Archive for the ‘Used Office Furniture’ Category
Legend has it that before going to battle, King Arthur would gather with his knights around a round table, the shape of which prevented any of the king’s barons from claiming authority over another. The round table also provided a sense of purpose, fellowship and belonging to an entity that was larger than the sum of its pieces.
Fast forward almost a millennia and it could be said that modern businesses have the same goal for their employees (well, minus the whole riding off on Biblical crusades part): To have stakes in a venture that is both meaningful and larger than yourself. How can a company apply Arthurian legends to their offices? Well, let’s do what King Arthur did and start with that conference room table, the place where decision makers, stakeholders and innovators gather to share ideas and information and plan for the future.
Your round table doesn’t even necessarily have to be round, either (psychologists have found that there are ways to create so-called power seats at a table no matter what shape it is). Other options include rectangular, racetrack, boat-shaped, U-shaped, figure eight or a custom shape. It definitely doesn’t have to be made of wood as Arthur’s might have been; it could be glass, stone, laminate or, heck, even made of LEGO (see below!). No matter what shape it is or what material it’s made of, the table should be the right fit for your business and its goals.
To help pave the way for a successful future, your conference table should accomplish the following jobs:
1. Include: One of the most important functions of a conference table is to offer a seat for everyone attending a meeting. That said, when shopping for one, you need to make sure it’s big enough to fit the number of people who will be using it regularly, while also fitting in the room proportionally. When everyone has a seat at the table, the feelings of inclusion and being part of the team will result in more inventive thinking and problem-solving and better overall office morale then if people are left standing on the outskirts.
2. Comfort: Meetings can be tedious and long, so you want to make sure that those in attendance are comfortable. The right conference room for your business will not only be large enough to accommodate large groups, but also give each person a little breathing room. There are some basic recommendations when it comes to how much space each person needs. At minimum, the space is the width of the chair around the table (anywhere 24″ to 30″ wide). Of course, as anyone who has ever sat in a coach on an airplane knows, this isn’t a lot of space and isn’t very comfortable. Ideally, each person has 36″ of space at the table, and up to 42″ for meetings where attendees need more space (to spread out paperwork, laptops, etc.). To figure out what size table you need, simply estimate the maximum amount of people that will regularly sit at the table and multiply that by the amount of space you want to provide each of them.
3. Inform: Office furniture does more than just provide places for people to accomplish tasks. It can also offer clients, job recruits, investors and other visitors insight into the type of company you are. For instance, an open office filled with casual meeting spaces and bright pops of color might indicate a more creative, carefree work environment compared with a law office that opts for closed offices, muted colors and traditional wood furniture. This concept is especially important for your conference room, which is often the site of important meetings with decision makers and customers. Selecting an attractive table that speaks to your company’s aesthetic will give people a peek at your business’ story. In addition, the shape of the table also serves a function. Oblong tables with definitive heads where meeting leaders, managers or executives sit tell people who’s in charge, whereas round, square or octagonal tables offer a more democratic and informal vibe.
4. Integrate: It’s rare to have a meeting these days that doesn’t have some digital presence, whether colleagues are taking notes on their iPads or the sales manager is sharing a PowerPoint presentation. A conference room should not only serve as a place for people to set down their various devices, but also as place where those devices can be powered and other AV equipment can be docked readily. This will free up the floor of hazardous and messy-looking cables and wires and allow the meeting to proceed seamlessly.
5. Inspire: The design of the table not only tells people a little bit about your company, but truly unique, beautiful or innovative tables can also inspire or energize the people sitting around the table. Take this table made out of Legos, or this one with swings for chairs or this one that uses bicycle wheels for legs. Do you think your gray-laminate-topped table will get your employees thinking in new and creative ways the same way these outside-of-the-box designs would?
Start shopping for the perfect table for your business at Arnolds Office Furniture.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Shopping for used cubicles instead of brand new is a smart move; not only can it save you money, but it’s also better for the environment. They’re the ideal solution for small businesses, new businesses with limited funds or businesses that needs a temporary furniture solution and you can often find high-quality, name-brand pieces to suit your style.
But buyer beware. Before laying down any amount of money for furniture (even if it’s the best deal ever), you need to ensure that the furniture isn’t damaged beyond repair and that it accommodates your needs.
Don’t end up with a dud, so use this handy checklist that includes six things that every used used cubicle needs:
1. Good design: For employees, clients and job recruits, aesthetics are important and an attractive, clean office sends a message that you run a high quality business. When shopping for used cubicles and workstations, look for pieces that have a more timeless, classic appeal, which offers more long-term value and is easier to find complementing pieces for as your business grows, and that will look attractive in your office. Don’t forget to measure you’re office space before shopping to ensure that whatever you find will fit in the space.
2. Flexibility: Chances are, if you’re buying used cubicles, you might be a smaller company or startup with a tight budget. Ideally your business will grow over time, which means you want to look for pieces that are easy to move and reconfigure and so that they will grow along with your company.
3. Quality: Everyone loves a bargain, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality. Make sure the pieces you purchase are clean and well maintained. Avoid workstations with large or obvious stains, dents, tears or broken pieces. Remember, reputable used furniture retailer like Arnolds will often clean and refurbish desks, chairs and other pieces before selling them.
4. Connectivity: Technology has become the heartbeat of business, so it’s important to shop for cubicles that can easily accommodate it. Workstations should have outlets where desktop computers or laptops, smartphones, tablets and task lighting can be plugged in easily as well as the ability to hide cords and cables.
5. Storage: Despite all that new digital technology, businesses do still generate paperwork that needs to be stored, not to mention that employees like having a place to stow their personal belongings during the workday. Shop for workstations that have drawers or cabinets, and make sure to test them out before buying if you can to ensure that they’re still functioning.
6. Parts: One of the risks of buying used cubicles on sites like Craigslist or via eBay is that when they’re left at your door and you go to assemble them, you’ll find that parts are missing. If possible, visit a showroom to ensure that the pieces can be properly assembled and that you’re going to have to search for missing connectors, cantilevers or rails.
Start shopping for at wide-selection of high quality, name brand used cubicles at Arnolds.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Charles Pollock, the designer behind one of the most popular office chairs of the 20th century, died last month in a fire in the Queens, New York apartment he used as a studio. He was 83.
He’s best known for the Pollock executive office chair he designed for Knoll Studios in 1963, which features a single aluminum band running around the perimeter that holds the chair together both structurally and aesthetically. Pollock never sought the celebrity status of many of his colleagues and disappeared for decades after the early 80s. He resurfaced just last year when a North Carolina furniture maker tracked him down in hopes that he’d be interested in designing for them.
One of the forefathers of midcentury design, Pollock was known for comparing his pieces to luxury cars and women, according to Fastcodesign.com.
When the New York Times asked about the staying power of his Pollock Chair last year, he responded:
“Call it a personality. It’s like a woman who is beautiful when she’s 19 and beautiful when she’s 45. She might be older, but she’s still beautiful.”
Here we rounded up his best advice:
1. Build to sell: Pollock was pragmatic about his work; his goal for the chairs he created was that people would buy it and it would make a profit. Every designer has to be concerned about business. “Just like if you buy a brand-new Porsche and you just love that car and you get in and you want to drive it, I want people to love to sit in my chairs. You gotta want the people to buy it because they love it,” he told FastCo last year.
2. Keep it simple: Pollock appreciated simple design featuring continuous curved lines, according to Bernhardt Design. He wanted his pieces to be attractive, but also affordable and easy to assemble. While his pieces were technically advanced, they were straightforward enough to manufacture at a reasonable price.
3. Take your time: The famed Pollock chair, the second chair he created for celebrated designer Florence Knoll, took five years to perfect as Pollock tweaked the structure with each new prototype he created. Eventually, the chrome and leather executive chair became a mainstay in offices in the 1960s, according to the New York Times. It is still produced by Knoll today.
4. Design for the soul: Despite the fact that he never really stopped creating, Pollock fell off the radar after 1982 when he released his Penelope chair for Giulio Castelli, one of the first office chairs to include an ergonomic “knee lift,” according to the New York Times. But fame wasn’t a priority for him. He never worked for a major corporation and didn’t seek the same sort of name recognition that other celebrity designers went after. Creating things that were both beautiful and useful gave him a good feeling in his soul. He approached chair design the same way he approached sculpture, and coincidentally, the Pollock Chair has been on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre and The Smithsonian Institute
5. Don’t stop creating: After the release of the Penelope chair in 1982, nobody heard much about Pollock. But he was still busy creating, which is not surprising for a self-described workaholic who took his first job at the age of 15, working on the production line at Chrysler. Recently, Jerry Helling, head of North Carolina furniture maker Bernhardt Design, decided to track him down, thinking it would be amazing for the iconic designer to create something for Bernhardt. In 2012, Bernhardt released the CP Lounge Chair, a sleek, contoured design that’s earned favorable reviews and a Red Dot award from the international design competition. “To keep the edge, you just keep doing something new,” he told FastCo.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
When outfitting your office space, you’ll probably be faced with the question of whether to purchase whiteboards or corkboards. We know your funds are limited, so we created a guide to outline the pros and cons of each as well as the smartest places to hang them. Take a look:
Best spots to hang them:
Conference rooms: Any time employees are gathering to brainstorm, a large writing surface is crucial. Whiteboards allow a notetaker to jot down ideas that are being thrown at him or her quickly and for all to see, which helps spur new ideas, make connections and organize thoughts.
Communal areas: Since more offices are opting to do away with small conference rooms in favor of informal meeting spaces throughout the office, it might be good to invest in some rolling whiteboards that can be wheeled over to where ever people are talking.
Desks: Including a small whiteboard at each workstation might solve your “Post-it Note left on a computer monitor” problem that flares up every time an employee is away from their desk for an extended period of time. Instead of wasting paper, co-workers can jot notes to their colleagues on the whiteboard, just like they did in their college dorm room, although let’s hope their office reminders aren’t about the kegger at Delta Chi.
Hallways: Some businesses, including most famously Facebook, have turned entire hallways and walls into whiteboards so that employees can brainstorm and share ideas and inspiration anywhere. While this look might not fly in more button down fields like law offices or insurance agencies, in offices where creativity is king, they’re a must-have.
Easy to clean: Unlike chalkboards that are perpetually dusty and corkboards that require unpinning and repinning, whiteboards can be cleaned in seconds with just an eraser or a cleaning solution and cloth.
Magnetized: If you’re looking for a whiteboard to pull double-duty, that is for writing on and for posting information, you can find models that are magnetized.
Multi-purpose: With more and more meetings relying on Powerpoint or videoconferencing, whiteboards serve a whole other purpose that doesn’t involve writing; namely, acting as a clean surface for projecting presentations and videos on.
Less permanent: Like we said earlier, whiteboards are easy to clean which is a pro and a con, especially when someone decides to clean the board before you’re done transposing the ideas and notes that came out of that three-hour creative planning meeting you had yesterday or when your shirtsleeve sweeps off portions of your presentation.
Stain easily: If words or drawings have been left on a whiteboard for too long, or if you accidentally use a permanent marker, the board can stain or have ghosted images on it even after you’ve used a dry eraser. To get rid of these shadows or impressions of messages past, you’ll need some sort of cleaning solution (everything from rubbing alcohol to nail polish remover to toothpaste has been suggested) to remove the stain and after that you’ll need to begin cleaning the board at least weekly.
Markers: There are some out there who like the chemical smell and potential contact high of dry erase markers (you know who you are) but plenty of others who are not big fans. The headache-inducing smell, propensity to dry up just when you need them and that goosebump-inducing squeaky noise they make when someone is writing really fast all make for a less-than-ideal experience. Plus, who likes having to clean that black residue off your hands and clothes after using them?
Break rooms: The break room is an ideal spot for a corkboard; employees can use it to store menus from area restaurants as well as hang up announcements that don’t necessarily have to be work-related like flyers for their upcoming garage sale, sign-up sheets for the company 5K or order forms for their kids’ latest school fundraiser. This is also a good spot to hang any signage that employers are legally obligated to display like information on job safety and health, the fair labor standards act and information about equal opportunity employment.
Hallways: Hallways are another smart place to hang corkboards. Heavily used corridors offer a place to showcase company success stories, highlight standout employees and offer insight into the company’s history and vision for the future for both employees and clients to view. They can also be hung in the hallways near different departments and be used to share information and updates about that department. A corkboard outside human resources, for instance, would be ideal for reminding employees about the deadline for insurance forms, sharing healthy living tips and offering updates about the employee picnic.
Desks: Help employees stay organized and on top of projects by including a small corkboard at each workstation. They offer employees easy access to frequently used phone numbers or computer codes, are a good spot for hanging reminders about deadlines or invoices that need to be processed, as well as a nice place to hang something inspirational like a fortune cookie fortune or a drawing their kid made at school.
Customizable: Corkboards come in a variety of sizes (and sheets of corkboard can be cut to any size or shape), so it’s pretty easy to use them for different jobs throughout the office. Aesthetically, they’re a snap to paint, embellish, cover and personalize to reflect your office’s aesthetic and organization needs. Don’t like the boring wood frame? Grab a can of spray paint. Think the cork itself looks a little dull? Cover it with wrapping paper, wallpaper or fabric (an especially good tip for companies who do more creative work). Plus, if you want to assign different duties for each section of the board, you can divide it up using tape, ribbon or paint.
Easy to use: Corkboards inspired a whole website (Pinterest) because they offer a simple, straight-forward way to organize and display things that are inspirational or useful to you. All you need is a tack. Rather than filing things away and forgetting about them, corkboards keep important information at your fingertips.
Soundproof: Cork is a natural sound dampener; it’s often used in recording studios and theaters to help improve the acoustics, and it would definitely be useful in today’s noisy open offices. Covering office walls in cork can help reduce the noise inside a room as well as lower the level of noise going room to room (and it’s a natural insulator so it can help with your energy bills as well).
Less spontaneous: While corkboards are great for displaying information used every day, they’re not ideal for quick brainstorming sessions when you want to be able to post things quickly for all to see. Tacking up Post-its or other pieces of paper just doesn’t have the same affect as writing it down.
Cluttered: For those prone to clutter, corkboards can be a disaster simply transferring messy paperwork from a desk to a wall. They need to be cleaned and organized periodically in order to ensure that they’re not just a clearinghouse for all that uncategorizable stuff that hits your desk every day.
Tacks: If you’ve ever stepped on one you know that tacks aren’t the kindest to the feet or hands they impale from time to time. Plus, they’re small and easy to lose, which means you’ll constantly be stocking them at your office.
Photo courtesy of michelleho/Stock.Xchng
Google “Power Whip” and you’ll come up with some interesting hits.
In Pokemon speak, a Power Whip is a fighting move in which a user “whirls its vines or tentacles to harshly lash the foe,” according to Bulbapedia. While that may be a move you wish to deploy against that annoying gum-smacking cubicle neighbor of yours, that’s not the type of power whip we’re referring to today.
In electricians’ speak, a power whip (AKA a base power infeed or base feed module) is type of cable that converts a fixed-in-place device to a modular asset, according to SpiderAgileTechnology.com.
In office furniture speak, a power whip is a 4- to 6-foot-long cable that connects the building’s main power supply to the electrical system contained within the panels of cubicles or workstations. The power whip is what delivers the juice to the computers, phones and other devices your employees use to help make your business great.
The first step to installing a power whip is to properly install your furniture, making sure it’s adjacent to a wall, column or floor-based power source (sometimes called floor monument or floor access, it’s an electrical outlet on or under the floors surface that is connected to a conduit-carrying power beneath the floor, according to Haworth) as well as telecommunication cables and computer cable supply points.
For advice on optimal workstation layout, it’s best to hire a reputable licensed electrician who is familiar with National Electrical Code (NEC) and local electrical codes; they’re the only ones who can legally make hardwire connections to your building’s power supply and they can offer insight on the best place to locate your workstations so that they’re effectively and safely powered.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling the furniture, including how to properly connect the built-in wiring and cabling. Most manufacturers offer illustrated guides for how to assemble their cubicles, including detailed instructions for powering them.
Once they’re assembled, the electrician can connect the power whip to the main power (this step can actually happen anytime during the process, but it is helpful to have the electrician on-hand early on to use as an installation consultant).
As long as the workstation wiring has been assembled correctly, once the power whip’s connected, you should be able to start plugging in your computers and other devices.
For more information about power whip installation and electrical code, visit:
- Haworth’s Guide to Understanding Electrical Terms
- Spider Agile Technology
- The Total Installer
Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
While filing cabinets probably won’t be the most glamorous thing you’ve ever shopped for, they can be the most important for protecting valuable company records, especially if you decide to invest in fireproof filing cabinets.
While the digital age and its promises of paperless offices might make buying a filing cabinet seem old-fashioned and unnecessary, ensuring your business can keep running in spite of everything from fires and natural disasters to server crashes and hackers will never go out of style.
Not convinced you should file old style? Here are five reasons you need fireproof filing cabinets:
1. The cloud is vulnerable. For all its buzz helping enterprises both store vital information and making it easier for approved users to access that information, a cloud server’s ability to protect your most important documents is, well, a little misty. “There is no Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval that says this vendor does good, secure cloud computing. A company or an individual looking to move to the cloud is going to have to make a huge leap of faith that their data is being protected,” Thomas Parenty, managing director of Parenty Consulting, a Hong Kong-based information security consulting firm, told CNN.com. Records are vulnerable to server crashes and if you don’t have hard copies of those documents, they could be lost forever. What’s more, hackers have been able to gain access to sensitive documents companies store online; anything from financial records to personnel information to company secrets. You can protect your records from computer crashes and thieves by storing them in a locked fireproof filing cabinet.
2. Going digital is expensive. If you’re a long-running enterprise, chances are you have years, maybe even decades, worth of paper records in storage. Creating digital copies of all of those files is not only time consuming, it’s also expensive (consider the prospecting of either scanning paperwork or having someone spend hours and hours on data entry. Not to mention the cost of paying a cloud storage enterprise to store them). Instead of investing time and money into a digitizing endless paperwork, improve the storage itself. Even if you do go digital for parts of your enterprise, you’ll want to keep hard copies of your most important documents for backup in the event of a server crash.
3. Protecting business records is critical. Losing vital documents in a fire or other emergency can be a disaster within a disaster for company operations. Eighty percent of companies that suffer a catastrophic fire go out of business within two years of the blaze in part because of the loss of irreplaceable records, according to FireKing. Safeguarding them with a fireproof file cabinet will make it easier to rebuild your business in the event of a disaster. BusinessInsider.com recently created a list of documents that should be saved forever.
Other important records include:
Contracts and agreements that prove ownership
Personnel and payroll records
Standard operating procedures
Account histories and shipping records
4. Standard file cabinets won’t cut it. Think your paper is safe in a standard metal file cabinet? Think again. Paper burns at 400 degrees and most structure fires are much hotter than that; a standard metal file cabinet is not equipped to protect paper at high temperatures. (Want proof? Check out this video from FireKing). High-quality fireproof filing cabinets come with a rating from the Underwriter’s Laboratory, a nonprofit, independent testing organization, which specifies what temperatures the cabinet can withstand and for how long. For instance, the internal temperature of a Class 350, one hour-rated cabinet will not reach over 350 degrees when exposed to external temperatures of 1700 degrees for one hour.
5. Fires are more common than you think. According to the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, each year in the U.S. fires kill more than 3,000 people die, injure more than 18,000 and cause $18 billion in property damage. For businesses, the causes might surprise you. “You hear a lot about electrical fires and while wires do short on occasion, most of the time people at the end of a work day or week forget to shut off a microwave, a coffee pot or a computer,” George Capko, vice president and engineering hazards manager with FM Global told FacilitiesNet.com. Everything from faulty wiring to arson to employee oversight can cause a fire, but you can help lessen the impact by using fireproof file cabinets to protect documents. Not only will they ensure your records aren’t destroyed by fire, many are at least somewhat waterproof (for when those sprinklers go off) and impact-tested in the event a building collapses. Because of these factors, in addition to fires, these cabinets can also be useful in the event of flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes and other weather-related threats.
Start shopping for your fireproof filing cabinet on Arnolds.com.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
When it comes to the material used to make office furniture, there are a few staples: Wood, metal, glass, laminate or some combination of these are the most common. In recent years, the move toward more sustainably produced furniture has made bamboo and recycled items popular go-to materials.
But these environmentally friendly materials are just the tip of a quickly melting iceberg.
Meet one of the latest innovations: Fungus furniture.
How Does It Work?
Chairs and stools made out of mushrooms are the natural (if not unusual) offspring of a former chef and wild mushroom hunter turned artist, architect and furniture design, right?
Philip Ross started out by shaping a cellulose, usually sawdust, into a form that live fungal cells would then feed and grow on, creating unique sculptures. But once he realized how lightweight and strong the material was once it dried out, he turned to more practical applications, building chairs and stools, according to Arstechnica.com.
“The cellulose serves as both food and framework for the organism to grow on, and within a week this aggregate solidifies as a result of the fungi’s natural tendency to join together smaller pieces of its tissue into a larger constituent whole,” he explains on ThisisAlive.com, the website for a biomimicry exhibition in Paris. “Fungal tissue will bind, solidify and harden into any chosen form, and, once dried out and processed, becomes a lightweight, strong material.”
Is Fungus Furniture Practical?
While intrigued at the prospect of mushrooms-turned building material, Craig Vierra, Professor and Assistant Chair for Biological Sciences at the University of the Pacific, shared some initial concerns about it with wired.co.uk. He wondered what type of fungus was used to produce the different pieces and whether it might cause allergic reactions to users. He also questioned whether a resin would be required to seal the product and if that resin might be toxic to the environment.
But Ross told the San Francisco Chronicle that his mushroom furniture was perfectly safe to be around. In fact, mycelium, the networks of fungus on top of which mushrooms grow, is a versatile material that’s fire-retardant, compostable, plastic, a good insulator and as structurally strong as concrete.
“I’ve shot a handgun at one of these and the network was strong enough to block the bullet; it only went in about five inches,” he told the Chronicle.
Okay, so it can take a bullet and support the weight of a weary office worker for eight-plus hours a day?
“Sitting on his chairs is much like sitting on leather upholstered furniture, and there’s a welcome bit of give to them,” according to Chronicle reporter Alec Scott.
Most of the furniture is made with wooden legs attached to the mycelium structure with glue and bolts. Citrus oil and other essential oils sanitize the surface and shellac preserves and protects it while also eliminating most of the smell (we know you were wondering). As for how they look, predictably mushroom chairs aren’t quite as streamlined as your average Aeron chair. They’re earthy in shape and color and appropriately toadstoolish; perhaps not the first choice for a company that favors bright colors and sleek furniture.
However, with it’s many positive qualities, Ross doesn’t seemed worried about the bulkier aesthetics.
“The future is fungal,” he told the Chronicle.
The trend to build more earth-friendly furniture has made for some interesting partnerships; now furniture designers are working with not only material scientists and architects, but also biologists and engineers.
“Mother Nature has provided us with some of the most outstanding biomaterials that can be used for a plethora of applications in the textile industry. In addition to these, modern technological advances will also allow us to create new biocomposite materials that rely on the fundamentals of natural processes, elevating the numbers and types of materials that are available. But, more importantly, we can generate eco-friendly materials.” Vierra told Wired.co.uk.
Stay tuned for more office furniture innovations on Arnolds.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
As an office manager, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by day-to-day troubleshooting and overlook long-term needs like keeping company files safe.
You’ve read about all the pros of protecting critical office documents in a fireproof file cabinet and just from watching the news you’re well aware of the risk of natural and manmade catastrophes and that they can strike anywhere and anytime. Why don’t you have any in your office?
For the variety of protection they offer, fireproof file cabinets should really be renamed disaster-proof file cabinets. Sure, their first job is to protect valuable documents, from paperwork to microfilm to digital fires, from being destroyed in a fire. But they can help ensure the safety of irreplaceable personal and business information in a variety of worst-case scenarios.
Here’s a roundup of events in which you wish you’d purchased a fireproof file cabinet for your office:
1. Fire: This is the obvious one; the first job of a fireproof file cabinet is to protect your documents from being destroyed for the time and temperatures indicated by its UL rating. Between 2009-2011, 86,500 nonresidential building fires were reported to U.S. fire departments each year and caused $2.6 billion in property losses each year, according to FEMA. Stores and offices accounted for 18 percent of these fires and the biggest causes for these fires was cooking (28 percent), electrical malfunction (14.2 percent) and heating (10.5 percent). While you might not think your business is at risk for fire damage, these numbers tell a different story, and the causes can come from everything from a Pop Tart burning in your breakroom to overloaded outlets.
2. Floods: Last year’s Superstorm Sandy, which caused an estimated $65 billion in damage in the U.S., shed light on the increasing risk of devastating floods to homes and businesses in coastal areas. In fact, a report released by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force advised communities start start preparing now to protect themselves from more storms like Sandy. At least 25 percent of businesses that close after a flood never re-open according to the National Flood Insurance Program. What does this have to do with fireproof cabinets? Well, in addition to protecting your documents from burning during the fires, most fireproof cabinets are also water resistant during a fire because of the positive pressure on the inside of the file and the expansion created by the heat that can keep water out, according to eBAy. In the absence of a fire, certain brands are more water resistant than others, and some even advertise being waterproof. Keep in mind that even if you don’t live near the beach, that doesn’t mean your business isn’t vulnerable to flooding or water damage; from burst pipes to overflowing creeks to office sprinklers, there are plenty of opportunities for water to damage your office.
3. Earthquake: Thousands of earthquakes occur each year in the U.S., according to FEMA, and while most of them have no significant impact on businesses and communities, certain parts of the country have a history of large damaging quakes and are at risk of “the big one” at any time without warning. Earthquakes can cause buildings to collapse and induce fires and flooding, all of which poses a serious threat to your business operations. As previously mentioned, fireproof cabinets can protect documents from fire and mitigate water damage, but many models also have a UL impact rating, which means they’ve been tested to withstand a fall from multiple stories (an important quality when a building is at risk of collapsing).
4. Tornadoes: The May 2011 tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo. caused an estimated $2.9 billion in damage; a month earlier a tornado in Tuscaloosa, Ala. caused an estimated $2.45 billion in damage according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Each year there are about 1,000 tornadoes in the U.S. causing about $1.1 billion in damage, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. An EF-2 or EF-3 tornado with winds between 111-165 m.p.h. can destroy a building in just seconds — flying debris can rip holes in windows and exterior walls through which air rushes in, inflating it like a balloon. The internal pressure in combination with external winds can weaken walls and the roof, causing the building to collapse. As with earthquakes, a fireproof safe with a UL impact rating can be vital in safeguarding documents in the event a storm rips through your business.
5. Theft: Sure, theft isn’t a fire or natural disaster, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be worried about it when it comes to important documents, files and media. Corporate data theft is a growing problem worldwide. A 2012 survey by EnterpriseFeatures.com found that 32 percent of those surveyed admitted to stealing confidential corporate information on at least one occasion; 31 percent said they would retaliate to a dismissal by deliberately stealing and/or sharing corporate information. Limiting employees access to sensitive documents (think personnel files, customer information (that could contain names, addresses, social security numbers and other information that could be used for identity theft) and trade secrets) using a lockable fireproof filing cabinet can not only protect your documents, but also protect your business from the lawsuits that could result if personal information is shared.
Shop for your fireproof file cabinet at Arnolds Office Furniture.
Photo courtesy of MedillNSZ/FlickrVisit Susan Jennings on Google+
Office furniture is useful for more than just providing employees with a place to work and making your office look good. With the right pieces, it can also promote communication and collaboration, which will help your business thrive.
When shopping for furniture, keep these nine tips in mind for pieces that can make (or break!) teamwork:
1. It’s easy-to-move: As office design evolves away from closed-off offices and conference rooms into open space floor plans, the concept of traditional meeting space has changed as well. In order to accommodate the new trend of ad-hoc, as-needed gathering spaces, office furniture needs to be lighter and more mobile. That means tables, seating and whiteboards on wheels (or at least light enough to carry) to whatever space is open and inspirational.
2. It’s multifunctional: As conference rooms disappear and offices become smaller and more space-efficient, furniture designers have re-imagined pieces used for teamwork and have found creative ways to maximize how a single piece of furniture is used. Take Rise from Allsteel’s Gather collection: The piece resemble stadium seating and can be used for sitting, lounging and leaning; the steps provide both seating and work surfaces.
3. It’s plugged in: You’d be hard-pressed to find a gathering these days that doesn’t include a laptop, tablet or smartphone being used to share information and collect ideas, so it’s essential that meeting spaces have access to power. Luckily there are plenty of new pieces that are designed with built-in outlets, like the Manny ottoman from Sparkeology and Bretford’s Motiv sofa.
4. It’s everywhere: Meeting spaces aren’t only confined to conference rooms anymore. More and more employers are recognizing that impromptu meetings are occurring in surprising locales, like in front of the refrigerator in the break room, in the stairwell and in hallways. Rather than force people to meet in one spot, make it easy to meet where ever they are but adding seating or worksurfaces. Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy; put a bench in a hallway or high tables in lounge areas that invite team members to chat a little longer.
5. It’s round: The Knights of the Round Table were onto something, according to new research from University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Their study found that people sitting at round tables were more group oriented and less antagonistic than those sitting at tables with angles.
6. It’s fun: Nothing kills creativity quite like a drab, colorless and poorly lit office. Inspire your employees by incorporating bright colors, unique artwork, plants and natural lighting into your design. Depending how far you’re willing to go to make things fun, you could even consider adding a little table tennis or air hockey to the mix (who knows what new ideas might bubble up during some friendly competition?).
7. It’s unavailable: In traditional offices, the space used for collaborative work is often a conference room. Which is okay, except when you have several teams who need meeting space and have nowhere to gather when all the conference rooms are in use. Truthfully, any office furniture that can comfortably accommodate a meeting of two or more minds helps promote teamwork; it just can’t be locked behind a closed door.
8. It’s closed off: While walls and partitions protect employees from noisy brainstorming sessions and prying eyes, it also stymies the flow of information within a workspace. High-walled cubicles do little to promote casual conversations and chance encounters, more often they put individual employees in silos that are useful for work that requires high levels of concentration, but not so much for idea sharing.
9. It’s uncomfortable: Employees aren’t going to be too interested in sticking around for a long meeting if they’re posterior falls asleep 20 minutes in. When trying to create a collaborative office space, it’s good to have a mix of softer, cushier seating options for lengthier brainstorming sessions and easy-to-access pieces that might be as simple as a bar to lean up against while chatting, like The Hedge from Allsteel’s Gather collection.
Shopping for furniture to promote teamwork in your office? Look no further than Arnolds Office Furniture.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
When it comes to feng shui, the ideal office is a square or a rectangle with solid walls, a window for natural light and a door that can be closed.
Of course, we know that’s not the reality for most offices these days. We’re guessing most employees don’t have their own offices, and nowadays, with the advent of open workspaces, many don’t even have their own cubicle. Still, there are ways you can implement feng shui in your workspace via organization, positioning, colors and artwork.
What You Need to Know First:
According to Feng Shui Basics and Beyond, there are three fundamentals you need to understand about the practice to get started: Everything is alive and made of energy or chi, everything is connected and everything is changing. This means the universe, you and your office are all connected. By incorporating it into where you live and work, you can increase positive energy, focuses intentions, helps convey subliminal messages to your subconscious and creates a sacred space.
Here are some areas to focus on:
Glass walls: If you happen to have an office with walls, solid walls are preferable to glass. solid walls give you a feeling of security and protection. Glass walls contribute to a feeling of vulnerability. If you have glass walls, consider installing mini-blinds to help give you privacy a sense of safety.
De-clutter: One of the first steps to practicing feng shui at work is clearing out clutter to help gain clarity, focus and peace of mind, according to Feng Shui Basics. Whatever you use daily should be neatly stacked and organized and within arms reach, everything else should be sorted, filed and stored.
Seating position : The best seat in the house when it comes to an office or cubicle is one that faces the entrance (as opposed to a wall or window) so that you can see who’s coming. In an office, the ideal place for your desk is the farthest corner from the door, according to Inc.com. Of course, with most cubicle design, your back often faces the entrance. To remedy this, place an 8-by-10-inch mirror facing the entrance so you can not only keep track of who’s approaching you, but also feel like you’re moving forward and not getting stuck.
In your element: There are five elements in Feng shui: Wood, fire, earth, metal and water. According to Inc., you should incorporate each into your office in some form, making sure to use a balance of all as to not disrupt your chi. You can incorporate these elements via furniture choice, artwork or color so long as they represent what you want to accomplish and inspire you toward prosperity and success. Each element has a different purpose, according to Inc.:
Wood – promotes creativity and symbolizes loyalty, according to Inc.com. The colors that best represent wood are green and brown and incorporating them into your office should promote motivation, inspiration and good health. Your wood element should be placed in the east corner of you workspace.
Fire – The most aggressive of elements, it represents passion and excitement and should boost productivity and action when used at work. Naturally, it’s associated with the color red. Your fire element should be placed in the south corner of your workspace.
Earth – Promotes balance and stability and is useful for building and maintaining relationships. The colors to use are earth-tones: Sandy tones, light browns, yellows and oranges. This element should be featured in the center of your workspace and could also be made of clay, brick or ceramics or a art featuring a landscape.
Metal – This if your go-to element for financial success. Use silver, grey, gold or other metallic tones or incorporate stone, gold, copper, marble or silver pieces in the western corner of your workspace.
Water – Help start conversations and promote networking, travel and wisdom with this element. Use the colors blue or black or incorporate a mirror, fountain, fish bowl or something made of glass. Your water element belongs in the northern portion of your workspace.
Lighting: Fluorescent lighting is the enemy of feng shui. The antidote is natural light. If you don’t have access to a window then the next best thing is full-spectrum tube (sometimes called grow lights) that can be purchased at a hardware store. If you can’t (or aren’t permitted to) replace the ghastly fluorescent lighting, then supplement with incandescent floor lamps and desk lamps.
Plants are your friends: In feng shui, green things are good. They can be used to counteract back things. Have a weird pillar or ugly duct obstructing the energy flow in the room? Stick a plant in front of it. Just remember to keep an odd number of plants around and keep them healthy (no wilting plants need apply for your cubicle).
According to the experts, incorporating feng shui into your workspace can enhance creativity and success.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+