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!

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Schedule a Professional Consultation

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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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