The time has arrived to choose your office furniture. After a lot of excitement and perhaps exhaustion from running around choosing your office space, the time has now come for you to get your space kitted out in preparation for opening day. Having liaised with rental agents, and signed all the contracts, it is time to choose your furniture. This is a very exciting prospect but before you go shopping you should do a bit of research. This preparation work will pay dividends in terms of not wasting time or money. To help with your planning here are a few helpful tips and considerations.
Cost of office furniture
The final cost will ultimately come down to budget and personal preference. It is nevertheless, a good idea to think of your furniture as an investment in your future and that of your business. You will want it to give you many years of good service. To get the best return on that “investment” you should buy the best that you can afford. It is however important to have a budget – know how much you can spend before you start shopping. This will help you focus on your needs (rather than on your wants or on the “would be nice to have”) and will also help your supplier to help you choose wisely.
Use a Specialist
Like any specialist, a good supplier will be worth his weight in gold. They can help you choose wisely and properly, especially if this is your first time furnishing an office. Your supplier can save you many hours trudging around getting stressed. This because you cannot find what you want or need. It is important to go to a reputable office supplies or furniture company to ask for and take their advice.
If cost is a constraint you may decide to purchase your furniture second hand. This is perfectly acceptable if the items are clean, in good repair and are fit for purpose. There are many specialist second hand dealers on the high street or in the local industrial and commercial areas. If buying second hand, make sure you apply the same principals as if you were buying new. It is vitally important not to trade comfort & function for a good cheap deal, which you may end up regretting only a week or two down the line.
Needs of Employees
You will want your employees to be both productive and comfortable in the work place. As they spend most of their day sitting their office furniture must be both functional and ergonomic. Desks should be big enough to work from comfortably and chairs should be height adjustable.
Employees should at all times be able to sit comfortably with their feet flat on the floor under their desk. Their chairs should support their backs adequately so that nobody ever suffers back ache or neck strain due to being in a cramped position at their work desk.
Before spending your money, you should perhaps consider seeking the advice of a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or kinesiologist. Any one of these professionals will give you specific advice regarding what are the most suitable desks and chairs for your specific space and employee needs. Their fees may end up saving you a lot of money in the long run as you won’t then end up buying unsuitable furniture.
Functionality and Size
Office furniture with multiple functionalities makes for a better use of the available space. Consider buying desks that incorporate under desk filing cabinets and / or storage but this should in no way encroach on or impede the person who will be working at that desk. Desks should be functional without being overly bulky. The secret is to match your furniture to the space available so that employee comfort can be maximized.
When buying your furniture, it is important to remember and to take into consideration that we are not all the same size. Regardless of employee height everybody should be able to sit comfortably at his / her desk with enough room to move their feet.
Aesthetics of your Office
Office furniture should always enhance and not detract from your office space. A well planned office, properly utilising the available space as well as the ambient light makes for happier and more productive employees. Choose the colour of your furniture wisely. Bright or garish colours that look great in the showroom may not look so great in your office. Colour also has a well known effect on the productivity or otherwise of staff. Excessively brightly coloured furniture may end up giving your employees headaches.
Your Green Office
Although not furniture in the strict sense of the word, a well cared for plant collection will do more than just look pretty in your new office. These days there is more and more emphasis on the greening of our planet. Our workspace is a good place to start. Living plants, especially large leafed green plants enhance the work place in many ways. Studies show that they help reduce stress, enhance employee moods thus increasing productivity, and generally improve air quality. Plants release oxygen during daytime while absorbing large quantities of carbon dioxide. They also cool the surrounding area through transpiration. And they help turn what could be a frenetic space into an oasis of calm.
Plants are a financial outlay and they should be maintained in order both to grow and to continue to look good. If this is too onerous a task for you or your employees, consider hiring your plants from one of the many reputable companies who specialize in this. Your chosen company will come to your office and will suggest what is best for your needs and space. Once set up, and as part of the rental agreement they will then come in regularly to maintain them. They will even do the regular watering.
Researching, seeking and ultimately equipping your office to the point where you and your employees can start working is going to be time consuming, stressful and not easy. However, taking the time to match your space to the right furniture will in the long run be beneficial to both you and your employees. You want your business to be successful and you want your employees to be happy. You want to create an attractive and happy working space. The effort expended now will pay dividends on opening day when with your happy work force, you crack open that celebratory bottle of champagne and toast your beautiful and soon to be very productive work environment.
The search for the right type of furniture for your office may not be easy. It may take many days or weeks to source what is more suitable for you. You may end up having to travel far and wide in your ongoing quest. You may even have to wait while items are shipped in from elsewhere. But it is your business and it is only you who can make the final choice or choices. Only you know exactly what is required and only you know exactly how much you have to spend. You should do it for the sake of your company.
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