Workspace Innovation: The Simple Corner

Lifehacker  mentions some of the headaches I’ve often encountered trying to set up a work space in a small room, or the corner of an often-used room (the curse of the apartment-dweller):

The problem with a corner desk is you’re almost always stuck with two outcomes: you either have a wide open desk with a ton of dead space behind it or you have a hutch style desk with a store built up on the desk. The problem with the former is that you send up staring into an empty corner and while the latter makes better use of the space it’s usually an eyesore and makes the room seem smaller because it walls off the corner of the room.

Josh took a different approach, combining a table desk with a series of small bookcases (2 on the side and one in the back) to provide storage and fill in the “negative space” created by putting the desk in the corner. With his laptop on the table and his monitor on the shelf behind it, switching from computer work to good ol’-fashioned writing and other desk activities is as simple as unplugging the laptop and sliding it out of the way. An innovative use of space using simple components. I dig it.

Article: Design a Home Office on a Budget

I just came across an article from the Los Angeles Times with some helpful hints for building a home office on a budget. While I plan on doing a full feature on this very topic, I thought I’d share the article now because it has some interesting tips. In the article, interior designer Lauren Rottet is shopping brick-and-mortar office supply stores and liquidators, but the fundamental principles she outlines could easily be applied to online ordering:

“Because it’s quick and easy, there’s always the temptation to buy a whole room ensemble – matching desk, chair, cabinet and hutch – but they really dominate a room, and chances are you don’t need all four pieces.”

She moves on, gravitating to the simplest desk – nearly black with unfussy hardware.

“Wood veneers and laminates look cheap,” she says. “The darker the piece, the more it tends to disappear.”

And in the lighting aisle?

“Most people probably have a lamp at home that would serve their purposes,” she says, passing on the options here. “Or they could find a cool one at a vintage furniture store.”

Rottet’s main piece of advice is to keep your home office as much a part of your home as possible. Use design choices that match your personal style, rather than making your home office feel like a workstation or cubicle. Mix-and-match pieces and look for vintage or pre-owned materials to accent your new hardware. One of the ideas I really like was using two pedestal file cabinets as pedestal ends for a desk, and laying a piece of thick glass or granite across them for a DIY feel that still has charm and elegnace.

However you end up kitting out your home office, be sure to do it with quality materials from a reputable retailer. While the temptation is there to trawl the bargain-basement offerings and your local big-box store, you’ll more than likely end up with cheap particleboard junk that falls apart before too long. You don’t need to break the bank; just buy a few quality pieces and accent them with personal touches wherever you can. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your home office, you want it to be as comfortable and natural as possible.

How-To: Select a new Office Chair

After writing my article on ordering a replacement caster for my office chair, I realized that when all was said and done I would have rather ordered a replacement CHAIR for my office chair. This thing came from a big-box store as a stopgap measure to replace a nice leather chair I had inherited but eventually fell apart. What was supposed to last me a few weeks has turned into a few years, and today when I leaned back and a screw fell out of the bottom of the chair, I knew it was time to go shopping.

That’s when I realized I know nothing about office chairs. I mean, sure, I know you sit in them and they keep you off the floor and they’re a handy place to hang your coat, but other than that I had no idea what went into selecting one. I tended to just walk into the store and sit on things until I found one I liked and wasn’t too expensive. I decided to educate myself on the subject a little more and I’m here to pass my findings on to you.

Three options that all came up during a search for “office chairs.”
I think I notice some differences.

I figured my first step should be to call around to some leading manufacturers of chairs and find out what they recommend. The best info I got came from Hon, one of the top names in office furniture and all around swell folks. Between a helpful customer service call and a free .PDF they sent me called “how to buy office furniture”, I’ve compiled a list of their recommendations.

Operate within your budget. As much as I hate to be a stickler for price, this is one piece of advice I can agree with. While your chair budget should be high for a personal chair (the price is worth the comfort if you’re going to be sitting in it all day, every day), you still need to set one. The sheer amount of different chairs will stagger you if you go shopping by features before setting a price point. So narrow it down to a healthy price range, and then start looking at options.

Consider your Position. After you’ve decided on a price point, consider how often the chair is going to be used, and in what context. The amount of use a chair will see should definitely determine its type, and the Hon buying guide has some tips for this scenario:

1. Employees who sit six to eight hours a day performing multiple tasks should have high-performance task chairs with ergonomic controls that let the user adjust the chair to suit his or her body size and work style. Many chairs now use passive ergonomic adjustments that maintain a comfortable configuration as the user moves. (More on ergonomics later.)

2. People who use computers should have adjustable armrests to maintain a comfortable position at the keyboard. The chair’s tilt feature should allow users to look at the computer screen at a comfortable angle no matter how much they lean forward or back.

3. Executives may not need all the performance features as they spend less time sitting down, but may require leather or more high-tech materials to project a strong, professional image.

They go on to mention that a chair should have a solid warranty on parts and fabric, and to keep in mind that something like a waiting room chair or conference room chair should be treated differently than a “work chair”, since those are meant to be sat in by many people for short amounts of time, not one person for long durations. On that note:

Think ergonomically. You’re going to be sitting in this chair for a long time, so you need to know that you can adjust it to fit your ergonomic needs. In case you didn’t know, ergonomics is the study of suiting the work environment to fit the worker, in order to maximize human potential. It is often used as a stand-in for “comfort” when talking about the workplace. I plan on doing a whole post on ergonomics at some point, so for now we’ll take it to mean adjusting your chair to maximize comfort, reduce stress, and generate a comfortable work environment.

To begin, make sure your chair has all the adjustment options you think you might need. The Hon rep told me one of the reasons to start with price is that any chair that’s worth buying is going to have enough of these options that anyone will be able to customize it to fit their needs. After seeing some of their options charts, I believe it:

Okay. Up, down, back, forward. I can dig it. That’s what chairs should do, right? Seems pretty cut-and-dry…oh, wait. What’s that?

For a more detailed explanation of all these features,
check out the Chair Buying guide at On Time Supplies.

This is science at work, people. There’s a reason why ergonomics is big business, and why it’s important to take care of yourself by using the wealth of options available to you. Bad posture and poor ergonomics can lead to repetitive stress injury, chronic back pain, eyestrain and more. By making sure your chair has even a fraction of these adjustment options, you’re well on your way to customizing your workspace in a way that fits you.

A great resource I found is Ergotron, which has an ergonomic calculator  that tells me that I’ve got my desk set up all wrong. A couple of small tweaks and I can feel it working already, though I’m nowhere near perfection. Hopefully my new chair, whatever it ends up being, will help fix all that.

In conclusion, let’s sum up by saying there are three things to consider when buying a chair: comfort, quality, and price, and they all inter-relate while you are shopping. Set a price point that’s within your budget, and look for a high-quality chair from a reliable dealer that has features that allow you to adjust it to fit your comfort. Any retailer worth their salt should offer a buying guide for the chairs they sell, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call them (or the chair manufacturer) with any questions. We’re all here to help.

Office Furniture Retailer Introduces Discount HON Furniture Collections has teamed with HON Furniture Company to Offer Discount Office Furniture Suites. announced the release of their new line of discount HON furniture collections featuring flexible desk configurations, conference room suites, and many other workspace solutions to meet the needs of any office.

“We are very pleased to expand our relationship with HON, which is recognized as a global leader in high-quality office furniture,” said Andre Scott, co-founder of the Atlanta-based office furniture website.  “Our new office collections allow customers to quickly and easily select furniture configurations that would otherwise involve custom configuration. This new offering allows us to offer clients significant time and cost savings.”

Some of the most popular HON office furniture collections include the HON L-Shaped Corner Office Desk Suite (the HON 94000 series), as well as the HON 10600 L-Shaped Desk series, and many others.

For more information on the new discount furniture program, visit sells office furniture, office supplies, school supplies, toner, file cabinets and everything else needed for the office. On Time Supplies ships same day via UPS and orders reach most customers within 1-2 business days. One of the fastest growing office furniture and office supplies dealers in the country, On Time Supplies provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every order.

Contact us at or call us at 1-866-501-6055.

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.

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.