Thursday, January 31, 2013

Despite mobility trends, people need an office

Even though many employees benefit from being able to work from home, more than half of Americans believe the concept of the traditional office will last at least another 50 years, according to Ricoh, a business information software provider.

People who prefer working in an office instead of their home value the discipline, connectedness and information security a brick-and-mortar workplace provides.

Ricoh surveyed more than 2,500 American adults on their predictions for business environments. Many expressed a fear of irrelevance that can be associated with virtual work.

"While mobility is a signature of the new workforce, workers know they need to seamlessly collaborate with colleagues and superiors to demonstrate their ongoing value, especially in the current economic climate," said Ricoh's Terri Campbell.  "Although the world is making significant advances in videoconferencing and information management, there's no perfect substitute yet for meaningful face time."

To ensure employees have the tools they need to succeed in the office, managers should consider whether their business furniture meets employees' needs. The quality of the office landscape greatly impacts the value of work performed by its occupants.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

3 simple ways to spruce up an office

Everyone who works in an office setting is affected by their workplace environment. Employees feel more comfortable when the business atmosphere is aesthetically pleasing. Companies don't have to wait until they move to a new office or remodel their existing space to beautify and improve their office environment. Here are three ways to improve a workplace without investing large amounts of time or money.

Keep filing cabinets in order

Cleaning up and maintaining organization can significantly improve the quality of work performed in an office. Managers can designate one day for heavy cleaning and remind employees to always put documents away after using them.

Offices that don't have enough storage space for charts, receipts and other documents should consider shopping at a used business furniture supplier to find high-quality filing cabinets at a low price.

Lighten up the mood

It's a good idea to have multiple sources of light in an office, including natural, overhead and at workstations. In addition to giving the office a more vibrant feel, brightening up the space can increase workers' energy and focus.

Invest in ergonomic chairs

Ugly furniture just simply isn't appealing, especially when it causes workers pain. If businesses aren't ready to replace all their items, managers may consider only purchasing new chairs that are both stylish and good for employees' health.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Workplaces cater to employees' tech needs

In the digital age, companies are growing more susceptible to workers' technology needs. A recent study by Avanade found consumer technologies, like smartphones and tablets, are playing an increasingly larger role in the workplace.

The business technology software provider surveyed 600 C-level executives and IT decision-makers in 19 countries. More than 60 percent of companies represented reported the majority of employees use personal computing devices in the workplace. More than half stated most employees use smartphones for basic work tasks like checking email and reading online documents, and one-third said the majority of employees use tablets.

The survey also found companies that are most progressive and adaptable to employee tech behavior are the most successful. Organizations that have established policies allowing and regulating workers' use of personal mobile devices see stronger sales, increased profits, greater agility and improved employee satisfaction.

As more businesses cater to employees' needs, they should consider how their office landscape contributes to effective collaboration. People communicate more frequently throughout the day via the web and in person, which means successful companies need workspaces that are conducive to teamwork and creativity. Revamping the business furniture layout is the first step toward creating the perfect environment.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ergonomic education can prevent injuries and sprains

Creating an ergonomic workplace is central to preventing a variety of workplace injuries, from trips and falls to carpal tunnel syndrome. Having a comfortable office space also lessens workers' discomfort and pain.

In an interview with Workforce magazine, James Mallon, the executive vice president of an ergonomics improvement company, explains the biggest risks associated with having a poorly designed business furniture and workplace layout are musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and disorders.

The most frequently experienced workplace injuries include lower-back pain, neck and shoulder pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cost up to $30,000 in medical costs per employee, Mallon states.

In 2010, MSK injuries made up 30 percent of all workplace injuries or illnesses that required time away from work, according to Workforce.

Because MSK conditions can be extremely severe, it's important to invest in ergonomic chairs and other furniture items that promote healthy posture and daily activity. Employers should choose provide workstations that are customizable for workers' diverse body types. In addition, it's a good idea to train employees on ergonomic health so they understand how to sit, type and move correctly throughout the day.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

3 questions to ask when choosing a business furniture supplier

Whether companies are looking to improve their current office space or furnish a new workplace, choosing the right furniture supplier is an important part of the process. Because desks, conference tables, filing cabinets and other items are long-lasting investments, it's a good idea to ask several questions before deciding to purchase from a furniture supplier.

1. Can the supplier respect the budget?

No matter how many items a business needs, every company works within funding limits. While purchasing cheap items is appealing to companies with a limited budget, low-quality items do not last and will need to be replaced within a few years. To keep costs down without skimping on item quality, consider buying from a supplier that carries a variety of second hand business furniture.

2. Can the supplier design the furniture layout?

Working with a company that can evaluate office space, determine furniture needs and create a customized landscape saves businesses time and money.

3. Who delivers?

Businesses risk spending more money when their office furniture supplier outsources delivery to a third party. In addition, managers waste time having to communicate with more than one company. Cut costs and headaches by choosing a one-stop company that performs deliveries.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ergonomic tips for laptop users

Many businesses own laptops. While desktop computers provide workers with more robust technological capabilities and a larger screen, some employees, especially those who travel frequently, often use laptops on a daily basis. Because the mobility of these devices makes them ideal for a variety of tasks, employees should learn to use them in an ergonomically safe way.

According to Stanford University's Ergonomic Guidance for Mobile Devices, laptops aren't ergonomically appropriate for long term use. Because the keyboard and screen are attached, the devices often encourage users to adopt a turtle-like posture when their back hunches and their neck protrudes. Users' wrists are also more likely to bend unnaturally when working on a laptop, which can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.

To avoid back, neck, shoulder and arm pain or injury, Stanford's guidelines suggest setting up a laptop computer the same way that a desktop is set up on a desk. Consider propping up the laptop and connecting a separate keyboard to it so the user can sit and type comfortably.

It's important for employees to sit in ergonomic chairs, no matter what kind of device they use. In addition, companies should invest in business furniture that is adaptable and in tune with tech trends in the office.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3 tips on choosing and arranging business furniture

An important part of furnishing a new office is creating a landscape design that will provide employees with an environment that promotes productivity and collaboration. Companies need to understand their space before purchasing business furniture. Here are three considerations to keep in mind when planning an office layout.

Measurements are key

While measuring space seems obvious, many businesses risk miscalculating how much space they have if they rely on estimations rather than exact measurements. When shopping for office workstation furniture, it's a good idea to bring along building information supplied by the landlord and dimensions for each room.

Gather insight from employees

Understanding how work happens in the office is extremely important. Employees who collaborate often may need an open workspace, while workers who concentrate on tasks individually may require a cubicle to avoid distractions. Keeping workforce needs in mind helps buyers better understand how the office needs to function. In addition, it helps managers better understand which employees should work near each other and which need a more quiet area.

Work with an able furniture supplier

Choosing items from a supplier that also creates layout designs and delivers furniture can save businesses time and money.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Office advice from OSHA

As office managers evaluate the effectiveness of their business' environment, national health and safety standards should be a top priority. When purchasing business furniture and designing an office landscape, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a great resource for tips on setting up a safe, healthy and efficient workplace.

"A well-designed office allows each employee to work comfortably without needing to over-reach, sit or stand too long, or use awkward postures," OSHA states. "Sometimes, equipment or furniture changes are the best solution to allow employees to work comfortably."

It's very important to invest in ergonomic chairs that can adjust to workers' bodies. When employees are comfortably seated in a chair fit to their personal needs, they can avoid straining their muscles and injuring their neck, shoulders, arms and back.

Another aspect of the office environment to keep in mind is whether furniture and other items pose a physical hazard. For example, filing cabinet drawers left open and cords crossing the walkway can be dangerous. When shopping for office furniture, consider dealing with a supplier that can help design and achieve an effective layout design.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Office tech trends

With 2013 off to a healthy start, U.S. businesses are expected to continue their path of transformation as technological innovations constantly affect and alter how workplaces function.

Shortly before the new year, market research provider SMB Group released its Top 10 SMB Technology Predictions for 2013. Taking current and predicted trends into consideration, business leaders should think about how technology affects the work people perform every day and whether the office provides them with the right environment to do so.

Small and medium-sized businesses prepare to optimize for mobile computing

According to SMB Group, many companies are investing more in technology than ever before. They're spending more on mobile advances in particular. It's important to consider how the office landscape enables or inhibits mobile communication, connectivity and advances in technology in general.

SMBinterest and involvement in big company supplier networks dials up

Companies are extremely focused on attracting new clients, growing revenue and increasing profitability. They're likely to pursue new business fervently and develop strong relationships with clients. As they do so, they should consider how their office environment affects customer interactions. Havingaestheticallypleasing business furniture and an effective spacial layout can leave a lasting and positive impression on visitors.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Collect information before purchasing business furniture

When companies decide to acquire business furniture, there are several key considerations office managers and other decision-makers should keep in mind.

Collect employee input

Talking to workers about their work habits and furniture preferences can be very helpful when companies build workstations. It's a good idea to determine how comfortable they currently feel in their chairs and at their desk, whether they benefit from cubicles or not and what their meeting space needs are. Collecting this type of information gives businesses a better of what type of ergonomic chairs, conference tables and other furniture is necessary for workers to perform efficiently.

Get to know the office space

Before making purchase decisions, it's important to take measurements and determine how many items fit in the office space. Businesses should consider choosing a furniture supplier that can also help with layout design to save time and reach the best purchase solution.

Explore furniture options

Businesses of all sizes and even those on an extremely tight budgets have the ability to outfit their space with high quality items when they choose to purchase used office furniture. Buying second hand items allows companies to invest in furniture will have a lasting presence in the office and not on the balance sheet.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Meeting break room needs


While it's extremely important to acquire business furniture that promotes worker productivity, managers should keep in mind the value of having a well-designed break area. Just as people need ergonomic chairs and adequate desks to perform work, they need break space to refuel between focus periods and regain the motivation they need to succeed. Here are three considerations to keep in mind when setting up a break room:



Seating

When workers pause for lunch, many like to move away from their workstation and experience a change of environment, which means they'll need a place to sit and eat. It's important to keep in mind the number of people in the office and ensure there are enough task chairs and tables to accommodate people who break for lunch at the same time.



Kitchen needs

Providing staff with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and other kitchen appliances shows them the business wants to meet their needs. Companies benefit from employees who enjoy their atmosphere, so it's a good idea to ensure the break room is always stocked with plastic ware and snacks.



A little fun

A break is a time for employees to step away from normal work for a short period. Placing artwork, treats and even games can help workers rejuvenate and bond.



Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reduce workplace stress by revamping the office environment


Most workers will feel work-induced stress at some point in their careers. In small amounts, stress can provide employees a positive push to complete projects, do their best and stay focused on tasks. However, anxiety can have detrimental effects on employee wellness and performance. More employees are absent for work because of stress and anxiety than because of physical illnesses or injury, according to the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.



There are several ways employers can tackle work-induced stress, and altering an office design is a great place to start.



Physical activity can help people cope with stress. Businesses may consider redesigning the office landscape to ensure workers have enough room to walk and move. In addition, while employees may be seated for the bulk of their day, they rarely sit in the same position for long. It's a good idea to invest in ergonomic chairs that allow users to adjust their position frequently. These chairs also help prevent back pain and musculoskeletal disorders, which can cause and result from stress.



Creating an aesthetically pleasing environment can help lower stress levels. When workers feel comfortable in the office and enjoy the atmosphere, they're more likely to perform better. If businesses decide to revamp their space with new furnishings, decision-makers should consider purchasing used office furniture.



Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Making the most of limited office space


As businesses continue to emerge and grow throughout the country, many startups and small companies are occupying small office spaces. Making the most of available workspace is essentialto maintaining focus and productivity. Here are threetips on achieving comfort and efficiency in a compact environment.



1. Eliminate clutter

The easiest way to make more space is to conduct a little spring cleaning and toss papers and items thattake up space in the office. Whether it's dated magazines in the reception area or broken computers in the closet, it's a good idea to keep an office clear of clutter. While filing cabinets are large, they can house hundreds of paper documents, receipts and magazines, which keeps these items from accumulating at personal workstations.



2. Keep the middle of the room clear

Even if space is limited, businesses should consider the benefits of open areas. Workers need walkways and room to collaborate and move around easily without distracting each other. Consider placing business furniture along walls and windows.



3. Invest in high-quality items

While cheap furniture may be like a tempting purchase, it's less likely to last. When items break, they take room to repair and can be very distracting in a small spaces. Consider purchasing used business furniture for high-quality items at an affordable cost.



Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcoming office visitors with a well-designed entrance


Businesses that host clients and potential recruits should understand how important the office's appearance really is. The work atmosphere can serve as a branding tool for visitors, because it often plays an important role in first impressions. It's therefore very important for the officecolors, business furniture and overall design to reflect the company's personality and goals.



Make the reception area comfortable

Office landscape design efforts should be extended to the reception area. Space is extremely important, even in small offices. It's a good idea to invest in a few comfortable side chairs or a couch. Mirrors and light wall colors can help a small room feel more spacious.



Keep it clean

Clutter can give visitors a negative impression of theoffice space and company. If businesses put out magazines, they should consider throwing out issues from previous months to avoid buildup. It's also a good idea to remind front desk staff to keep their workstations tidy.



Add a little personality

Businesses may consider investing in artwork to spruce up their welcome space. Meanwhile, a candy or snack bowl can be a great final touch.



Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Promoting healthy chair movement

Just because employees often sit for most of the day, it doesn't mean they're not moving frequently. Periodically shifting one's posture and repositioning the body keeps employees comfortable, because it promotes blood circulation, muscle engagement and joint and spine health.


In fact, people move around so much at their workstations that they rarely sit completely still, according to  Herman Miller in "The Kinematics of Sitting: Ergonomic Criteria for the Design of the Aeron Chair."


The business furniture manufacturer identified three modes of sitting at work that people tend to adopt. When employees are doing work on the plane of the desk, such as writing, reading a book or using a touch-screen, they're usually sitting forward. Meanwhile, when people are on the phone, or typing and "mousing," they sit in a slightly reclined position. Workers who are resting, reading a handheld book and sometimes typing are most often deeply reclined.


Because people change their seating position throughout the day, it's a good idea to choose furniture that adapts to their movements. Adjustable ergonomic chairs support these bodily shifts, which makes them a healthy choice for office seating.


When employees feel good working, they're about to concentrate for longer and ultimately be more productive.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Helping workers avoid carpal tunnel syndrome

Millions of office workers suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) every day. CTS occurs when pressure is placed on the wrist's median nerve, which supplies feeling and movement to parts in the hand. The carpal tunnel is very narrow, and swelling can pinch the nerve, causing pain, numbness, tingling, weakness and muscle damage in the hand and fingers, according to the National Library of Medicine.


Workplace comfort is indispensable for employee productivity. Discomfort is very distracting and causes workers to lose focus on on their responsibilities, which negatively impacts their output. While science is still working to determine the link between CTS and ergonomics, the condition has been linked to long periods of typing and using a mouse, in addition to frequently repeating movements.


When companies are shopping for business furniture, they should keep in mind how employee health and comfort dictate the criterion for workstation items. Ergonomic chairs let workers adjust their seating to fit their personal comfort requirements. When sitting at their desks, employees' feet should touch the floor and their knees should bend at a 90-degree angle. When typing, workers' arms should be straight out in front of their body, with their forearms supported by their desk.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Armrests matter more than some may think

When office managers are in charge of furnishing a new space, ergonomic chairs are usually the first items they consider. While choosing office seating may seem trivial, a bad decision could greatly affect worker wellness and productivity.


Armrests play an important role in comfort, because they allow users to comfortably rest their arms and shoulders. By providing this support, workers are less likely to strain their neck and back muscles. When employers can help avoid workplace ergonomic pain and injury, employees can focus longer on their responsibilities and deliver higher-quality work.


While these chair accessories are great for ergonomic health, It's important to consider how they may actually cause workers to sit incorrectly and hurt themselves. When armrests and desks are at the same level, users sit too far away from their monitor and keyboard, which causes them to lean forward and hunch. This can result in severe back pain and muscle strain.


It's therefore ideal to choose a chair with shorter armrests that don't interfere with a worker's distance from his or her desk. It's a good idea to place armrests at elbow level. Placing them too low or high causes workers to take on unnatural and unhealthy postures.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is multitasking hindering productivity?

Multitasking is a regular requirement of many office jobs. Employees work on spreadsheets while on the phone with someone and simultaneously texting someone else. If technology is not the root of this phenomenon, then it's definitely fueled its growth at least. Cellphones have become so ingrained in everyday habits, they occupy a regular place in pockets and purses, on kitchen counters, night stands and desks in the office.


Many companies value workers' ability to take on two tasks at once; however, managers often don't understand what the act of multitasking is. When presented with multiple action items, the brain shifts, or "toggles," between them until it determines one goal outweighs the others, Herman Miller explains. Both activities are performed, but often at a slower pace, because the attention devoted to them is interrupted.


It's important to consider whether the work environment gives employees the tools to focus on one task at a time. Office cubicles are a great way to provide workers with the space and privacy they need to focus.


Businesses may consider consulting a second hand business furniture supplier to design an office landscape that keeps distractions at bay without sacrificing collaboration.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Promoting cleanliness in the office: Part 2

No matter how much effort a company puts into its office design and technology, dirt and dust build up are major turnoffs for visiting clients and potential new hires. Here are three ways managers can encourage employees to develop clean work habits.


1. Don't forget communal spaces

Employees are more willing to clean up their personal workstations because they spend the bulk of their day at their desk. However, meeting rooms and break areas may get messy quickly because nobody feels directly responsible for the cleanliness of these spaces. It's therefore a good idea to enforce clean-up-after-use rules to keep conference tables, kitchenettes, restrooms and other communal spaces sanitary.


2. Schedule spring cleaning

Once or twice a year, it's a good idea to devote one afternoon to cleaning the office. Employees should toss old business cards, outdated references, broken electronics and other items that unnecessarily take up space.


Once workers get rid of junk, businesses should designate locations for shared items and encourage employees to do the same for their own items at their workstations.


3. Encourage workers to speak up

One of the best ways to keep an office clean is to deal with messes promptly. Businesses should encourage workers to reports unsanitary conditions to cleaning staff or supervisors.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Promoting cleanliness in the office: Part 1

Because the office environment has a strong influence over employee performance, businesses should consider how a bit of tidying up can drastically improve worker morale and focus. While a daily cleaning service may do a good job of sanitizing surfaces, cleaning floors and taking out the trash, employee workstations tend to be less hygienic than many perceive. Here are three tips to keep the office clean.


1. Clean as you go

One of the best ways to encourage cleanliness is to get workers in the habit of tidying up as they work. Managers may ask workers to return pens and other items to supply stations and place papers back into filing cabinets after use to limit clutter and maintain organization.


2. Promote workstation hygiene

It's a good idea to wipe down desks and electronics at least once a week. Food splatters, bread crumbs and dust lead to unhygienic conditions. Sanitizing desks, computers, keyboards and mice also eliminates microscopic germs that spread unhealthy viruses.


3. Get rid of clutter

In addition to impeding organization, piles of paper and books can make surfaces and floors harder to clean.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2 ways to make meetings more efficient

While meetings are often essential to keep the lines of communication open between employees and supervisors, unstructured gatherings that are not goal-oriented can lead to a waste of productive work hours. To make the most out of communal discussion time, here are two tips for conducting efficient meetings.


1. Come prepared

To start meetings efficiently, managers should plan an organized agenda that places the most important topics first in the conversation schedule. It's a good idea to share the agenda and designate a specific amount of time to discuss each order of business.


In addition to planning meeting content, employees and managers should come prepared with the tools necessary for an effective dialogue, such as images and presentation equipment. It's a good idea to double-check the room has enough task chairs several minutes before the meeting.


2. Limit distractions

To limit distractions, managers may ensure employees are comfortable throughout a meeting by providing ergonomic chairs. In addition, meeting planners should consider whether their conference table gives everyone a good view of each other and of presentation materials.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Giving workplace stress the boot

As the nature of today's business keeps employees involved with their jobs after hours and on weekends, job stress can pose a serious threat to workers' health.


In the U.S., one-quarter of employees view their jobs as the No. 1 cause of stress in their lives, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In addition, work-induced stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than anxiety driven by financial and family problems.


When employees are overworked, the impact stress has on their health can negatively affect the health of the organization. Workers who are stressed are more likely to take sick days and are more prone to injury and illness, NIOSH states. To keep employees healthy and happy, managers should help workers deal with work-induced anxiety.


Because stress increases the risk for developing a musculoskeletal disorder, employers should consider how comfortable employees feel at work. Ergonomic chairs provide the physical support office workers need to complete daily tasks. Sitting comfortably and being able to maintain a healthy posture can help employees relax and focus.


Managers should consider how their office furniture layout provides workers with a positive environment. It's a good idea to provide enough space for employees to move around periodically.


Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.