Archive for the ‘Used Office Furniture’ Category

How to Build a Community through Your Break Room

Everything starts in the break room – More than a place for employees to eat their lunch or freshen up their coffees, the break room is a microcosm of your company’s culture. How you treat your break room directly affects how your employees treat their jobs.

Beyond the Water Cooler:

When you create a break room that encourages fun, creativity and sense of community, you are in turn fostering team work and cultivating strong team players.

Make the Break Room a Safe Haven:

Studies have shown that frequent individual breaks allow employees to reenergize and refocus their thoughts. Make your break room a safe place for that to occur. An example of this could include things as simple as comfortable seating and tables, to more elaborate coffee bars and fully stocked pantries. Whatever it may be, breaks are meant to de-stress and allow employees to tackle their day’s tasks.

Encourage Suggestions:

Give your employees a voice by making the break room a place where employees know they can brainstorm new ideas freely or make suggestions to improve the company. While it may seem silly, consider adding a suggestion or project idea box to your break room. If you take it seriously, so will your employees.

Encourage Socializing: 

Continuous, meaningful interaction is crucial when building a community in your break room. These interactions either can be planned or unplanned. Planned social interactions can include 15 minute stretching sessions or office lunch days. Unplanned social interactions can include things like adding games or activities in the room, or the strategic placing of your break room in a centralized location where everyone must enter.

The Skinny on Treadmill Desks

Burning calories while checking your email? When the treadmill desk hit the scene in 2013, it was the next stage in ergonomic, health conscious office furniture. Since then the controversial workstation alternative has become the latest craze in businesses across the county.

The Theory:

The sedentary lifestyle of the typical office worker can lead to undesirable levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and weight gain. Regular physical exercise can mitigate that danger.

The Reported Benefits:

- Users can burn up to 130 calories per hour at a slow 2mph pace.

- In one study, subjects lost an average of 4-7.2 pounds over the course of one year.

- Through daily use, users can decrease their risk for heart disease and diabetes, and extend their life expectancy.

- Many users report increased productivity and focus, as well as reduced anxiety and stress.

Costs:

Treadmill desks vary in price depending on the manufacturer. On average a treadmill desk can cost anywhere from $800-$3,000. For those on a budget, you can make your own treadmill desk by combining an inexpensive treadmill (under $280) with either a standing desk or a desk with height adjustment features. Another great option is to invest in communal or shared treadmill desks.

What to Keep in Mind When Using a Treadmill Desk:

Give yourself breaks every 30 or 40 minutes — Dr. James Levine, one of the earliest developers of the treadmill desk, recommends “at the absolute maximum, do half-hour on, half an hour off, for two to three hours a day.”

5 Features of Productive Startup Spaces

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In the last decade, start-up offices have risen to the forefront of smart designs and quirky, innovative spaces. We’ve compiled our top 5 list of features productive start up spaces share.

1. Location: Businesses on a budget often tend to look for spaces in office buildings and business centers. However, savvy startups know that the key to an employee’s productivity and satisfaction is giving them an impression of life right outside their office window. Look for locations near bars, restaurants, cafes and gyms, where employees can gather during lunch or after work without having to drive.

2. Indulge in Trends: Standing desks, stability ball chairs and open space offices seem like wallet-busting office trends. The truth of the matter is that often the latest trends in designs are money-saving features in disguise. For start-ups with limited spaced, shared standing desks (like at a bar) cut down the need for square footage. Open space or collaborative floor plans eliminate the cost of cubicles or private offices. Encouraging your employees to bring in their own stability ball chairs or ergonomic chairs reduces the need to purchase new furniture, while providing them a setting comfortable to their needs.

3. Keep it Homey: More and more employees these days are choosing to work from home instead of going to the office. However, for many businesses, this is not a viable option. The solution is creating a space for your employees that have all the comforts of home, without them actually having to be there. Opt for cozier meeting spaces that reinforce a team atmosphere.

4. Morale Boosting Perks: Sometimes the best ideas come when your employees aren’t at their desk. Give your employees a break and more opportunities to interact with other departments with fun perks like arcade games systems, reading rooms, foosball tables or video games. While it may seem like this is giving employees an excuse not to work, what you’re really doing is fostering creativity in a comfortable and casual atmosphere.

5. Happy and Fed: A startup is like an infant and, as with all babies, in order for them to grow up happy and healthy, you need to keep them fed. The latest trend in startup office spaces is offering once or twice a week breakfast and lunches, as well as stocked break rooms with nourishing goodies. Not only does this foster a productive atmosphere, you’ll find an increase in your employees’ overall satisfaction with their job and duties.

Colors for Your Office and How They’ll Affect Your Mood

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There are dozens of aspects at play that a business owner must consider when setting up offices for their employees. Chief among these is the color that you choose for the office. Although the default color for most offices seems to be “white,” or the always-exciting “slightly off white,” these may not be the best colors to inspire productivity and creativity in your employees. Below, we’ve listed a few common office colors, along with the effect that you’ll find they have on most employees.

Blue: Potentially the most used color for offices other than “eggshell white,” blue has been known to be one of the more “productive” hues on the color wheel. If you want your employees to plow through their work with determination, then blue (with an added complement of bright orange) could both heighten their productivity and pique their creativity.

Yellow: If you want your employees to be more focused on the creative aspect of their work, rather than just “getting through” a set amount of assignments a day, then using a bright lively color like yellow, or the aforementioned bright orange, could help arouse their spiritual side and get their creative energy flowing.

Green: If you want to achieve a balance of creativity and productivity, green could be the color you need. Reminiscent of nature, green is a naturally soothing color and could help increase office fellowship and keep tempers under control.

Red: If you work in a more physical environment, like a warehouse or a factory, red could inspire your workers to be more physically productive. It stimulates the part of your brain that taps into your primal instincts, so activating the body’s natural fight-or-flight response could help your employees master their energy.

3 Ways to Design a Creative Office

Your duty as a business owner includes ensuring that you’ve taken every possible step toward maximum productivity. Part of this concept is the overall design of your office. It’s possible for a workplace environment to feel overly sterile and uninviting if no attention has been paid to the layout of the furniture or the room itself. Once you’ve struck a good balance that promotes innovation and creativity, your employees are more likely to feel more comfortable, decreasing their overall stress and boosting their productivity.

First off, consider the configuration of the workspace. Do you find that your employees have to squeeze by each other to get to their desks? Cramping of an employee’s personal space could potentially bring down their productivity level, or even negatively impact their morale. Experiment with different configurations, and consider allowing the employees to come up with a solution as well. Some business advisors don’t advise “letting the prisoners run the asylum,” but it’s important to remember that employees respect employers that give them the freedom to choose their most functional work environment.

Also, zoning different areas of the workplace could help your employees subconsciously spend more time doing “true work” and taking “true breaks.” Bring a couch into the office and set up a break area for employees that need to take a break from staring at glowing screens all day. That way, when they get back to their working station, they’ll feel refreshed and ready to get back to their work.

Whatever you do, it’s important that you experiment with different methodologies, and also take your employee’s suggestions to heart. If your employees haven’t made any suggestions about how to improve the workplace layout, remember that it may be out of fear that they’ll be seen as a whiner. Organize and revitalize the workplace for them so that they don’t need to feel uncomfortable when they should be the most productive.

Top 10 Worst Office Offenses


Image courtesy of thinkstockphotos.com 

A well-oiled office is a combination of many things, including the people, the tools used and the culture. These days, when many of us spend more time at work than we do at home, maintaining a productive and positive office environment is more important than ever. However, as is the case with every office, there are always a few bad apples and few things that can be improved upon. See if your office is an offender, with our top 10 worst office offenses!

1. Noise: If you work in a busy office, it’s a given that there’s going to be some background noise. From telephones ringing off the hooks to bubbling coffee machines, noises are unavoidable. What is avoidable is talking loudly when other people are working, or playing music without headphones on.

2. Hygiene: Keep perfumes and heavy colognes to a minimum. Not only do some people find these smells overwhelming, many people are allergic to fragrances.

3. Offensive Decorations: Adding individuality to a workspace is an important part in creating a comfortable environment. However, be considerate of other people’s sensibility and avoid putting up offensive or off-color decorations and signage.

4. Not Enough Space: What’s worse than having a small work station? Not having enough storage space. An organized workspace is critical to an efficient office setting. If you don’t have enough space for your files and other important necessities, ask your manager to equip you with a proper storage solution.

5. Broken Furniture: Broken chairs, stuck drawers and rickety desks: these things all add up to an unpleasant work environment. Like having enough space, it’s vital that your furniture and equipment is up to par with the demands of your job description.

6. Noisy Neighbors: There’s nothing wrong with getting to know your coworkers; what is wrong is crossing personal boundaries and space. If you find that your desk offers limited privacy, ask your manager for a privacy screen over your computer monitor or for your desk to be rearranged. Avoid making personal phone calls at the desk and keep your workspace for professional use only.

7. The Clean Freak: No one likes to get sick, but there’s something to be said about number 7 on our list, the “clean freak.” These are the coworkers that spray every inch and corner down with Lysol and bleach. If you’re guilty of this offense, know that while your intentions are good, subjecting your coworkers to these fumes poses a potential health hazard.

8. Waste: Printing duplicate documents, not recycling ink cartridges or blasting the A/C all contribute to your office’s carbon footprint. Make your office more efficient by reducing waste, purchasing reusable supplies and recycling when it’s an option.

9. The Internet Is Down: Nothing strikes more fear into the hearts of office workers everywhere than when the internet is down. And can you blame them? From how we communicate, to how we work, everything is based on the internet.

10. Smelly Foods: One man’s caviar is another man’s garbage. If you’re in an enclosed environment, keep strong-smelling foods stored tightly or eat them outside when possible. Not everyone will find your leftovers as delicious as you do, so it’s important to be respectful to their senses.

How Satisfied Are You With Your Workspace?


Image “704781” courtesy of sxc.hu

When you walk into your office, what do you see? Your desk, your chair, your lamp, your keyboard … You may have all the necessities it takes for a solid workspace, but how satisfied are you with it? Below we’ve compiled a quick list of questions to help you determine the answer.

1. Does your back hurt? Do your hands hurt from typing? Do your eyes feel strained?  If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these, it’s time to rearrange your workspace. An ergonomic workstation is important not only for your output, but for your health as well. Speak with your manager to see if they’re willing to invest in higher quality chairs, desks and computer equipment for you or your team’s usage.

2. How easy is it for you to find what you need?  A cluttered dusk is never a good sign of an efficient workspace. If you find that your desk is stacked with files or supplies, look into some kind of organizational system like mobile drawers or bins that can help you resolve this issue.

3. Do you have enough privacy?  Even in an open or collaborative office, having enough individual space or privacy is vital for concentration. Observe the noise level around you and how often you are interrupted while working; if this is causing you to lose focus, it’s time for you to think about moving to a different location.

4. How distracted are you on a daily basis?  Office distractions don’t necessarily refer to things you don’t have control over, such as your coworkers talking or the telephone ringing. When we talk about distractions, we’re asking what in your space is causing you to think about anything other than your work. Do you have a squeaky chair? Are you spending too much time browsing the internet? Do you have enough lighting? Is the temperature of the office bothering you? These are all things you have control over and have the ability to fix.

5. What’s stopping you from being more productive?  Piggy backing off of number “4,” it’s important that you ask yourself (and ask yourself often), what you can do to have a more productive workspace. From furniture to office etiquette, taking an active involvement in your productivity will not only increase your efficiency, but will make your work environment a more enjoyable space.

Cubicles: The Story of an Office Icon


Image Courtesy of Herman Miller

Cubicles: The Story of an Office Icon

In 1967, designer Robert Propst for Herman Miller had a new vision for the office space. Calling it the Action Office II, the partially enclosed environment offered greater privacy and productivity for the modern office worker. These days, we call this revolutionary furniture piece … The Cubicle.

In the early 1960s, with 120 patents on designs and systems under his belt, Propst became fascinated with improving the modern workplace.

“Today’s office is a wasteland. It saps vitality, blocks talent, frustrates accomplishment. It is the daily scene of unfulfilled intentions and failed effort.” Robert Propst, 1960

Inspired by European designs and concepts of office privacy screens, Propst wanted to create a productive yet comfortable environment that would nurture creativity through personalization.

When the Action Office II was released, the cubicle’s mobile walls allowed businesses to modify their space based on the needs of its employees. Additionally, as a business grew in size, the cubicle walls could be modified to accommodate the additional workers.

In Propst’s new system, plenty of work space and shelves were given to employees. The system had the ability to change the height of the attached desks, allowing employees to work while standing up (echoing the current trend of standing desks).

By the 1970s the cubicle had become a mainstay of the office landscape. In 1978, the Action Office II was rechristened to just Action Office. Today, the Action Office system is still carried by the Herman Miller brand. Still durable and still flexible, today’s Action Office system combines the best of Propst’s original ideas and designs, with the demands and trends of today’s workplace.

 

Trend Watch: Biophilic Design


Image Courtesy of SkyFactory.com

Trend Watch: Biophilic Design

Over the last few years, more and more companies are turning towards an innovative concept for their office spaces – Biophilic Design.

To understand Biophilic Design, we must first understand Biophilia. Biophilia refers to the theory that by nature, humans have an instinctual bond with other living things like plants and animals. Biophilic Design seeks to bridge that relationship in environments like offices.

3 Main Benefits of a Biophilic Office:

- Studies have shown that Biophilic work environments yield higher productivity rates and long-term profit increases.

- Employees in a Biophilic work environment report a greater sense of health and overall well-being. Plants naturally purify air, as well as collect dust and other allergens. Green environments have also shown to regulate the temperature in closed rooms.

- By building around nature, offices decrease their environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Many regard Biophilic Design as a luxury. The truth of the matter is that incorporating Biophilic Design into your office requires very few upfront costs. 

Key Features of Biophilic Design You Can Incorporate Into Your Workplace:

- Add plants, shrubs and trees around the office or in individual cubicles.

- Plant trees and other reminders of nature outside the building.

- Install windows, as well as skylights, with views overlooking the natural landscape.

- Opt for natural lighting or a combination of natural and conventional lighting during the day.

- Rearrange the office so employees are closer to the windows.

- Have a presence of water, such as a fountain or aquarium in reception areas or where convenient.

Integrating nature into your workplace doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. With a few changes, such as adding plants or rearranging cubicles, any office can be a Biophilic paradise.

Top 5 Office Trends for 2014

Image Courtesy of Herman Miller

Top 5 Office Trends for 2014

The New Year has arrived and so have the latest trends in office design. For 2014, they are bold colors and streamlined, functional spaces. Check out our top 5 office trends for 2014:

1. Bright Colors: This year the experts at Pantone named Radiant Orchid the color of the year. Confident, bold and warm, the light purple and fuchsia fusion will add a pop of life to any room you add it to.

2. Efficient Spaces: Gone are the days of giant isolated offices. In 2014, the trend is to install space-efficient work stations where multiple employees from the same team can work on the same project at the same time.

3. Technology with Design: Integrated technology means building office spaces and incorporating high quality furniture around the technological needs of a company. From Skype-powered conference rooms with video chat capabilities, to computer work stations in break rooms, easily accessible technology for all your employees is the future of all office environments.

4. Team-Centered Spaces: Team-centered spaces refer to rooms built to the specific needs of each department. In the last few years, thanks to office innovations seen in the likes Google and Facebook, the collaborative office space has taken off. Besides project-specific individual work stations, these team-centered spaces are areas where a department in the same space can openly meet and brainstorm without needing to go to an isolated conference room. Additionally, these collaborative office spaces have in many cases resulted in stronger teams and departments, and the increase of productivity and ideas.

5. Sustainability: As industry and society moves towards the green movement, more and more offices are looking for sustainable ways to maintain their office and save money in the long run. Sustainability can be as simple as a recycling program, purchasing refurbished used furniture, to investing in LED lights over fluorescent ones. These little changes will ultimately lead to a better and more productive work environment for your employees.