Archive for the ‘Office Furniture’ Category
In Zeeland, Michigan, way back in the year 1905, a company called the Star Furniture Company set out to create a line of high quality furniture; specifically, office furniture that featured an old-fashioned historic style. When visionary Dirk Jan De Pree joined the company as a clerk just four years later, no one had a clue that he would quickly rise through the ranks to become the company’s president in a short ten year span.
Deciding that the company needed a new title to match his own new title as president, De Pree renamed it The Michigan Star Furniture Company. It only took four more years for De Pree to get his father-in-law, Herman Miller, on board to purchase fifty-one percent of the company’s stock. They renamed the company once again, to the Herman Miller Furniture Company, and continued to make exclusively wooden office furniture for another seven years, until the Great Depression hit.
Forced to explore new options, they hired modernist designer Gilbert Rohde to help create a new line of office furniture for their brand. Although they were reluctant to accept his designs at first, they eventually came to like the new direction of the company. When Rohde died in 1944, he was replaced by architect George Nelson, who guided Herman Miller into some of their most iconic pieces, like the marshmallow sofa, the ball clock, the sling sofa, and, of course, the modern day cubicle.
Although Nelson’s influence helped sculpt the future of the company at large, his power at the company waned in the 70s when a series of designers including Don Chadwick, Bill Stumpf, Tom Newhouse and Ray Wilkes came onto the scene to design their own inspirational office furniture pieces. The line was so admired that artist Stephen Frykholm produced a series of posters dedicated to the works of the company. Some are still featured, today, at the Museum of Modern Art.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
The strength of anything lies in the design. This is true for basically everything on Earth, including the design of your office space. The more that you know about how the design of a room impacts the people that work inside of it, the happier that your employees will be. By utilizing the philosophies behind the Chinese art of Feng Shui, you’ll soon find that it’s possible to shift the energy of the room into a positive light.
Literally translating to “wind-water” in Chinese, Feng Shui is an art form that examines the natural flow of energy in the architecture of a room, including how it binds together with the Earth, the universe, and even your employees. Since they’ll be the ones spending the most time in the room, it’s important for the room’s design to complement them and make them feel relaxed. If the room is overly hostile or makes them feel uncomfortable in some way, you’ll notice right away through the quality of their work.
The basics of Feng Shui dictate that every room has a flow of negative and positive energy, and that the arrangement of your office can help guide creative energy toward your employees and dispel distractions. Most of these guidelines have metaphorical origins, such as the belief that you should not work with your back facing a door, as a door represents the “coming of new business.” The philosophy also encourages positioning your workstation in the North or West area of the office to increase creativity.
That’s not all there is to it, of course. Feng Shui also takes utility into mind, and the philosophy encourages clean filtered air and good quality lighting in order to keep your employees healthy. It also suggests that the presence of lively art and other creative outlets invigorate your employees and help them get a fresh start on their work.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Differences in industry can be an important factor to consider when ordering furniture and deciding which office design will work for you and your employees. It can be easy for business owners and managers to look at office designs as some extraneous and nebulous aspect of work that has a negligible impact on workers, but it’s much harder to argue with the results.
More so than discovering an office plan that encourages creativity, it’s important to avoid an office setup that hinders progress. The traditional “cube farm” setup has been a known morale and productivity killer, so even though this may seem like the most economical decision, it could be costing you money in the long run, when employee productivity is taken into account.
Although creative industries like film and publishing have managed to find success with an open office environment, studies show that it may not be necessarily advantageous for every single job. For instance, writers often find that they cannot concentrate when the room is noisy with words that have nothing to do with the sentence they’re writing. Project managers may be distracted during phone calls by impromptu meetings happening near their desks, and the overall chatter of busy people may subconsciously distract everyone from their work.
Finding a balance and discovering what works for the employees of your industry is the key to understanding what makes the best team environment. Why not try a semi-open office environment that utilizes low walls and room separators to give just enough privacy to those who need it? It could also help to talk to employees that require silence to get their work done and group them all in an environment separate from all the hustle and bustle. In the end, it’s not so much about the overall design of the office space, as much as it’s about the employees and what type of environment will be best for their work.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Famously creative businesses like Pixar, Google, Apple and Disney have become well known for promoting a team-building environment. They accomplish this not just by reorganizing their infrastructure to make it more team friendly, but also through the layout of their office in general.
Steve Jobs once famously revolutionized the Pixar offices just by understanding that people in different departments often developed radically different problem solving techniques, especially when they were separated from each other. This discouraged them from sharing ideas and solutions that could have potentially benefitted the whole company. In response to this, Jobs decided to house all of Pixar’s team, from the animators, to the storyboard artists, to the writers, in one giant cavernous room. This exposed them to more casual interaction with each other throughout the day, and also gave them a friendlier outlook towards their colleagues. By encouraging inter-office fraternization, ideas were shared from perspectives that each department wouldn’t have anticipated otherwise.
Google instigated a similar strategy, building new and exciting ways for different departments to interact with each other. They developed an innovative inter-connected series of hallways, break rooms and ladders that lead to different areas of the building. Aside from inspiring creativity from the team, this eventually got the team to rub elbows with each other more frequently. Studies show that some of the best forms of collaboration occur from brief periods of interaction bound by a common objective. By having an infrastructure that ensures that employees will “bump into one another” from time-to-time, you can ensure that everyone will eventually come to know each other’s roles in time. By allowing friendships to occur naturally in a carefully formulated setting like this, you’re ensuring that your employees form lasting bonds that will positively impact their teamwork skills.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Positioned in a state long considered to be a green business hub, Fresno is curiously lacking companies with green business plan initiatives. In fact, only 25 companies in or near Fresno are plotted on a California green business map compiled by the Environmental Defense Fund for having green buildings and utilizing energy efficiency. No Fresno companies are plotted on the map as having green practices.
This lack of green business practices leaves the door wide open for Fresno business owners to set their companies apart from the pack by developing green initiatives. Check out these top green business alliances and programs in California, as well as tips on how to get started.
Making the Green Switch
No hard-and-fast guidebook exists for businesses to make the green switch. Rather, the changes adopted by business owners are often based on the industries they serve. For example, some business owners can hire more teleworkers while others must rely on in-office workers and, instead, develop green office handbooks.
Check out these top ways that other businesses in California are going green:
- Making building changes – Several businesses in Fresno have either updated their buildings for increased energy efficiency or specialize in making those updates for other companies. ACCO Engineered Systems and AECOM are just a few of the area’s firms that help business owners improve the efficiency of their structures.
- Buying used furniture - Small, in-office changes often add up to big results. Buying used furniture offers business owners several benefits, including lower costs and decreased consumption.
- Reusing and Recycling – Plastic cups and disposable eating utensils are often off-limits in green businesses. By developing policies of reusing and recycling products, business owners decrease their in-office waste and, thus, cultivate greener business practices.
- Offering employee incentives – Green employee incentives reign supreme at Clif Bar headquarters in Emeryville. At Clif Bar, workers who carpool, ride bikes, use public transportation or walk to work earn points toward a max of $960 in annual rewards. Of course, green incentives needn’t be large to be effective.
California Green Business Programs
From green business alliances to green business conferences, several support outlets exist for Fresno business owners thinking of adopting environmentally-friendly practices.
Here are just a few of the region’s top programs:
- California Green Business Program – The California Green Business Program is government-run and assists/recognizes businesses that operate in environmentally-friendly manners. No Fresno businesses are currently listed as part of the California Green Business Program, making it an attractive option for business owners in the city wanting to set their companies apart from competitors.
- Green California Summit and Exposition – Termed as an outlet for business owners to discover innovations in green policies, practices and technologies, the Green California Summit and Exposition is an annual conference offered each spring. Keynote speakers, educational programs and exhibits are just a few of the summit’s highlights.
- California Green Business Alliance – The California Green Business Alliance is an outlet for business owners who support a clean energy future in Fresno and throughout California. After joining the alliance, business owners can display the alliance’s logo on their company website.
While California’s overall green economy is strong, Fresno businesses have some catching up to do. Whether you’re joining green alliances, adopting green business practices or making other changes, the benefits that come with developing environmental initiatives are strong, says Tim O’Connor, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund and an expert on the state’s green economy.
“These are the companies that can lead the world in innovative solutions that create jobs and increase our global competitiveness,” explains O’Connor.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Here at Arnolds, our mission is to buy used office furniture from businesses that no longer need it and restore it so that it’s just as perfect as furniture fresh from the flat-packed box. In the process, our customers save thousands and help the environment while doing it.
Still, even after all that, some want to put their own personal stamp on their workspace. To give you an idea of what’s possible, we’ve dug up a few examples of do-it-yourself refurbishing that shows the difference between bland furniture and office furniture with personality.
The Redone Cubicle
The cubicle is often the subject of a lot of abuse in modern pop culture. Whether it’s Peter trapped next to Nina from accounts payable, or Dilbert dealing with his pointy-haired supervisor’s incompetence, cubicles are often held up as a symbol of conformity and blandness. But they don’t have to be.
Believe it or not, adding some personality to your cubicle is fairly simple. Changing out the cloth is fairly simple if you have a few basic tools and some pins, and it’s also fairly easy to remove if you get promoted to the office you’re looking for. You can also use little craft items like appliques on the glass to add even more personality.
The humble filing cabinet may not be in for the kind of abuse the cubicle gets, but that might only be because it’s hard to notice. Many of them are nothing more than bland steel boxes, usually in a khaki or gray color, and that’s where it stops.
Fortunately, their simplicity also makes it easy for you to give them a little style. This example that we’ve found uses spray paint to get the yellow color, and glue and damask fabric to give the faces a bit more color.
But you don’t need to invest quite that much, if you don’t feel like it. You can easily use scrapbook paper to put front-facings on your file cabinets, or simply repaint them to get a bit more character into them. After all, the file cabinet is something you’ll see a lot… shouldn’t it be something you enjoy seeing?
And finally, here’s a good example of an office chair getting an overhaul. Generally, when office chairs are discussed, they’re usually talked about in terms of comfort, not style.
Office chairs are often the most colorful of office furniture, but the color tends to be fairly sedate and limited to shades that will mix well with other furniture. Most office chairs we sell are fairly simple to disassemble, and thus, fairly simple to reupholster. We will, however, recommend that you use a cloth that resists stains and is very durable. After all, this is the furniture you’ll be sitting on week in and week out; you want it to look good and feel good.
These are just three of dozens of options available for giving your office furniture a whole new look. Crafty folks on the Internet have plenty of ideas for you to try. So, after you get your furniture in, take a look around, and see what you can do to put your own spin on it.
Image sources: http://www.instructables.com/id/Reupholstering-Cube-Walls/, http://www.youngandcrafty.com/2010/11/new-filing-cabinet.html, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-reupholster-an-office-c-83201Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Pennsylvania is a bustling state with a rich industrial history. It’s also, increasingly, an environmentally aware one. Across the state, there are a strong number of green initiatives and businesses at the forefront of a new green boom in the Keystone State.
The commitment comes from state government and business leaders alike. For example, many Pennsylvania businesses voluntarily perform a “green audit” to determine where they could improve. Voters have consistently voted for green initiatives, such as funding PennVest, which will help install better and more efficient water systems.
Still, the most basic demonstration of where environmental awareness and industry meet is the fact that as of 2012, Pennsylvania is the nation’s leader in green jobs, with over 100,000 employees working in various green capacities. There are a wide variety of green companies generating these jobs, ranging from statewide to local.
Examples of such businesses include…
- Quench: Located in King of Prussia, Quench takes a new approach to the office water cooler. Instead of having water bottled, packaged, and shipped across the country — or even the world — it installs advanced filtration and sanitization systems into office buildings that can provide water and ice at a much lower cost… and more importantly, at a substantial savings to the environment as it helps reduce carbon emissions from bottling and trucking. Quench systems are in office buildings across the country.
- Arnolds Office Furniture: Based in Bridgeport and specializing in recycling and refurbishing office furniture, Arnolds ships restored furniture to offices around the country, reducing the amount of waste in landfills and saving substantially on manufacturing emissions as well as natural resources, as less ore needs to be mined or trees cut down for new furniture. Not to mention, of course, the money saved by not having to buy something entirely new.
- Gettysburg Solar: Based, of course, out of Gettysburg, this company has been offering solar solutions for homes and businesses for half a decade.
- The Environmental Home Store: A building supply company in Doylestown, this company focuses on provided the best in green building materials — from bamboo flooring to recycled glass countertops.
On a statewide level, Pennsylvania is also a leader in greener utilities. A good example of this kind of business is:
- Choose PA Wind: This Pittsburgh-based energy firm sells wind energy produced in-state to companies and homes. Choose PA Wind has been so successful offering “homegrown” energy that it can undercut conventional utilities in terms of price, and substantially cut down on an emissions footprint.
Even companies that aren’t necessarily in the “green” business still find ways to improve their environmental record. For example…
- High Concrete works to educate its customers in more efficient ways to precast and build the parking structures that are its bread and butter, and better meet industry and government sustainability standards.
It’s rapidly becoming clear that Pennsylvania is, in many ways, the nation’s leader in green ideas and technology. Whether it’s recycling office furniture, or just giving homebuilders greener options, there’s a lot for the Keystone State to be proud of.
Image credits: FlickrVisit Susan Jennings on Google+
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+
Generally, when we look for office furniture, we look for form as well as function. After all, if you’re going to spend 80% of your waking hours staring at a piece of furniture, it might as well be attractive.
Occasionally, however, we throw the principles of design out the window and go looking for the ugliest office chairs the internet has to offer. Bask in the hideousness, and be thankful your office manager hasn’t replaced your Aeron with one of these.
10. “The Seen-Better-Days Chair”
This chair might have been perfectly decent once upon a time, but is now frankly falling apart. Not so much a design issue. More of a time-lapse photography project.
9. “The Human Headphone Chair”
Regular noise-cancelling headphones not doing it for you anymore? Try this chair on for size. At the very least, it’ll communicate to your coworkers that you’re in your own private nightclub and aren’t to be disturbed.
8. “The ‘My Other Car Is a Desk Chair’ Chair”
If you must get one of these chairs, we implore you to push yourself around the office in it, going “Vroom, vroom!” under your breath.
7. “The Hobo Chair”
Perfect for collapsing into one flat piece, or dissembling entirely and stowing in a bindle.
6. “It Was Colonel Mustard, in the Library, With This Hideous Chair”
All furniture design makes a statement. This chair says, “I would like you to believe that I am very important. And I’m prepared to upholster my entire office, if necessary, to convince you.”
5. “The Summertime Rolls All Over Your Office Chair”
Do you think this chair would leave stripes all over the backs of your legs, just like the lawn chairs of your youth? Because we sort of do.
4. “Grandma’s Chair Away From Chair”
The economy being what it is, folks can’t afford to retire when they used to. Which might be why your Grandma’s chair found its way into this office. Cats not included!
3. “Dr. Claw’s Black Leather Chair of Death”
Actually, with this chair? The cat might be included. Warning: May turn occupants into evil cartoons.
2. “This Meeting Is Over Chair”
B-52 Stratofortress Ejector Seat Chairs from Moto Art are real ejector seats from real airplanes, and are marketed toward aviation buffs. No word on what the boss will think when you scoot into the meeting in a chair that says, “I long to be propelled out of this room, possibly at upwards of 85 miles an hour.”
1. “The Elephant Man Chair”
Kill it! Kill it before it breeds an army of rumple-hided chair monsters and takes over the whole building!
Photo credits: 1. Oops Design Awards, 2. Nexus404.com, 3. Luxist.com, 4. Instructables.com, 5. Naturalartificial.blogspot.com, 6. Yourfurniturelink.com, 7. Erked.com, 8. East Coast Corvettes, 9. Accessorizeyourspace.blogspot.com, 10. Nickycakes.comVisit Susan Jennings on Google+
The receptionist is the face and voice of the company. He or she is the first person guests (and clients!) see when they walk into the office, and the last person they see when they leave. No surprise, then, that companies tend to choose their receptionists for their social skills and presentation, as well as their work ethic.
But what about the reception furniture? Do companies spend as much time planning the equipment behind the receptionist as they do hiring for the job? If it’s a smart company we’re talking about, they do. Picking reception furniture is one of the most important aspects of office design. Here’s what you need to figure out before you buy.
1. What’s your style?
When figuring out which kind of reception furniture is right for you, you want to determine what sort of vibe your company intends to put out to clients. Are you a classic firm with solid, old school values? Maybe subdued wood is the material for you. Are you a cutting-edge design firm, up on all the current trends and forging the style of tomorrow? Something sleek and contemporary is probably more your speed.
Whichever style you choose, you’ll want to make sure that the reception furniture you select is functional as well as attractive. And in order to do that, you need to ask yourself our next question.
2. What does your receptionist do every day?
Let’s face it, the days of the single-function receptionist are largely behind us. Most companies can’t afford to hire a cheery and ornamental person whose sole function is to greet guests.
In addition to being the first person visitors see when they enter your office, your receptionist might be the chief admin for the company. Or he might be the office party planner, in charge of organizing refreshments for guests and workers alike. Whatever your receptionist’s job description, you’ll want to make sure they’re able to access the tools they need.
What does this mean? Smart planning. If your receptionist needs to access files, make sure she’s near the filing cabinet. If he needs to prepare refreshments, make sure he can get to the kitchen.
Whatever your receptionist’s other duties, make sure he or she can get out from behind the desk with relative ease. Nothing says awkward like guests waiting five minutes for the receptionist to climb down off their perch.
3. What’s your budget?
Last, but definitely not least, you need to ask yourself how much money you want to spend. Anyone who’s ever participated in an office redesign knows how quickly costs can mount up. Reception should set a tone for the rest of the company, but obviously you don’t want your budget for reception furniture to be bigger than that of the CEO’s office. (He gets so cranky when the receptionist has nicer things.)
Photo: Learnthat.comVisit Susan Jennings on Google+