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A quick guide to office furniture

Gone are the days when youth would head to an office only to make money. These days the outlook has changed. An employee wants mental and spiritual fulfillment with the satisfaction of a good job. This is the main reason why the focus is shifting towards employee satisfaction and happiness. With the emergence of various global awards, there is a mad scramble to achieve the best work place. And facility plays a major role in this. Providing facilities to employees is something that is attainable because it is completely under the control of management, as compared to other parameters such as employee emotional quotient.

A worker, on any given day, would spend around 8 – 10 hours at his workplace, which could be more than the ‘waking time’ he spends at home. It is crucial that he receives the same level of comfort and ease at his work area which he enjoys at home. Good facilities, awesome managers and a fantastic work life schedule helps to achieve this. But among these, the physical environment in an office could probably be construed to be one of the impactful factors.

No one likes to work in a shabby office, with shabby furniture around. Statistics show that a spunky office with good furniture can raise productivity by almost 4.1% on a monthly level. This figure becomes pretty big when added month on month.

An average employee would expect a clean work area with furniture suitable to his designation. Usually 80% of the work-force in offices is white collared. It is a given that in today’s advanced times most of them use a computer. Prolonged usage of computer while sitting at desk can lead to stiffness and sore muscles among other physical concerns. These issues can be dealt away by installing ergonomic furniture.

Interior designers would claim that setting up of office furniture in a commercial space is an art and science. An ideal set up is the judicious use of space by providing maximum seating yet not giving a feeling of claustrophobia. After high school nobody wants to work in an environment where you are crammed with the next person. An employee can perform best when he is not forced to work outside his comfort level.

The two most important pieces of furniture in an office is the proverbial desk and chair. Chairs have come up as a status symbol in the executive hierarchy with the CEO having the most powerful chair. Along with the metaphor, a CEO does possess a good ergonomic designed, strapping and comfortable chair.

In today’s value for money world it is quite possible to get, if not the same, at least something on similar lines for rest of staff. It is the basic right of every human to have a risk free environment to work in, and bad seating can pose a major risk.

Chairs should be comfortable with a back support so as to protect the spine. The cushions and foam need to be suitable for every body type. It is imperative that a chair should have height adjustable mechanism so that the user can place elbows at a comfortable angle while typing or writing. Another important factor regarding work station chairs is that it should come with wheels. An employee, while working, might need to switch between desks or take a colleague’s help on a task. Getting up and manually moving a heavy chair might prove to be a painstaking challenge. Wheels can come in very handy here by providing ease in rolling. While going for wheel chairs ensure not to fall prey to low quality wheels as these tend to break, make noises and demand constant maintenance. Perfect sets of wheels are noiseless, removable and worthy of high duress.

Tables are a whole different world altogether. Though tables are undemanding of attention in many areas, it is necessary to devote some time to height, material and assembly of it. Tables made of wood have been the fashion in offices’ since the advent of the first workplace. Wood has a calming and soothing effect on the nerves while giving a posh look to the work area. A table which can be assembled makes relocation of furniture very easy.

Colors tend to have a very strong effect on our mood. In the same way wall colors can have a huge impact on the office mood. Studies show that a too bright color leads to jarring of the senses wherein a too dull color would lead to melancholy in the office space. Both of these are not conducive to productivity. Many firms are investing money in interior designing of their work areas based on such studies. Needless to say a small investment today will lead to massive returns tomorrow with content employees who would be charged all day to deliver results.

No office area is complete without a recreational set up. Meetings and the daily monotony of work can be exhausting. Google got it right the first time by incorporating a plethora of fun equipment at their work place. There is a rumor that many joined Google simply to partake in free snacks and enjoy slides between floors. However, a simple pool table, juke box or a Pac-man machine will go a long way when it comes to boosting an employee’s morale.

Play area many times are used by employees as an alternative to stuffy conference rooms to hold less official meetings. The furniture installed should allow for this. An eclectic mix of easy chairs with some arm chairs might prove to be a good match. However, it is important that the needs of an employee on a break are not ignored. Everyone knows that total and complete relaxation is achieved only while sitting on a soft and plush couch which simply sinks in with weight, offering zero resistance. The downside to this could be employees sleeping during work hours.

There are numerous options when shopping for furniture and furnishings. The trick is in choosing one that goes well with the look and décor of an office area as a whole, while serving its utility and cause. It is good to buy furniture which is sturdy and durable with easily replaceable parts.

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