What to Look for when Buying Used Desks

used-deskSmall and medium-sized companies can benefit a great deal from buying used office furniture. If you’re considering used furniture for your office, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing desks for your employees.



The size of a desk is very important, since it must be big enough to provide adequate workspace, yet still be proportional in size to your room. If you only need space for a laptop, a simple writing desk might suffice, but one with deep drawers and a hutch would be better suited for a desktop computer, printer and office supplies.

The size of a desk can also affect ergonomics. For maximum comfort, choose a desk that’s between 26 and 30 inches tall, and no deeper than 32 inches.



The materials a desk is made from will not only affect its durability, but the way it looks as well. For a more elegant look, choose a desk made from mahogany, cherry, or oak, as these woods are both attractive and durable. Avoid buying desks made from engineered wood, as they tend to warp easily, and may not stand up to extended wear.



Inspect drawers and doors to make sure they open and close easily. Check all hardware to see that it is solid and does not contain any rust. Look inside drawers to see how edges are held together. Dovetail joints are preferred over glued or nailed ones. Some signs of wear are acceptable, as long as they do not detract from the stability of the piece.

A top-quality used desk will provide you with years of practical use at a fraction of the cost of a new one. Fortunately, there are also plenty of choices available that will allow you to outfit your office in style. Contact us today to see the selection we have available.


Tips for Making Cubicles seem More Homelike

Interesting Office Cubicle Decoration Ornamental PlantsYou spend a great deal of time at work, and that time should be as pleasant as possible if you are to remain focused and productive. Just because you work inside a cubicle doesn’t mean your workspace has to be dull and boring. Here are some easy ways to spruce up cubicles so spending time in them can be much more enjoyable.


Contain Clutter

You’ll naturally be more productive when your office space is free from clutter. Take a few minutes to get rid of paper, and then set up a system of organizing everything so your desk will continue to be clear. Create baskets for paperwork to make it easier to stay organized in the future.


Creative Storage Ideas

While you are organizing, take time to find a place for all your office supplies. Taking ordinary office supplies and creating unique storage ideas for them will automatically make your space more festive. A few ideas anyone can use includes:

  • Using a spice rack to store rubber bands, paper clips and thumbtacks
  • Hanging a shoe organizer on one wall and placing note pads, ink pens and other supplies in it
  • Painting small tin buckets a festive color and then hanging them from a pegboard
  • Stacking Altoids tins on their side and placing in a drawer
  • Covering soup or Pringles cans with scraps of wallpaper to make pencil holders


Add Lighting

Lighting is sometimes an issue in cubicles, but adding one or two small lamps can help brighten things up a bit. Use low-watt light bulbs to cast a soft glow (around 40 watts is typically ideal). You could also string some miniature lanterns or Christmas lights around the perimeter of your cubicle as well.


Add Elements from Home

Add a few items from home to give your cubicle a personal feel. Be careful not to overdo it, as adding too many things can make your space feel cramped and make working in it distracting. One or two photographs in nice frames or a souvenir from your travels is all that’s needed to soften the look.

These are just a few ways you can make your cubicle space more pleasant to spend time in. To see the huge selection of cubicles we have available, contact us.


Guidelines for Buying Office Filing Cabinets

Office filing cabinets are crucial for keeping your important business documents organized and protected. If you’ve never bought filing cabinets, you may not know what will work best for your office if you don’t know how the various filing cabinets differ. Here are some buying guidelines regarding the types of filing cabinets available, as well as the choices in construction materials. 

Vertical Filing Cabinets 

Vertical filing cabinets are the ones that are the most traditional. As they’re both tall and thin, you can store them in corners, which gives you more room for other furniture. This type of filing cabinet works well for storing documents on a long-term basis because of the compactness of the closed drawers. There are generally three to six drawers in a vertical filing cabinet. This makes file organization easier.

Lateral Filing Cabinets

Because lateral filing cabinets have wide drawers, they’re ideal for storing maps and documents with unusual shapes. They’re also called horizontal filing cabinets as instead of having front-to-back storage, they store files side-to-side. What’s more, they have more room on top for storing extra office supplies.

Rolling Filing Cabinets

This type of filing cabinet is suited for storing documents on a short-term basis. They’re lightweight and don’t have the protective, hard shell of metal cabinets. However, they’re still able to safely store your documents. A rolling cabinet is particularly ideal when you have to move your files from one room to another to make copies or do presentations. 

Construction Materials 

  • Steel—Filing cabinets are usually made of metal because of its strength and longevity. Steel cabinets can endure considerable abuse, while still looking good. Metal filing cabinets used to come in only tan, gray, black and other muted or subdued colors, but today’s metal cabinets are available in even vibrant, bold colors.
  • Wood—Often business owners choose wood filing cabinets for their warm, welcoming look. They work just as well metal cabinets do and are durable so that they can protect documents. Wood cabinets are available in a wide range of colors. For a contemporary look, choose woods with dark, expresso colors.
  • Wicker—Although wicker cabinets aren’t as durable as metal or wooden ones, they can still be useful. They typically have a metal frame that contains baskets or trays constructed of wicker. Businesses often choose this type of filing cabinet for cosmetic reasons. However, because wicker cabinets can give an office a more relaxed look, they’re used more for home offices instead of professional ones.

Considerations and Warnings 

  • Two of the most important considerations involved in selecting the right filing cabinets are the kind of files you need to store and the amount of space you have.
  • If you have to move your files around, consider a mobile filing cart. These carts are usually short and aren’t any higher than 30 inches tall and 15 inches wide. They include hanging file frames and casters that can be locked. You can easily tuck them underneath a desk or table when they’re not being used.

The Office Planning Group can help you find just the right office equipment that’s best suited for your business. They’ve continued to serve the New Orleans and Gulf South regions for the past 45 years. They offer services in both used and new office furniture. Please contact us.

Upgrading Your Company Image With Used Office Furniture

Whether you own a small business that’s just starting out, or you’ve been around a while, you need to have a good suite of office furniture. The items you choose have to make your business look good, set your customers at ease and function the way that you need them to. Upgrading to a more professional image is less expensive when you choose used office furniture over buying new. Here are some other things to consider when outfitting your office.

waiting room

Cost & Resale Value

It’s pretty obvious that purchasing used office furniture will be less expensive than buying new. When a company is working under a tight budget, every dollar counts. From chairs to desks, filing cabinets and conference tables, everything a company needs to furnish offices, lobbies and meeting rooms can be purchased second-hand. What’s more, used furniture can be resold once it is no longer needed within the organization and can often fetch 50% or more of the purchase price.

Environmentally Sound

As with all second-hand market purchases, used office furniture is a great way to help protect the environment and reduce pollution. Because there is no manufacturing and very little transportation involved in buying used furniture, you’re not increasing your carbon footprint. It also helps to reduce the amount of waste that is taken to landfills. This eco-friendly solution helps you in the short-term but it’s also good for future generations as well.

A Good Stepping Stone

For a new business, going all-out and purchasing an elegant office suite is probably not the best option. In a tight-budget situation, you have more purchasing power when you purchase used office furniture so you can get everything you need. Perhaps you’re in a temporary office space, and you have plans to relocate within a year or two. Instead of investing in new office furniture that may not work in another location, purchasing used keeps more money in your pocket for investing in your business growth.

Design Your Space

Think about how you’ll be using the space including how people will do their daily tasks at their desks. Also consider filing cabinets, book cases and other furniture that will help with organization and productivity. Your client’s opinions matter when it comes to your image. You want to be seen as a professional, trustworthy organization worthy of doing business with. That said, don’t be afraid to mix and match items, it’s okay to let your company’s personality shine through.

Spend Less Time Looking

The truth is, when you are shopping for used office furniture, your choices are going to be somewhat limited. That’s not really a bad thing, when you consider what your time is worth and the huge number of other things that you have to do. Consider it a challenge to find the style and designs that best suits your company and clientele. Being creative and limiting the time you spend thinking about the furniture will pay off in the future, by allowing you to get to work quicker.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your office furniture or you’re furnishing a new office, buying used has plenty of advantages. If you need help finding the right office furniture or if you’re stuck for ideas for laying out your office space, contact us. Our friendly, professional staff will be more than happy to lend a hand.


One Size Does Not Fit All When it Comes to Office Cubicles

Setting up the modern office can be a challenge. Employees need privacy to get their work done, yet they need to be able to communicate with their co-workers at the same time. Bland uniformity in office furniture tends to affect morale negatively, yet a consistent and organized look is important. Many companies must also contend with space limitations when developing a plan for the layout of offices and cubicles. Taking the time to research cubicle options now helps to increase long-term employee productivity.

Corner Computer Workstations

corner computer station

This type of workstation is ideal for people who spend most of their day using a computer. It fits in well to small spaces while still providing the room workers need for the computer, cords, CPU, work documents, and personal items. The table is angled to conserve space, yet employees have ample room on both the left and right sides of the computer to spread out papers.

L-Shaped Cubicles

l shaped cubicles

An L-shaped desk includes one long table and one smaller table to place the employee’s computer. When working off the computer, he or she can slide the chair to the longer part of the desk to have more space. The cubicle wall allows the employee to work privately while sitting down and converse easily with nearby co-workers when standing up.

U-Shaped Cubicles

u shaped cubicles

This desk design has a typical table on one side, a cutout in the middle for the employee and his or her computer, and space on the opposite side that resembles the letter U. There is plenty of room to place file drawers underneath the desk as well as store office supplies. Most workers find the cubicle surrounding a U-shaped desk to be aesthetically pleasing.

Cubicles for Any Type of Office

The Office Planning Group offers modular office, telemarketing, executive, and other types of cubicles for employers across Louisiana. Please contact us to discuss your office set-up needs or to schedule an appointment for installation.

Will Gen Z Have the Last Word in Office Design?

Last week, we took a look at some of the layout, technology, and furniture features that Millennials expect in the workplace. They’ll be the dominant demographic for quite some time. However, Gen Z is already jockeying for position in the workforce. In another 15-20 years, their voice will have a great deal of impact on office design. If you are doing long term office space planning, you might want to look ahead and anticipate what this youngest generation of workers wants.

Gen Y Loves Ambiguity

According to Haworth strategist Dr. Michael O’Neill, the workplace is already shifting to take the tastes of Generation Y into account. These young people crave social connection, collaboration, and choice. The boundaries between work and life blur as workspaces develop that look nothing like traditional cubicles. Instead, they resemble a lounge, a café, or even a garden. People aren’t supposed to know the precise purpose of each space—it’s all open for interpretation. This takes the flexibility desired by Gen X a step beyond facilitation into complete freedom.

Gen Z Wants More Clarity

O’Neill suggests that this free-for-all is going to shift when Generation Z reaches the workforce in meaningful numbers by 2020. He has some interesting ideas about why this is so (it may have to do with being raised by Gen X parents), but the impact on the office could be significant. Instead of thriving on chaos, they may want spaces that are clearly defined. When they show up at work, seeing a layout that makes it easy to understand what type of activity takes place in each area may help them be most productive. Having choices will still be important, but ‘legibility’ of space (O’Neill’s term) could prove essential.

How Is Planning Possible?

With so much uncertainty and speculation, is it really possible to make long term plans for the office? According to workplace design expert Despina Katsikakis, there is a way to future proof your workplace. She takes the view that adaptability will need to be designed and built at the overall facility level and the office level.

In her ideal scenario, “Space could be adapted for business shifts in ‘real-time’ and be continually re-aligned with core business objectives.” She sees workspace as being event driven, with a high level of dynamism and a focus on user choice and control. Generation Z won’t be the last generation to want to work in new ways. In the end, having the agility to shift with the trends (rather than finding one perfect layout), is the key. Let The Office Planning Group help you envision the most flexible way to use your space now and for the future.

Millennials and Workplace Design

It’s not surprising that employers often struggle to keep up with changing expectations for workplace design. The goal posts keep shifting with each generation. That’s been especially true for the millennials. This generation came of age during a profound shift in how technology is used for commerce. However, the oldest workers in the millennial generation have now reached their early thirties—and they’re old enough to have their minds made up about what they want and need in a workspace. Since they are likely to represent 3 out of 4 workers in the U.S. by 2025, their opinion certainly matters.

The Office Still Plays a Central Role

First, let’s be clear that young workers don’t see the workplace as an expendable environment. According to research from CBRE Group, Inc. young professionals don’t really want to be at home all day working in their pajamas. About 4 out of 10 prefer to work mainly from a single office location. Another 50% like the option to work from the office or from home. Only 7 out of 100 want to work mainly from home (and even they would probably change their minds if that was their only option).

Workplace Design and Technology Tips for Satisfying Millennials

  • Provide a mix of work environments to choose from within the physical office space. These employees appreciate autonomy and expect to be trusted to know when, where, and how to get their work done most effectively.
  • Ensure consistent and secure remote access to business data, apps, and networks. Millennials want to be mobile and expect business technology to support them.
  • Make space for face-to-face teamwork. Self-directed and impromptu meetings are common among younger workers who typically spend less than 50% of their workday at their individual desks.
  • Select mobile office furniture that can be reconfigured by employees throughout the day as-needed. Coming in to the office each day is a lot less boring when the layout is fluid.
  • Add ergonomic furnishings to enhance workstations. Millennials don’t care about having a big desk. They do appreciate having an articulated monitor stand so they can easily adjust a shared workstation to their needs at a moment’s notice.

For a full-scale review of your office space with the needs of the emerging workforce in mind, contact TOPG today.

Are You Fascinated by the History of the Modern Office?

You’re not alone. The development of the modern office is a topic that’s fascinated a lot of researchers and writers over the years. Today, working a 9 to 5 job in a cubicle is so mundane that most people don’t stop to think about how this whole lifestyle came about.

What are the origins of the office? What did offices look like in days gone by? What’s coming up next? Here’s an overview of some great in-depth articles on these subjects:

The First Grand Office

We tend to think of globalization as a fairly recent phenomenon in business. But one of the first purpose-built offices, and certainly the largest of its era, was devoted to international commerce. The East India Company was the hub of Britain’s commercial empire in the 1700s and 1800s. Generating, managing, and filing business correspondence required all hands on deck. It was the ‘paper-full’ office. The East India House had so many employees that management felt the need to institute a tracking program. At one point, they forced clerks to sign in and out—and to sign that they were present every 15 minutes. The BBC’s Lucy Kellaway recounts the details of office life in that era in her production “Beginnings of the Modern Office”.

Offices in the United States

According to the Arts Council at Caruso St. John, modern offices made a move stateside in the late nineteenth century. New communication technologies allowed administrative work to be centralized far from the place of production or distribution. In-office tools like typewriters and calculators allowed companies to collect the first forms of business intelligence for analysis. It was the advent of the knowledge worker, “The concentration of wealth in the new corporations required an ever-greater proportion of an increasingly literate population to work in the ‘white collar factories’.”

The Office Merges Back with Life

Jill Lepore writes eloquently and at length about the modern office for The New Yorker in Away from My Desk. She draws on the writing of Mills and Saval in “White Collar” and “Cubed” to paint a picture of the pointlessness of much office work. As Mills said, “Each day men sell little pieces of themselves in order to try to buy them back each night and week end.”

Saval is more of an optimist, believing that it’s time to start viewing the office itself as something quaint and outdated. He sees a future in which office buildings will be shuttered forever as workers go out into the world. While offices are probably not in immediate danger of extinction, they are certainly not the prisons they once seemed. Certainly with the right space planning and furnishings, they can now be a place where workers choose to go to be productive–even if they have the option of working elsewhere. For ideas on how to make your office space inviting, contact The Office Planning Group for a no-obligation consultation.

Getting Started with Office Daylighting

Office daylighting is a method of introducing natural light into the workplace to supplement or replace artificial lighting. Although windows are the most common source of sunlight for the office, even interior areas of a single story structure can be daylighted using skylights (such as tubular skylights). Gregg D. Ander, FAIA has written a highly informative report for the Whole Building Design Guide that covers this topic in a great deal of detail. He points to three main features to be taken into consideration for this type of design:

  • The actual entry points for daylight (size, location, materials)
  • The glare remediation devices (blinds, shades, redirectors, and diffusers)
  • The internal lighting system that should be working in concert with light from outdoors

What Elements of Office Design Impact Daylighting?

Some of the information to gather during the planning stages of a daylighting project includes:

  • The areas of the building that will be adequately lit during a typical workday (north and south-facing walls will tend to have most daylight in the New Orleans area)
  • How seasonal changes including cloud cover, shorter days, and daylight savings time will impact lighting patterns
  • Whether interior furnishings and finishes are resistant to U/V or if the glass used will block ultraviolet radiation
  • What supplemental lighting will be used for dimmer times of the day (such as desktop task lighting)
  • What type of responsive design will be used for overhead lighting (automatic sensing of daylight vs. timed on/off or dimmer/brighter cycles)
  • How office furniture is arranged and if this will put worksurfaces and computer monitors in the path of direct sunlight (causing an issue with hot surfaces and glare)
  • How large areas of glass may affect heating and cooling costs for the building (since even double-pane windows don’t moderate temperature as well as walls do)
  • Whether walls and ceilings need to be repainted to be more reflective (boosting the brightness from sunlight refracting through the space)

As you can see, everything from construction to office space layout matters in a successful daylighting project. If you’re considering embarking on this type of renovation, let us play a role in helping you uncover the hidden potential for daylight in your office. This might involve rearranging furniture, lowering cubicle wall heights, and much more.

Are You Designing an Outdoor Office?

outside office

Outdoor Office Collection from Herman Miller

Is an outdoor office in the future for your company? It might be if designers like Jonathon Olivares have anything to say about it. The mobile work trend has opened up many new buildings as potential workspaces. Employees may find themselves at a café, a coffee shop, a library, or even a shopping mall, checking email or performing other work-related tasks. Many of these facilities now expect that people will be using smart devices or laptops on-the-go and provide power outlets, charging stations, Wi-Fi, seating, and low worksurfaces to support these activities. But one massive space that’s been largely overlooked as a potential work zone is the great outdoors.

Working Outside the Box

In temperate regions of the United States, an open air office might attract a great deal of interest. That’s a future that Olivares has envisioned in some detail in his recent installation “The Outdoor Office”. The artistic 3-dimensional experimental models for this exhibit were featured at NeoCon 2013 and reside at the Art Institute of Chicago. The architectural components and office furniture for the al fresco workspace were conceived with inspiration from a very wide variety of sources in both the entertainment and office design communities.

While the idea of an outdoor working environment was originally met with disbelief by one of Olivares’ clients, the designer held firm to the notion that this future would become a reality. In fact, it’s already become common to see people working outdoors in good weather, making use of park benches, picnic tables, or whatever furniture is at hand. It isn’t much of a stretch to imagine offices taking advantage of their own outdoor real estate. Front lawns and landscaped areas could be equipped as flexible workspaces with furnishings that support focused work, collaboration, education, socialization, and presentation. Companies like Herman Miller and Knoll already have extensive collections of furniture that support work outdoors. Knoll’s line even features chairs by Olivares himself.

Considerations for Outfitting the Outdoor Office

Companies seeking to expand outside need to think about providing shade structures, orienting the partially covered workspaces to catch the breeze, and ensuring all materials can withstand local weather conditions. An outdoor office in New Orleans might need mildew resistant materials and additional ventilation to cope with humidity. However, the benefits of increased outdoor access for improving mood, creativity, productivity, and satisfaction for employees might be well worth the investment.