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Office Redesign: How to Choose Your Furniture

The suit may make the man, but it is the furniture that makes the office. When deciding on what furniture to buy and where to put it all, one can become quickly overwhelmed by many options out there. Now more than ever, the old phrase, “a desk is not just a desk” is very obvious once you get out into the market and take a look at the available options. For every conceivable piece of office furniture, there are a million different choices. The question is: without the aid of a professional designer, how do you decide?

This article is designed to help you along that path. There are considerations to be made with every purchase, and once you take everything into consideration, you will find each purchase naturally follows in kind. Once you realize that everything has its place, and every place a thing that is begging to put there, you will see that randomness has nothing to do with it.

Set a Tone

The important thing to consider when redesigning your office is what kind of tone you want to set. This will be up to personal preference, and the function of your office. If it is the type of office where customers and clients will often be dropping by, you will want to set a welcoming, friendly tone. Unless your business is overly catered to either men or women, you’ll want to do your best to set a gender neutral tone to the office. No pinks or blues, in other words. Stay with more neutral colors. Bolder colors can have unpredictable effects on different types of people, so you want to stay away from them if possible. You never know what a bright red or a bright yellow might say to the individual. On the other hand, light browns and grays and off whites are relaxing and provide an atmosphere of professionalism. You do not have to be boring with your design of the office, but you should not get too outrageous, either. It is, after all, an office and not a game room.

The Desk

Within any office, the desk is the focal point. This means the largest percentage of your consideration should go into choosing the right one. That doesn’t automatically mean you should go out and get the nicest, most Corner Deskelaborate and expensive desk you can find. You should choose a nice one, but a desk that is too big could give off an air of arrogance and power that might intimidate clients. Then again, this might be exactly what you are after. In any event, the desk will determine a lot about the rest of the furniture in the office. It is best to choose function over form in this instance, though there is room for some stylistic leeway. Choose a desk that you’ll feel comfortable at day after day. Some people choose a hulking desk and then find themselves overwhelmed by the immensity. It may seem silly, but that is how psychology works. If you’re to have visitors in your office, make sure you provide chairs in front of your desk that are comfortable.

Setting The Comfort Level

Speaking of comfort, you want to set a balance. Don’t make the furniture in your office so comfortable that employees (or yourself) do not care to do anything once seated. At the same time, you will be spending the majority of each day in the office, so furniture that will cause your neck and back discomfort after thirty minutes is not appropriate either.

Take your time when picking out the furniture. If you feel as though you want to go to sleep just looking at a particular chair, it’s probably best to skip over it. On the other hand, a metal folding chair is probably a bit too sparse and uncomfortable.

Shelving and Filing

When perusing furniture you will want to direct your attention to your filing system. Companies like HON make filing cabinets and shelving that can fit the decor of almost any office. Many times, filing cabinets stick out like ugly sore thumbs in the midst of an otherwise beautiful office. There’s no need for this to be the case. Filing systems come in too many varieties for you to feel as though you’re stuck with one particular choice.

Creative Storage Solutions for Your Office Space

creative-storage-solutions-for-your-office-space

If there’s anything universally true about the office, it’s the fact that it can become a cluttered mess in a hurry. Perhaps you’re dealing with such a situation right now. Everything you want to file or have organized is in disarray. A tornado could strike tomorrow and would be able to do no further damage to your wild system of storage and filing. Continue reading

Choosing the Right Ergonomic Chair

Sitting in an office all day and working at your desk can simultaneously be a tedious and rewarding expenditure of the daylight hours. Rewarding because of your position in the company and your desire to do a good day’s work for your employer, but tedious because your job may be the kind that demands the same duties of you day in and day out.

You may not realize, however, that this tedium is far from the worst part of your day. The worst part may be a factor you haven’t even realized, or may have noticed, but not ascribed the proper importance.

It is the effect all day sitting has on your spinal column, joints, and other parts of your body. More than simply filling you with discomfort by the end of the day, this constant sitting can produce real, long term problems most might not associate with a sedentary lifestyle. Some of this can be offset with exercise, but some of it cannot. Your best bet is to go with an ergonomic chair.

What Is An Ergonomic Chair?

Ergonomics is used to describe the way in which our posture is affected by the furniture and appliances we use. You’ll see the word written about keyboards, mouse pad designs, power tools, and especially, the point in case before us, office chairs.

Ergonomics simply mean that the piece of equipment is designed in such a way that it does not fight our natural body posture. Rather than causing us to slouch, sit too straight, or hold our wrists in an unnatural position, the ergonomically designed appliance, chair, or other office supply works with our bodies so that we can be comfortable and avoid long term injury.

Bad ergonomics, found in the vast majority of cheap office chairs on the market, can not only lead to feeling discomfort at the end of a long day, but can actually produce results in the long run that would best be described as undesirable. This could range from advanced back problems, chronic neck pain, and even headaches.

How Does One Benefit from Ergonomic Chairs?

Beyond the obvious elimination of these undue chronic problems, studies have shown that office workers using ergonomic chairs increase their productivity by up to fifteen percent. This is quite a large jump in productivity just by switching office chairs!

The increase in productivity results from reducing the need to stand up and take extended stretching breaks when using a poorly constructed chair. In addition, employees can concentrate more on their work, instead of “why does my neck hurt constantly?”

The simplest benefit of ergonomic chairs is being able to get up after a long day in the office and feel as though you don’t need to take a salt bath just to relax. The chair has allowed you to relax and, simultaneously, achieve your greatest concentration throughout the entire day.

What Separates One Ergonomic Chair From Another?

Good question! There is no shortage of chairs out there calling themselves “ergonomic,” but do they all really fit the bill?

There is no industry standard that dictates how you can label a chair ergonomic, and thus, you can expect chairs that claim to be ergonomic when in fact they are not. And this is exactly what you find. Though they have the temerity to charge much more, many of these so-called ergonomic chairs are no different from the chair you have now. Make sure you go with a brand you can trust, such as HON Chair, when searching for an authentic, real ergonomic chair.

Making The Choice

Once you’ve decided which trusted brand is right for you, it’s a matter of finding your price point and then deciding which features you’d like. You’ll find chairs that have various levels of swivel and height, different fabrics, reclining features, armrests, and much more. You only need to determine which features you need , and then pick a chair based on a combination of which one provides the most desirable features for the right price.

Is Your Office Supplies Dealer Overcharging You?

As a tax paying citizen and a member of the office products industry, I find it especially hard to stomach allegations that have surfaced recently in regards to government contracts and alleged overcharges.

This article below, written by Jin Kwon, is particularly interesting.

[Pass Through Sales Allegations in California]

There has been information floating around for several weeks about a passthrough office supply company in California by the name of Epylon.  If you don’t know what a passthrough is it is an company that poses as a small business or maybe even a minority owned business that takes orders designated for small/minority business from state and deferal governments earmarked for those businesses and sends those orders over to a larger corporate company such as Office Depot.  In the case of Epylon, a California company, they pose as a small business and when state employees call and place their orders their online system actually send them back to the Office Depot website.

The Mercury News in California has an excellent investigative story that ran on the front page of their April 6, 2008 issue. Reporter Kimberly Kindy has been following the California audit and has done a great job in exposing the overcharges and passthrough issues relating to the Office Depot state contract.  In a prime example of raising the actual M.S.R.P. retail price in order to show on paper and higher discount off list the paper noted “On these items, Office Depot promised to apply a fixed discount rate, but raised the price on which the discount was applied.”  Also as found in the Georgia contract you and I could walk into an Office Depot store and buy many of these contracted items for less than the State of California is paying.  “…the Mercury News went onto the Office Depot retail Web site and found dozens of items, including data storage tapes, toner cartridges and batteries, that were either the same price or cheaper than the special rates stated in the California contract.”

Now we’re seeing charges of “poor performance” coming from many investors and shareholders in Office Depot.  Woodbridge Equity Fund and Levitte Corp. have mailed letters to shareholders calling for the removal of CEO Steve Odland.  In their letter they state “OD’s management and board have had ample time to enact change and deliver improvements in operational and financial performance and have failed to do so. As we have stated before, OD has significantly underperformed its primary competitor, Staples, Inc., in all key retailing metrics. This demonstrates that OD’s performance issues go well beyond the current macroeconomic environment to which OD attributes all of its problems.”  The letter continues “The board’s weak oversight of management has not only allowed the Company to continue to underperform operationally, but also has raised several corporate governance concerns. Recent SEC investigations, multiple earnings restatements and the recent departure of top executives all point to failed oversight and a lack of fiduciary responsibility towards shareholders.” 

They have even began a web site devoted to this at RebuildOfficeDepot.com .  I would encourage you to read the supporting links and read the information present and make your own judgement.  Investigations and audits have now been announced in the State of New York regarding the Office Depot contracts and the states of Nebraska and Wisconsin are also looking into their contract performance.  What is your opinion? Do you think this is typical of big business greed or do you think Office Depot is the victim of poor judgement?

The last word:  “In the process of trial and error, our failed attempts are meant to destroy arrogance and provoke humility.”

References/Credits
Article by Jin Kwon, Hill on Sales Contributor