Storage Solutions for Small Workspaces

One of the best ways to increase your work efficiency is to declutter your workspace. There’s only so much “stuff” a small office can contain, though, which can sometimes make things more difficult when you want to keep your workspace organized and tidy.

The good news, though, is that there are plenty of ways that you can optimize your work area, even if it is on the smaller side. Take a look below for some of our top tips for maximizing storage in small places.

Wall Mount Storage Options

When your floor and desk are overflowing, it might be a sign that you’ve overlooked one of the best storage spaces…your walls! People have been installing shelves for years. However, there are several crafty and practical wall mounts that have also recently become popular.

  • Pegboard systems are a great way to save space in your drawers and on your desktop. They can be used to hold office supplies such as scissors, headphones, and short cords.
  • Corkboards are great for posting or clipping notes, papers, and appointment cards. Even in a digitized world, many people prefer a physical reminder of upcoming tasks and goals.
  • Wall boxes are perfect for collecting office mail and for storing folders (especially for files that need to be shared with others!).

By using storage solutions that can mount on your walls, you’ll leave your desk open to be used for focused tasks, instead of piles of clutter.

Cord Organizers

The digital age has made the typical office look like a sound engineer’s booth, filled with cords and cables strewn everywhere. It’s not uncommon for an office (or a desk) to contain a laptop, a phone, a printer or copier, a tablet, and other electronic devices.

Cable organizers and boxes are an excellent way to collect and restrict cords by securing them to parts of a desk or a wall out of view — and more importantly, out of your way!

You can even get power modules to ensure that your office has suitable outlets to power all of those gadgets!

Baskets

There are plenty of attractive shelving options for people who want to save space in their office, but sometimes a better use of those spaces becomes necessary.

Containing smaller items that don’t normally belong on a shelf is an excellent way to eliminate clutter. You can open up a significant amount of space in the office by using baskets and containers of various sizes to store materials that you want easy access to. Because baskets and bins come in a variety of sizes and styles, you can even use them to make your space brighter and more personalized to your individual tastes.

When you’re simply stuck and want to optimize your tiny office, you can also consider enlisting the help of a professional space planner. It can go a long way towards designing that organized and unhampered office you’ve been dreaming of!

Relaxing Break Rooms:  5 Trends for Shared Spaces

Intuitive business owners know that relaxing and aesthetically pleasing workspaces can improve employee performance. Comfortable employees are less distracted and more productive.

This idea isn’t limited to isolated offices or cubicles. Most business models encourage collaboration and teamwork as central principles of their success. This makes it even more important for companies to fashion functional, yet appealing spaces that colleagues can share.

This includes the break room.

Let’s take a look at five trends will improve the utility of your break room, while also making sure that it becomes a place that is inviting for employees.

1. Take Advantage of Natural Lighting

Apart from offering the opportunity to view the world outside and feel a pleasant breeze, windows allow natural sunlight to brighten the workspace.

Our body’s natural rhythms are tethered to daylight. No matter what kinds of lights you have in your common spaces, they simply cannot replicate some of the things that sunlight can do, such as:

  • Boost mood
  • Reduce eye strain and headaches
  • Limit lethargy

Additionally, natural light saves on energy costs.

2. Consider Your Amenities

Too often, the break room becomes a catch-all that looks like a large broom closet. But its ultimate purpose is to provide employees a place to eat, drink, and interact with each other.

Consider how many of your fondest memories include time spent with others in a coffee shop or a pub. Food and beverages invite community. Separating out storage space and gathering zones can foster excitement in your workforce.

3. Think About Functionality

Populate your break room space with several different types of tables. A standing bar table provides relief for people who’ve been sitting all day. Side tables allow someone to sit on a couch with a book without also having to hold a cup of coffee. Round tables allow small teams of colleagues the opportunity to sit and converse.

When you’re thinking about seating, pay attention to how many people use the break room to ensure that there will be a place for everyone.

4. Get Creative with the Furniture

Tables and chairs serve an important function, but sometimes, an employee just wants to de-stress. This goal can be accomplished with strategic selections of furniture.

Beyond the standard couch or lounge chair — which can still be useful —  why not hang a hammock or a couple of swings in the room if the space allows?

And for the intense employee who best decompresses through physical movement, an exercise ball or a set of yoga mats might be a nice option.

5. Differentiate Your Spaces

No one enjoys a break room that looks just like every other room in the office. Consult with a specialist who can suggest color schemes, unique fixtures, or creative ways to use a conventional or outdated space.

Solutions for Noise in a Crowded Office Space

Many businesses are searching for ways to improve efficiency, space management, and collaborative working styles. Because of this, office spaces with open floor plans have become increasingly popular. While this type of floor plan can be helpful in some ways, it increases the likelihood of office noise.

In some cases, the distracting noise from a crowded office space can offset the potential benefits. Below, we will examine several common solutions for decreasing noise in a crowded office space.

Removing CPU Hardware from Desks

Many offices still store CPU hardware on the desks of employees. This not only decreases employees’ available working space, but also increases office noise.

CPU boxes may contain hardware that makes sounds, as well as fans to keep the internal components cool. A simple solution to this problem is to store computer hardware below the desks of employees.

In fact, some modern office desks are designed to store computer hardware below the desk’s surface. This will increase the available desk space and make the office space quieter.

Install Plants

While most people do not realize it, plants can help to absorb the sounds from conversations and other office noises. Additionally, environments with plants and other natural features have been proven to positively affect people’s moods and support psychological health.

Encourage employees to decorate their desks with their favorite plants. Some offices even install a “living wall,” which is covered with vines and other plant life. Plants are a great option for decreasing unwanted office noise.

Install Panel Dividers

Installing panel dividers in an office can help to maintain the advantages of an open floor plan without allowing noise levels to get out of control. Panel dividers can be used to create different zones in an office. Some examples include:

  • Quiet zones for work that requires concentration
  • Meeting areas for lively discussions and problem solving
  • Breakout areas for socializing or collaboration
  • IT zones to house stand-alone units and noisy equipment

Installing partitions can help to contain necessary office noise to designated areas. This allows individual employees to maintain their focus.

High Quality Office Furniture and Accessories

Beyond absorbing and containing office sounds, another way to decrease office noise is to invest in high quality office furniture. For instance, old and cheaply made desk chairs may creak or pop when they move.

Investing in first-rate office chairs can help to decrease the ambient noise of a functioning office space.  The same is true for a range of office furniture and accessories. Any accessory or piece of furniture with moving parts is a potential source of office noise.

When working in a crowded office space, decreasing unwanted office noise can improve productivity, collaboration, and efficiency.

 

What Are the Best Options for Standing Desks in Cubicle Office Environments?

Sitting for too long each day can have negative health effects. For instance, people who sit too much have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and early death. This presents an obvious problem for office workers, who tend to sit at office desks for the majority of their workday.

Because of the negative health effects of sitting too much, standing desks have become increasingly popular. Standing desks, also referred to as “stand-up” desks, are work surfaces that allow you to stand comfortably while completing the functions of an office job. Below, we will discuss some of the best options for standing desks in cubicle office environments.

Adjustability

The most important feature of a standing desk is the ability to adjust the desk’s height and position. Some standing desks are fixed in a particular position. Avoid purchasing this type of standing desk.

As we mentioned above, improved posture is one of the health benefits of standing while you work. Because of this, you may find that you stand differently at your desk after you have been using it for a few weeks or months.

In a cubicle office environment, there will likely be circumstances or particular interactions for which standing is not ideal. Buying an adjustable standing desk will allow you to lower the work surface and sit in an office chair when necessary.

Electrical Adjustment

Some lower quality standing desks feature a crank system to raise and lower the work surface. Superior models feature an electrical adjustment system.

Electric standing desks can be adjusted conveniently with a built-in keypad. Many models offer an automatic syncing feature to adjust to different users’ preferences with a single button push.

When considering a standing desk, be sure that it offers electrical height adjustment.

Sufficient Weight Capacity

When you are purchasing a height adjustable table or desk, the maximum weight capacity is an important factor to consider. Although the desk may only need to support a small computer or laptop on a daily basis, work circumstances in which multiple people are using a desk are likely to arise.

The average weight capacity of a standing desk ranges from 200-300 lbs. Buying a standing desk with a higher support capacity allows for multiple workers to use the desk if the needs of the office change. Some office workers require a range of CPU hardware, multiple monitors, and other tools that quickly increase the required weight capacity of their desk.

When buying a standing desk for a cubicle office environment, it is important to consider all of these important factors to determine the best option.

 

Plexiglass dividers may become commonplace in offices after COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we do business.  As more and more businesses slowly start to reopen, employers with limited budgets are having to find creative ways to modify workspaces so that it is safe for employees and clients to return. Companies know that employees are the most important resource for a business. Therefore, providing protections to ensure a healthy workforce is now a top priority across all industries.

When the World Health Organization first declared that COVID-19 was officially a global pandemic, businesses immediately began mandating that their employees wear masks. However, as the seriousness of this disease became more clear, companies began looking for other ways to protect employees and keep them healthy and safe while on the job.

Plexiglass dividers are becoming more and more popular in office spaces as a way to help block virus-containing droplets from spreading. COVID-19 is easily spread through talking, sneezing, and coughing. Now, employers are purchasing these protection products to ensure that they can continue to successfully operate through this global health crisis.

Plexiglass Dividers are an Ideal Solution for the Workplace

When Coronavirus plexiglass dividers are manufactured and properly installed, they can help to significantly enhance social distancing precautions and improve the well-being of both customers and associates alike. Adding plexiglass partitions to your office space is an easy, cost-effective solution for reducing coronavirus exposure by blocking infected droplets and keeping the virus from spreading.

Coronavirus plexiglass dividers are popping up in more offices to provide an effective barrier between employees and help stop the transmission of germs. They are also easy to install and keep clean, which makes them an ideal solution. Whether you need one or multiple coronavirus plexiglass dividers, it is the perfect solution for protecting your staff from splashes and sprays containing germs, bacteria, and viruses.

Businesses looking to safely reopen are doing so with sneeze guards and sanitary barriers that are premade for desktop and hanging options. Plexiglass dividers can also be built using custom dimensions and specifications. The dividers are clear, so employees are still able to see and interact with one another while remaining safe and protected.

Plexiglass Dividers are Recommended by the CDC

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends acrylic (plexiglass) sneeze guards and barriers in office spaces. The materials can easily be wiped down and are a great way to protect your staff members while remaining open for business.

The fact is, not all office spaces have an open layout design that can accommodate social distancing. However, plexiglass partitions can help protect staff when social distancing is not an option.

 

Latest trends in home office design as more people work from home

Working from home used to be something we had the option to do if we wanted to get ahead for the week or maybe finish up a few items that didn’t get completed at the office that day. In some cases, employers offered one or two “work from home days” as a workplace incentive. But now, thanks to COVID-19, remote work has become a reality for people all over the world. As businesses and schools have had to close their doors as a safety precaution, the pandemic has forever changed the way we operate and interact with one another.

As we’ve all worked to adjust to our new normal, creating a dedicated home office space has become a top priority. While some people are fortunate enough to have an extra room to use as a workspace, others have had to get more creative when it comes to working with smaller areas. Regardless, the next several months will see a spike in new home office spaces that focus on functionality, much more than aesthetics. Here are a few of the latest trends in home office design:

A Space that Reflects Your Style

If you’re fortunate enough to be working from home right now, then you have a chance to create a home office space that reflects your personality. There are very few rules here when it comes to artwork, decor, and other additions to enhance your productivity. Your office can truly be as creative as you want it to be. So go ahead, go bonkers! You’ll be surprised by how much work you get done in a space that is smart, organized, and stimulating.

A Functional Space

Virtually any corner of your home can be transformed into a work area. Getting creative about your home office space is a trend that’s catching on with more and more homeowners. Whether it’s a closet, a small corner in the hallway, a mudroom at the back of the house, or even an indoor porch area, people are finding ways to fit a desk and office chair wherever they can.

Video-call Ready

If you’re taking calls all day, then you’ll probably need a quiet area with an appropriate backdrop and a good wifi signal. This ensures that your office is both practical and productive. The key here is to create a workspace based on your specific needs. A room with sliding glass doors, for example, is a smart option for blocking out noise while allowing you to keep an eye on the kids.

 

Why Cubicles are the Way to Go with Modern Office Designs

The modern offices of today are full of experimental workstation setups and multifunctional workspaces. While it’s important to cater to the specific needs of your business with your office layout, many companies find themselves sticking to some version of the standard office cubicle.

Though the cubicle has developed some stigma over the years since its invention in 1968, its design took the office furniture industry by storm and has remained a staple in workplace layouts ever since. Here are a few reasons why the classic cubicle still deserves a spot in even the most modernized workspaces:

It provides privacy and individuality within the workplace. If you work in a busy office with a lot of employees, it can be easy to feel like just another cog in a larger machine. Having a cubicle gives each member of the team a predetermined spot to not only get work done but also hang pictures, calendars, wall art, and other personal items that help to make the workspace feel more individualistic and diverse.

It gives employees the ability to work in peace. Depending on the size and scope of your office, a workplace can become relatively loud with all of the different tasks being accomplished. Plus, distractions like breakroom snacks and water cooler conversations can make focusing on work difficult if your individual workspace doesn’t have any dividers from the office at large.

Though offices provide optimal privacy and separation from the rest of the office, it can also make employees feel isolated during the workday. The cubicle is a happy medium between closed office and open workspace, allowing employees to easily transition between individual work time and group interaction.

The design is customizable to fit any workplace. When most people think of a cubicle, they imagine a square closed-off space that separates employees from the rest of the office with a relatively high boundary. Though this cubicle design is incredibly useful and works well for companies that require mostly individual work from employees, it may not meet the needs of every business.

Many companies rely on face-to-face interaction between employees and clients as well as collaborative efforts between members of the same department. In order to meet these demands, many modernized cubicles are designed with fewer walls or even lower barriers between desks as well as predetermined seating for guests. Oftentimes, dividers between desks are designed to be added or taken away in seconds. This way, employees can interface with clients and each other while also having the option to close off their workspace for individual work time.

Want to learn more about modern cubicles and workstations? Contact Office Furniture Direct today.

 

Planning an Office Seating Chart with Social Distancing Measures in Mind

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the formats and protocols of businesses around the globe. Though many companies are choosing to remain in a work-from-home format for the time being, many are making the slow but steady transition back to office work.

Even if your company is making the switch back to business as usual, office life is going to look very different for a while. With social distancing protocols in full effect in the workplace, your team may be having trouble figuring out how to bring employees back safely while still keeping office work productive and efficient.

Planning Office Seating Charts According to Social Distance Protocols

Though the workplace may look and feel different than it did at the beginning of 2020, your team doesn’t have to sacrifice functionality or employee safety. Here are some of the best ways to plan your seating chart with social distancing in mind:

Be aware of high-traffic areas. One of the most important factors when it comes to office safety during COVID-19 is keeping workspaces away from busy walkways or areas where people tend to gather.

Whether you establish new direction-specific walkway protocols or keep your walkways as they are, make sure that no employees are sitting at a workstation within 6 feet of potential passersby.

Know the measurements of your office. In order to keep desks far enough apart for safety, you’ll need to know the exact measurements of boundary walls, pillars and doorways. Additionally, take note of available power outlets to make sure any employee that needs one will have access.

Provide visual cues for employees and visitors. Creating visual markers that remind your office’s inhabitants to follow one-way paths or stay 6 feet away from workstations will only make it that much easier for guidelines to be diligently followed. Plus, you can turn your visual markers into an opportunity for unique interior design with bright colors and individualistic signage.

If you need to group desks or use conference tables, organize it by department. Avoiding close workspaces is ideal; however, if your business requires face-to-face interactions between employees in order to complete tasks, make sure that only the necessary personnel are included.

Whether or not workstations need to be close together, keeping departments clustered can help to prevent excessive travel throughout the office, reducing risk of airborne pathogens.

Use transparent partitions when needed. Many companies cannot do their work without interfacing directly with clients or other employees. When this is necessary, a transparent partition between seats can greatly reduce risk of infection.

Contact Office Furniture Direct for more information regarding COVID-safe office furniture.

 

Helpful Space Planning Tips for Offices After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything from the way we conduct business to our personal lives and relationships. With many companies hastily switching from in-person offices to a work-from-home model, schedules have been shifted and so have the responsibilities of employees.

Though some companies have yet to transition back into some form of in-person work model and some have made the choice to stay remote indefinitely, many companies are already bringing employees back into the office as stay-at-home orders are lifting. However, as in-person work is slowly returning to the fore, companies are rethinking office space layouts and organizational plans in order to maintain social distancing and ensure that employees feel safe returning to work.

Unsure how to outfit your office space for a socially distanced world? Here are a few ways to rethink your workplace layout with public health and safety in mind:

Create a 6-foot distance between desks. Whether or not your office space utilizes cubicles and cubicle partitions, all workstations within the building should be 6 feet apart. This way, employees can remain focused on work without the fear of proximity-induced infection.

Offer remote work options for sick employees. Gone are the days when employees could come into work with a light sniffle or slight cough. If an employee feels even slightly under the weather, it’s extremely important for them to stay home as a preventative measure. Therefore, making employee tasks easily remotely accessible will allow sick employees to maintain normal output levels without potentially putting themselves or others at risk. If your company was already operating remotely before returning to in-person work, this shouldn’t be too difficult of a transition.

Use shields between interfacing employees or between employees and clients. Depending on the business, remaining 6 feet apart isn’t always feasible. If your employees need to collaborate face to face on projects or need to meet with clients in person, installing transparent glass or plastic panels can shield both parties while still allowing them to interact in real time.

Provide personal devices for employees. One of the best ways to avoid the spread of sickness is to reduce the number of shared items within your workplace. If each employee has access to a personal laptop, tablet, or phone, they can limit contact with each other and in some cases even increase productivity when compared to the use of shared devices.

For all of your socially distant office furniture needs in the Portland area, contact Office Furniture Direct today.

 

Cubicle Partitions: What They Are and Their Benefits

For those that work in an office, there are many factors that contribute to productivity, comfort, and morale. One of the most important factors is the employee’s sense of privacy and ownership over their space within the workplace.

In many office spaces, an individual office for each employee isn’t feasible; this is where cubicles come in. Cubicles can provide employees with a space to call their own that they can personalize to their taste. An important piece of the cubicle is the cubicle partition, which extends vertically past the desk to a customizable height that allows employees a feeling of privacy and separation from their coworkers.

Benefits of Cubicle Partitions

The use of cubicle partitions can provide a series of benefits for the productivity and overall health of your office space, including:

Personal space. Many people find it difficult or uncomfortable to focus when there are others around, especially if others are speaking or making noise. A cubicle partition provides the illusion of a solitary workspace while also helping to muffle any outside noise or conversation throughout the office.

Separation of departments within an office. Many office managers choose to separate the office by department or job description to make the transfer of information and materials between employees of the same type easier and more efficient. Cubicle partitions can be strategically placed to not only allow each employee his or her own space but also to separate distinct departments from each other within the larger workspace.

Sense of individual identity. When working in an office, it can be difficult to feel unique or individualized among other employees of similar job descriptions and backgrounds. Cubicle partitions allow employees to personalize their space with family portraits, art pieces, and other decorations that make them feel more comfortable and relaxed in their space as well as more in tune with their own identity while in the workplace.

A positive addition to office aesthetic. Cubicle partitions come in a variety of materials, colors, patterns, and textures, allowing each employee or the office as a whole to use cubicle partitions as a means for workplace decoration. Well-chosen cubicle partitions can completely transform an office space in a positive way, increasing employee productivity and satisfaction.

Looking for cubicle partitions or other office furniture items in the Portland area? Office Furniture Direct has you covered with our expansive inventory of panel dividers, desks, seating, cubicle accessories, and many more.

 

Let us take care of your office needs with a Professional Consultation

Take full advantage of your workspace by consulting with our team. When you schedule a free design consultation, one of our staff members visits your location to assess your available space and help you design a floor plan for your new office furniture that meets all your functional and stylistic needs.

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