From organization to collaboration, technology is helping businesses of all sizes to thrive!
Integrating just one or two new tech elements into your usual office routine can increase productivity and streamline operations. Read on for our pick of the five best tech tools you need today.
You can’t have too many dry erase boards in the office. They are a staple of every meeting and brainstorming session.
But for those times when you want to impress, an interactive whiteboard lets you share, research, sketch and collaboratively make notes.
This technology helps team members work more productively together by keeping programs and internet access open to everyone at the same time.
Nothing is better than a friendly human face greeting and directing visitors when they come through the front door of your office, but a full-time receptionist isn’t always feasible for every business.
Visitors can use a digital receptionist to check themselves in for convenience and security. A digital receptionist ensures there is “someone” keeping track of visitors even when an employee is unavailable.
Everyone has unique ideas about what makes a great desk. Some employees prefer lots of drawers, while others would rather store their supplies in a cabinet.
One thing everyone can agree on is that a desk should be tech-compatible. Furnishing your office with desks with built-in cable grids and charging docks for mobile devices is an upgrade everyone will appreciate.
A loud workspace makes it hard for some employees to concentrate. White noise machines or even low-volume music meant to make other noises less bothersome can end up being one more distraction.
Providing noise-canceling headphones for employees may be a better option. Headphones help workers stay focused and may boost productivity.
Turn any desk or table into a keyboard with a full QWERTY laser keyboard. This portable keyboard makes it easy to take notes during a meeting or jot down a few thoughts while listening to a presentation.
There is no need to lug around a laptop; just lay the laser keyboard on any flat surface and get to work.
Office Direct Furniture is your best source for comfortable, stylish, tech-friendly business furniture that can help your office get work done. Contact us today for all of your office furniture and storage needs!
Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act law to prohibit employment discrimination against people with disabilities and to ensure equal access to public buildings.
Not all businesses and organizations are legally required to comply with ADA regulations, but most are, including:
- Any business that is open to and dependent on the general public
- Any privately run company that employs 15 or more people
- All local, county, state, and federal agencies
- Charitable and non-profit organizations which either operate for the benefit of the public or employ 15 or more people
Ensuring that your office is ADA compliant not only protects you legally — it’s also the right thing to do.
Office managers are responsible for making sure their spaces are accessible to everyone. The following checklist includes many, but not all, of the adaptations necessary to comply:
Doors should be at least 32 inches wide to accommodate wheelchairs. Double doors should be left open if each door is fewer than 32 inches.
Doors should not require more than five pounds of force to open. Heavier doors should be kept open or open automatically. This stipulation includes doors for restrooms that are designated as ADA compliant.
If they are intended to be used for conducting public business, cubicle entrances must also be at least 32 inches wide to allow access by wheelchairs.
Conference tables should be at least 27 inches high so that individuals in wheelchairs have clearance for their knees.
Shelving or other items affixed to the wall and protruding more than four inches present a hazard to the vision impaired.
These items should be placed no more than 27 inches from the floor to be detectable by a blind person’s walking cane.
Large print or alternate reading formats should be available for the vision impaired.
Tactile (Braille) signs indicating room numbers, exits, and other important information should be mounted 60 inches from the floor and have clear access with no cabinets, tables, or other items blocking them.
Providers should display brochures and other informative documents within reach of individuals in a wheelchair, approximately 15 to 48 inches from the floor.
Office Furniture Direct can help you make certain your office is accessible and welcoming to everyone—visitors and employees alike. Contact us today for more information about ADA-compliant furniture and more. We are here to help you do your best work!
Pop culture has painted the cubicle as a restrictive office accessory. Cubicles are small, says pop culture; they’re oppressive and not designed for collaborative spaces.
This is not the case. Cubicles rose in popularity due to their effectiveness and versatility. As your team moves back into the office, you can use cubicle installations to your advantage.
Some of a cubicle’s most effective in-office features include:
Cubicles add surface area to any office they’re in. They create active hubs for employees to gather together at. While cubicles are not as inherently social as workstations, that versatility is to their benefit.
Your employees can use cubicles to either set themselves apart from their coworkers or to co-mingle. Employees who thrive when left on their own can have the space to work, while teams that do better together can share their ideas and progress.
In this way, cubicles are employees’ free spaces to do with as they wish.
An open office is a noisy place. After over a year spent working from home, your team may not be used to working alongside one another just yet. As such, noise barriers can help your team stay on track.
Cubicles are among the most versatile and inconspicuous noise barriers you can place in an office. That’s because cubicles, at first glance, don’t look like noise barriers. The walls of a cubicle, however, can create a semi-private atmosphere for employees, allowing them to focus on their work without losing access to your office’s more social spaces.
What’s more, cubicles muffle additional noises by limiting how far soundwaves can travel. When you install cubicles around hard surfaces — the ones that usually bounce sound back at you — music, typing, and other workplace noises won’t be as overwhelming.
Nothing makes an office feel more like home than a bit of customization. Cubicles may not be large, but they do allow individualization better than workstations do. As your team settles back into regular office life, they can bring parts of their homes with them.
With that being said, you can limit what kinds of accessories your employees bring from home. While blankets and heaters are acceptable during the winter, you may want to limit employees’ use of personal mini-fridges or blow-up pools.
Let your team know, then, that customization is encouraged within reason, and you’ll start to see signs of new life and energy making their way around the office.
Cubicles have a bad reputation. With a little bit of work, though, you can change the way your team views these office accessories.
If you’re looking to customize your office, let the team at Office Furniture Direct help. Get in touch with a team representative to discuss your latest project.
The pandemic has transformed the modern workplace. Have you kept up with the newest workstation trends? If not, don’t worry. You have a bit of time. Before your team makes it back to the office, you can optimize your shared workstations to promote greater efficiency and community once in-person business resumes.
To create a practical, post-pandemic workstation, you can:
Encourage Engagement, Limit Your Numbers
Employees flock to workstations for the chance to socialize. This communication between offices in your building makes it easier for teams to hash out problems and come up with creative innovations for future projects.
That said, you can also reduce the size of your workstations to better control in-office socialization. When your team can work in groups of four to six, they tend to retain their efficiency without sacrificing in-office socialization. With that in mind, make sure your workstations can comfortably fit a reasonable number of people, but don’t be afraid to curb their size.
Keep Up-to-Date With Technology
More and more employees are working from home these days. Whether some of your team has gone remote or you’ve adopted a “clubhouse” workstyle, your workstations need to stay up-to-date.
Optimize your workstations with all of the technology necessary for A+ communication. This can include charging stations, video cameras, microphones, and Ethernet cables. The simpler it is for your team to connect, the more efficient your office will be.
Account for Your Staff’s Needs
Each of your staff members goes about their day differently. For example, some of your staff can take advantage of active workstations, while others need consistent access to chairs or other mobility aids.
Keep the needs of your office in mind while optimizing your shared workstations. The more people are able to use your workstations, the more social and productive your office is going to be.
Retain Your PPC
COVID-19 has not gone away. The pandemic changed the way employees prefer to communicate with their offices, so don’t get rid of your workstation PPC just yet! Instead, consider integrating these safety measures into your new office setup.
While you can discuss your team’s preferred protections with them individually, giving them the option to continue protecting themselves when at shared workstations will make everyone feel as though their concerns are being taken seriously.
Improve Your Shared Workstations with Office Furniture Direct
As employees move back to the office, your workstations need to suit their needs. Whether this means keeping your PPC or adding new means of communication, it’s easier than ever to invest in essential office upgrades. Get in touch with the team at Office Furniture Direct to learn more about the accessories available for your office’s workstations.
Guide for Sizing Your Cubicles: 4 Things to Keep in Mind
Designing a new cubicle in a workspace can be a stressful process, especially if you’re working around obstacles like printers, lighting fixtures, pieces of furniture, or other objects. However, the process can also be a fun and fulfilling one if you make sure to plan properly.
Ready to expand your office space and optimize your company’s workflow with a few new cubicles? Here are 4 helpful tips for sizing your new cubicle in order to make the addition effective.
The Size of the Surrounding Area
Measure the available space in the room. Map out a basic drawing with potential placement for your cubicles. This includes the square footage of your cubicle’s panel dividers and the edges of your desks, as well as any aisle space you may need to maintain between workspaces.
While planning your space, make sure that you include any objects that could get in the way of your office furniture, including radiators, windows, doorways, or other intrusions.
Access to Electricity and Internet
One of the most important parts of any cubicle is its electrical access. If you don’t have an outlet at your disposal in your cubicle, you will likely find it extremely difficult to maintain a good output throughout the day.
Many companies have invested in WiFi connections for their offices in order to make Internet access easy for employees. However, if you need to have an Ethernet connection for your employees’ computers, it’s important to make sure hookups are easily accessible.
Your Accessory Wish List
The accessories that you can include in your new cubicle will depend on the size and shape of your design. Have your eye on a specific desk, chair, or divider? You’ll need to gauge which pieces of furniture and accessories you can incorporate into your cubicles while still providing enough space to comfortably move around.
Your Co-Working Style
Is your new cubicle designed to provide privacy for a single employee? Will it include 3 or 4 desks to allow collaboration between team members? If multiple team members will be working within a single space, make sure to allow room for rolling chairs to slide back, drawers to be opened, and documents to be stored effectively.
Many businesses benefit greatly from the combined efforts of employees that work together. A detailed cubicle design can greatly help these efforts.
Need high-quality furniture, desks, panel dividers, or cubicle accessories for your new workspace? Contact the team at Office Furniture Direct for innovative solutions for your office.
New Trends in Shared Cubicles
Returning to the office in the days after COVID-19 will be exciting for everyone. Anyone sharing a cubicle may still face germ-related stress, though, considering their close proximity to other employees.
You can address these concerns by following the example of your industry peers. Take advantage of these new shared cubicle trends, and your team should return to full functionality in no time at all.
Accommodate for Movement
Upon returning to the office, your team members in shared cubicles will still want access to that freedom of movement. One of the easiest ways to ensure they get it is to install convertible desks.
Desks that allow for both standing and sitting work keep your team active, even as they remain in shared cubicle spaces. The adjustable nature of these desks even allows them to change positions throughout the day, ensuring their comfort as well as their productivity.
Spring for Green
Additional greenery in the office does more than just boost your employees’ moods (though it is pretty fantastic for morale). A plethora of plants in shared cubicles helps maintain the air quality in that space, too.
Put a limit on the size of plants you want employees to bring into the office and where they can be placed. Not only will the greenery make each shared cubicle a little more lively, but the benefits to your office’s air quality will be universally appreciated.
Keep Your Team’s Health in Mind
2020 introduced new concerns regarding the safety of many shared office spaces. These concerns become especially poignant if you have your employees sharing cubicles.
Accommodate employees that want to maintain their distance in a shared cubicle space. This can mean equipping your employees with plexiglass barriers upon request. It can also mean placing hands-free hand sanitizer stations at the end of every cubicle row.
Let your employees set the tone for your office’s improved health and safety model. Teams in shared cubicles have more exposure to one another and have the right, in turn, to take the steps that they deem necessary to protect themselves from illness.
The past year has forever changed how people interact with their office spaces. As businesses in your area reopen, you need to be ready to meet your employees’ needs.
For help arranging a comfortable, healthy office, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled professionals. Contact the team at Office Furniture Direct today.
5 Tech Tools to Enhance Your Meeting Rooms
As employees slowly migrate back into the office, face-to-face meetings will likely start to become the norm again. Having the right conference room equipment can boost participation and help streamline daily processes.
Investing in modern meeting room technology can also make all the difference between a highly engaging meeting that energizes your teams and another meeting that “could have just been an email.”
Here are the top five tech tools you need to have in your meeting rooms to better engage your staff.
1. Wireless Presentation Displays
After putting huge amounts of energy into creating the perfect presentation, you want it to go smoothly. Nothing is worse than setting up for a meeting or a presentation and getting caught up in a spider web of tangled cords and wires. They’re distracting, frustrating, and unattractive.
Instead, make things easier for everyone and opt for a wireless presentation display.
2. Performance Power Modules
Performance power modules for conference tables offer convenient and attractive ways to streamline the connectivity of a meeting room. It’s an elegant solution to a common problem. Everyone in the conference room can have convenient access to the power modules as needed, but they can also be safely tucked away when they’re not in use.
3. Interactive Whiteboards
Interactive whiteboards aren’t just great for classrooms; they provide a number of business benefits, as well. With these innovative tools you can enjoy:
- Fewer delays
- More engaging presentations
- Better overall meeting culture
- Easy access for remote staff
- Increased collaboration
Plus, the interactive features are a fun, hands-on way to liven up any office meeting.
4. Glass Dry Erase Boards
Remember those white dry erase boards that used to sit in every meeting room? The ones that would inevitably get stained in various colors over time?
Now, more and more businesses are turning to glass dry erase boards. These elegant panels come in a variety of sizes and accommodate those same dry erase markers, while perfectly complementing your room design.
Write down meeting notes with ease when you highlight your room with one or more panels.
5. Mountable Power Systems
Meeting rooms are often used for a number of purposes. When you want to enjoy highly flexible space that is equipped to meet the needs of your technology, a mountable power system might be just what you need.
Add these innovative, easy-to-use power systems under tables. You can rearrange your surfaces as needed, moving tools like projectors and presentation software anywhere you like, all while knowing that power is close at hand.
Get Office-Ready with Office Furniture Direct
Are you interested in redesigning your conference rooms? At Office Furniture Direct, we offer full design consultations to make sure you and your team have everything you need. Visit us online or give us a call to learn more.
4 Ways to Spice Up Your Cubicle Design
As people head back to the office after spending the past year working from home, previously deserted office spaces might seem a little…empty. Your employees spend 40 hours a week at their desks, so why not turn their cubicles into something that feels more like home?
Here are four tips to help your cubicles to spark joy.
1. Add a Touch of Class with Wood Trim
Gone are the days of gray, bare cubicle walls. With options for glass and wood trim, you can elevate the look of your workspaces. As an added benefit, these handsome partitions can help you to leverage the natural light provided by your exterior walls, spreading the sun throughout your work areas.
2. Add Some Office-Friendly Plants or Fresh Flowers
Not only do plants and fresh flowers look great and add a pop of color to your cubicles, but they are also proven to help increase focus and productivity.
Some other benefits of keeping plants at your desk include:
- They are stress reducers
- They purify the air
- They can reduce noise levels
- They’re creativity boosters
Breathe some life into your workspaces and make your shelves and storage spaces pop with decorative potted plants that match your color scheme.
3. Create a Backdrop
While most cubicle panels are available in a neutral gray, employees can easily use patterned fabric to create accent panels in various colors and styles. This will spice up the gray walls. Pick a color scheme and go crazy!
Pro Tip: If you use fabric to decorate the walls of your cubicles, add a matching throw pillow for your desk chairs using the same fabric. Now, you have a space that is cozy and comfortable, while still having a designer look.
4. Hang Photos and Art
Allow your employees to add some personal touches to their space. They might want to hang photos of loved ones, a picture of their pet, or personalized art. They can also hang professional certifications and awards. These little reminders of life outside of work can spark glimmers of joy and make employees smile throughout the work day.
To highlight the workspace and make it even more functional, add task lights that can illuminate personal touches, while shining a soft glow over the projects that your employees are working on.
Get Office-Ready with Office Furniture Direct
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.
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!
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.