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.

1. Interactive Whiteboards

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.

2. Digital Receptionist

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.

3. Tech-Ready Desks

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.

4. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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.

5. Laser Keyboard

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.

How Can Office Direct Furniture Help Your Business Grow?

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.

Practical Steps to Make Your Office ADA Compliant

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:

Doorways

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.

Furniture

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.

Communications

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.

Is Your Office ADA Compliant?

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:

Additional Free Space

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.

Noise Barriers

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.

Office Customization

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.

Office Furniture Direct Can Help You with Efficiency Initiatives

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.

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

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

For more inspiration, desk accessories, storage options, and cubicle dividers, visit Office Furniture Directonline. We even offer full design consultations to make your workspace complete.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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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Since opening for business more than 15 years ago, Office Furniture Direct has sold and installed furniture for small, medium, and large businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Call us at (503) 546-1546 to see how we can service you.

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