We might not realise it, but the office furniture we sit at and interact with can have a huge impact on our performance throughout the day. A properly furnished office allows its employees to be more comfortable in their surroundings, putting them in a position to be more focused and productive.
If, however, employees work in an inadequate, noisy space populated with creaky chairs and cramped desks, both their duties and their physical health can end up suffering.
Therefore, management must ensure that the furniture in their office provides employees with the best possible environment to work in, whatever their role is. As a result, there are a few different things to keep in mind when choosing office furniture.
To help you with your decisions, we’ll run through the crucial considerations you should weigh up before you begin furnishing your office.
Consider your office furniture needs
Since your employees will be sitting down while working throughout the day, ensuring they’re as comfortable as possible is essential. Ergonomic chairs and desks have been touted for their ability to deliver optimal comfort and working conditions, so they’re well worth investing in for the wellbeing and safety of your employees alone. And with so many options and products to choose from, you’re sure to be able to find the rights ones at a price that suits your budget.
As well as chairs and desks, you should also consider the overall “feel” of your office depending on your business type. Maybe you’re a start-up aiming for a more relaxed atmosphere, where everyone can chat and collaborate in a relaxed atmosphere? Or, maybe you’re a more formal business that requires everyone to stay focused and distraction-free? In which case, desks with cubicle dividers could be a better fit.
Whatever your plans are, the most important thing that should influence your choice is whether or not your furniture is going to offer the most conducive environment for work.
Set a budget – but be prepared to invest
Whether you’ve been given a set budget or a guideline from senior management, it may be tempting to try and come in under budget by opting for cheaper furniture. But don’t be fooled by the initial savings you may make here; after all, as the saying goes: “buy cheap, buy twice”.
Office furniture is a serious investment in both the items themselves and your staff. They’ll be spending a lot of time sitting at their desk on office chairs, so it makes sense to go for the best furniture that you can afford.
Inferior quality products will cost you more in the long term, so consider purchasing hard-wearing items even if it means your budget might have to take an initial up-front hit.
How much space do you have to work with?
With so many people working together under one roof, space can soon become an issue. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in good storage options and furniture that’s proportionate with the size of your office. Not only does this ensure everyone can move around with ease, but it keeps your workplace looking neat and organised.
One of the biggest mistakes management can make is failing to measure their office ahead of making purchases. It’ll be a frustrating day when your shiny new furniture arrives, only to find you can’t even fit it through the door. Be sure you make a note of measurements to see how your new desks and storage will be able to comfortably fit inside your office space.
Additionally, multifunctional furniture is growing more popular. By providing a cost-effective way to solve issues relating to space, it can certainly add value to any office space. Consider going for desks with room to file documents or seating options complete with in-built USB chargers.
Don’t forget the overall acoustics
Seemingly overlooked in the process of designing modern offices, acoustics play a large role in employee wellbeing. And since noise is one of the most frequent complaints amongst office workers, whether it’s general chit chat, the ringing of telephones, or the collaborative efforts of those working in nearby groups, it’s a factor that needs to be considered.
And in open-plan offices, the hard floors, ceilings and desks – all of which are highly reverberant – end up amplifying these distractions. So how can furniture help control acoustics and reduce noise?
Furniture like cabinets, lockers, desks and freestanding screens can all be finished with different materials that help to dampen reverb and deaden sound. Likewise, acoustic foam to the underside of desks can reduce noise in simple, inconspicuous ways that won’t take away from the design of the office.
Wall panels, suspended ceiling panels, and acoustics screens can also be added to space in ways that absorb sound, offering a more ambient environment, a further visual element, and in the case of the latter, a sense of separation between group spaces and semi-private work areas.
Why not go a step further and provide your employees with even greater levels of acoustical privacy? Easily incorporated into open-plan offices, Officebricks Acoustic Pods create a “room within a room”, offering two-way sound insulation that ensures noise remains on the outside and what goes on inside stays private.
Easy to set up, installation requires no drilling, bonding or screwing, meaning they can be easily moved to different parts of the office – or if you end up moving premises.
Remember: Is your office furniture fit for function?
When it comes to picking office chairs or anything else staff will sit at, their comfort is essential. Anyone who sits at their desk a lot will require ergonomically designed chairs with the proper lumbar support, for instance.
Adjustable chairs that allow them to sit comfortably with their feet flat on the floor ensure customisable comfort that reduces distractions caused by awkward posture and seating.
This comfort should extend to meeting and breakout rooms too, allowing your staff to relax in all areas of the office. If they’re stressed, the impact it can have on both their performance and health can be huge. Furniture that keeps them comfortable in areas where things might get heated with clients or other colleagues can have a real benefit on their wellbeing.
If you’ve an upcoming construction project to complete, then the team at InterFocus can help. For more information about our bespoke fitted labs, visit our homepage or call our team on 01223 894 833.