lights are also a great option and can add some design element to the space.
These are just a few of many ergonomic products that are available to keep you and your staff working smarter, not harder.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Here are a couple questions that will help you to determine how to buy 1 chair or multiple chairs:
1) What are your work habits?
If you are using multiple work surfaces, adjusting to different heights or spend hours at a time seated, you will need a few different levers to allow you the flexibility for your chair to work as hard as you do and to accommodate your needs. Also adjustable arms reduce the risk of carpal tunnel and back strain.
If you are at the desk just a couple hours a day, you may just need a simple height adjustment and/or tilt tension lever. You may be able to find more options in the budget arena for this application.
If you are tall, you might like to have a seat depth adjustment. This lever will allow you to sit farther back in the chair to reduce leg strain. Also, if the back adjusts up and down, you can ensure that it will hit the lumbar area of your back just right to give you the support you need.
2) Who is using the chair?
If the chair will have several users, is in use 24 hours a day or is for a Big & Tall user, spend the extra & get one that is rated accordingly. The up charge for the better ratings will pay off in the long run with the better warranty you will get and the higher quality materials & controls.
For Big & Tall users, the chair will have a more ample cushioned seating area and a better mechanism and base to ensure that it accommodates the user comfortably. Most are rated for up to 450 lbs but it’s a good idea to check the weight capacity and also to confirm what warranty is available. There are manufactures that offer chairs in multiple sizes of seat and back combination's so that a Big & Tall chair will blend in the other chairs needed and not stick out like a sore thumb. If you have ever shopped for these, you will know why that is important!
3) Where are you using the chair?
A chair used in a home office or for occasional use will not need to be the same quality as something for the commercial environment. There are some good options for home office that are well priced. However, you will find that you typically have better selections for your wood/fabrics/leather options if you stay in the commercial seating options.
Chairs for a conference room may not need to have as many controls as a chair for a primary user in an office for 8 hours at a time. However if the meetings are long, getting cushier seats and a mechanism that allows the user to lean back can make the hours at a meeting more comfortable.
So, wrapping it up, it’s important to get the right seating for the application you need. Getting a good warranty will help you enjoy your seating for years to come. Talking with an experienced salesperson can help steer you in the right direction and help you narrow the choices.
Bottom line: You really do get what you pay for. And sometimes for just a little more!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
At savings of 50% to 80% off new prices, your dollars can go further than ever. This also helps the start-up businesses that are seizing the opportunity of entering the marketplace with fewer competitors. At a time when capital is tight, meaningful savings on office furniture can really help your budget.
Where can I find these great deals?
#1 Check local office furniture dealers for used inventories. Knowing your needs before calling or stopping by a showroom will help you communicate your needs. This will also help the sales person show you the best inventories for your project. By visiting a few places, you will get a "feel" for the market and it will help you understand what things are selling for instead of getting "sticker shock".
#2 Check with local charities...many of the shrinking businesses of the past year that were unable to sell their furniture might have donated it for a tax purposes. Many times charities are not familiar with how to price this furniture and you can find some really good deals if you are willing to do some digging around.
#3 Ask friends! This might sound funny but you might be surprised at how many people know of businesses that are downsizing. Many of these businesses are selling furniture directly to their employees or other business at liquidation prices.
#4 Last but not least, look online...check sites like craigslist, ebay & local online classifieds. Many times you will find great deals on small lots of furniture. This can be a real resource if you only need one or two office furniture setups. If you are looking for multiple matching setups or cubicles, your local office furniture dealer might be a better place to look.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Using a great color pallet can enhance the creativity of your workforce, and give new life to your business transactions.
Especially in marketing, design & media firms or technology driven businesses, a punch of color in the right places can reinforce your companies appeal as a place that is energetic & fresh.
Here are some ways to use color in specific areas-
You can pick one or two accent walls for a pop of color and then go neutral on the rest. Consider a standard wood finish like Black or Light Cherry for the receptionist desk & end/coffee tables and then add your zing of color to the seating & artwork.
Another way to do effective branding is by coordinating with a prominently displayed company logo. You can tie the colors of the logo into an accent wall & then bring it out with some accessories. One client recently used their company’s yellow & black corporate colors to their advantage in their reception area with a black & glass desk and yellow lounge seating with coordinating black accent tables.
For a fresh look, another client, who was a media firm used white modern lounge furniture with silver accents to add pop to their aqua accent walls. Add a few throw pillows & some modern art and you have a pulled together look that is unique and interesting.
Consider selecting neutral walls, and then going with dark wood for the conference table & buffet or bookcases. Add a fun print on the chairs. Tie in the colors of the chairs with accessories on the bookcases and an arrangement of vases or flowers on the table.
Or how about doing the room in a color, and add a 2nd coordinating color on the chairs for extra pep?
Many workstations have a wide variety of finish options. What about ordering the desks in a color, and then going neutral in Black or Tan for the seating and Black & White prints for the walls?
Or if you prefer to keep the furniture a standard finish such as an Espresso (which is really hot right now), then add a punch of color with lime green or another color on the chairs & a patterned green tack board, and then frame art that ties in a few accent colors such as orange or aqua?
For traditional furnishings, try pairing chairs that have a streamlined design with old world styles for a look that is old meets new. Update the boring burgundy with tans and chocolates, and then add a rich red or deep purple for depth.
Who says your office has to be boring? Take a look at some office furniture design concepts to get ideas on how to improve your space. It will not only brighten the mood around your company, but it will show good design & great taste as well.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Have you ever walked into a business and thought, “Wow!”? Do you remember why? No doubt, they put plenty of thought and money into how well that room was utilized, in addition to a well thought out design plan.
The first thing a client will see when visiting your business is going to make that all important first impression. So, retroactively how your reception area is furnished makes a big difference.
Having an organized space/work area for the receptionist brings a sense of ownership and improves overall efficiency.
As a business owner or decision maker, taking a moment to think about how your receptionist will use that space can be paramount in the overall effectiveness and enjoyment of the space.
To help define the best use of the space, ask questions like, “Are they working on things that you don’t want incoming traffic to see?” and/or “Will clients be signing paperwork?” If the answer is yes, a unit with modesty panels and a counter will be most appropriate. If no, then a simple Desk or L Shape unit is a popular ergonomic choice.
How much usable room do you have to work with in your space? “L” shapes and “U” shapes are popular choices. Or if the area is small, maybe just a basic 30x60 or 36x72 desk will be sufficient. Are there architectural elements in the space? For instance, a large wall with a logo behind the reception desk may be enhanced with a sofa table or Storage Credenza and tall table lamps. Or if the room has curved walls, planning the seating in a curved, wraparound shape will give the area a “designed for it” feel.
What kind of storage will they need? File drawers, utility drawers, door storage are all built in options for Reception Desks. For computer needs, a keyboard tray, CPU storage, Monitor platform, door storage for paper & software are also handy.
Who will be coming in? If potential buyers/clients will be coming in, you may want to spend more on this area and save money in some of the back offices or storage areas that won’t be seen.
Of course, much of this is determined by the industry your company is in. A Graphics & Design firm may want to show off their artistic flair by going with lots of color and forward thinking, modern furnishings for those clients coming in to view proofs.
An Oil company or Law firm may want to use the Old world or classic traditional theme, while a Manufacturing or Distribution company may do outside sales and never have clientele coming in, just suppliers. So they may just want functional metal furnishings for the person “out front”.
The goal is to spend your business dollars in a way that makes the most sense for the way you do business.
A seating arrangement that makes sense with the flow of traffic can make a big difference in how efficiently your visitors are greeted and directed, and then how comfortable they will feel in your space.
To make the most of your entrance area, here are some things to first consider:
How much seating will you need? Do chairs, sofas & loveseats or a combination of the three make the most sense for you?
Meeting with a professional consultant or designer can be very helpful in narrowing down your choices while staying within your budget. They can sit down with you and find out what makes the most sense for your business needs. Making suggestions like standardizing seating so that seats can be pulled from other areas as needed, is just one of the ways to help you think flexibly and plan for growth.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
My company based here in Tulsa OK has finally found affordable office space. Now we've got to furnish it. Should we just buy desk and chairs or go for cubicles?
At first, it might seem less expensive to just to buy a dozen cheap desks and chairs. (Some start-ups even use doors instead of desks!) In the long run, however, you'd be wise to invest in what is called "modular systems furniture," otherwise known as cubes. Modular furniture costs a little bit more up front, but it will save you in the end.
Because systems furniture is modular, it's space efficient. For example, the overall desk surface of a cubicle is typically the same as a regular desk, but it's laid out in two narrow, usable pieces instead of one wide piece. Modular furniture also saves space by capitalizing on vertical space as well as horizontal space -- it builds up, instead of out, which provides a lot more storage space per desk.
Another advantage of modular furniture is movable cubicle walls. If your company is adding new employees every month, it is quickly going to experience a space crunch. Desks can be pushed together to accommodate new employees, but most employees don't appreciate working in that kind of environment. With modular furniture, you can tighten cubicle walls to squeeze in some extra help without totally sacrificing privacy.
Whether you start with a few mismatched desks or a few cubicles, budget for some decent desk chairs. A computer will work fine propped up on a plywood desk anchored by sawhorses; but your employees may break down and stop functioning if you force them to sit in cheap chairs for hours on end.
New vs. Used Office Furniture
Business owners are always looking for ways to save money. Whether you're an office manager, company controller, or a business owner, you know that buying new office furniture can be extremely expensive. That's why more and more people are turning to used office furniture to save money while furnishing their offices.
If money is no object, feel free to buy as much new office furniture as you need. But if you're working within a strict budget, used office furniture may be the way to go. If you shop carefully, it's possible to purchase used office furniture that will not only look good, but will also be accepted by employees and customers alike. Some of the benefits of purchasing used office furniture include:
- Saving money. If you shop around for the best prices and bargains, you can save more than 50 percent over the cost of buying new office furniture. Most used office furniture pieces have only been used for a few years (or less) and have minimal wear and tear. Once the bubble wrap is taken off and the price tag is removed, most people cannot tell the difference between a new desk and a used desk.
- Saving time. If you've ever ordered new office furniture, you know that sometimes it can take up to six weeks to be delivered. Compare that to most used office furniture outlets that can have a truck at your front door in 48 hours or less.
- Reducing environmental impact. When a used wooden office desk is sent to the landfill, it takes years to break down. By buying used office furniture, you will get a much better deal and help save the planet at the same time.
- Getting more for your money. When you buy new office furniture, the resale value can depreciate to 25 percent or less of the original purchase price over five years. But when you buy used office furniture, the resale value can remain as high as 75 percent of what you paid for it.
So, how do you find the best bargains in used office furniture? Begin your search by looking in your own backyard. In other words, your local community is a good place to start. Check the Yellow Pages for used office furniture listings.
You can also contact your local chamber of commerce for referrals and check with other business owners in the community to see where they have been buying used office furniture. And don't forget to look in the classified ads of your local newspapers. Often you will find several ads for used office furniture, and they just may have what you are looking for.
Many business owners are using the Internet to buy and sell their office equipment. Local office furniture sites such as crownfurniture.com are now filled with listings of used office furniture of all shapes, sizes, conditions, and prices. Of course, when buying heavy furniture online, you may end up paying more in shipping charges than you would if you purchased it locally, so be sure to factor in those costs as well.
When buying used office furniture, keep in mind that you might not be able to find the color or design you had in mind. The key point to remember is it's just like buying a used car: you must accept the color, condition, and size, and hopefully the money you will save will be worth your time and effort.