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.

 

First Impressions:  5 Ways to Optimize Your Reception Desk

When new customers visit your business, their experience at the front reception desk will often be their first impression of your brand. Depending on your business, visitors to the office may spend anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes in your waiting area.

When new visitors have a positive experience at reception, they’re more likely to come back again. Looking to optimize your reception desk and wow your visitors? Here are 5 tips to help you do just that.

Use Warm, Natural Lighting

Harsh fluorescent lighting can make visitors feel uneasy or on edge. Natural lighting and light fixtures with warm tones will help everyone in your reception area, including reception staff, feel much more at home and relaxed.

If you have windows, make sure to take advantage of the natural light coming through. If you don’t have a way to bring in natural light, warm light fixtures can still help to put everyone in your reception area in a better mood.

Don’t Sacrifice Comfort for Aesthetics

A big mistake that companies make when designing their reception area is to choose seating options– and even reception desks and chairs — that fit a certain style, but aren’t actually comfortable for those who use them.

A clear design theme is important in your reception area, but if your visitors aren’t comfortable in your seating, it can leave them with a negative impression of your services. Try out various seating options and arrangements first to make sure they’re comfortable.

Provide Free WiFi

In today’s connected world, many people regularly check their social media accounts or work from their phones or tablets. With free WiFi, your visitors will be able to surf the web while waiting in your seating area, making the time go by much faster and improving their overall experience.

Decorate with Plants

Plants are proven to help people feel calmer and more at peace. Not only will more plant fixtures near your reception desk soothe your visitors, but they’ll also boost the aesthetic value of your office exponentially.

Add plants throughout your space on end tables. As an added bonus, tables can give visitors a chance to pick up literature about your company or take a business card while they wait.

Offer Refreshments

Impatient visitors are likely to become even more frustrated by their wait time if they’re hungry or thirsty. Improve their experience by offering cold water, small snacks, and other refreshments at your reception desk.

Want to learn more about optimizing your reception space? Contact the team at Office Furniture Direct for more ideas!

 

 

3 Creative Ways to Rethink Your Workstations

Your office’s workstations can be interactive hubs or quarries of individualism, depending on your design. As you invite employees back into the office, you’ll want your workstations to reflect your company’s post-COVID-19 values.

Here are some tips to get started!

Prioritize Organization

This process can be as simple as investing in additional cabinets for office supplies or installing new racks in every desk drawer. It can be as complicated as installing convertible furniture in each of your workstations.

By approaching your design with organization as the focus, you can help to streamline tasks and make it easier for employees to be productive within your workstations. Whether employees have assigned spaces or they access common stations meant for use by multiple teams, everyone benefits from a well-organized setting!

Discuss which organizational methods might best suit your team with your managers. Once you do, you’ll have a better idea of which pieces of furniture or items may help your employees to retain their productivity throughout the day.

Don’t Be Afraid to Add Color

A pop of color can make a space that was once barren a bit more welcoming. Add lamps with red bases or even wall art, and your office’s workstations can become extremely inviting.

Certain colors can imbue a space with energy, while others are more calming. Decide what type of vibe you’d like your office to showcase and dress your common areas and cubicles accordingly.

Promote Social Distancing with Design

Even as the pandemic winds down, there are still reasonable health concerns that may prevent some of your employees from feeling comfortable in an office. Take those concerns into consideration as you rethink your workstations.

Make sure each of your employees has enough room to keep to themselves in your remodeled workstations. This can mean embracing larger tables or bringing fewer chairs into each workspace. You may even choose to retain plexiglass barriers in your workstations until the majority of your office has been vaccinated.

As an added bonus, you may find that spreading out your workstations allows your employees to become more productive, as there will be fewer distractions in close proximity!

Contact Us

Are you rethinking your workstation designs? Let us put our fifteen years of experience to work for you. At Office Furniture Direct, our team can help you find the office furniture and supplies you need to keep your space comfortable.

Reach out today to schedule a design consultation with the team at Office Furniture Direct. Contact us online or give us a call.

 

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.

Contact Us

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.

 

 

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.

 

How Big Should the Cubicles in Your Office Be?

The nationwide shutdowns that marked the early part of 2020 have slowly lifted, allowing more businesses to resume operations, but “business as usual” simply isn’t an option with the threat of COVID-19 lingering.  This has forced companies to rethink how their office settings function.

Before, it was fine to have rows of connected cubicles, or even open office environments devoid of barriers between desks, providing teams with opportunities to collaborate.  Now, everything has changed, and in addition to improving ventilation and increasing cleaning and sanitization, many businesses have to create entirely new layouts for seating, in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

The good news is, you can easily add barriers between workers when you include cubicle walls around desks, in addition to placing them six feet apart.  However, when modifying your floor plans, you’ll also have to consider the size of your cubicles, because of course, the square footage they claim will impact the number of workers you can fit into any given space.  How big should cubicles be?

Economy versus Performance

On the one hand, smaller cubicles allow you to plan a layout that includes more work stations in any given space.  Since you’re already losing space to social distancing, you naturally want to make the most of the space you have left.

Unfortunately, squeezing workers into teeny-tiny cubicles may not provide the best environment for productivity, or safety.  Consider, for example, a small work station with just enough room for essentials like a computer, a phone, and a small filing cabinet.

While it will get the job done, employees will have to leave their desk to use any other equipment (like a printer, for example).  This wastes time over having individual printers at employee desks, but it also creates greater opportunity for virus transmission as employees move through the office and interact with high-touch surfaces (printer buttons/touchscreens).

With larger cubicle and work spaces allotted to each employee, you’ll not only increase productivity and safety, but likely improve employee morale, as opposed to cramming workers into cramped, claustrophobic work stations.

How Big is Big Enough?

The size of cubicle you choose will depend on a couple of factors, including available space, the needs of workers, and whether or not you’re willing to implement measures like A/B scheduling to alleviate the need for your entire staff to be in the building at any given time.  Your best bet is to use modular products that allow you to create cubicles in a variety of sizes and configurations.  A call center employee, for example, might need less space and equipment than a graphic designer.

In addition to carefully considering sizing to suit the needs of specific employees (or types of activities), you should think about the makeup of your cubicles, including colorful paneling, see-though upper panels to preserve light flow, and ergonomic solutions that promote health and morale.  With the right cubicles, you can create an environment conducive to performance and safety when employees return to the office.

 

Using Cubicles and Dividers to Help Employees Feel Safe and Socially Distance during COVID

There are plenty of reasons why businesses use cubicles in their office spaces, not the least of which is providing employees with private space in which to get their work done, free of chatty co-workers or other distractions.  However, cubicles have become a much more important addition to your office space in the wake of challenges presented by COVID-19.  They provide a way to help employees maintain socially distancing guidelines and feel safe when returning to work.

Companies are going out of their way to create safe and healthy work environments by increasing cleaning and sanitization, adding hand sanitizer and wipes throughout the office, reducing high-touch surfaces, improving ventilation, instituting mask mandates, and more.  However, with new worries about the coronavirus potentially spreading by airborne means, the addition of cubicles and dividers can not only curb the spread of particulates, but also put employees at ease.  Why should you include these features as part of your office upgrades?

Add Physical Barriers

Proper ventilation, social distancing, hand-washing/sanitizing, and mask mandates go a long way toward stopping the spread of the coronavirus, but studies have shown that when people linger indoors, every exhalation can add to the amount of virus in the air.  Proper air circulation and ventilation can help to draw contaminated air out and infuse fresh air into the environment, but you’ll still want to stop air from drifting between work stations.

This is where cubicles and dividers come in, creating physical barriers that stop and redirect air currents.  With the right layout, you can not only maintain social distancing, but direct potentially contaminated air to vents, where it will be removed from the environment, rather than coming into contact with employees.

Discourage Socialization

Many companies work to foster a family feeling in the workplace, encouraging camaraderie among teams and a general atmosphere of collaboration.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made it downright dangerous for employees to fraternize as they once did.  For the foreseeable future, your business will have to work to discourage not only water cooler talk, but employees popping their heads over cubicle walls to chat with the person at the next work station.

You might not like the idea of placing floor-to-ceiling barriers between cubicles, as this can make employees feel isolated and create a dark, depressing space.  The good news is, there are plenty of options to engineer a bright, attractive work environment.

 

Modern, modular cubicles not only allow for a wide range of configurations, including spacious and ergonomic solutions, but you can choose panels in bright hues that stimulate the brain and boost morale.  You can also select transparent panels that allow for unhindered light flow, and even let employees engage in non-verbal communication through panes (waving, smiling, and so on), so they still feel like they’re part of a team.  With the right cubicles and dividers in place, you can design an office that still feels social, even as you keep employees safe and socially distanced.

 

The negative effects of poor office ergonomics

Many workers are in a constant mindset of getting things done as effectively as possible, focusing intently on the job that’s in front of them. Principles of ergonomic, the physical science of working more safely and efficiently, probably aren’t at the forefront of their minds. But they can play a huge role in a worker’s overall quality and productivity—especially if they’re bad.

Physical symptoms

Physical pain and discomfort are the most noticeable effect of bad work ergonomics, and many of the most serious effects make themselves apparent over time.

Muscle, joint, or back pain can be some of the first symptoms that arise. Some of the more known conditions that can appear after prolonged, bad posture include musculoskeletal disorders like tendonitis, carpal or radial tunnel syndrome, disc diseases, and trigger finger.

The long-term potential effects of inferior ergonomics can be especially surprising and harmful. Corrupted posture can create excessive compression on internal organs like the lungs and digestive tract, which can cause respiratory damage and stomach issues. Decreased circulation can lead to the formation of varicose veins. In worst-case scenarios, bad ergonomics can lead to excessive weight gain, which can contribute to the development of type-2 diabetes or heart disease.

Bad moods, stress, and mental fatigue 

Bad ergonomics can also result in diminished moods and mental fatigue. Just as bad posture compresses internal organs, it can do the same to the nerves throughout your spinal column.

Forward Head Posture is a condition that frequently occurs among workers who are bent over a computer screen for excessive amounts of time, and it exerts excessive pressure on the spinal cord. When that happens, the body’s nervous system becomes more restricted, which directly impacts one’s thought patterns and emotional demeanor—which can put a worker in a horrible, stressed-out mood.

Incorrect ergonomics can also restrict one’s oxygen flow, which can significantly reduce the overall capacity of one’s lungs. That can result in excessive tiredness or fatigue.

Lower productivity

All the above conditions, naturally, can have a direct and adverse effect on the amount and quality of one’s work productivity. Some may become so uncomfortable or ill that they need to take time off. Others who straggle into the office may be unable to do more than the absolute minimum work required.

Depressed office morale is a direct correlation of low productivity, as well. Those scrambling to meet a certain level of output to make up for absent workers may begin to feel resentful. Some may even quit to find a better opportunity where they can more easily meet expectations.

 

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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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