Four Mistakes to Avoid When Buying New Orleans Office Furniture

pollockOf all the things you have to do when setting up your new office, the most fun and the most frustrating is buying office furniture. New Orleans clientele will be looking at everything in your office to help them decide if you are the right service or product provider, so first impressions are hugely important!

Here are four common mistakes buyers often make when purchasing office furniture:

Not having a plan before diving in: Many people buy office furniture based on impulse, but hastily deciding on what office furniture to buy could mean very unsatisfactory results in a year or two. You have to accurately assess your needs; if you need an new office chair, ask the following: Does it have wheels? Adjustable height? Ergonomic back? Padded seat? Get feedback from current employees about what their preferences are as well.

Thinking looks tell the whole story: Aesthetics are important, but comfort is number one! Your employees, guests and yourself have to be comfortable. While aesthetics make things beautiful or pleasing in appearance, ergonomics factor in productivity and comfort.

Forgetting to test drive: Your New Orleans office furniture should be tried out – take your staff with you and give everything in the store a whirl. Ask about returns or trial periods – if you are buying all of your items form one vendor, they might be willing to take back or exchange anything that doesn’t feel right after two weeks.

Not thinking ahead: If you narrow down your choices to two office chairs, one a more expensive quality chair and one a less expensive run of the mill office chair, consider the depreciation and lasting power of each. Isn’t it better to buy a $500 chair (if you can budget it in) and not have to replace it for six years than to buy a $300 dollar chair that will be worn out or broken in less than two years? Don’t forget to factor in the incidental costs such as taxes, delivery fees, freight charges, shipping and handling fees, installation or assembly fees or extra costs for a warranty.

Planning ahead can make all of the difference and keep you from committing these four office furniture faux pas.


Trends in New Orleans Office Design Part Three

cubicles-overheadThis is the final installment of our New Orleans Office Design trends series! Read on for the last four trends you should adopt.

7. Since management typically gets 90% of the floor space in an office, but work the least hours, cohnsider revamping, Give engineers a large conference room for collaboration and have mangers take smaller spaces since they are back and forth and in and out constantly, and usually work shorter hours.

8. Remember that every job, task, worker and project is not the same – and one size does not fit all. Consider staggering cubicle and shared workstation sizes to allow for those who need more or less space and amenities.  Allow for interaction on every level, and pay just as much attention to privacy if required.

9. Cut out the drywall! It’s expensive, hard to change, and blocks the flow of your space. consider a hybrid blend of cubicles and open space, with closed in offices at each corner and a shared workstation and touch down center at the hub. People will be more apt to enjoy their work when the walls are shorter and they don’t feel as closed in.  Go for flexibility and arrange desks so that those who have direct contact with the public ar accessible and those who need to work undisturbed are protected. Cubicles can also be dismantled, shifted and reconfigured – the advantage of modular design is that there is never any being locked in to a specific plan.

10. Link the shell of a building and its infrastructure together, remembering that the walls affect the lighting, the sound and the mood, the lighting affects the mood, the productivity and the ambiance, the floors affect the noise level and the comfort, and the acoustics are always something to be considered. Offices designed with an eye to calm and peacefulness on average are 50% more productive than those that are not so designed.

Don’t forget to take into account how your business will change over time, and allow for expansion if possible without drastically cutting existing employees’ space. Better to leave some space open and ready for new hires than to suddenly cut everyone’s space in half to accommodate!

Thanks for reading. What are some trends you see in New Orleans Office Design planning?




Trends in New Orleans Office Design Part Two

used cubicles new orleansLast week we talked about the changing trends in New Orleans office design. Here are a few more to consider!

4. Provide a “Touchdown Space”. If you have employees who may pop in for a minute but don’t really need to have an assigned desk, a shared workstation with all the amenities can allow them to touch down, check in, log in if needed, plug up to a phone jack to check voice-mail or connect to the internet to check email. This can save a lot of space from being devoted to someone who is around for a few minutes at the start and end of each day.

5. Rethink technologies and consider using blended space for employees who need a place to meet for a moment.. A workstation for four with a conference phone, plenty of room for laptops and tablets and a screen for video calls makes teamwork a snap and doesn’t require the use of a huge conference room. his can be centrally located and used for all sorts of small meetings without needing to go to another wing or floor. Design so that no-one is more than 15 feet away from a phone jack, internet connection, printer or filing cabinet. Keep old files and new ones separate and improve the speed at which each team can work.

6. Take actual potential activities into account when designing space. Replanning buildings based on what people actually do instead of by preconceived conceptions of what an “office space” should look like can increase productivity and contentment. If someone can be up and moving during part of the day, many issues can be circumvented – among them stiffness, burnout, and even obesity! Having smaller workstations plus room for a touchdown, a conference, a private space for a break or a medication administration are all ideas we’ve touched on – but why not expand it to a library/media center, a quiet room where people can relax while waiting on a meeting and enjoy wifi, and other amenities that allow them to work where they want instead of being chained to their desks?

Check in next week for our final four New Orleans office design trends!

Ten Trends in New Orleans Office Design Part One

office cubicles New OrleansTrends in New Orleans office design – especially space size and configuration – are moving towards more flexible offices and an increase in shared space, with amenities added as needed for the specific vertical. Here are the first five of ten trends in office design:

1.  Collaborative space is a flexible thing. Everyone’s heard the stories about how cubicles stifle creativity but open office plans create chaos. True collaborative effort isn’t the norm in every industry, and many people work best undistracted. That said, even cubicle space can be adapted with varying heights and layouts to make it easy for workers to confab when needed and share ideas as well as space.Moving away from an open floor plan doesn’t have to mean a death knell for energy and spontaneity, all you have to do is remember who is trying to do what and within what parameters, and take into account that not everyone has the same work style, and design accordingly.

2.  The big private office for everyone is out. With the sky-high cost of commercial real estate these days, most companies simply can’t afford the footprint for individual walled offices with a window view. Smaller workstations arranged in a pattern around a central conference room or in a varying pathway format for ease of communication can serve just as well and prevent people from feeling like their autonomy and sense of personal space is completely gone.  An alternative work environment allows team members to work together when needed and retreat when serious focus is required.
3. Shared break space is important. When everyone arrives at work, pulls their chair up to their desktop,and spends even lunch at their desk, social interaction suffers. consider footprints and shave a foot off of every workstation in a ten unit row,  making 9X9 workstations measure 8X9. The remaining 10X9 space can be converted into a tiny lounge with a small table, two chairs, and a phone extension as well as a shelf for items or a coffeepot. Add a plant for character and people can spend at least a few minutes away from their desk getting to know a co-worker when needed. Add a door, and this space also provides privacy if an employee needs to make a personal call while on break, take medication, etc.

Check back next week for three more New Orleans Office Design trends!

Fun Facts About Louisiana

We are proud to be of service to the people in our beautiful and unique state of Louisiana! It’s been over 40 years now that we’ve been providing complete office environments for New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and all the rest of Louisiana so we thought it’d be fun to share some interesting facts about our charming state. How much do you know about Louisiana? Time to put your state trivia to the test!

Fun Facts About Louisiana

New Orleans Office Furniture – Making it all Fit

If you have an brick and mortar business based in New Orleans, office furniture that fits your available space is a must. However, many offices in older buildings are smaller than those commonly structured today, and the sprawling desk plans that are more palatable to many preferences simply don’t always fit.

How do you shrink your office needs to fit the space available? Here are three ways to create more space for your office furniture even in cramped quarters.

1. Forget the File Cabinets 

In the digital age, not every desk needs a filing cabinet. Everything each employee needs is on their desktop. Office desks with filing cabinets attached are unnecessary. Consider putting a unit in one corner and assigning each employee a drawer, or if you can centralize further, use the filing system office-wide for all and have one drawer devoted to individual employee needs separated by folders.

2. Cut Down on Paper, Period

Encourage employee to use digital options whenever possible. Scan in any documents possible, including invoices, receipts, and other small papers – use a back-up drive or cloud storage to avoid loss in case of power outage. If papers absolutely must be kept, file them and store every 3-6 months in a box clearly marked with beginning and end dates. Use email instead of fax when possible, and encourage tablet use for meetings to avoid having to print out multiple hard copies of presentations or files.  This also cuts down on clutter and eliminates the need for cases of paper.

3. Consider Using Smaller Pieces

It’s worth having the professionals come in and take a look at your available space and offer insight. The Office Planning Group helps new Orleans businesses efficiently fit their office furniture into their office space with room to spare, a clear flow for foot traffic, accessibility for items such as printers and copiers, and enough elbow room for everyone in the building. Smaller pieces of office furniture can be slid back to back, tucked into corners, or even arranged in a square with a common area in the center for easy access.

A well laid out office can make all the difference. Choose your puzzle pieces wisely, and your office will not only be efficient, it will be comfortable to work in and present a professional appearance to clients.


Using L Shape Desks in New Orleans Office Spaces

With prime office space at a premium in New Orleans, making the most of every precious square foot is a priority. The type of office furniture chosen to fit the space available is key. Picking the right shape, size and style of office furniture can lead to higher efficiency, more elbow and leg room, and extra storage space.  L shape desks are perfect for this specific type of office.

L-shaped desks are traditionally set in a corner, to provide a large work station for a single person. This can be a good option of the office is small and a centrally placed executive desk is impractical. However, it can be awkward if clients are regularly entertained in the office, as facing the corner to use a computer or check files puts the desk-user’s back to their visitors.

A better plan would be to put one leg of the L directly against the wall and ending in the corner. This provides a spacious workspace that faces the wall, where a calendar can be hung or a view out of the window is available. The other leg can extend to the center of the room, so that the office manager need only pivot their chair 90 degrees to the left or right to face clients across the open expanse of desk.

Other options for L shaped desks include the ability for two employees to share space without restricting leg room or bumping elbows. With one person on the inside of the L and the other on the outside, each worker has ample desktop space and legroom; and can share items such as a centrally located printer, power strip or assorted desk supplies tray.

Finally, for very crowded spaces, two L shaped desks pushed together so the legs meet forming an elongated U can create enough space for six workers, at a pinch. Alternating seating in the inside and outside provide just enough leg and elbow room and combination PC and monitor setups leaves enough space for office supplies if needed.

Consider L shape desks for narrow New Orleans office spaces and benefit from efficient use of square footage while keeping employees and clients from feeling cramped.

See the Desks New Orleans Colleges Get Jazzed About

desks New OrleansOffice workers aren’t the only people who need great desks. New Orleans students at the Loyola College of Music and Fine Arts do too! We’ve already talked about the project we did for the law school that is part of the university. But our work didn’t stop there. The educational institution also had a need for furnishings in a new “music lab”. This is where students go to learn about music education, performance, the music industry, and much more. The university even boasts the third oldest program in music therapy in the United States.

Of course, students in this setting need to get comfortable with using a keyboard. This is the go-to instrument for learning everything from music theory to rhythm, accompaniment, composition and much more. The stuff you can do with even an inexpensive Yamaha these days has to be heard to be believed!

Making sure everyone is (literally) on the same page during class requires having a place to put a separate keyboard for each and every person in attendance. Portable keyboard stands won’t do for this kind of educational setting. They tip over too easily and aren’t multi-purpose. Students need a durable, stable surface to hold their instrument. It also has to accommodate the electrical components of today’s keyboards and provide space for all the accessories. This includes both a computer monitor and a sound mixing board. Kind of makes you nostalgic for the days when all you needed was a good Hohner harmonica to learn how to play some great music…

Our Solution for a Game of Musical Desks

A benching solution on casters complete with data and electric management formed the core of the solution for this client. Comfortable task chairs completed the setup.

The Office Planning Group selected furnishings that could:

  • Provide a substantial surface for the instruments
  • House all the associated music and computer gadgetry
  • Offer each student an ergonomic and flexible learning station

The end result gave the “Music Lab” a modern look that fits with the university’s cutting edge music program. If your educational institution is looking for desks, New Orleans’ premier Office Planning Group can help you hit all the right notes.

Modern Office Furniture: New Orleans AMTRAK

office furniture new orleansTrains are a real blast from the past in terms of long-distance transportation. But they seem to be making a comeback due to the high price of gas. In fact, this “rail” way of getting from one place to another is quite romantic and can be a lot less stressful than navigating through traffic or worrying about car problems on a road trip. Of course, today’s trains are a lot sleeker and more comfortable than the steam engines of old. Along with that modernization of equipment comes the need for more updated office furniture. New Orleans AMTRAK location chose TOPG to revamp its space with furnishings that are a better fit for the electronic age. They wanted an office that looks as modern and efficient as the trains they help keep running.

Amtrak logoBringing AMTRAK Up to Speed

We used cubicle systems and modular furniture to achieve the look and feel this client was going for. Today’s cubes are a little more like passenger cars and less like box cars. They feature plenty of storage space for the “luggage” employees bring with them each day and for materials they’ll use at work. It’s not all glass and powder coated steel, though. In fact, wood laminate has come back into style in a big way (just like train travel is doing). So we were able to create a modern look throughout the office that will still look great in another ten years.

conference table New OrleansThe conference table is particularly nice. It’s on wheels – something you don’t see every day. It’s a fitting homage to the train and also a great way to make a meeting room highly flexible. Another thing we like about the finished project is that there are flowers in every room. Check out the project showcase slideshow and see if you can spot them!

Are You Humming Along Yet?

Thinking about the train route from New Orleans through Memphis and up to Chicago probably reminds you of music. You may have the song about the train they call the City of New Orleans running through your head. So, here’s the classic version by Arlo Guthrie to help you keep chugging along through your weekend. Sing it with us, “Good morning, America, how are you?

Why Cluster Office Cubicles? New Orleans Utility Company Knows the Answer

office cubicles New OrleansWhen you have limited room in your office, there are a few things you can do to help conserve space with your office cubicles. New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board is one client we helped with just this issue recently. This utility company deals with waste all the time, but they don’t want to waste space!

The water, drainage and sewerage systems in New Orleans were honored in 1973 as one of the top ten most outstanding engineering achievements in the state. We can’t say the way we engineered the spatial optimization in the offices of the Sewerage and Water Board matches that, but the solution our team came up with is pretty great.

Compressed Workspaces Don’t Have to Feel Crowded

The Office Planning Group got creative with this client’s offices to fit a large number of customer service personnel into a small space. Our goal was to create a work environment that was functional, comfortable, ergonomic and functional – and one that didn’t make workers feel cramped. That’s always the sticking point when you have to fit lots of workers in a limited area. However, we used clustered office cubicles to solve that problem.

  • These cubes aren’t actually square or rectangular. Instead, they feature several workstations connected together around a central hub like petals on a flower. The worksurfaces are narrower in the front and open out to a wider angle on the sides. This gives the sense of working in a more open space instead of a box.
  • Workers have panels in front of them to help dampen sound. This also helps create a little bit of visual privacy. They aren’t staring at their coworkers all day and have more of a sense of personal space. At the same time, the open back of the workstation means they don’t feel too enclosed. They can readily invite in coworkers when advice or collaboration is needed.
  • The wide V shape of the desktop provides space on both sides of the user without taking up nearly as much room as a traditional U shape desk. There’s even enough room for filing at each workstation.