Archive for the ‘Cubicles’ Category
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For most of the country, winter is still very much among us. From snow storms on the east coast to record breaking chills down south, it’s safe to say it’s been a cold couple of months. While your building may be temperature controlled, we’ve come up with 5 additional ways to help you fend off the chills and keep you cozy in your cubicle.
1. Cubicle Coat Hooks: Heavy winter coats and scarves can take up a lot of space. While leaving them wrapped around the chair seems like the most logical solution, it can inhibit proper chair support. A better option is to install removable hooks right on your cubicle. Sturdy and lightweight cubicle coat hooks not only help you keep organized, but put your coat within easy reach.
2. Space Heaters: Bringing in your own personal space heater affords you the luxury of a warm environment without making your coworkers too “toasty.” Small space heaters are affordable and can be placed under your desk to warm your feet or right next to you on the table.
3. Blanket: Keeping a small fleece or cotton blanket on your chair or stored in your desk is a discreet way to stay comfortable during the winter. Look for blankets that are lightweight and can easily be stored or zipped up when you leave for the day.
4. Rugs: Placing a small rug in your cubicle can add personality and a touch of color for your space. Most importantly, a small rug can add warmth to your cubicle floors and keep heat trapped in your area.
5. Exercise: The last best way to fend off the cold at your office is to do some exercise. As we discussed in earlier blogs, it’s easy to do exercises with your office furniture. Better yet, you can raise your heart rate by taking a stroll around the building with your fellow coworkers.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Image Courtesy of Reddit.com
Okay, so maybe the above image is a little … too much; but it’s safe to say, if you work in an office with cubicles, your cubicle is where you’re going to spend most of day, so why not make it your own?
[With your supervisor’s approval] Creating your own work space can be as simple as putting up a few mementos, to designing a more productive environment. Whichever route you choose to go down, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started.
1. Walls and Floors: Add wallpaper or fabric to the walls of your cubicle. With most cubicles, you can easily tack or tape these items on without damaging the material. Place an area rug or a mat on the floor of your cubicle for a cozier, homier feel.
2. Upgrade Your Office Furniture: If you don’t like your chair, desk or cabinets, bring in your own. As we mentioned earlier, if you’re going to spend the majority of your day in your cubicle, it’s worth it to be comfortable. Invest in a new or used ergonomic chair, desk and mouse or keyboard, if you can. Or, see what comfortable furniture you have at home that you’re not using and bring that in.
3. Let There Be Light [and Temperature Control]: Light and temperature can greatly affect your productivity and mood. If your office is too dark for your tastes, bring in your own desk lamp. If you prefer mood lighting, relax with some flameless flicker candles or string lights. Temperature-wise, if your office is too cold, bring in a small, portable space heater. If it’s too hot, many camping stores and other outlets sell small fans you can place on your desk.
4. Living Things: Fight the drudgery of an office space by bringing some life into it. By that we mean air-purifying plants, flowers, fish tanks, small water ponds and other “live” mementos. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider getting realistic-looking plants and flowers to spruce up your space.
5. Accessorize, Don’t Clutter: Adding a few fun items like toys, pictures, books and trinkets can help liven up your cubicle and add to your productivity. However, going overboard with toys or any other knick-knacks can seem unprofessional and inappropriate for your office.
Before engaging in any “redecorating,” make sure you check with your supervisor and co-workers about office policies on such actions. People may have allergies to certain plants and flowers, while others may find certain pictures or wall hangings offensive. Creating your own cubicle paradise can be a wonderful thing that’ll enhance your time at work, just make sure you don’t break any rules.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Even the best team can face some doldrums once in a while. Individual team members may run into frustrating problems, or have personal problems that, while it may not affect their work performance, can ding their overall attitude.
So how can you turn it around and keep them motivated? Here are five tips.
#1) Focus On Workplace Happiness, Not “Motivation”
Motivation, it must be said, is an intangible. You can’t bottle it and slip it in the coffee. What you can do, however, is focus on what makes your employees happy to come to work. Zappos is widely considered at the forefront of building a workplace culture that ranges from encouraging managers to goof off with employees to making sure that the seemingly little stuff is taken care of. If an employee comes to you and complains about a broken lightbulb, making sure it gets fixed pronto goes a long way towards making it clear you care about their comfort level at work.
#2) Give Employees an Outlet to Criticize and Praise
The “comments box” is a workplace tradition, often made fun of, and the subject of a thousand sitcom plots. So why is it still around?
Because it works. True, you have to take some of the things you read with a grain of salt. And not everything will be something you can act on. But being able to gather employee complaints (and praise) anonymously means you’ll be able to see what can be fixed, and where your communications might be breaking down.
#3) Encourage Friendly Competition
True, some businesses are naturally competitive, but others are a bit more sedate. Try bringing in a way for employees to compete, but in a friendly, open way. For example, if there’s a difficult problem being faced at Digital Elephant, CEO Jason Kulpa puts a bounty on it: Whoever can create the most efficient and effective solution gets a hefty prize. Just make sure that at the end of the day, employees understand that they’re all on the same team, and keep the rivalry friendly.
#4) Put Their Work Into Context
It can be difficult to keep the big picture in mind, especially when you’re working hard over one small part of it, day in and day out. So, take a moment to show your employees what their work is worth and what it does for other people. Adam Grant, a management professor at Wharton, found he could motivate call center employees calling for donations to a scholarship fund to more than double their productivity. How? He had them meet with students who got through school on their hard work.
#5) Make Sure They’re Invested in the Business’ Success
This can take all sorts of forms: PR agency archer-malmo shares profits with its 30 employees, for example. Some companies will sell stock to their employees directly. Or it might be a matter of pride in a competitive industry, such as Southwest Airlines. The point is, really, each employee should be invested, whether financially or emotionally, in your company doing well.
It’s true that at the end of the day, some employees will work hard for you but never be fully invested in your company. But that’s no reason not to make the effort; after all, if you put some work into motivating your employees… you might just find yourself motivated into the bargain.
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The humble cubicle is many things today: A symbol of the workplace, a place where many Americans transact their working hours, and the butt of jokes and parody. But believe it or not, it was invented in 1967 as an alternative to rigid, privacy-free workplace designs of the pasts, enormous seas of desks with little privacy.
But like any 50-year-old, the cubicle has had to change with the times. Take, for example, the city of Long Beach, CA, home of some of our best customers. Over time, the city has diversified from just the aircraft manufacturing industry it was famous for to health care, electronics distribution, shipping and logistics, and other data and analysis intensive industries. As companies like these have grown, they haven’t just added workers on an assembly line; they’ve also added designers, analysts, and others at desks. And the cubicles they buy need to change with those demands, in five very important ways.
#5) More Outlets
When the cubicle was invented in 1967, most paperwork was done by hand. Now, your average employee will be working on a computer all day every workday, whether they’re working with seniors at Molina Health Care or figuring out what car parts need to be shipped out at TABC. Coworkers may arrive with laptops. Employees may need to charge their cell phones or tablets. Outfit older cubicles with more power wiring and outlets: They’ll need the space.
#4) Data-Friendly Desk Space
Whether you’ve got a laptop, a client server, or a desktop, one thing’s for sure: you’ve got a lot of wires going out of your computers. Upgrade the desk space in cubicles to be data-friendly. Drill holes to string ethernet cables to, or provide anchoring points to boost WiFi signal if necessary.
#3) Clutter Reduction
A messy desk is a messy mind. You’ll hear managers from Polar to Pioneer say that to employees. While many of us have simply made the messy desktop a digital problem, a lot of us still have printed matter to deal with. There’s far less need for file space now that there was in 1967, but you still may have, for example, a projector, or a collection of cables, or a few laptops living in a cubicle now. Make sure there’s room to put it all away.
Increasingly, it’s becoming clear that sitting at a desk is not necessarily best for your health. Standing desks are becoming more and more popular, and cubicles will need to be able to adjust accordingly.
Even if your employees prefer to sit down, though, they’ll still need ergonomic features such as keyboard holders. Look for more subtle touches as well: For example, modern cubicles will lower the wall a foot or two near the entrance so that someone at the desk can easily swivel around and look at a person nearby. It seems simple, but if two people are having a brief discussion, it makes everyone more comfortable.
#1) Personalization Options
If there’s one thing the cubicle has been bashed for, again and again, it’s for propagating conformity. While a workplace isn’t necessarily an art class, your workers do need ways to express their personalities in a positive way. Make sure there’s room for nameplates, places to hang family photos, and a little space to put up the occasional knickknack or store some more comfortable shoes for the end of the day. Being yourself is important, whether you live in Long Beach… or anywhere else.
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Most of us slog away at our keyboards, hidden away in generic burlap office cubicles, with no idea of any other work environment. The folks at Pixar are here to ruin that for you, by showing you what their employees think is normal office life. How cool is their daily grind? Picture rooms full of cereal, with cartoon characters at every turn, and ping-pong tables fighting foosball tables for the most-fun office furniture award.
That’s reality at the company that brought you the Toy Story movies, Up, and Monsters Inc. And this is what your life would be like, if you worked at Pixar.
10. Superheroes Guard Your Office
Forget security systems. Pixar is guarded by the Incredibles. Which is good, because your coworkers would be actual monsters. Fortunately they don’t appear unless you’ve been animating for twelve hours.
9. Your Coworkers Are Actually Creative
And not just while making up excuses to stay home from work. (Seriously. We have worked with people who would call in sick with diseases that were cured 100 years ago.)
8. Buzz + Woody + Legos = Heaven for Toddlers
If all those movies about genius three-year-olds were true, this would be where they worked. We hope they’d wear tiny suits and ties while they worked, because that would be awesome.
7. The Lunchroom Has Connecting Flights to Anywhere You’d Want to Go
Could be a cafeteria, or it could be the coolest airport ever. Also, it’s totally possible that the roof turns into wings.
6. The Best Wall Art Ever
Eat your heart out, Successories. Animators make the only truly inspirational office art we’ve seen.
5. Pixar Will See Your Foosball…
…and raise you a ping-pong table. Seriously, if you add some beer, this office becomes the coolest bar we’ve seen.
4. Oh, Wait. There Is Beer.
This is not an official Pixar beer mug. We assume that they pass those out at the Friday Beer Bash, which is a real thing. (Seriously. It’s mentioned as a perk in the ad for interns on their website.)
3. If Your Coworkers Are Bad…
…you can feed them to the shark. How often would that come in handy in your office? And hey, there’s caution tape up. They can’t say they weren’t warned.
2. All the Cereal You Can Eat
Lots of offices offer, say, free bagels once a week, or a monthly pizza day. Pixar, on the other hand, has a giant room full of cereal, which is maybe the best thing ever.
1. Cube, Sweet Cube
Animators at Pixar work in cute little huts instead of cubicles. So in addition to working at one of the coolest companies ever, they work in cottages that are literally bigger and more luxurious than most of the apartments we’ve lived in.
Photo credits: 10. http://www.awn.com, 9. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2367/1803870848_b2f2b045d0.jpg, 8. http://pixarblog.blogspot.com, 7. http://firingsynapses.com/, 6. http://www.dailygame.net, 5. http://oscartour.animationblogspot.com, 4. http://www.cafepress.co.uk, 3. http://www.joblo.com, 2. . http://pixarblog.blogspot.com, 1. http://www.boingboing.netVisit Susan Jennings on Google+
Google is the granddaddy of super-cool internet companies, so it makes sense that their office cubicles are slightly more awesome than the usual gray burlap and thumbtacks decor. After all, creative employees = tricked out cubes, as we’ve seen before. Most impressive, though, are the cube features that Google provides before its employees ever set foot on campus. Here’s what you can expect if you’re working for Google at one of their offices around the world:
10. Just Your Standard-Issue Office Equipment
Everything’s accounted for: keyboard, mouse, monitor, phone … lava lamp. At Google, even the most basic office cubicle is a little bit cooler than most.
9. The Wonder Ball Goes Round and Round
Even reception is fun at Google. Also helpful for receptionists who want to work out their core while they greet guests.
8. Proof That Google Can Tell the Future
Sure, those are probably just plain old glass paperweights. But let’s pretend they’re crystal balls. All those Google Doodles have to come from somewhere, you know.
7. This Must Be the Executive Lounge
You can tell because all the elements are present: bouncy balls, crystal balls, and a super-cool massage chair. If you add a lava lamp, it miraculously transforms from employee lounge to the CEO’s office.
6. Mr. Happy Balloon Head
This is cool, but also slightly disconcerting. And it’s another good reason not to work twelve hour days: At about hour eleven, this guy starts talking to you.
5. If You’re Bad, the Tubes Expel You Into the Parking Lot
On the one hand, the open office design means that employees can collaborate with greater ease. On the other OH MY GOD, THE TUBES, THE TUBES, THEY’RE EATING MY HEAD.
4. Sometimes You Eat the Bear…
…and sometimes the bear stares at you creepily as you try to work.
3. Cube Life on the Ice Planet of Hoth
They look like igloos, but these cubes are really more like tents. The padded walls diminish sound and also probably make employees whether they’re actually employees at will or involuntary guests.
2. In a Pineapple, Under the Sea
Employees at Google Zurich make like Spongebob Squarepants in their groovy pineapple-shaped cubes.
1. Double Google All the Way Across the Sky
Also from Google Zurich, these ski lift/hot air balloon pods blur the line between vacation and work time such that many Googlers probably can’t tell which is which anymore.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
If you need information on cubicles, then you need to know which companies are the best cubicle manufacturers around. The trick, of course, is identifying which ones are best – preferably without spending the whole day noodling around on the internet trying to figure out which ones are worth doing business with.
Look no further. Below, you’ll find the definitive reference guide for parts, service, and support for all the top cubicle manufacturers.
Allsteel Office Furniture
Address: Allsteel Headquarters
2210 Second Ave
Muscatine, IA 52761
Allsteel Headquarters 1-563-272-4800
Replacement Keys and Parts 866-274-7278 (toll free)
Bretford Manufacturing, Inc.
Address: Bretford, Inc.
11000 Seymour Avenue
Franklin Park, IL 60131
Toll Free Phone: 800-521-9614
Toll Free Fax: 800-343-1779
CHINA RUNRISE INDUSTRIAL LIMITED
Address: #8-10, Futian 4th district
Global Total Office
Address: Corporate Headquarters
17 West Stow Road
PO Box 562
Marlton, New Jersey 08053
Telephone: (856) 596-3390
Fax: (856) 596-5684
Address: The Gunlocke Company
One Gunlocke Drive
Wayland NY 14572
Telephone: 800-828-6300 (toll free)
Alternative Fax: 585-728-8351
Useful E-mail/Web Addresses:
General Inquires: email@example.com
Order Literature: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Literature Order Site: email@example.com
Find a Dealer or Representative: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Dealer Search: email@example.com
Website Performance Issues: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tailored Solutions: email@example.com
Address: Haworth, Inc.
One Haworth Center
Holland, MI 49423-9576
For more information call: 616.393.3000
To order a brochure call: 800.344.2600
Address: 855 East Main Ave.
PO Box 302
Zeeland, Michigan 49464-0302
Telephone: 616 654-3000
Address: THE HON COMPANY
200 Oak Street
Muscatine , Iowa 52761
To contact Knoll Customer Service or obtain product information: 1-877-615-6655
For general information: 1-800-343-5665
To request a memo from KnollTextiles: 1-866-565-5858
Landscape Forms Inc.
Address: Landscape Forms, Inc.
431 Lawndale Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
The Mayline Group
Address: 619 North Commerce Street
P.O. Box 728
Sheboygan, WI 53082-0728
Skutchi Designs, Inc.
Skutchi Designs Incorporated
1601 Lakeland Ave.
Bohemia, NY 11716
Steelcase WorkLife Center
303 Peachtree Center
Atlanta, GA 30303
Steelcase WorkLife Center
300 Merchandise Mart
Chicago, Illinois 60654
Mexico City, Mexico
Blvd. Manuel Avila Camacho No. 24
Piso 11 Lomas de Chapultepec
Delegacion Miguel Hidalgo
Mexico City, DF C.P. 11000
New York, New York
Steelcase WorkLife Center
4 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
1650 Market Street – 3rd Floor
One Liberty Place
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Santa Monica, California
Steelcase WorkLife Center
1217 2nd Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
1121 14th Street NW Suite 400
Washington DC, 20005
P.O. BOX 1888
Dickson, TN 37056-1888
General Inquiry Phone Number: (615) 446-8000
Toll Free Inquiry Phone Number: (800) 251-8184
Toll Free Customer Service: (866) 446-8686
Tennsco does not sell direct. To locate a dealer near you, please call.
USM Modular Furniture System
Address: 2027 Harpers Way
Torrance, CA 90501
Customer Service: 1-800-448-4726
Literature Request: Call 1-800-813-4150
Photo credit: allrefurbishedcubicles.comVisit Susan Jennings on Google+
Dilbert has been making office workers laugh for over fifteen years now. He’s the king of the cubicle, our avatar in comic format – not as well dressed as we think we are, of course, and utterly unable to iron a tie, but every bit as beleaguered by evil directors of HR and pointy-headed bosses as we are ourselves.
Mention a Dilbert cartoon to any colleague, and you’ll get a chuckle before you get to the punchline. He’s at his best, though, when he’s in his cube, both imprisoned by work and shielded, at least temporarily, from his colleagues’ prying eyes. It’s not a shock, then, that some of the best Dilbert cartoons take place in his cubicle.
Sometimes, with some Dilbert cartoons, it’s hard to remember whether you’re reading a comic or watching a documentary about modern office life. This is one of those strips.
After years of working in a windowless cubicle, an innocent worker requests a move to new location, with natural light and a view of the outside world. Evil HR director Catbert grants his wish … at a price.
This will seem totally normal to anyone who’s ever sent an instant message to her boss … five feet away.
This is perhaps the only thing worse than that one guy in your office who always eats smelly soup for lunch.
Real estate is always a tricky business, even when the property in question is just a bunch of cubes.
They also say that taller candidates tend to become president. Maybe they outgrew a cube somewhere long ago?
So, this is like Wally’s version of a staycation, right?
Like an ostrich, this cubicle dweller believes that if he can’t see you, you can’t see (or hear) him. Dilbert’s work-around solves the problem without getting into confrontation. Can we have an Alice for our office?
Nothing says success like an imaginary workforce.
In our minds, the cube farm is right next to the toner cartridge vineyard and the graveyard of broken fax machines.
All Comics Courtesy of Dilbert ©2011, Universal UclickVisit Susan Jennings on Google+
No, we’re not talking about research on which fabric for the conference room chairs best complements the CEO’s favorite tie or what what type of decorative fern can survive the longest without being watered.
We’re talking about your basic workstation. And when it comes to purchasing cubicles, size does matter.
Wall size, that is.
Here’s the low-down (or the high-up) on the three types of cube heights and what they say about your organization.
Low (42″-high walls)
Cubicles with low walls allow employees to see and talk to each other while seated. While this doesn’t afford much privacy, it does allow for a lot of collaboration and free flow of ideas. A company that goes the low-walled route likely fosters team work and creativity. The benefits include spontaneous brainstorming sessions and informal meetings about upcoming projects. Of course, not all employees sing Kumbaya to these wide open spaces. No walls means more noise – from Ken mindlessly humming “Desperado” to Shirley’s 3 o’clock Doritos break — complete with loud crunching and finger-licking. And while the low walls allow for more conversation, that conversation isn’t always work-related. On the one hand, this may allow employees some much-needed respite from long hours staring at spreadsheets; on the other, you might be subjected to endless debates about whether Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez were worthy replacements to Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul on “American Idol.”
Medium (53″-high walls)
Picking medium height cubicle walls is the Great Compromise of office layout. Employees have more privacy — and by extension will have an easier time blocking out the office din to focus on work. On the flipside, all they have to do is stand to share a victory high five for landing a big client, or chat with their neighbor about that upcoming presentation or how annoying Steven Tyler is when he sings along with the people auditioning for the show (I mean really, it’s not called “Aerosmith Idol”!) And (bonus!) medium-high walls have the added benefit of forcing employees to get up and stretch their legs periodically — which your ergonomically obsessed HR lady will love. Companies furnished with medium-height cubicles might come across as being more formal and productivity oriented, compared with their free-wheeling, low-walled brethren.
High-walled cubicles are the Rolls Royce of office privacy. Even standing, employees cannot peer into each other’s office space, which allows for quiet, focused work without outside distractions. This layout is ideal for counselors or others who might need to have sensitive conversations on a regular basis and for people who have difficulty focusing in noisier office environments. The drawback to high-walled cubicles is that they could make an employee feel isolated and out of touch with their co-workers, managers and the organization as a whole. And while an employee has the cocoon of silence necessary to finish an assignment, they also might try to sneak in a little extra Farmville between memos. The most formal of the three options, high-walled cubicles seem suited to a more serious or conservative company that values productivity and discretion more than collaboration.
Now that you’ve done the really important work of building an office space, you’re free to riffle through carpet samples and pick a company refrigerator large enough to hold months worth of frozen dinners and yogurt.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
In today’s offices, people are working closer and closer together. Even if you are “lucky” enough to work in a cubicle (versus at an open desk), a coworker in the cubicle next to you can still easily annoy you. Like it or not, there are some people who think that the thin cubicle wall somehow magically blocks all the noise that they are making.
Since the loud music your cube neighbor jams may be just the distraction you do not need as you put the finishing touches on a big project, addressing the issue may be a necessary evil. And since standing up and screaming at them to turn down the music is not an option (ah, if only it was), there are a few techniques you can try to squash the noise without creating an awkward working environment.
Do a quick self-check – First of all, take a moment to assess all of the events at hand. Is the music really that loud, or are you stressed, irritable or having a bad day? Make sure a volume adjustment is really warranted before addressing your coworker.
Hint around – In casual conversation with the offending coworker, subtly mention that the project you’re working on takes utmost concentration and that even though you’d love to be rocking out in your own cube, you simply can’t focus with music blaring. In the next breath, mention how dastardly the thin cubicle walls are and how you can hear Bob from Sales talking to his wife on the phone even though he’s three cubes away.
Grab the ‘phones – Get a set of cheap headphones, put them in your desk drawer and the next time your coworkers starts blaring music, you’re armed.
Have “The Talk” – If none of the other options work and you’re feeling adventurous, you can initiate a delicate conversation with your coworker about how their penchant for loud tunes is a bit distracting. Let them know that you respect their decision to listen to music and that you are not asking them to turn it off altogether, you’re just hoping for a compromise. Then, pull the aforementioned headphones out of your desk drawer and tell them that when you listen to music you usually use the headphones and that if they would like, they are more than welcome to borrow yours (just don’t forget to swipe them down with an antibacterial wipe afterwards!).
While pointing out any fault of a coworker could easily elicit a firestorm of office politics, another person’s habits should not interfere with the productivity of others. When it does, be it loud music, gum snapping, cell phones ringing, etc., it’s time to address the problem. Remaining objective, empathetic and even-keeled are the keys to compromise – and success!Visit Susan Jennings on Google+