The Deal on Fireproof Filing Cabinets

What Is It?

Fireproof filing cabinets do exactly what their name implies; they protect important documents from fire, and from other potential emergency situations like explosions, floods, theft, and impact.

Is It Worth It?

Fireproof cabinets have varying degrees of protection, depending on brand and model. Most fireproof file cabinets can endure heat up to 1,500 degree Fahrenheit for one hour and sustain a 30 foot drop. They can also withstand a 2000 degree Fahrenheit explosion, and often come installed with a high-grade pick-and-drill-resistant lock.

If you work with sensitive documents, fireproof file cabinets are an indispensable piece of equipment to have in your office.

What Can I Protect?

There are many important employee and client documents a business needs to keep safe. Some examples include:

- Payroll Statements

- Birth and Death Certificates

- Medical History Records

- Financial Documents

- Contracts

- Bank Records

- Wills and Testaments

- Insurance Policies

Fireproof filing cabinets come in both lateral and vertical styles. Lateral cabinets are appropriate for large open offices with a lot of room, but not a lot of height. Vertical filing cabinets are good for offices short on space. Be sure to consider the size and type of documents you will be storing, when choosing a cabinet, and consult your space planner with help on where to place it. These cabinets are often heavy and difficult to move, so make sure you know ahead of time where you want them to be. With the many styles, sizes, and colors available, choosing the right cabinet will depend solely on the needs and aesthetics of your office.

3 Spaces Your Office Needs

1. The Studio: When you need to think creatively, or when you just need a clean space to work, the studio is an open area where work can be produced. You don’t need to be an art gallery or a photographer to have a studio; a studio is an ideal environment for any business that needs a way to think outside the box.

Design Solution: Keep furnishing to a minimum. All you need is a few long tables and chairs for convenience.

2. The Quiet Retreat: As more and more businesses turn to open space and collaborative designs, it becomes important that a quiet retreat is available for your employees who need a break from the noise and chaos. Just like school libraries are a staple on college campuses, the quiet retreat is a space where employees can research and work on projects in silence.

Design Solution: Keep cell phones, telephones, and any conversation out of the retreat. Install individual desks, or communal tables with walls to mimic a library atmosphere.

3. The Nucleus: The nucleus is the heart and soul of your company. Unlike a break room, the nucleus is not just for meal and break time gatherings. It’s the part of your office where community and sense of team work is built. It’s where ice cream socials, company meetings, and game days are held. The nucleus is a space where employees can recharge, while learning and growing with the company.

Design Solution: Add white boards (or chalk boards) in the center of the room for impromptu pow-wows and brainstorming sessions. Make the room adaptable for any event by outfitting the nucleus with mobile furniture (tables and chairs with wheels).

Color Therapy for the Office

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The walls of your office can affect the way your employees work and feel. Studies show that depending on age, gender, location, and culture, different colors have different impulses associated with them.

When designing your office, choose your office colors wisely. Remember that each color can affect the psychology and mood of your workplace.

Colors and Their Associations:

- Red: Aggressive and stimulating, and raises energy levels.  Good For: Reception areas; anywhere that you want to make a strong first impression.

- White: Clean, neutral, and sterile. Good For: Overall neutral color that can be used in any room.

- Yellow: Stimulating, bright, and cheerful. Good For: Conference rooms or break rooms where employees need to feel stimulated.

- Blue: Calming, soothing, and masculine. Good For: Bathrooms; blue is often associated with sleep and sickness; this color may be too relaxing for a work place environment.

- Gray: Wisdom, and intelligence. Good For: Gray is a relatively neutral color, but can make a good impression in hallways and offices.

- Purple: Dramatic, elegant, sophisticated, and feminine. Good For: Reception areas and hallways; purple is a strong color and should be used sporadically as a design accent, rather than an overall wall color.

- Orange: Exciting, energetic, and enthusiastic. Good For: Certain shades of orange can have the same stimulating effects as yellow; use it in your conference rooms and break rooms.

- Green: Stress relieving, calming, and soothing. Good For: A room where you meet with clients; green is a relaxing color that is restful on the eyes; however, unlike blue, it does not have the same “sleep” connotations; instead, green represents life and renewal.

The 3 Keys to a Great Office Space

Location

When looking for a new office, search for locations that best fit the needs of your employees and clients. If you tend to deal with a lot of foot traffic or client meetings, look for a location that offers free parking for visitors and which can easily be found.

Business owners tend to look for locations with affordability as the main determinant. While it’s prudent to stay within your budget, a location shouldn’t always be about the cheapest find. A good location should not only provide you with the space you need, but should be near places your employees or clients would like to frequent.

For example, if you work in a medical office, being near a pharmacy makes sense for your clients. If you work in a small startup office, being near trendy restaurants or bars is a convenient place to take clients for meetings and to build team relationships.

The Building

When checking out the space, make sure to look into the other offices in the building. Knowing your neighbors may help you determine whether or not a space is right for your businesses. For example, if your neighbor runs a record store and your building doesn’t have the proper soundproof walls, this may prove to be too much of a distraction.

Additionally, if you work for a company with a lot of sensitive equipment or documents, make sure the building has the proper security in place to prevent lost or theft.

Room for Growth

As your business expands, make sure your office has enough room to accommodate potential growth. Take some time out to properly assess your future and what it look looks like to you. Cubicles can always be rearranged to fit more employees, but square footage is static.

HIPAA-Compliant Office Design Features

If you work in a medical, health, or insurance office, then you are well aware of HIPAA Regulations that protect patient health information. Prevention and proper training is the greatest step you can take in minimizing any risk of information leakage. These measures range from proper document disposal to email protocol. Even when it comes to designing your office, there are several HIPAA-compliant features you can integrate into your layout.

1. Reception Area: While your reception area should remain open and welcoming, reception desks that are too exposed risk people overhearing private conversations and private documents being seen. You can avoid this from happening by investing in a clear soundproof barrier between the reception area and waiting room. The clear barrier will give the illusion of an open space, while maintaining privacy between a patient and a receptionist.

2. Workstation Removed from High Traffic Areas: Keep your workstations away from high traffic areas. Ideally, install cubicle walls that will create a privacy barrier between each station.

3. Computer Safeguarding: Position your computer away from traffic or anyone other than the user. Invest in computer monitor filters or protectors that guard your screen from prying eyes.

4. Secure Storage: During office hours, your cubicles or private offices may provide enough privacy for your employees. However, information loss or exposure can still happen after they leave for the day. Invest in fireproof filing cabinets that come with a lock and key for a complete security system even in the event of an emergency.

Design Considerations for Call Centers

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Call Centers require specific layouts to meet their fast paced environment and large amount of employees. Often set in one room, call centers need extra privacy for phone calls, while keeping an open enough space for supervision and quality control.

Walls Are a Requirement: Call center cubicles need walls. With the amount of telephone traffic that goes through a call center, walls are a very necessary feature to any cubicle setup. Walls should be tall enough to give each employee some privacy while they are on the phone, but low enough for a supervisor to see what they are doing. The middle panel of a call center cubicle can be taller than the side walls, as the additional height is often used to install a small cabinet for storage. Many cubicles now have walls made from soundproofing material. If available, these are a worthwhile investment to consider.

Workstation Setup: Call center workstations should be large enough to fit a computer, monitor, telephone, note pad, pens, and a few files if applicable. Typically, these spaces are smaller than an administrative workstation, as there is less of a need for storage and filing. When building a workstation, be sure to take your employees comfort into consideration.

Layout: Call centers can benefit from a cluster configuration with their supervisor stationed in the center. In a cluster, a group of cubicles share a centralized frame (sometimes called spine) that is divided into multiple cubicles. This type of configuration is very beneficial for offices that require large groups of employees to work in one room.

How to “Efficiently” Take a Break at the Office

By midafternoon, many office workers find themselves in a mental and physical slump. Whether it’s from lack of sleep, stress, or poor nutrition, the feeling of lethargy can put a serious damper on productivity and output.  If you find yourself feeling this way every day at work, the best solution is to take a break. However, how you take a break can greatly affect how refreshed you feel afterwards. Today we’ll be discussing the best ways to take a break when you’re at the office.

1. Exercise in Your Cubicle: Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, increase endorphins, and improve energy levels. If you find yourself nodding off at your desk, take a few minutes to do some exercises like squats, stretches, or pushups right in your cubicle. You can even use your office chair and desk as leverage for these activities. If you find yourself needing more privacy, go for a walk outside by yourself or with some coworkers.

2. Take a Nap: Depending on the environment you work in, sometimes the best thing to do is to take a quick 10-15 power nap. If your company allows it, take a nap at your desk or in the break room. Try to avoid going beyond the 10-15 minute time span, as sleeping for any longer may make you groggy and even more tired.

3. Eat a Healthy Snack: When you’re tired, your blood sugar levels may be low. Fueling your body with the right kind of nutrition may make all the difference in how you feel for the rest of the day. Eat a healthy snack that contains the right sugar, protein, and fat content to give you the jumpstart you need. Examples of this include: apples, vegetables, nuts, cheese, meat, and berries.

5 Causes of Allergies at Work

Spring is officially here! With the sun shining bright and the scent of flowers in the air, it’s time to take off those winter coats and – sneeze.

That’s right, for many people the arrival of spring also signals allergy season. Aside from pollen and other outdoor allergens, there is a surprisingly large amount of allergy causing substances in the workplace. Below we’ve compiled our top 5 for you to avoid and prevent.

1. Fragrances: Your favorite perfume or cologne may be causing your co-worker in the next cubicle to wheeze. A surprising amount of people (30.5% of the population) suffer from fragrance sensitivity, leading to rashes and respiratory issues when they come in contact with perfumes. The problem is aggravated when sufferers of the allergy are forced to stay in a confined space (such as an office) for long periods of time.

2. Cleaning Supplies: Anti-bacterial sprays, all-purpose cleaners, and latex gloves are all ridden with harsh chemicals that can cause headaches, irritated eyes, and breathing problems when used excessively or improperly. While we do recommend cleaning your office furniture on a regular basis, be sure to be considerate of your co-workers around you.

3. Mold: A common cause of allergies in a household, mold is often found hidden in the workplace. Buildings with old plumbing, leaky sinks, or constant moisture may find mold hidden in behind their walls and ceilings. If you believe that there may be a mold problem in your office space, contact the building manager to have it dealt with immediately.

4. Dust: Even the newest of buildings will have dust somewhere. The culmination of pollen, hairs, and yes, dead human skin cells, dust is often found in the air vents of a building or behind office furniture. To prevent dust related allergies, make sure to have those areas cleaned out on a weekly basis.

5. Animals: As more and more offices are allowing their favorite four legged friends into the work place, more people are suffering the consequences of pet-related allergies. If pets are allowed in your workplace, be sure that clients and potential new employees are aware of this beforehand.

How to Give Your Cubicle Walls a Temporary Makeover with Fabric

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Image courtesy of theofficestylist.com

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to temporarily spruce up your office space or cubicle walls, then we’ve got a solution for you!

Covering hard surfaces with fabric instead of wallpaper or paint is a simple and easy way to change the look of the space without the hassle of dealing with wallpaper glue or messy paint. Best of all, you can do this makeover all by yourself without having to hire a contractor or spend a lot of money.

Supplies Needed:

- Fabric (the size of your wall + 2 or more inches; if you have a large area to cover, cut the fabric into several different pieces)

- Sponge

- Sharp utility knife

- Liquid starch

- Tape

- Drop cloth

- Gloves

- Large bowl or plastic bucket

Directions:

1. First prepare your walls (or any hard surface) by cleaning any dust or residue on them.

2. Tape the drop cloth to the floor.

3. Next, put on your gloves to protect your hands. In your plastic bucket or bowl, soak the fabric in liquid starch.

4. Apply the fabric to the surface. For even coverage, make sure to leave 1 inch or more fabric over the edge. Use your sponge to smooth out the fabric.

5. When the fabric has dried, take a sharp utility knife and carefully cut off the excess cloth.

When you’re ready to change your wall cover, take a wet sponge and dampen the fabric. The cloth should easily peel off. Use mild soap to clean the excess starch on the walls.

*Tip: Avoid doing this near electrical outlets as the starch will increase the flammability of the fabric. This is best against bare open walls or hard cubicle dividers and cabinets.

Top 3 Worst Mistakes When Buying Office Furniture

1. Not Getting the Right Measurements

When it comes to buying office furniture, the first mistake a person can make is not getting the right measurements of the office. Forgetting to measure properly can cause costly errors to be made in the floor plan and space design. When taking measurements, be sure to make a note of all entry ways, electrical outlets, doors, and windows. This will help your designers and shoppers purchase the right size furniture. Remember the idiom: measure twice, cut once.

2. Not Looking for Discounts

If you’re looking to furnish an office fast, it may seem easier and more time efficient by just purchasing office furniture from your local mega chain store. However, these outlets often over-charge or have limited selections, causing you to lose money in the long run. The best place to look for discounts and to shop is online. When you shop online, you have a greater chance of finding exactly what you need and at a price you like. If you need your furniture now, many retailers now offer fast nationwide shipping that includes installation as well.

3. Not Prepping the Area

After you’ve measured your office, shopped for discounts, and ordered your items, it’s time for your furniture to be delivered. Before it arrives, make sure to prep the area. Vacuum, mop, and dust where appropriate, and move any furniture that will be in the pathway of the deliverymen. Creating a safe and open space for your furniture to be delivered will ensure the installation goes quickly and smoothly. On delivery day, when an office isn’t prepared, mistakes can and will be made; furniture that isn’t properly secured can be damaged, and installation takes longer.