Four Types Of Chairs Every Office Space Must Have

Office FurnitureWhen outfitting your office with furniture, you need desks, conference tables and filing cabinets. You will also need the right seating for every space within the office. It may seem like a small thing, but the chairs that you choose impact on the comfort, productivity and happiness of your employees. The right chairs will also affect the way your business is perceived by your clients and other visitors. Here are three types of chairs that every office space must have.

Executive Seating

Head of organizations generally do not spend the entire day at their desks. Their office is more like a launch pad for the day than a space to spend time in. That said, top executives and managers must convey a strong, professional image at all times. The scale of the desk and chair, is a direct reflection of their power and position within the company. The materials the chair is made from are also related to the person’s position. Therefore, larger chairs made of leather, wood and other high-end materials are commonly used by business leaders.

Employee Seating

Since most office workers spend anywhere from six to eight hours a day at their work stations, comfort is extremely important. Therefore, easy height adjustment from a sitting position as well as firm lower back support are imperative. In addition, task chairs need arm rests to avoid fatigue and repetitive stress injuries. General task seating is the most and cost-effective way to keep employees comfortable and productive throughout their workday.

Guest Seating

From the moment clients and other people enter your office building, they begin to form an opinion about you. A good first impression will go a long way towards forming long-term relationships that are positive. The guest seating within your offices is also extremely important. Good seating shows your clients that they important to you and that you care about their comfort. It’s not just the padding on the seats, it needs a supportive back and arm rests as well.

Auxiliary Seating

Conferences, employee training sessions, meetings and other business functions need a different type of seating than day-to-day tasks. Very often, these types of functions require a large number of chairs in a small amount of space. For these applications, stackable seating is a good choice. Storing them is easy since they stack up neatly and take up very little horizontal space in a closet or storage area.

Choosing the right type of chairs for your employees and guests is extremely important. Every person that spends time in your office deserves comfort. Contact us to find out more about office seating options! We’re always happy to help.

Buy Office Furniture That Keeps Everyone Happy

Are you ready to buy office furniture, but not sure if you are making the right choice for all your workers? Last week, we explored a couple of common personality types and what kind of office furniture and layout they are most likely to enjoy. Featuring a design layout with a number of different work areas is one way to give most of the people what they want most of the time. For example, a versatile facility might feature a mix of:

  • An area of open desks for collaboration and continuous communication
  • Enclosed workspaces or “pods” for tasks that require high concentration
  • Small meeting rooms or breakout areas for small teams
  • A larger meeting room for group discussions or videoconferencing
  • A work lounge for employees who prefer mobile technology

Let’s Get Granular: What Should Workstations Be Like?

The overall layout is the macro picture. At the micro level, employee workstations are often very standardized. Obviously, purchasing office furniture in bulk is the best way to get a good price. However, you can specify modern office furniture that it is highly customizable to meet a variety of needs and tastes. Regardless of personality or work style, employees do feel more engaged and valued when they have some control over their immediate work environment.

Consider selecting office furniture that allows employees to:

  • Reconfigure the layout from time to time
  • Add or remove features (tool rails work well for this)
  • Raise or lower the worksurface height
  • Use supplemental pieces like a rolling panel to create a cubicle door
  • Increase or lower the height of privacy panels
  • Adjust lighting at the desktop level

When you choose customizable, highly modular furniture, you can meet your objectives of:

  • Purchasing in bulk for cost savings
  • A uniform overall look and feel for branding
  • Good ergonomics for health and productivity
  • Promoting high levels of employee engagement

When you have the right starting place and some good advice, it’s a lot easier to buy office furniture that employees can tailor to their needs, their tasks, and their personality. At The Office Planning Group, we’re here to help you find furniture that can grow and change with your office. Contact us to schedule a space planning consultation today.

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.

 

Choosing the Right Furniture for your New Orleans Office

used office furniture new orleansBuying office furniture may not rank as a top priority when you are worried about launching your new business,  but it does require some attention. After all, this is your foundation, your cornerstone, your centralized locale for all thing business related – and you may also have staff, clients and vendors who will pass through your space.

  • First, make a list of everything the office needs – for comfort as well as functionality. Don’t forget to consult employees about their preferences.
  • Basic needs include:
    • Filing cabinets
    • A book case
    • Trash cans for the office, reception and bathrooms
    • Coat rack and umbrella stand (this is more important than you think!)
    • Desks, chairs and computer stations for all office employees
    • Chairs, lamps and magazine tables for the waiting area
    • A conference table and chairs if needed
    • Break room amenities such as a coffee maker, microwave, etc.
  • Think about computer accessories and storage units, as well as the basics of desks, lamps and chairs. Space limitations may dictate the installation of mutli-use pieces.
  • Ergonomic desks and chairs  can save you aches, pains and future doctor visits. Don’t be a mean boss – make sure all of your employees have just as good working conditions!
  • You need light fixtures that provide moderately bright, uniform illumination. You may also wish to install lamps with focused or “task” lighting so all work areas and computer monitors are well-lit and glare-free.

Determine your budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend for office furniture, and don’t forget that buying cheap is not the same as having a reasonable budget – keep replacement costs in mind.  You can find used office furniture in good shape if you look around. Try the following:

  • Check out estate auctions and university liquidation sales as well as any sort of business that is closing or relocating.
  • Consult with others in your industry who have furnished their own offices for vendor recommendations.
  • Research retail and wholesale houses before making a purchase by Googling them and verifying info with the BBB or CoC.
  • Discount outlets, department stores, retail establishments, furniture refinishers and resale shops also may offer good finds, but go for quality and expect to refinish if needed.
  • Online purchases can incur high shipping costs, but some bargains are available, especially from wholesalers with flat rate shipping.

Your New Orleans office should reflect the professionalism of your company. Good office furniture is the right place to start!

Deciding on a Layout for Your New Orleans Office

office cubicles New OrleansHow do you decide on the best office layout for your company? A lot depends on the type of business you plan to run, the office culture you expect to house, and the individual needs of your employees.

In New Orleans offices, furniture may take a back seat to the people, since space is often at a premium. You’ll have to choose between huge lavish desks and having enough room for everyone to work. That said, certain office layout details can help promote productivity and a functional workspace.

Keep these concepts in mind as you set up your New Orleans office furniture in your new digs:

 A View

Try to set up the desks in your office so that all workers have a clear view of a window. In fact, when considering your office layout, make the windows the focal point The natural light and view of the outside world is inspirational.  An oblique view is best, however – in the bustle of New Orleans, a direct facing position can lead to distraction!

Consolidation

To save space in smaller offices, you can push desks up against each other so that the workers face each other. Use a small privacy panel if needed so each still has their own privacy when seated.  This can remove the need to purchase cubicles for your office, You should always allow at least a few feet of space between the desk pairings – and if it will work in your space you should arrange each pairing at different angles so you don’t have the sardines in a can feel that comes from lining up “corridors” of desks.  Make an effort to create a grouped or departmental layout, if you have many employees; for example,  keep the sales team in one area, the creative design and tech people in another, and reserve a corner for your own executive desk and secretary.

Centralize

Equipment such as copy machines, fax machines, printers and other production tools can be located along a wall if the office is small – eliminating cordage running across the floor – or for larger offices you can put them in a central location (this is great for new offices when you can request an outlet in the floor for multiple power jacks). Keep them out of the walkway, and  away from windows and vents.

Laying out your office is important- you and your team will be spending a lot of time there, and getting this right is one of the first things you can do to make your small business a success!

 

New Orleans Office Furniture Accessories

french deskYou’ve got a chair; you’ve got a desk; what else does your New Orleans office need? Accessories are a must when you are trying to impress, so stop and think for a moment about what you want to get across when someone walks in and how to get it across on your budget.

If flooring is a bit scuffed, a new rug can make all of the difference. Buying a used one and having it cleaned is a good options if you can’t drop a grand on a new Oriental – but go for something that won’t show stains if anyone tracks dust or dirt or mud into your office. A designer rug centered in front of your executive desk can make a terrific first impression.

Artwork for the walls is another must. In addition to any business certificates, college degrees, etc – you can have simple prints by well known authors matted and framed or even go local for some New Orleans art that complements your space and supports your community artists.

Lighting, if not built in and wired to go, should be bright but not too direct. Consider well placed tall lamps on the floor and a few smaller ones on side tables and fool around until the lighting is perfect. Don’t go for fussy and ornate – lamps attract dust and cleaning them should be easy. Switch out shades every year and get a whole new look.

Seating for guests should be comfortable and attractive. Go for a small couch or chairs with a fairly short seat depth and a cushioned but not overly soft seat so visitors don’t get lost when they sit down and require a crane for extraction. If your office may have clients come in with their children, have a children’s corner with appropriate quiet toys and books and a small table and chair setting.

If you have a large reception area,  a television with cable service is a good idea. This can help distract clients from their wait and add to the ambiance of the room. A plant is also fine, but pick something easy to care for! Overall, your accessories should complement your office, not overwhelm it.

 

 

When to Buy New Orleans Office Furniture

used cubicles new orleansAre you getting a startup off the ground in New Orleans? Office furniture is a must, but when do you depend on thrift store finds and cast-offs from friends and when do you really buckle down and buy the high quality, gorgeous office furniture you’ve always dreamed of?

Of course, you have to consider funding and prioritize first. Once you find and secure office space, take a good hard look around and see if you must do any work in it to make it workable. Do you have to allocate funds for customizing the space? Rewiring anything? Adding indirect lighting? It might be cheaper, if you are having an inner build done, to have lighting done as part of it and not have to purchase alternate lighting afterwards.

Once the space is ready, you can consider essentials. Your employees and clients need to conduct business. This means you need basics. Lighting (which you may have already taken care of), desks, and seating.

The problem with thrift stores  is that you end up with a rather undependable mish mosh of colors and styles. Try outlets for used New Orleans office furniture instead, that way you have a chance of getting several sets that at least look like they go together and will be more modern in style. Look for quality of jazz, and quality over quantity – a large, well made desk can double as workspace for two instead of buying cheap small desks!

Once you have the funds to really outfit your office properly, then you can purchase better New Orleans office furniture. Always choose with an eye to easy mobility if you ever plan to move offices, easy expansion for the time when you need more workstations, and comfort on the part of your employees and clients.

Don’t over-splurge on accessories at first – if you don’t have a decent desk you definitely don’t need an aquarium – but when you can afford it it’s the details that make the difference. When your business passes startup phase and is well established, you can look to upgrade your new Orleans office with furniture and accessories to make it really pop!

 

New Orleans Office Furniture Options Part Two: Chairs

leather office chair New OrleansWelcome back to the the New Orleans Office Furniture Options series! Last week we looked at the various types of desks you can choose from for your New Orleans office. This week we are speculating on the various chairs that are available for your office.

  • First, there is there standard desk chair. Base, four or five wheels sticking out in a starfish pattern, cushioned seat, and cushion or web back. These chairs may be fine for starters, but expect to have to replace them soon as they are not that durable and definitely not very comfortable. Your employees health and comfort may well depend on the quality of the chair they sit in for 8-10 hours a day, so think about employee retention when you buy things like office chairs!
  • Next, there is the executive chair; it is usually high quality leather and may or may not be rolling. Everyone remembers the infamous boss’ chair in the move Nine to Five – seeing that thing tip over backwards made for laughs in the theater, but it’s not so funny when you are the one going over backwards, cracking your head and seeing the twittering birds circle above you (and wondering later if your secretary dumped rat poison in your cuppa joe!) Make sure you get something both comfortable and professional looking.
  • Finally, there’s the chair of all chairs – reception. Making your consumer base uncomfortable is NOT a good plan, and cheaping out in reception is a sure fire way top ensure your clients are disgruntled if they have to wait for any period of time,. Look for comfortable chairs and provide a variety – some short seated and high backed, others large and plush. A few benches will not be amiss for those with children in tow or a large briefcase.

Office chairs are definitely an important item of New Orleans Office Furniture, and you should search for just the right pieces to ensure the comfort of both visitors, employees and management. Choose wisely and you won’t have to replace them annually, meaning better profits in the long run as well as happier staff and clients!

 

 

New Orleans Office Furniture Options Part One: Desks

french deskPurchasing New Orleans office furniture starts with your desk. What kind do you need, what kind do you want, and what kind meets all of your desires while fitting in your space?  The price tag is just the beginning – you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of  L-shaped vs U-shaped, and explore storage options and data capabilities.

What size desk is best? 

Buying a desk based on all factors EXCEPT size can lead to embarrassment on move in day when the desk won’t fit the space and you end up looking like an egotistical idiot.  Take proper measurements of your workspace (triple check) and make the size one of the main criterion when choosing your New Orleans office furniture. Remember that if you want to add guest chairs, a book shelf or a filing cabinet, that that will reduce your available footprint. Also take into consideration the doors in your office and how they open to avoid collisions.

What shape desk is best? 

You can always go with a straight looking executive, but also consider an L-shaped, U-shaped or double pedestal desk. An L-shaped or double pedestal desk will fit well in a small office, while a U-shaped desk is perfect for larger offices and instances where more surface area is needed or workspace will be shared. Don’t ignore corner desks – they can fit neatly in your space and are great if you don’t need client meeting space integrated.

Do you need storage?

Know your storage needs and the prospective desk’s storage options. Is there a hutch, a bookshelf, or but in cupboards? You should pick a desk that has enough storage to handle your needs.  You can also purchase a set with a desk and a separate hutch or shelving to make storing items neatly and out of the way a possibility.

What about color?

The style or finish is the final consideration. When buying New Orleans office furniture, you may want to match existing pieces. If not, go with your gut – will dark cherry or mahogany look better, or are you better off with a pine or maple finish?

The desk you choose should be something you will be happy with for a long time, as a new desk is an investment! Make the right choice!

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!