Archive for March, 2012

Used Waiting Room Furniture Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know

waiting-room
Outfitting your new office with used waiting room furniture is a great way to keep your startup costs down.

We’re not suggesting you go dumpster diving for threadbare sofas and beat up end tables (you want to create a good first impression, after all). We’re just saying that you just don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for quality reception seating.

While buying used will save you money, there are some drawbacks, including furniture wear-and-tear and limited style options. It’s wise to see the furniture you’re purchasing in person before buying it or, if that’s not possible, at least look at several photos to make sure it’s not broken, dirty or damaged.

Read on for tips on what you might need and where you can buy used waiting room furniture.

What do you need?
There are many different options for the types of seating you use in a reception area. Keep in mind, this isn’t your living room, so no La-Z-Boy recliners needed. Look for clean, comfortable, well-made pieces that will put your clients at ease while they wait.

Before shopping, answer the following questions:

How big is my waiting room?
Measure the room to determine how much space you have for furniture. For smaller spaces, you might only have room for a reception desk and a couple of chairs. For a larger space, you might be able to have a desk, sofa, chairs and a coffee table.

How busy will my waiting room be?
If you expect a lot of clients or customers dropping in at any given time, you’ll want to make sure to have ample seating. On the other hand, if most of your business is done online and meetings are handled remotely, then you might only need a couple of chairs.

What image do I want my business to project?
Your reception area is the first place clients and customers will interact with your business in person, so make sure it gives them clues about the type of company you run. For a forward-thinking tech company, you would want to select sleek, modern pieces that reflect the company’s vision. But if you’re starting a children’s hair salon, you’ll want brightly-colored, durable pieces that appeal to kids and their parents. No matter what style of furniture you go with, you’ll want to make sure that it’s clean, comfortable and solid. No matter how fancy the couch is, if it has a giant stain on the cushion or holes in the arms, nobody is going to want to stay for long.

What is my budget?
Deciding how much you can afford to spend on waiting room furniture will help determine where you can afford to shop for it.

Furniture shopping list
Once you’ve answered the above questions, then you can go on to making a list of what furniture and accessories you need.

Here’s a list of what you might consider purchasing and how much you’ll spend:

Reception desk
OTG Global Reception Desk_full
This will likely be the first thing your clients see when entering your office (even if it’s not the first thing they see, it should be easy to find – you don’t want anybody feeling lost). Desks come in several configurations including corner, U-shaped and L-shaped. The amount of traffic you expect and the size of the waiting room should help you determine what type of desk would work best. Make sure the desk provides front desk staff with enough space for the work they need to do (Is there room for a computer, phone, printer, etc.?) and that it is well-lit and has ample storage space.
Cost: $700-$6,000.

Seating
Hopefully, your clients won’t be left waiting for too long, but in case you get busy, you want to make sure that the waiting room seating is comfortable. Options include:
LoveseatSofas or Love Seats: Whether you want to create a cozier atmosphere or you frequently have clients that come in groups (say families), then picking out a sofa or love seat is a great option for your waiting area. You’ll find office-ready sofas in everything from leather to vinyl. Just make sure whatever you pick out compliments any other seating you might need in reception. $400-$2,000.
Club Chairs_4190-mClub or Lounge Chairs: Just like their name, these chairs are designed for visitors to settle in for the long haul if need be. These upholstered chairs can be found in a variety of shapes, textures and colors, and can suit just about any office’s style. $150-$600.
l-hpfi_bariatric_chair_912Bariatric Chairs: similar to club or lounge chairs, these chairs are wide, sturdy and comfortable – built to hold clients of all sizes. They are often cushioned and have armrests and come in leather, vinyl or cloth upholstery. $200-$700.
net-beam-seatingBeam Seating: Best for offices with high traffic and limited space, this is the type of seating you’d find in an airport – a row of two to four (or more) chairs connected by a single beam underneath. While not the most comfortable, it might be the most cost- and space-efficient for your reception area. Beam seats come in a variety of styles and can be fitted with end tables. $300-$800.
sled-baseSled Base Chair: Probably the most common and affordable office seating, these chairs are named for the chair legs, which resemble the runners on a sled. They generally feature wood, plastic or metal bases with upholstered or plastic seats. $80-$200.

Tables
coffee-tableCoffee Table: If you have a larger room, a traditional coffee table paired with a sofa and/or chairs can help center your reception seating. Office coffee tables can be made of anything from metal and laminate to glass to traditional wood. $100-$800.
reg-soho-end-table-1-efSide/End Table: For compact waiting rooms or rooms with several rows of seating, side tables are a great alternative to a bulky coffee table – and they’re less expensive. Style options are similar to what you’d find with coffee tables. $75-$500.

Accessories
Once you have your reception area furnished, don’t forget to add something for your clients to look at. Potted plants, lamps, artwork for the walls, or even a small fountain can help them relax while creating more visual interest in the room. And reading material – whether it’s company brochures, magazines or coffee table books – will occupy them while they wait.

Where to Shop

Used Furniture Dealers
Your best bet for finding better-quality used waiting room furniture is to go through a dealer like Arnolds Office Furniture, which has a wide selection of high-quality pieces at affordable prices that you can browse online. Dealers will generally clean and refurbish worn furniture as well, saving you time and money.

Classifieds
Companies that are closing or moving will often sell old office furniture at a great price. Check online and look at newspaper classifieds to see if any businesses near you are holding sales. Shopping locally will give you the added advantage of being able to inspect the pieces in person.

Second-hand stores: While you probably won’t find reception desks, you might have luck finding tables, sofas or chairs at consignment shops and places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Just keep in mind you might have to give these pieces some extra TLC by cleaning them and mending broken parts.

eBay
You can find just about anything on the popular online auction site, including used office furniture. While you might be able to furnish your waiting area for next to nothing, keep in mind that shopping online is not without it’s risks – mainly, you won’t know the quality of the pieces you’re buying until they show up at your door.

Office Feng Shui: Surround Yourself With Positive Energy

The office is definitely a place in need of good feng shui. In fact, in the big list of places that need good vibes, the office is right up there with the DMV and the dentist’s office. Add in the fact that most modern workplaces tend to be light on personal comfort and heavy on appearances — your office cubicle probably isn’t nearly as nice as the reception area, for example, or the boardroom — and you have the perfect testing ground for a feng shui consultant’s skills.

Last week, we covered how to use feng shui to optimize the energy in your cube. Now, we’ll look at the office in general.

1. Be choosy about where you sit.

Crowded-Workers-Office

The goal is to get a seat in the corner farthest from the entrance, i.e. the “command” position. This is just good sense: If you’re far away from the door, people have to come seek you out on purpose. That makes you the important, sought-after person, and also protects you from pointless interruptions. Whatever you do, though, don’t sit in line with the door, which puts you in the path of negative energy (and bored coworkers looking to distract you while you work).

2. Remove clutter.

clutter

All feng shui experts will advise you to cut down on clutter, which they say stimulates negative chi. Even if you don’t believe in feng shui at all, you have to admit that clutter stimulates your ability to lose things.

3. Surround yourself with the right colors.

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Good news for people in contemporary offices: those drab grays and whites might actually be excellent, in terms of feng shui, especially in the northwest corner of your office. Gray and white are the colors of the metal element, which brings clarity and precision. Want a raise? Decorate with green and brown, colors that represent the wood element.

4. Choose healthier lighting.

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“Grow lights” are good for humans as well as plants. If your company will let you, replace fluorescent light tubes with full-spectrum lights. If that’s not possible, see if you can shut off the lights nearest you and rely on lamps to light up your work space. (Please note that we didn’t tell you to move your desk closer to a window. We know that if you could, you’d be sitting there already. Ditto with punching a hole in the ceiling and installing your own personal skylight.)

5. Have plants, especially bamboo.

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If we had our druthers, we’d all work outside in a beautiful garden, probably with a pool. But since we’re stuck indoors, adding plants to the office is the next best thing. Plants in general are good feng shui, but bamboo is considered particularly lucky, because it can represent all five elements. It’s also supposed to drain bad energy. That’s never a bad idea when you have lots of people working together in a relatively small space.

Images: , Jerriehurdnovels.wordpress.com, , Interior-outdoor-lighting.blogspot.com, Blog.greenearthbamboo.com

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Cow Cubicles vs. Office Cubicles: Remarkably Similar?

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If we were to ask you what you had in common with a cow, you’d probably say, “Nothing at all.” (Or you’d slap us, which would be understandable.) Upon further reflection, you might say that both cows and people give birth to live young and have milk, and that both seem to enjoy a weekend in the countryside, although cows stay there full-time.

But what would you say if we were to tell you that cows and humans actually have a lot in common in terms of their living conditions and their accommodations at work?

Put your hand down, because we’re not finished. No one is saying that you were raised in a barn. No, cows and people share a common, unexpected link in that they both spend a great deal of their time in cubicles.

A recent article in “Farmers Weekly” took an in-depth look at the similarities between cow cubicles and office cubicles, including:

History:

Cow cubicles have been in use since around 1950, although no one seems to remember exactly when or who invented them. Human cubicles were famously designed by Robert Propst for Herman Miller in 1967. So both office cubicles and cow cubicles go back to mid-century. Cows, however, never got to enjoy “Mad Men”-style wet bars or chasing secretaries.

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Size:

Humans win this round: office cubicles offer an average of 48 square feet of space. While this is down from 72 square feet just two years ago, it’s considerably better than cows’ 30 or so square feet. Also, we generally don’t use our cubicles as a restroom, which probably makes them seem even more spacious.

Ambivalent Relationship:

The “Farmer’s Weekly” article includes this awesome quote, which could apply to either cow cubicles or human cubicles: “Training herds to take up residency in cubicles was somewhat of a challenge.” Just ask any manager who’s had to explain to his team why the department is shifting from offices with doors to cubicles. Although, to be fair, no one has asked the cows about how they’d feel in an even less private open office environment.

Cutting Edge Designs:

A cubicle designers’ work is never done. While designers of office cubicles concentrate on improving work flow and making workers more efficient, designers of cow cubicles must focus on more mundane issues — like making the cubicle big enough so that Bessie can chow down and/or be milked with ease, but not so big or poorly angled that it’s difficult to clean. There is, thank goodness, very little use for “slurry scrapers” in most modern offices.

Finally, both human office cubicles and cow cubicles have pretty great — and similar — names. For example, which of these do you think is a cow cubicle, and which do you think is an office cubicle?

  • IAE Ultima Cubicle
  • Auchincruive
  • Dutch Comfort

Answer: They’re all cow cubicles. Although we wish the last one were for humans. It sounds comfy!

office-for-the-modern-cow

Images: Imageshack.us, Brooklynology.brooklynpubliclibrary.org, Stanotto.com

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Used Cube Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re starting a business, shopping for used cubes is probably the most cost-effective route to furnishing your new office. Sure, it might be nice to have a brand-new, state-of-the-art office setup, but you’ll probably have to kiss making a profit goodbye for a while if you go this route.

Not only are used cubicles cheaper, they’re also more environmentally friendly (think of all the office furniture you could potentially be saving from a landfill!)

Of course, there are some drawbacks to going with pre-owned furniture. You might not have as wide of a selection, used models will have wear and tear, and you might be responsible for moving and assembling the cubicles.

Still, even with these potential pitfalls, there’s a huge market for used office furniture, which means you have a good chance of finding cubicles to fit your taste and budget.

To help you navigate buying used cubes, we’ve created this handy buyer’s guide.

What to buy:
Before you start shopping for used cubicles, there are several factors you should consider including:

  • Your budget – How much are you planning to spend on cubicles and other office furniture?
  • Number of employees – How many cubicles will you need to purchase?
  • Size of office – How much space will you have to fit workstations? Arnolds Office Furniture offers space planning and design services to help you come up with the best plan for your office space. There is also software that can help you with the process.
  • Type of work – How much workspace will each of your employees need? If they just need a phone and a computer, smaller cubicles should be fine. However, if they need additional storage, they might need larger desks.
  • Type of office – What type of atmosphere would you like in your office? If you are looking for a more open, collaborative work environment, look for cubicles with lower walls so that employees can easily talk with one another. If your employees will need more privacy and quiet workspace, purchase cubicles with higher walls.
  • Aesthetic – How do you want your office to look? If you’re looking for a sleeker, more modern-looking office design, plan on spending a little more for more “gently used” models.
  • Deadline – How quickly do you need to furnish your office? If you don’t need to furnish your office right away, you’ll have more time to shop around in your newspaper classifieds or websites like eBay. Just keep in mind you might be responsible for moving and installing the furniture yourself. If you’re on a tight deadline, however, it’d be wiser to go through a furniture dealer where there’s a guaranteed selection as well as delivery and installation services.
  • Setup – How comfortable are you putting together used cubes? If you purchase your workstations through newspaper or web-based classifieds, you’ll more than likely be responsible for assembling them. Many furniture dealers offer installation services for a few hundred dollars.
  • How much to pay:
    How much you spend on your used cubicles really depends on several factors including:

  • Where you buy them
  • The size of the workstations
  • How many you need
  • Brand
  • Quality
  • Currently, on Craigslist there’s a listing for a six-cubicle set for $400 or best offer, or you can purchase small-sized individual workstations for as little as $100-$300 a pop. The price for name brands like Steelcase or Herman Miller is generally higher. For larger workstations, name brands can start at $1,000-$2,000 per station.

    You might be able to find dirt-cheap workstations in your local classifieds or online, but the quality might not be what you’d like. Buying from a furniture dealer could cost a little more, but chances are the dealer has at least cleaned the furniture and accounted for all the pieces needed for setup.

    Where to buy:

  • Furniture Dealers – At furniture dealers like Arnolds Office Furniture, you’ll be able to browse a wide selection of name-brand used cubicles to fit your budget. Chances are, the workstations will be higher quality (some dealers refurbish worn furniture before selling it) and you’ll be able to view photos online. In addition, furniture dealers are more likely to offer delivery and assembly services to save you time and headaches.
  • Classifieds – Check your local newspaper or an online classifieds site like CraigsList for used cubicles. You might find offices that are looking to sell their furniture because they are going out of business or looking to upgrade. The advantage to shopping locally is that you can see the cubicles in person before buying. Keep in mind, the furniture will be sold as-is, meaning it might be more beat up then you’d like, and you’ll probably be responsible for picking up and assembling the workstations.
  • eBay – The online auction site has more than 1,000 listings for cubicles: some being sold individually, others in lots. Obviously, with eBay you can name your own price and you have the opportunity to snag a really great deal if you’re on a tight budget. However, if you’re on a tight deadline, this might not be the best route.
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    Furniture Restoration: How it Works at Arnolds

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    Used office furniture has gained in popularity over the past couple of years, as thrifty companies look for more ways to save money without sacrificing productivity or jobs. Many of us probably work in refurbished cubicles and use restored furniture and don’t even know it. That’s because if used furniture companies do things the right way, no one can tell the difference between a 10-year-old cubicle and one that just rolled off the line.

    DSCN3754

    Arnolds Office Furniture has been restoring office furniture to like-new condition for decades. Recently, the company expanded its restoration departments in order to offer even more selection to customers. We went inside Arnolds to find out exactly how a piece of furniture is transformed into the shiny, factory fresh-looking articles on sale right now.

    Wood Furniture

    Every piece of furniture that Arnolds Office Furniture sells, from the lowliest guest chair to the CEO’s leather-topped desk, goes through the restoration process before it hits the showroom floor.

    DSCN3755

    Wood furniture goes through Arnolds’ wood refinishing shop, where it undergoes a rigorous process of restoration. First, furniture experts sand down each part of the piece. Then, they fix imperfections, either by replacing broken pieces or filling gaps with wood filler.

    Next, the furniture is moved into the spray booth, where it’s covered with spray stain or paint, and then two finish coats. Finally, the item goes to the drying booth, where the coats set.

    DSCN3763

    Office Cubicles

    Most of us work in office cubicles, but we probably don’t give very much thought to where they came from. If our senior management is smart, they opted for used, refurbished cubicles. Arnolds offers cubicles for a fraction of the price of brand-new systems, and will replace the panels with any color fabric the client desires, for an additional cost.

    DSCN3772

    The bulk of the process of refurbishing an office cubicle is taken up by redoing the panels. In the video above, you can get an inside peek at Arnolds’ panel recovery area, where cubicle panel fabric is cleaning, stretched, replaced, and reglued back onto the frames.

    Finally, the trim pieces that hold the cubicles together are repainted in Arnolds’ paint shop, and put back in place. The end result is a cubicle that looks like it’s brand-new, but costs less than half the price of a non-refurbished system.

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    Office Cubicle Feng Shui: Surround Yourself With Positive Energy

    Let’s face it: The office environment can be a serious bummer. Fluorescent lights, dentist-office style art, gray burlap walls — many work spaces are not going to make the cover of “Architectural Digest.” And that’s a shame, because there’s plenty of proof that the way you decorate your office cubicle can have a big impact on your mood and productivity. Even if you’re not ready to map your office’s bagua, you can use the principles of feng shui to bring more good vibes into your office cubicle.

    1. Post meaningful things in your cubicle.

    cubiclefengshui1photo

    Anne Bingley Gallops of Open Spaces Feng Shui suggests using those burlap walls as a kind of inspirational bulletin board. Hang up items that remind you of your goals or previous successes. Post the org chart, if you’re a manager, and your business card to inspire pride in your work.

    2. Lose the clutter.

    cubicle2

    Michael Schnippering of Feng Shui Works says that clutter is an office no-no. In addition to clouding your energy and making your environment less pleasant to work in, clutter is an obstacle to organization. Anyone who’s ever searched desperately for a file in a stack of papers knows what we mean.

    3. Hang art that means something to you.

    cubiclefengshui3

    Your office should reflect your personal aesthetic. Skip the generic Successories style prints and go for something that has meaning for you personally. Can’t think of a theme? Gallops suggests water or goldfish, which are said to represent cash flow and prosperity.

    4. Don’t have your desk facing someone else’s desk.

    cubiclefengshui4

    Schnippering suggests that workers try to face their desks away from those of their office mates. Sure, it’s bad feng shui; but more practically, it’s just harder to argue with someone you’re not staring at all day. Can’t manage that? Good cubicle walls, like good fences, make good neighbors.

    5. Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

    cubiclefengshui5

    This is our favorite of Gallops’s suggestions, by far. If possible, we would hang “Do Not Disturb” signs in our cubicle, in the conference room, and on the bathroom door. (We could tell you stories of coworkers following each other into the powder room that would curl your hair.) If that seems mean, Gallops recommends hanging a hotel doorknob sign to inject a touch of humor into your plea for privacy.

    Image: 1. Technabob.com, 2. Livebyladybugs.com, 3. Cubiclebutchery.wordpress.com, 4. Business Insider, 5. DIYhappy.com

    7 Career Choices That Won’t Have You Sitting in an Office Cubicle

    Let’s been honest: sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day, five days a week probably isn’t how you envisioned spending your adult life.

    If you find yourself dreading the thought of being chained to your desk and spending half the day gazing out the window, it might be time to consider switching careers. And thankfully, there are several career options that won’t require another four years of schooling for you to get your foot in the door.

    Likewise, if you’re a student struggling to figure out the right career path for you, but know that sitting behind a desk all day would send you into a panic, read on. There are plenty of jobs out there that don’t require a cubicle.

    We rounded up 7 careers where you’ll get to roam free (at least part of the time). For more ideas, check out the book “175 Best Jobs Not Behind a Desk.”

    Nurse
    1. Nurse
    There’s a reason nurses wear Scrubs and comfortable shoes – they’re constantly on the go. While there is a certain amount of paperwork involved with being a nurse (updating patients’ charts, for one) you definitely won’t be shackled to a desk all day. There are opportunities in nursing for both recent high school graduates and those looking to change careers later in life.
    Education: Training to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Licensed Vocational Nurse – nurses who provide more general care to patients – takes about one year and includes classroom work and a patient-care segment. To become a Registered Nurse, you’ll need either a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, an Associates of Nursing or a Nursing Diploma from a hospital program.
    Salary: The median salary for LPNs is $31,440 and for RNs is $48,090, according to studentdoc.com.

    teacher
    2. Elementary School Teacher: Sure, teachers have desks, but chances are you won’t find them sitting there most of the time. They’re standing in front of a room full of expectant young minds, squatting next to a child learning how to read and supervising kickball games at recess. Teaching does involve a lot of paperwork – grading tests, planning lessons and reading essays – but summers off more than make up for it. Getting your teaching certificate might require night classes and a leap of faith, but it’s doable for folks looking to try something new.
    Education: There are several steps to becoming a teacher. First you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in education or a bachelor’s degree in the subject you’d like to teach. Then you’ll need to complete a credited teacher certification program. Next you’ll need to complete student teaching then pass licensing and competency exams. Finally, you’ll need to receive your credentials and start applying for jobs.
    Salary: Median salary is $54,330, according to Schools.com.

    Helping hand shakes another in an agreement
    3. Sales: The great thing about a career in sales is that it can be whatever you make of it. You can run an at-home business selling everything from makeup (CoverGirl) to branded content (Vidicom), or you can travel the world making pitches to foreign companies. No matter what type of sales they’re involved in, one thing all successful salespeople have in common is the ability to communicate and think fast on their feet.
    Education: While you don’t technically need a degree to get into sales, it’s smart to have a bachelors degree in a field like business, marketing or communications. As important (if not more) than your education is experience. Everything from internships to working at your local Walmart can help you develop the necessary skills to be a great salesperson.
    Salary: Starts anywhere from $38,000 to $56,000, depending on what type of sales you’re in and how much commission you make on top of your base salary, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    landscaper
    4. Landscaper: If you love the outdoors and have a creative side, then designing functional and aesthetically-pleasing outdoors spaces might be your niche. Landscape designers work with everyone from homeowners to local governments. While you will probably have to spend some time at a desk or on a computer creating plans, you’ll also spend plenty of time outdoors onsite developing ideas and supervising construction.
    Education: The minimum recommended training for an entry-level landscaping job is a career diploma in landscape design through a trade, vocational or online school. Beyond that, you can pursue two-year associates degrees available through trade, vocational, online or community colleges. To become a professional landscape designer or landscape architect, you’ll need a bachelors, masters or even doctoral degree in landscape architecture or a related field like horticulture or agriculture. You’ll most likely need to get a license by passing the Landscape Architect Registration Exam as well.
    Salary: Mean salary is $62,250, according to www.job-hunt.org.

    dog-trainer
    5. Dog Trainer If you have a touch of Dr. Dolittle in you and feel at ease training humans as much as dogs, then here’s another career choice that will get you away from a desk. Dog trainers can work for a business (like a veterinary clinic or pet store) or be self-employed. Contrary to their job title, they probably spend more time training pet owners on how to build better relationships with their pets than training dogs how to behave.
    Education: According to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, there are no specific degrees or training required to be come a professional dog trainer. There are many schools and businesses that offer certificates in dog training, however, the APDT advises that you do thorough research on the program before paying to participate. Most dog trainers are self-educated, having read extensively about different training methods; attended seminars, workshops and conventions; and worked closely with another seasoned trainer. The organization says a bachelors in veterinary science, psychology or ethology would be beneficial to those interested in animal training.
    Salary: Average salary is $55,000 according to yournextmission.com.

    Carpenter
    6. Carpenter: If you relish weekends spent tinkering in the garage or completing home-improvement projects, then consider turning your hobby into a career. You’ll spend your days hammering, sawing, drilling and plastering instead of typing, typing, typing and typing.
    Education: Many carpenters attend a trade or vocational school or a community college while receiving on-the-job training. In addition, some employers offer formal apprenticeships that combine on-the-job training and classroom education. These can take three to four years to complete.
    Salary: The median wage is $18.72 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Chef
    7. Chef: If you relish 5 o’clock because it means you can race home and spend your night watching the Food Network and experimenting in the kitchen, maybe it’s time to quit your day job. The job of a professional chef is not for the faint of heart; they spend long hours standing in front of stoves and ovens whipping up hundreds of meals for hungry customers and managing line cooks and other staff. Still, the opportunity to work with your hands while creating delicious feasts makes up for the rigorous demands of the job.
    Education: Many professional chefs have worked their way up through the restaurant industry, starting out as line cooks without any formal training. However, formal training is becoming more and more then norm, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students can receive formal training through a community college, technical school, or culinary arts school, or obtain a two-year or four-year degree in hospitality from a university. In addition, there are several training programs offered by independent cooking schools and professional culinary institutions. Years of training and experience are needed to be an executive chef, head cook or sous chef working in a fine-dining restaurant.
    Salary: Median salary is $38,770 according to the BLS

    Photos courtesy of Stock.Xchng

    Enterprise Mobility: What It Is, and How it Can Help Your Company

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    It’s often hard to tell which business concepts are going to have a lasting impact on your company and which are going to fade away into the sunset, never to be seen outside that PowerPoint deck again. Part of the problem is that it’s easy to be dismissive of ideas that seem to be marketing focused. (Ask yourself, for example, how many jokes you heard around the office cubicle about “business intelligence” and oxymorons circa 2000.)

    Enterprise mobility is one concept that’s here to stay, though. Done the right way, it can easily help your business grow and develop, making your workforce more agile without sacrificing the quality of your output or products.

    Kevin Benedict, an enterprise mobility analyst and columnist for Sys Con Media, defines enterprise mobility both in terms of what it isn’t, and in terms of what it is.

    What Enterprise Mobility Isn’t:

    working-at-starbucks

    1. Trading your office cubicle for a stool at your local Starbucks, because the coffee is better and you like smooth jazz.
    2. Doing the same job as you’d be doing in the office, in the exact same way, only from home.

    What Enterprise Mobility Is:

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    1. Creating systems that allow you to access data on the fly, so that you can do your job while being closer to points of contact — meaning, while talking to customers or presenting at a conference.
    2. Changing the way you do your job, so that work gets done more efficiently, wherever your work takes you.

    Benedict offers an example from his personal experiences. Enterprise mobility allowed him to attend a conference, keep in touch with clients, write up events for publication, and prepare to lead sessions, all at the same time.

    “Mobility enables me to be at the point of action where I can meet people and teach sessions without imposing friction on my analyst and consulting business,” says Benedict. “What do I mean by friction? Friction is when your business is slowed down and delayed because you are not accessible or information is not accessible while traveling. Mobility allows you to ‘have your cake and eat it, too.’”

    Images: Doubleaction-group.com, Girlwiththeredhair.com, Atlanticmkt.com

    How to Sell Used Office Furniture: 6 Tips For the Best Price

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    There are plenty of reasons you might need to unload your used cubicles, chairs and conference tables.

    Maybe your company is victim of the bad economy and is going out of business. You could be moving to a office in another town or state and would prefer not to lug all the old furniture to your new digs. Or, maybe you’ve grown weary of complaints from employees about creaky chairs and outdated reception furniture and are upgrading.

    Whatever your reason, don’t just toss your old furniture in the nearest dumpster. If it’s still usable – sell it! Not only will you be doing your part for the environment, but you could also be helping a new startup save a few bucks furnishing its first office.

    In order to get the best return on your used office furniture, follow the advice below.

    1. Clean: You’ll have a much easier time finding a buyer who’s willing to pay a good price if your workstations aren’t covered in coffee rings and your chairs aren’t full of crumbs. Take the time to wipe down desks, tables, cabinets and chairs, paying special attention to sticky and discolored areas. Vacuum upholstered pieces and treat stains.

    2. Repair: While you probably don’t have the time or expertise to go into full furniture refurbishment mode, try to make obvious fixes before selling. Tighten or replace screws on loose table legs and armrests, reattach any dangling plastic lining on desks and tables, and spray a little WD-40 on squeaky parts. If you can, track down the original assembly manuals to pass on to the buyers.

    3. Price: After you’ve cleaned and fixed all your wares, you’ll need to set a price. Unless you have barely-used, high-end furniture, don’t plan on making a mint off your sale. Factors to keep in mind when pricing are how much you paid for the pieces originally, the quality of the furniture (solid wood should fetch more than particle board), the condition (don’t try to make a lot on pieces with a lot of wear and tear), and the style (neutral colors and clean lines will probably appeal more to people than super unique pieces).

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    4. Photograph: If you’re posting an ad online, you’ll definitely want to include pictures of the furniture – shoppers love a good visual. While you don’t need to enlist the skills of a professional photographer, don’t just snap a shot or two of a pile of desks or stacks of chairs. Flip through an Ikea catalog for inspiration. Take individual shots of each piece using good lighting. Don’t shoot pictures with people sitting in chairs or desks covered in files, computer equipment and yesterday’s lunch. Even though the buyers know the furniture is used, they don’t necessarily want to see who was using it before them.

    5. Advertise: How you sell the furniture is largely dependent on how quickly you’d like to get rid of it. If you’re looking to sell it all fast, consider contacting a consignment shop or used furniture dealer who will come and look at the furniture, offer you a price for the pieces they want and then move it for you. You might not profit as much by using this method — as the buyer has to factor in their own potential profits — but you can’t beat the convenience. You could also hold a yard sale (parking lot sale?) to clear house: just be sure to advertise in your local newspaper and online ahead of the sale to ensure good turnout. Finally, you can post classified ads online, in newspapers or in trade publications. Make sure to include information about what’s for sale, including photos, dimensions, condition and asking price.

    6. Negotiate: Even though you might think you set a fair price, remember that your goal is to be rid of the extra furniture, so be willing to negotiate with potential buyers. Oversized pieces might be harder to sell because they’re more difficult to move, so be prepared to come down in price to accommodate folks who might have to rent a van or hire movers. You can also consider cutting prices for people who buy several pieces (after all, they’re saving you the time it takes to deal with additional buyers). Finally, items that aren’t selling might be priced too high, so be ready to lower prices to attract buyers. Anything that just won’t sell, plan on donating to a charity.

    Looking to get rid of your used furniture in a hurry? Contact Arnolds Office Furniture. We buy entire office buildings of furniture as well as smaller projects.

    From the Cubicle to the Cage: Inside the Ring of the New Reality Show

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    The average office cubicle jockey has little in common with a mixed martial arts fighter. On the one hand, you have pasty number crunchers and tech gurus; on the other, some of the meanest and most physically fit people on earth.

    But if a new reality TV show has its way, the lines between the two vocations will be blurred. “Cubicle to the Cage,” a series from Hemmings House Pictures, follows 30 office workers as they train to become MMA fighters. Over the course of the year, they will go from flabby to ferocious, trading casual Fridays for killer cardio sessions and lessons in fighting technique. The top four or five fighters will “win” the right to compete in an actual MMA fight.

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    To be honest, we would be delighted to even make it through the first training session. MMA fighter Pete Martell is supervising the training, and we bet he doesn’t reward his trainees with smoothies and sauna sessions after every workout. (Which is the only way we’ve ever been able to convince ourselves to do anything, exercise-wise.)

    Here’s how serious the training is: Hemmings House Pictures president Kevin Schyf attended one 15-minute cardio session, and then passed out in the parking lot. Other highlights in the 13-episode series will include a montage of participants barfing into trash cans.

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    The production company behind the series is known for its “combat TV”-themed shows. They already have two shows, “Wrestling Reality” and “Kardinal Sinners,” which document the lives of professional wrestlers in Maritime Canada. Wrestling reality airs on the Fight Network, which we imagine is not known for its programs about fluffy cats taking naps.

    “Cubicle to the Cage” will air March 2013 on radX. It’s in HD, in case you’re afraid you’ll miss some detail in all of those trash-can puking sessions.

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    The show’s site has bios of all the wrestlers. Fair warning to true cubicle workers who signed up for the show: there are a few former athletes on the list, such as Rick Doyle, who currently works at Scott Farms, but was once known as professional wrestler Trash Canyon.

    However, we are rooting for either dentist Norm Ferguson or Ernst & Young VP Steve “the Calculator” Goodfellow.

    Images via Canada East