Archive for the ‘Used Cubicles’ Category
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has been taking a lot of flak for asking that employees stop working from home and return to the office in an effort to turn around the struggling company. However, we’re pretty certain there are plenty more business owners out there who are grateful for Mayer’s move and the acknowledgement that company culture cannot be built via e-mail.
Of course, if you want to lure your employees off their living room sofas and back into their cubicles, you’ll need a little bait. To help, we came up with eight things you can do to pique their interest:
1. Offer privacy: Modern offices are not known for being very private. With open space offices enjoying their heyday, there aren’t too many places to escape to for an employee who needs a break from the noisy gum popper to their left and the loud phone talker to their right. Telecommuters often tout how much more productive they are at home without co-workers to distract them. While it’s not practical to give each of your employee their own office, you can set aside quiet rooms for those who need to complete more focused tasks and include plenty of seating throughout the office for impromptu meetings for those who need to collaborate.
2. Reduce stress: By nature, offices can be stressful. The long commutes, the huge piles of work, uncomfortable seating, harsh fluorescent lighting and obnoxious co-workers; it’s no wonder many people prefer holing up at home. However, there are ways you can help mitigate some of the stress that comes with office life. Start by inviting nature inside: Bring in live plants and give more employees access to windows so that they can both enjoy views of the great outdoors and be exposed to natural light. Studies have shown that can reduce fatigue and improve productivity. If you want to take it a step above and beyond, think about starting office-wide initiatives to boost employees’ overall health. Purchase ergonomically friendly office furniture, organize lunch-time walking groups or offer free or reduced-cost gym memberships. You might even have a massage therapist visit the office monthly to help employees work out those extra kinks during their morning coffee break.
3. Free refreshments: What’s that old saying? The way to an employee’s heart is through his stomach? Maybe that’s not quite right, but we know it’s rare to find someone who turns down a free cup of coffee or a fresh bagel. Telecommuters often say one benefit to working from home is the money they save on food by not eating out as often. While your office might not have the means to provide free gourmet lunches for all ala Google, you could swing some other small freebies (like an office fruit bowl, instant oatmeal or granola bars to help with those mid-afternoon hunger pangs).
4. Flexible scheduling: We’re pretty sure nobody looks forward to their commute (unless, of course, they enjoy spending hours of their day staring at brake lights while listening to obnoxious morning talk radio). One way to help mitigate rush-hour blues is to allow your employees to work around the busiest times traffic times in your area by either allowing them to work an earlier or later shift, depending on what’s most convenient for both your company and your employee. You could also allow employees to work from home on the worst days for commuting. In addition to reducing driving headaches, flexible scheduling can also help employees balance work and family, which in turn inspires more company loyalty.
5. Casual days: One thing telecommuters always seem to be celebrating is their ability to work in their pajamas. No neck-strangling ties or feet-pinching heels, just some cozy flannel sleepwear and a pair of soft slippers. Living the dream. While it’s probably not practical or professional to allow employees to show up to work in their lounge wear, you can help maximize their comfort by having dress-down days, especially for employees who don’t meet regularly with clients or have to represent the company out of the office.
6. Free car washes: In addition to the high cost of gas, commuting puts a lot of wear and tear on cars. Show your employees you’re grateful that they make the drive every day by offering free or discounted car washes every month. There are plenty of mobile car-washing services that can visit your office parking lot and detail cars at your employees’ convenience.
7. On-site daycare: Telecommuters love the flexibility working from home offers when it comes to balancing work and family. Entice parents to return to the office by letting them bring their kids to work (or at least close to work) at an on-campus daycare facility. Nearly a third of CNN’s best companies to work for offer a childcare center on site. While this might not be a practical feature for small businesses, larger companies can benefit from reduced tardiness and absenteeism, along with employees who are more productive and satisfied knowing their kids are close by.
8. Be dog-friendly: We admit this might be a little far-fetched, but if you’re a company bent on improving employee morale and introducing a fun office culture, then why not allow four-legged friends to visit the office now and then? A recent study by the Central Michigan University found that dogs in the workplace can lead to more trust between co-workers and by turn more collaboration. Plus, they’ve been linked to improving productivity, lowering absenteeism rates and making employees happier. Bow wow.
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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+
Outfitting a successful business with used office furniture is a great way to get your team into a productive position without breaking the budget. Thankfully, used office furniture is not confined solely to tables, desks and chairs. Used cubicles are also yours for the taking, but there are a few things to consider before making your purchase.
1. Cubicle Size - Obviously, this will depend on the amount of floor space you have to work with. Many cubicles can be configured into different heights and widths, giving you an array of sizing options. Some cubicles are large enough to have doors, while others are so compact they only fit a desk. Consider where your cubicles will be placed and look into working with a space planner to help with layout ideas.
2. Appearance – Cubicles generally come with fabric-covered panels, some patterned, some plain. Consider what colors and patterns will work well with your current or future office décor. Do you want the cubicles to have windows? Doors? Wood trim? Space for a guest chair or filing system? Some cubicles even come with closets and wardrobes for personal belongings. The options are limitless, so determine which features are must-haves and which are nice extras before beginning your search.
Also pay close attention to scratches, paint nicks, scuff marks and dents. Are you willing to live with these minor defects in exchange for a great deal on the price? Can the defects be hidden, covered or repaired? Sometimes saving a bundle requires a little elbow grease. One thing you never want to compromise on, however, is the cubicle’s structure. If it does not sit squarely on the floor, you have a safety risk. Definitely not worth the savings!
3. Technological Features – Modern cubicles often come with an array of technological enhancements like outlets, data ports and switches. Some even have lighting under the overhead storage units. Are these features important to your business? Would they be beneficial to your employees? Again, determine your needs and wants before making a final selection.
Remember, the people you place in these cubicles will be there for many hours a day. While it’s tempting to choose a cubicle that least impacts your business’ bottom line, it’s important to remember that the working conditions of your employees – and any negative effects like sick days, workers’ comp, etc, that result from those conditions – will also affect your bottom line.
When you’re ready to shop, Arnolds Office Furniture has you covered. View our extensive selection and call, stop in or email today!Visit Susan Jennings on Google+