Common signs that it’s time for an office furniture refresh

Boring office furniture is bad. It might not seem like a big deal but dull furniture can actually make employees lazy, surly, and unproductive. And that won’t do if you want to maintain an efficient and successful company. An office environment reminiscent of classic Mary Tyler Moore show sets won’t inspire your workforce and certainly will not make an ideal impression on visiting customers.

If your employees are sitting at aged desks and perched on orange vinyl-covered chairs, it’s time for a refresh. Even a simple switch to bright colors will help boost productivity and instill an upbeat attitude among the troops. But how do you know when it’s time to take the furniture-upgrade plunge?

Change is in the air

If your office furniture is still structurally sound, in acceptable condition, and supports people and equipment; why not keep it around? Maybe you can get another year or two out of it and save a few bucks. Alas, even a subtle deterioration in furniture quality can negatively impact productivity. Let’s look at some common signals that it’s time to refresh your office furniture vibe:

Stuck in the past

Is your office lobby adorned with a couch and chairs with long-dated patterns or covered in an uncomfortable texture? Perhaps it is in shabby condition at best and detracts from a professional image. Investing in contemporary styles and function goes a long way in promoting your business and productivity within.

Space saver

If your company is young and rapidly growing, or established and expanding, it is likely you will soon run short on space and that always puts a damper on efficient operations. While you might indeed need a physically larger office, your current collection of furniture might be to blame. Old, unnecessarily large, and poorly arranged furniture takes up a lot of space. Consider an open floor plan with compact workstations or cubicles.

Dissent in the ranks

Proper posture at work is very important and worn out, uncomfortable chairs have the opposite effect. Work-related muscle injuries are commonplace and can take key staff out of commission for lengthy periods of time. Rickety desks and cluttered workspaces are also troublesome and if you hear complaints and concerns from staff, take them seriously and start researching sources for an influx of new furniture.

Not tech friendly

Today’s offices are designed to accommodate technology. Old desks lack cutouts for cables and employees end up with a dozen cables strung across their desks, taking up valuable workspace.

 

Choose cubicles to minimize distraction in the workplace

The now-ubiquitous office cubicle was invented way back in 1967 and soon found its way to offices around the world. Indeed, office environments all o’er the land were soon home to mazes of uniform cubicle layouts and other “cubeville” workplaces. And for the most part, workers loved them. Individual cubicles are ideal for providing an element of employee privacy while still fostering collaboration and team building. Cubicles also save space, offer customizable individual workspaces, and allow for seamless communication with colleagues.

In terms of privacy, cubicles remain directly linked to productivity. Most people are more focused when working in a private space and cubes also allow a person’s individuality to shine with a personal space within a team setting.

You’re distracting me

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of cubicles is minimizing workplace distraction, which can be nothing short of rampant in today’s office environments. It’s no secret that noise plays a big factor in staying focused on multiple tasks and completing daily projects. Peppered with distractions all day presents a challenging scenario for employees to stay on track and accomplish what they are charged with in their job roles. To that end, cubicles provide just the right balance of privacy and collaboration to maintain an individual space to focus on work, with the option of sharing ideas with a colleague next door.

Open office environments are all the rage these days and in fact sparked a widespread exodus from the traditional cubicle workplace. Fueled by the siren song of collaboration, flexibility, team-building, and creativity; offices everywhere ditched their tried and true cubicle layouts for wide open spaces, funky “privacy nooks,” and team gathering destinations. While this works well for some companies, noise and distraction are major drawbacks. The din of a dozen different conversations, racket from various office equipment, and a parade of “hey, do you have a minute” or “can we talk about the new project” can make it extremely difficult to stay on task.

Return to Cubeville

In an ironic twist, the mad rush to keep up with the open office trend actually spurred many people to flee back to the familiar comfort of their cubes. One of the most attractive reasons is community. Cubicles in place of private offices remove the hierarchy and promote a level playing field, helping employees feel included and fueling the sharing of innovative ideas and efficient communication.

Quiet individual work and team collaboration directly benefits a company’s end goals, saves valuable office space, and ultimately creates a united and productive business unit.

 

How to improve your office layout to get employees excited

It’s no big secret that the physical look, appeal, and functionality of a workplace directly impacts productivity and overall excitement of employees. On the flip side of that, an inefficient or drab environment inspires distracting habits that take away from the job at hand. If you want to inject a boost of morale and motivation in your staff, consider a new office layout.

Open office or private?

With the considerations and needs of your staff in hand, you can factor in the company’s culture, working styles, staff personalities, and your budget to determine the best fit. Open office plans have been a popular trend in recent years and tend to work great with startups and collaborative thinking environments. Private spaces, on the other hand, are also effective at inspiring productivity and excitement for their jobs.

Bring in some color

Colors have an array of psychological effects on us, including emotional and behavioral. Consider incorporating your company’s logo colors into the workspace to inspire pride, and bring in greens for balance and growth, blue to inspire intelligent thought, and yellows or oranges to stimulate happiness.

Let there be light

Lighting has an enormous effect on office morale and productivity. Natural light is critical to humans’ circadian rhythms and is proven to boost happiness. In fact, exposure to light directly impacts an office worker’s performance and overall quality of life. If your office does not have windows, consider mirrors or full-spectrum light bulbs.

A little flora goes a long way

The simple introduction of plants in an office can reduce stress and sickness, as well as dampen noise levels. Plants are also great at cleaning the air and “planting the seed” of creativity. Look for low-maintenance plants and others with color or unique looks.

Tap your inner artist

Along with attractive plants, artwork is highly effective in establishing an upbeat office vibe. Studies show that art directly enhances productivity and creative work, boosts morale, and offers employees an opportunity to personalize their workspaces, which subsequently lowers stress.

Switch up the amenities

Many times it’s the little things that make a big difference. Ditching the Ho-ho’s from the vending machine, for example, and replacing with healthy alternatives can charge up someone’s day. A place for employees to relax and recharge during the day can inspire excitement to dive into the next project with verve. On-site childcare is a big deal for many people as well. Knowing your little one is nearby is guaranteed to make you smile.

 

Health benefits of workstations with sit-stand desks

A large majority of today’s office environments include traditional workstations with cubicles, a desk, and chair; at which workers sit for many long hours every day. In fact, some people arrive at work, plop down in a chair, and remain there for eight or ten hours.

All that sitting is bad for your health. Studies show that employees sitting still for extended periods every day have a greatly increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even earlier death. Another immediate and more visual effect is weight gain, as just sitting in one place does little to burn calories.

But what choice do office workers have if they are chained to a desk day after day? The good news is new and versatile desk options are now available, including models that offer the choice to stand or sit.

Introducing the standing desk

Simply defined, a standing desk (or stand-up desk by another name) is an adjustable desk that allows a person to work while standing up. Many different models are available and most include simple controls to adjust their height to comfortable working positions. The desk can be returned at any time to a traditional position if the worker wishes to sit.

While research is ongoing, standing for at least part of the day appears to have noticeable health benefits and can boost productivity. To that end, let’s look at some of the benefits of a stand-up desk.

Lowered risk weight gain and obesity

We gain weight by taking in more calories than we burn, and the opposite is also the case. Sitting in one place at a desk all day does virtually nothing to burn calories and in fact we burn more calories sleeping than sitting in a chair for extended periods. Exercise is of course the best way to burn calories but standing during the work day, at least intermittently, is also a sound health strategy.

Lowered risk of heart disease

Scientific studies tell us that extended sitting can increase the risk of heart disease by nearly 150 percent. Even an hour of intense exercise doesn’t negate the effects of a full day of sitting.

Go easy on your back

Back pain is a common malady of office workers everywhere but standing desks have shown a significant improvement in lower back pain.

Boost your mood

Less stress and fatigue keeps us happier and energetic during the day, while sitting around trends toward anxiety and depression. A stand-up desk can be just what your wellbeing needs.

 

How to keep your workstation organized and efficient

You spend a great deal of time at your office workstation and as such it becomes a vivid reflection of your style, personality, and daily habits. Walk through most any corporate office and you will see desks and workstations that run the gamut—sparsely appointed and tidy, personalized with colorful decorations and photos, or cluttered with stacks of papers and general office detritus.

Whatever your approach to the work day, a critical component of efficient time management, productivity, and personal comfort is a well-organized workstation. Disorder and disarray is no way to accomplish important tasks and contribute to your company’s business but fear not; a touch of motivation blended with strategy can turn your office life around.

Find a flow

There is no right or wrong way to organize your desk. In fact, the best way ultimately depends on how you naturally work. Some people work left to right, with phone, computer, and other items on the left, ideally a clear work space in the middle, and completed projects on the right. Try different methods to find one that works best for you.

Save a space

When it’s time to arrange paperwork for a project and there’s not a single free space on your desk, you end up in an unexpected cleanup session while your real work sits there unattended to. Designate part of your desk as work only and don’t put anything there you’re not working on.

Go easy on the eyes

If your work area is cluttered with way too much “stuff” it’s probably stealing your concentration as well. Visual distractions tend to command attention, such as 100 sticky notes plastered all over the place. Tidy up and remove the non-essential.

Take a digital step

Digital work environments are hardly a new revelation but many people still rely heavily on paper and in fact, paper is a big contributor to a cluttered work space. Put away the paper to-do lists and establish a calendar, task list, and other daily activities on your computer and then sync it all to your phone.

Give it a polish

It’s easy to put off or ignore altogether, but giving your monitor, keyboard, phone, and desk a regular polish goes a long way to boosting your mood and energy. Keep basic cleaning supplies handy (at least a soft rag and gentle cleaning solution) and give your workstation some love.

For more information on organizing your workstation, contact the experts at Office Furniture Direct at (503) 546-1546 or officefurnituredirect-pdx.com.

 

Choosing the right size cubicle for your office

Office cubicle design, appearance, and their very personality have evolved significantly over the years, from stark, maze-like environments to welcoming and productive workplaces. Co-working spaces, desk sharing, and virtual offices are all the rage in today’s corporate world. Indeed, a thoughtfully designed cubicle space inspires creativity, collaboration, and even enjoyment to be at work.

Office cubicles as we know them first appeared in the late 1960s to suit office workers’ changing needs while offering privacy and personalization. New York City’s Federal Reserve Bank was the first office to use the cubicle scenario, arranged in simple pods of four work spaces. Modern cubicle design includes varying heights, shapes, sizes, built-in storage, and ergonomic features.

Size also matters when it comes to adding cubicles to your office and ultimately your particular needs will determine final selection. To that end, here are some things to consider for your next office renovation:

Standard office cubicles

Today’s traditional office cubicles come in a wide variety of layouts and sizes, and can be very spacious. They are typically designed for one person but have enough space for an extra chair and desk space for equipment such as computers and file organization. I-shapes and U-shapes are common and are typically available in sizes from 6’x6’ to 8’x8’.

Modular office spaces

One common criticism of cubicles is loss of privacy for office functions including human resources or financial services when private information is involved. A solution to this is modular offices, which are essentially high-walled cubicles (typically about 12’) with doors and a larger footprint than standard cubes. The walls are often glass or a type of paneling and often used for executive offices.

Call center spaces

Highly active call centers demand agility and small footprints and this is where call center cubes come in, with just enough space for one person and shorter walls and panels. Popular call center cubicles often include glass panels and come in sizes from 2’x5’ to 5’x5’.

Fitting it all in

Before deciding on cubicle sizes for your office, be sure to consider work surface, panel thickness, manufacturer, and ability to cluster to a specific layout. For example, a 9’x12’ option works well for middle managers or workers with more than one computer system or other equipment while 6’x6’ is a popular choice for admin and telephone support.

For more information on sizing cubicles for your office, contact Office Furniture Direct at (503) 546-1546 or officefurnituredirect-pdx.com.

It might seem inconsequential on the surface, especially in relation to everyday demands of your business, but a well-planned office space is a major contributor to company image, employee productivity, and enduring success. Space planning is your chance to give visitors and potential clients walking through the door a great impression with sophisticated looks and efficient design. Proactive organization also goes a long way in alleviating chaos when adding employees or revamping a department.

Most importantly, intelligent office space planning can build a welcoming environment and upbeat workday atmosphere; and that is the key ingredient to a positive, motivated workforce. Employees who genuinely enjoy working for a company tend to put in extra effort and apply their best skills toward results, and clients are equally intrigued to do business with them.

What is office space planning?

Simply stated, office space planning is an interior design component that arranges office layouts conducive to collaborative company tasks. It is a strategic approach to creating an efficient workflow and seamless communication, with the end goal of increased productivity and work quality while placing emphasis on employee comfort.

Indeed, space planning considers all elements of an existing environment including a company’s daily needs, how a space influences employees’ abilities to contribute, and what employees desire in an ideal work environment.

How to set up an ideal office space

Consider the central purposes for an office space as a whole, as well as internal departments, and design around them. Perhaps you want to inspire employee collaboration and more engagement with projects, while at the same time ensuring their comfort and workday health. Every little detail should be considered from cubicle arrangement and quantity to soap dispensers to drinking fountains and cafeteria pantries.

Holistic components such as an activity room, gym, or relaxation area are also popular and beneficial; and all must be planned and prepared for accordingly. Even seating arrangements come into play, and will develop to match an individual company’s needs.

Consider aesthetics

A good-looking office space inspires, reduces stress, and carries a company’s mission and personality throughout the facility. Office space planning is a critical component for business stability and promotes long-term growth. Employees working in a well-designed space with room to move and collaborate without worrying about disruption will soon become a company’s most valuable and productive assets.

For more information on office space planning, contact the Office Furniture Direct team at (503) 546-1546 or officefurnituredirect-pdx.com.

Essential Cubicle Cleaning And Maintenance Hacks

No matter whether your cubicle is in a professional office or a customized workspace, having a dirty work area is detrimental to your mental and physical health. Many people are in the habit of cleaning their homes but habitually ignore their workstations. To help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, here are some essential cubicle cleaning and maintenance hacks.

Wipe Down, Clean Up

Cleaning the items you touch on a daily basis is a great way to stop germs in their tracks. Common culprits include your mouse, keyboard, headset, and telephone. Suitable materials for this task include a microfiber cloth or disinfecting wipe, with the latter being more advantageous for group settings where you’ll likely be dealing with other peoples’ germs.

In addition to sanitization, it is a good idea to clear your workspace of any significant clutter by the end of the day. This ensures your workstation looks clean and is free of any potential distractions at the start of the next day, which allows you to approach your shift with clarity and peace of mind.

Deep Disinfectant

So you’ve already cleaned your mouse, phone, headset, keyboard, and telephone, now what? Figure out which spaces in your cubicle see the most traffic and wipe them down with disinfectant wipes. Doing this once at the end of every week is enough to keep your workstation tidy and germ free.

Don’t Let Trash Accumulate

When it comes to trash, companies typically take one of two approaches. Some hire a cleaning crew, which means all you have to do is make sure they did a good job and alert the proper authorities if anything is off, However, if you do not have a cleaning crew then you need to make sure you are taking out the trash at least twice per week. The accumulation of garbage and food results in disgusting odors and attracts germs and various pests.

Organizational Suggestions

No matter how frequently you clean, it is essential to make sure you are not overlooking anything. So set up a comprehensive schedule and make sure you adhere to it. This could include things like cleaning photo frames and pen holders, reducing the number of pens and personal items at your desk, and regularly cleaning cables, cords, and power strips.

Ready to take your office organization to the next level? Contact Office Furniture Direct to set up a free space planning consultation.

Important Factors To Consider When Outfitting Your Office With Cubicles 

Finding the perfect set of cubicles is essential for any business. After all, this is where your employees will be spending most of their time. To this extent, the right set of workstations will inspire contentment and productivity. However, choosing the right set can be a challenge.

Whether you’re outfitting a small space or an entire office building, here are some important factors to consider when purchasing cubicles for your office.

Keep Employee Needs In Mind

Cubicles that fail to meet your employees’ daily needs can actually be detrimental to your business. So before you decide on a particular style or brand, pay close attention to how your employees work. What are their tasks in the day and how do they go about accomplishing them? Does doing so require a certain level of privacy? Do they need any extra space? All of these are important questions that will have bearings on your final decision.

Budgetary Constraints

Odds are your budget is not infinite. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find stylish, reliable cubicles at a reasonable price. In fact, the odds are stacked in your favor, as most people tend to overestimate the cost of new cubicles.

Spatial Constraints

Maintaining a productive flow throughout the office is paramount to the success of your business. Cubicles that problematize or disrupt the flow should be discarded in lieu of something more adherent to your office’s spatial dimensions. So before you go out and buy the first thing that catches your eye, make sure to take room measurements. Doing so might inspire an entirely new approach or increase resolve as it pertains to your current trajectory. Either way, the productivity you inspire will reward you down the line.

Maintain That Office Aesthetic

While functionality is undoubtedly the most important thing to consider when selecting cubicles, it is good to keep your office’s aesthetic in mind. Maintaining a sense of unity will continually reinforce the core ethos of your business.

Ready to find the perfect cubicles? Contact Office Furniture Direct today. In business for over 15 years, they are one of Portland’s premier suppliers of new and pre-owned office furniture. Their comprehensive selection is sure to contain something that’s perfect for your project. Beyond that, they offer free space planning consultations where a staff member visits your home to assess the space and help you design a custom floor plan, as well as expedient installation by a licensed firm.

Workstation Layouts That Enhance Productivity

Ensuring optimal levels of productivity within a workspace is no easy task.  There are an incredible number of factors involved, some of which are beyond your control.  If an employee is having problems at home that occupy their thoughts, you can’t do much more than give them a personal day to try to rectify the situation.

However, there are plenty of areas where you can take steps to improve productivity on a daily basis, starting with the office environment you create.  The right workstation layout can have a major impact on productivity, and there are several ways you can plan for a layout conducive to enhancing efficiency and performance.

Adequate Work Space
Understanding what your employees do and how they utilize work space is essential to creating proper workstation layout, whether you’re measuring the square footage needed for each cubicle or desk area or you’re considering the optimal size of desk you’ll need and how equipment should be arranged.  The work area and furniture assigned to each employee should be adequate to accommodate the work they must do.

Organizational Tools
Clutter can be a productivity killer, so you want to make sure each workstation is outfitted with the organizational tools needed to ensure organization and efficiency.  This could include furniture like shelving and filing cabinets, or desktop and drawer organizers that coral cables, contain pens and pencils, and house loose papers until they can be addressed or filed away.

Ergonomic Solutions
Productivity can be hampered by discomfort, which is why ergonomic solutions have become an essential part of the office layout.  Ergonomic keyboards can help to eliminate repetitive motion injuries, for example, while ergonomic chairs and adjustable desks can reduce instances of back and neck pain, which are among the most common complaints from desk jockeys.  With the right ergonomic office solutions, you’ll create a work environment conducive to greater comfort and productivity.

Ample Lighting
Technically, this has little to do with the actual layout of the workspace, unless it centers on desktop task lighting, but having abundant natural lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to increasing productivity, so it bears mentioning.  Our circadian rhythms are based on cycles of light and darkness, so when we find ourselves in a poorly lit environment, it’s only natural that we start to feel sleepy.

However you arrange your workstations and work surfaces, you need to find ways to imbue your space with natural light, as well as artificial lighting that mimics the sun.  When paired with suitable workstation layouts, this element could significantly boost productivity.

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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