When it comes to buying office furniture, it's easy to get carried away by the latest fad. But take caution: refitting the office can be an expensive business. Before leaping right in, take stock of your essential needs. Here are our 7 top tips.
Step back from your everyday office and imagine a blank canvas. How can you make this space work more efficiently? Consider the essential items (seats, desks, storage, machines, cables, etc.) and their relation to one another. Is there enough room for people to move around and collaborate, for doors and drawers to open and close, to store files?
Space planning gives you a fresh perspective and lets you understand the office as a cohesive whole. Doing this lets you fully understand what dimensions you have to work with when selecting furniture. This means you can prioritise space accordingly. For large spaces, 2D drawings and CAD plans can help you avoid costly mistakes, like buying desks that don’t fit. It can also let you plan for the long term. So, when you are ready to scale-up, you have the space you need to expand.
One of the key office trends for 2018 is flexibility. With hot-desking, flexible working hours and collaborative work spaces becoming ever more popular, office furniture needs to cater to new employee needs. Choose mobile drawers that can be easily moved with the employee, readily accessible breakout areas with laptop ports where employees can plug in and work with ease.
Space should be flexible too. If the overall footprint is too small, consider how bench-desking can give you that extra space. See how mobile screens can create private rooms when necessary then be folded away to again to let the office breathe.
While function trumps style, the look and feel of your office shouldn’t be overlooked. Consider the impression that you want your office to exude when a potential new employee or client walks in. You might want to consider which items are most on show, and where the focus of the room is drawn. Consider adding a little flourish to these areas with cool interior design.
Sophistication needn’t relate to price. Sometimes it’s the detail that counts: the brand colours, the material, the way different elements of furniture complement each other. Why not ask a supplier for advice and see how they can help? You can contact UK Workspace here.
With office space at a premium, you’ll want to ensure that you’re making the most of the space that you have. One way to do this is to consider furniture that has multiple uses. The key here is to be imaginative and practical. It may be that an acoustic partition is also used as a storage area, or a glass wall doubles up as a presentation board.
You should also consider how workstations need to function for different potential users also. Again, if hot desking is in practice, consider purchasing seats and desks that can be easily configured for users of all sizes and shapes.
Okay, so you’ve found a seat that would be ideal for office work, but how does it stack up in the meeting room. Is it fit for purpose? Modern offices have various different zones for different activities – how does your furniture support this?
Break out areas should be fitted with comfortable chairs and sofas that let employees relax and recuperate. Meeting areas should be designed with collaboration in mind (think round tables and space to move). If part of an open plan space, sound proof barriers can be used to create booths for quiet work, or to create private areas for confidential discussion. Think about how you want people to perform in each area before choosing the furniture to go with it.
Ergonomic design is a term that’s been in fashion for a few years now. When it comes to furniture, it means designing to support the human body, preventing aches and strains and creating a healthier work environment. This isn’t just important for employee morale, it also reduces costly sick leave and creates a more productive workforce.
Some of the key things to look out for are chairs with sound neck and lumbar support. These seats are often fully adjustable to cater to individual needs. Additional accessories such as foot rests and wrist supports can further reduce work-related strains. More recently, concerns over sedentary working habits have led businesses to invest in sit/stand desks and height-adjustable monitor arms.
If you’re concerned about ergonomics, consider a full work-based assessment for you and your colleagues. For more information click here >
With so many elements to consider, picking a reliable supplier is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. A specialist should be able to help you cater to every element, from space-planning to ergonomics all at a budget and schedule of your convenience. They can also ensure that the elements you choose work together in both design and function, helping you avoid costly mistakes at the same time.
Before choosing your supplier, check their credentials. Ensure they offer an exceptional service (think delivery, installation, waste removal) with quality products that come with 5 year warranties. And finally, ask if you can try before you buy. You may be sitting in that new seat for a very long time – best to make sure it’s perfect in every way.
If you would like more information on office furniture, interior design and fit out, why not get in touch with UK Workspace? With a vast network of the UK’s best manufacturers and a specialist team of furniture experts, we can make your work space work harder.