Archive for November, 2010

5 Ridiculously Cool Conference Table Features

Conference tables are made for conducting business, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring and stuffy. On the contrary! There are some amazing conference tables out there loaded with awesome features from unique inlays to high-tech bells and whistles. Here is a sampling of customized tables that are sure to spice up your workspace.

Tech Respect

ConfTable-FranzTech

This gorgeous table by Franz is a racetrack-style table with black border and maple veneer inlay. It features a power and data runway complete with video conferencing capabilities and inset microphones.

See a similar style for a fraction of the cost at Arnolds Office Furniture.

Glorious Granite

Conf-granite

Nothing says “Cool Sophistication” quite like a gleaming slab of rich granite, complete with data cutouts (this table is from Hardrox). Some may scoff at the cold hardness of granite, but there is no denying a beautiful piece like this commands respect.

Heavy Metal

ConfTable-Unique

Adding inlays to an otherwise predictable wood top raises the cool factor of any table considerably. This beauty by Unique Concepts uses both black absolute granite and brushed aluminum against the maple top to make a huge impact. Stunning!

See a similar style for a fraction of the cost at Arnolds Office Furniture.

Loco for Logos

ConfTable-Logo

It doesn’t get much more personalized than having your company’s logo inlaid into your table top, like this style by Unique Concepts. Logos in the center – or on opposing ends – of the table show the pride and conviction you have in your business – a very strong statement to make to potential clients or business partners.

Peek-a-boo, I See You!

Boomerang-video-conferencing-furniture-900

This super sweet Boomerang Conference Table by SMARTdesks is a video conferencing dream come true. With a quick rotation of the FlipIt laptop safes, the table either becomes clear of clutter or displays the laptop screens without blocking the faces of the participants. The included cameras and video screens allow all participants to be clearly seen, and the modesty panel prevents any accidental peeks down under.

This is just a sampling of the cool office furniture out there. Stay tuned for more round-ups and furniture features!

10 Most Tricked-Out Office Cubicles

Office workers spend countless hours at their desks and in their cubicles each day, but some lucky folks get down to business in style. If you’re looking to upgrade your cubicle décor, these 10 amazing cubes should give you plenty of inspiration.

10. Bamboo(zled)

Cubicle_Bamboo

Nothing feels more Zen than being surrounded with enough bamboo to sustain a panda population. If this person isn’t the most productive employee in the office, something is very, very wrong.

9. Swanky Panky

Cubicle_Swanky

What 9-to-5 diva wouldn’t want to set up shop in this swanky cube, featuring a chandelier, cushy seating and lush fabrics? Ooh la la!

8. Study Up

Cubicle_Study

How do you give a regular old desk job CEO flair? By decorating your cubicle to look like a sophisticated study complete with fireplace, leather and other worldly goods like cigars and fine liquor, of course.

7. All the Comforts of Home

Cubicle_Kitchen Cubicle_Bathroom

We realize cube-dwellers spend a lot of time in their home away from home, but these kitchen- and bathroom-themed cubicles are taking that homey feeling to a whole new level.

6. Strip Away Work Stress

Cubicle_StripClub

We suspect that when the owner of this cubicle is feeling the heat from a looming deadline or big project, she (or he?) takes to the pole to strip away the stress. Wonder if the boss is in the audience?

5. Take it to the Panel

Cubicle_Paneling

This gentleman clearly has a penchant for the finer things in life, and his cubicle is no exception. Note the dark cherry hardwood floor, intricately carved desk, Oriental rug and, of course, the gorgeous mahogany paneling. Wonder what his house looks like?

4. Legos for Grown-Ups

Cubicle_Bloxes

The brainchild of Jef Raskin, Bloxes are unique building blocks made of interlocking pieces of corrugated cardboard, folded together. Their unique shape and structure make them exceptionally strong and lightweight…and perfect for building cubicles!

3. Lounging Around

Cubicle_Studio53

The popular office furniture company, Steelcase, conceptualized this 8-foot square cubicle as a meeting space where the confines of the traditional office cubicle were non-existent. Called Studio 53, this space is a nod to the 1970’s disco hot spot, Studio 54. We call it Nightclub Chic + Boardroom = Happy Employees!

2. Quiet on the Set

Cubicle_Pixar

At the offices of Pixar studios, cubicles take on lives of their own – much like the characters in their movies. And who could resist working next to Nemo, The Incredibles, and WALL-E?

1. A Nod to the Pod

Cubicle_GoogleZurich

At Google Zurich, they take their cubicle décor very seriously. We can’t stop staring at these amazing creations (and their surroundings) and that’s why this group has grabbed our #1 spot. How fun would work be if you did business like this every day?

3 Questions You Must Answer Before Buying Used Cubicles

HermanMiller_OfficeCubicle

Outfitting a successful business with used office furniture is a great way to get your team into a productive position without breaking the budget. Thankfully, used office furniture is not confined solely to tables, desks and chairs. Used cubicles are also yours for the taking, but there are a few things to consider before making your purchase.

1. Cubicle Size - Obviously, this will depend on the amount of floor space you have to work with. Many cubicles can be configured into different heights and widths, giving you an array of sizing options. Some cubicles are large enough to have doors, while others are so compact they only fit a desk. Consider where your cubicles will be placed and look into working with a space planner to help with layout ideas.

2. Appearance – Cubicles generally come with fabric-covered panels, some patterned, some plain. Consider what colors and patterns will work well with your current or future office décor. Do you want the cubicles to have windows? Doors? Wood trim? Space for a guest chair or filing system? Some cubicles even come with closets and wardrobes for personal belongings. The options are limitless, so determine which features are must-haves and which are nice extras before beginning your search.

Also pay close attention to scratches, paint nicks, scuff marks and dents. Are you willing to live with these minor defects in exchange for a great deal on the price? Can the defects be hidden, covered or repaired? Sometimes saving a bundle requires a little elbow grease. One thing you never want to compromise on, however, is the cubicle’s structure. If it does not sit squarely on the floor, you have a safety risk. Definitely not worth the savings!

3. Technological Features – Modern cubicles often come with an array of technological enhancements like outlets, data ports and switches. Some even have lighting under the overhead storage units. Are these features important to your business? Would they be beneficial to your employees? Again, determine your needs and wants before making a final selection.

Remember, the people you place in these cubicles will be there for many hours a day. While it’s tempting to choose a cubicle that least impacts your business’ bottom line, it’s important to remember that the working conditions of your employees – and any negative effects like sick days, workers’ comp, etc, that result from those conditions – will also affect your bottom line.

When you’re ready to shop, Arnolds Office Furniture has you covered. View our extensive selection and call, stop in or email today!

World’s Most Awesome Conference Table

HD-Conference-studio-room

There are some beautiful conference tables out there, but the more our world becomes technology-driven, the more our conferencing options must change. With these changes, we’ve seen the addition of power sources, data ports, phone discs, and even plasma screens to our once bare-bones table choices.

While some of these technological features have become status quo, there are some new upgrades that knock our socks off. Case in point: This Piano™ Concerto 5 Teleconferencing Table with HD Telesymmetry Experience by SMARTdesks.

If you want bells and whistles, this is your table. Features include:

* Customized table shape
* Phone disc with 16 microphones
* Mute feature to suppress non-speaking zones and side conversations
* Computer LCDs that can be rotated under the desktop by using the flipIT® feature
* Pull-out keyboard trays
* A 70° camera angle view

What’s more, you can actually turn this über-table into an entire teleconferencing studio, complete with custom drapery and acoustic panels to negate the room’s echo. Add the LCD video monitor lift cabinet, balanced fluorescent video lighting and High Definition video camera (complete with remote control), and you’ve got one snazzy conferencing space.

How much this will set you back is based on your needs and the specifications of your conferencing space. Remember, “customized” often means high dollar, but in cases like these, you get what you pay for.

If this table isn’t in your budget, never fear. We’ll be on the lookout for more amazing conference tables, so stay tuned for the best and brightest in conferencing options.

How to Avoid that Workers’ Comp Claim

Ergonomics in the Workplace

Ergonomics in the Workplace

No doubt you’ve heard the term “ergonomics in the workplace” bandied about for years. But what does it mean to you? It means that the office furniture you choose now can greatly affect the health and well being of your employees today and many years from now. And that can directly impact the number of workers’ compensation claims your company receives.

Though seemingly innocent enough, a “desk job” can have almost as many risks to an employee as one encompassing a lot of movement. As you’ve no doubt experienced first hand, sitting for extended periods of time puts stress on several areas of the body. A person’s back, spine, shoulders, hind end, legs, neck, wrists and hands are all affected by the way they sit at their desk or computer. Repeated and prolonged exposure to less than ideal conditions can cause enough stress to the musculoskeletal system to cause lasting damage. Therefore, when selecting office furniture, paying close attention to ergonomics is key.

Ergonomics is the science of designing user interaction with equipment and workplaces to fit the user. In using ergonomics, you are ensuring your employees are positioned to be their most comfortable and productive. Your company will enjoy benefits like less absenteeism, fewer workplace accidents and fewer claims to your health plan – and you’ll also avoid that dreaded workers’ comp claim!

Getting on board with ergonomic outfitting is easy, and your office furniture supplier will gladly work with you to recommend worker-friendly pieces. At Arnolds Office Furniture, you will find an extensive array of ergonomic chairs at amazing prices. Such chairs allow for height, back and arm adjustment, and some tilt and contour as well. The options are limitless and easier than ever to find in both new and used office furniture.

Aeron_HermanMiller

Keeping your employees comfortable goes a long way in the overall efficiency of your office or company. Starting your Ergonomic Makeover is as easy as selecting the right furniture. From there, you can tweak and adjust until your employee is happy and comfortable. And since happy and comfortable workers are generally happy and productive workers, we see the investment in ergonomic office furniture as a win-win for all!

3 Questions You Must Answer Before Buying a Conference Table

UsedConferenceTable

A lot of business gets done at conference tables. Brainstorming, plans of action, sales meetings and more. So it goes without saying that having a great conference table within your office space is a must. But selecting the right table goes far beyond which one looks the prettiest (although that’s a major consideration, too). Here, 3 questions you must answer before buying that perfect conference table:

1. How big does the table have to be? To answer to this question, think about both your current situation and where you hope to be a year from now. If you’re a small proprietorship with no plans for big expansion, a small 6 foot table may suit you just fine. If you’re a large corporation with several attendees per conference, a larger size table will be your best bet. And if you have plans for any expansion at all, estimate how many people you will need to seat at one time once your growth has taken place. It’s better to buy a larger table in anticipation of great growth than have to pinch hit after the growth occurs (plus, it’s so much fun to see those seats fill up as your company really begins to flourish!).

2. What features does the table need? As the way we do business changes, so do the features on conference tables. Some to consider:

  • Real wood or laminate?
  • Rectangular, boat-shaped, U-shaped or other?
  • Data ports for electrical devices or no?
  • Space for conferencing systems or no?
  • Media additions like projector lifts or no?
  • High style or traditional?

Obviously, though many of these features might be on your conference table wish list, your budget may prohibit actually indulging in them. Take the time to consider your plans for growth and remember that as with any technology item, conferencing tables that feature media add-ons are sure to change in time. Is your investment one that needs to stand the test of time, or are you able to switch up often? Consider this before plunking down a bundle on a table you’ll need to upgrade in just a few years.

3. Do I need to buy new? Or can I buy a pre-owned conference table? If you want to save a bundle and you’re not caught up in having the newest and shiniest furniture available, consider buying used office furniture. Many times offices go out of business, leaving behind a building full of barely-used furniture. Companies, like Arnolds Office Furniture, go in to liquidate these items, then warehouse them and pass the savings on to you.

While much of this used office furniture is in near-perfect condition, some things to watch out for are scratches and dents, splits in the wood, chips in the laminate, an unsteady base structure or a generally “unhealthy” look to the table.

Used conference tables are often available in the same sizes and finishes, with the same technology and media features, brand new ones are – and they can be yours for a fraction of the price. Sounds like a great way to set up your perfect conferencing space…and look like a Budgetary Superhero in the process!

What’s So Great About Herman Miller, Anyway?

HermanMiller_Ethospace

Herman Miller is a name that is synonymous with fine office furniture. Their designs and systems are coveted far and wide and the resale value on a Herman Miller piece is certainly higher than that of most other companies.

So, why is this? What is so great about Herman Miller and why does their office furniture fetch such high prices?

Born in the USA

Herman Miller’s headquarters are in Zeeland, Michigan and there are manufacturing and distribution facilities in Atlanta and Canton, Georgia; Lake Mills, Wisconsin; and Holland, Zeeland, and Spring Lake, Michigan. To meet demand, Herman Miller has also set up shop in China, Italy, and the United Kingdom. What’s more, the company’s subsidiaries (Geiger, Convia, Brandrud and Nemschoff, Inc.) are all headquartered in the U.S.

Top-Tier Designers

Herman Miller is not afraid to step out of the proverbial box and call on the talents of some of the top designers and rising stars in the business. Names like Yves Behar, Douglas Ball, Don Chadwick, Bill Stumpf, Mark Goetz, and of course, Charles and Ray Eames, of the uber-famous Eames recliner and ottoman, are just some of the folks behind Herman Miller designs.

Ergonomic Excellence

Herman Miller pays remarkable attention to the issue of ergonomics in the workplace and designs furniture based on the mechanics and specifications of the human body. Their goal, according to their website, is to enable individuals to work at their most safe, effective and motivated levels. They create health-positive environments that go beyond “fitting” people to their equipment to actually helping them thrive. Now that’s saying something about an employer who chooses to outfit their business with Herman Miller products: they care about their employees.

Commitment to Sustainability

Herman Miller strives to do their part in making and keeping our environment clean, healthy and livable. To prove their commitment, they’ve launched their “Perfect Vision” initiative, which targets 2020 as the year they’ll meet the following self-imposed goals:

  • Zero landfill
  • Zero hazardous waste generation
  • Zero air emissions (VOC)
  • Zero process water use
  • 100 percent green electrical energy use
  • Company buildings constructed to a minimum LEED Silver certification
  • 100 percent of sales from DfE-approved products

Impressive goals. If they (and other companies) could even achieve even half of them, imagine how much better off our environment would be.

Odds and Ends

If all of the above points don’t convince you that Herman Miller office furniture is a product worth investing in, take a look at these fast facts:

  • Herman Miller is credited with the invention of the office cubicle. (No wonder they’re working so hard to make cubicles more stylish and livable!)
  • They are consistently recognized as one of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Companies”, having placed at the top of the list for furniture companies for the past 18 consecutive years.
  • Net sales in fiscal year 2008 were $2.012 billion – clearly, they have many, many happy customers.

This is a company that just keeps getting better. When they invent a great design, they don’t rest on their laurels…they work hard to improve even further! And while pricier than the competition, this is truly a “you get what you pay for” situation. Great products, great service, great design…well worth the investment for you and your company!

Ready to shop? Take a look at some of our gently-used Herman Miller products, including the Ethospace adjustable cubicle.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Fireproof Filing Cabinets (But Were Afraid You’d Set on Fire)

fire_safety

When setting up your business, you’ll invariably reach the task of purchasing file cabinets. We’ve already addressed the 3 Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying File Cabinets, and now it’s time to take a look at what a fireproof cabinet can and should do for your business’ documents and media.

What they do

The overall expectation of fireproof file cabinets is to protect your business’ most valuable assets like purchase orders, customer mailing lists, billing records, warranties, and policies and procedures from fire, explosion, heat, water, smoke, and high impact falls.

How they work

After reaching a certain temperature, a liquid is emitted, thereby forming an insulation around the contents of the file.

Which one do I need?

The key to finding the right fireproof filing cabinet for your needs is to check its UL rating. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, a nonprofit, highly trusted testing facility that puts products through rigorous assessments before issuing its approval and/or rating level. (You’ve no doubt seen UL ratings on electrical items as well).

Underwriters Laboratories uses three main classifications for records protection equipment (file cabinets, safes, etc):

  1. Class 350-rated – Protects paper products
  2. Class 150-rated – Protects magnetic tapes and photographic film
  3. Class 125-rated – Protects flexible computer disks

Defining the listings above, the 350, 150 and 125 numbers represent the internal temperature of the cabinet when exposed to external heat of 1700 degrees or higher. Meaning, a 350-rated cabinet will not get any hotter than 350 degrees on the inside for at least one hour when subjected to 1700-degree heat.

For media safes, look for a UL rating of 125, as 125 degrees is the temperature at which digital media is compromised. Tapes, CDs, DVDs, flash drives, microfiche and data cartridges are all examples of media devices that will ruin when the file’s internal temperature reaches 125 degrees or greater.

A UL rating of 125 also guarantees humidity levels to remain below 80% (the level at which digital media suffers damage) and provides protection against weak magnetic fields.

What are the top brands?

Top fireproof filing cabinet brands include FireKing, SentrySafe (formerly Schwab) and Phoenix. Arnolds Office Furniture carries an assortment of these brands in both vertical and lateral styles at most any given time. Check out our selection of in-stock cabinets.

Are they worth the price?

It’s hard to put a price on documents, but taking a moment to calculate how much your customer database and employee records mean to your business should give you your answer. Indeed, fireproof cabinets and safes cost more than traditional models, but your peace of mind and feelings of security are well worth the investment.

3 Questions You Must Answer Before Buying File Cabinets

Fireproof Lateral File Cabinet

Fireproof Lateral File Cabinet

Whether you’re setting up a brand new office, or adding to an existing one, the need for filing cabinets is indisputable. Even in our online and virtual world, paper documents still have their place in our businesses and need to be properly stored – as do discs, flash drives, and more. But there are so many options – lateral, vertical, fireproof, etc – that choosing the right type of file cabinets takes quite a bit of thought. Ask yourself and your team these questions before making your purchase:

1. How many drawers do you need?

The answer to this question isn’t just how many drawers you need now, but also how many you might need later on. True, you can always add new units, but it’s best to get your filing cabinets all at once to avoid additional shipping or delivery fees, having to rearrange your office space and the chance of manufacturer discontinuation. Be sure to have a conversation with senior management about current needs and growth plans to make the best decision. Also consider whether you’ll store more paper or discs.

2. Lateral or vertical file cabinets?

Both lateral file cabinets and vertical file cabinets have their benefits. Choosing which works best for your office will depend upon on the space you have available and how you plan to use the filing cabinets.

To clarify the difference, the drawers of a vertical file cabinet extend from the short side of the cabinet and typically measure 15 inches, while those of a lateral file cabinet extend from the long side and are available in various lengths.

According to Wikipedia, the four-drawer vertical file, letter width, is the version purchased by most businesses. Yet lateral files offer employees the benefit of easy viewing since the drawers do not extend as far. If you have a long, narrow space, laterals might be your best bet (laterals are also stackable and are therefore great for space-saving). Shorter, wider spaces might do well with verticals. Again, consult with your space planners, senior management or administrative staff to ascertain how the files will be used and where they will be positioned.

3. Fireproof File Cabinets?

There is no denying that fireproof filing cabinets come at a premium cost, but the sense of security they provide may be well worth the investment. Does the government require you to keep your records for a certain number of years? Do your records tie current and past clients and business transactions together? Do you work in a building with many other businesses or at a place that has older wiring and electrical components? These are all prime examples of instances where fireproof cabinets would make great sense.

Some fireproof models are also water resistant (great for flood areas and in the event overhead sprinklers activate during a fire) and shockproof (perfect for areas susceptible to earthquakes).

If you do decide to go the with a fireproof cabinet, be sure to check the specifications to be sure that both paper and magnetic discs are protected and to what temperature your items are considered safe.

While settling on file cabinets takes more thought than one would expect, remember that whenever you have questions about any office furniture needs at all, Arnolds is here to help.