Office Atmosphere – Part 1
In today’s world, there are a plenty of resources open to you and your business that grant you extended flexibility in the way in which your businesses day to day operations can be ran. In this article we will analyze the pros and cons of open vs closed office furniture. Whether that be actual physical resources, or non-tangible assets such as ideas and experiences there seems to be no ceiling to what can be done. How do you look through all the information though without knowing what option is best for you? Yes, you could try them all, but in business time is money and it’s not good practice to waste either. Luckily you don’t have to because the internet is filled with people who will do that for you and report back the results!
It’s the little things you do every day that improve your quality of life in the long run. Goals such as eating breakfast and laughing more often can provide the change necessary to live a happier life and improve your well being. In this series, we will be looking at the ins and outs of office ergonomics and what the pros and cons are of the different options available. We will be looking at everything from how workstation setup can affect productivity to temperature and how it can affect employee motivation. We, here at Tri-State Office Furniture, have took the liberty of looking through a series of academic studies and articles and will report the findings so that your business can take a lucrative step that could take your business to the next level. Now look no further while we introduce our first topic to you…
*Open Vs. Closed Office furniture*
Here’s the deal, you’re a CEO and you just hired 50 new employees so you decide that it’s time to make the decision of moving office locations. While discussing how the new office atmosphere should be set up your human resources team brings up a lot of good things to consider, one of which is an open vs. closed office environment. During a meeting one of your team members tells you that a closed office furniture is the best decision because it allows for the employees to stay concentrated and avoid distractions. Meanwhile, another one of your team members is telling you that an open office is the best choice because it facilitates communication of ideas between employees. How do you make this decision though?
Well, there are a couple things to consider while making this decision. The first of which has to do with being task oriented. As a leader, sometimes it is important to look back at your organization and remember what the goals are you want to achieve. It is believed that the open office work environment can rip down the metaphorical wall between co-workers and increase communication between individuals, groups, and even departments and as a result, improve morale and increase productivity. Depending on how demanding the job is and what is required of it, you need to decide what will be the best option to give your employees the privacy they need, along with the motivation to keep improving. For example, QBE Canada a business insurance specialist group found that when they removed the cubicle walls their employees began to talk and collaborate unprompted. This was an important change in their businesses atmosphere because as an insurance company it was important for them to account for all sorts of risk and the open office space allowed and encouraged for employees to share information to find a resolution to a client’s situation1. They reported that this was more obvious while working with an unnamed North American contractor that required a more holistic view of the company’s risk because it encompassed property, casualty auto, and professional liability. For QBE, this change worked because they knew what they needed to accomplish and an open office environment assisted in reaching their goals.
Like mentioned in our previous blogs, the second thing to consider is one of your two most important assets, people. The setup of your office space can be one of the driving motivators to what your employees achieve every day at work and can affect their happiness in the long run. Therefore, making sure they are comfortable is well worth your time. If you need any more convincing to put your employees first, Jim Goodnight the CEO of SAS industries an analytics software company once said “If you treat employees as if they make a difference in the company, they will make a difference.” This means that if you put your employees first, they will put your customers first. Mary Zalesny and Richard Farace are two tested academics from the University of Missouri and Michigan State University respectively. They did a study on this exact matter where they took a satisfaction survey before the move, after the move, and six months after the move where they asked employees involved how they felt about their office environment. In the study, they reported that employees who were moved from a traditional (closed) office space, to an open office space claimed their new work station was less adequate and came with more distractions2. Of course, not all reports of the open office are negative and the problems reported are not the same, but it is something to consider while making this decision. If you’re wondering how to approach this dilemma, try giving your employees a survey and ask how they feel about the office environment now and ask what they might like to see changed to try and improve the office environment further.
This is where the open office vs closed office furniture debate comes into play. Some argue that an open office is helpful and increases worker collaboration and productivity and others argue that this isn’t the case and that the open office space negatively affects employee mood and productivity. What are these claims based off? For one of course there is bias which is behind any view in one way or another, but there is also research behind the feud. For example, the belief that the open office will facilitate communication is derived from the social facilitation hypothesis, which states that the performance of routine tasks will improve in non-private areas. The belief states that employees who find their job boring may find that contact with other people provides a source of stimulation and by default improves how they perceive their job3. Meanwhile, the group who says the open office space negatively affects employees say that initially moving to an open office space will only increase interactions for a short period of time before they revert back to their earlier behavior and create ways to regulate their social contact. What is the right option though? Well it all comes down to your company’s culture and what is right for you. In other words, your company needs to be its metaphorical self and do what will better it in the long run. This may seem like a vanilla answer, but it’s a situational dilemma that is bestowed upon you as a leader. Remember though, you are not alone because you have a network of people in your company to discuss the pros and cons of each decision for your company specifically.
This is not the only situation to discuss on this topic there are plenty of more scientific based arguments to discuss. Next blog we will be looking at how having individual control over your environment can empower and motivate your employees. This will lead us further into our discussion about the open vs closed office furniture debate and further analyze the pros and cons of each.
By. Dylan Edmonds
COMING UP NEXT BLOG: Stimulation control and employee productivity
- Gudeon, Chris. “Breaking Down the (Cubicle) Walls.”Canadian Underwriter79.8 (2012): 46-48. Web. 31 May 2017.
- Zalesny, M. D., and R. V. Farace. “Traditional Versus Open Offices: A Comparison Of Sociotechnical, Social Relations, And Symbolic Meaning Perspectives.”Academy of Management Journal30.2 (1987): 240-59. Web. 31 May 2017.
- Brennan, A., J. S. Chugh, and T. Kline. “Traditional versus Open Office Design: A Longitudinal Field Study.”Environment and Behavior34.3 (2002): 279-99. Web. 31 May 2017.
There are many reasons why business owners or managers need office furniture. Those include new business startups, businesses that are expanding, satellite office setup, installation of a home office, and because a business is moving into a new space. There are three solutions to satisfy your need for office furniture: New, Used, and Remanufactured. We will explain the differences between each and then walk you through the pros and cons of each in this blog.
Each one of the three types is valuable. A purchasing agent must decide which is the best. Because each business is unique, a blanket answer to that question is not available. In this “Designing the Perfect Office” blog we walk you through the considerations before you choose office furniture (including a case study) and help you determine your needs for furniture. Along the way, this blog will provide you with everything you necessary to decide which is best for you.
Welcome to Tri-State Office Furniture and our 525,000 square feet of warehouse showrooms.
Considerations — Before You Choose Office Furniture
Office furniture is a tool that helps your valued employees do their jobs in comfort and with efficiency. The same level of consideration should go into choosing office furniture as goes into choosing computers, electronics, and even your business’s location. The outcome of your efforts either creates a space where you, your managers, and your employees are comfortable, engaged in their tasks, or uncomfortable and distracted.
While your team’s comfort is important, office furniture does more than just provide comfort. Several other important Considerations are:
- The special needs of employees, their job, and the function of their job. Think about lighting, noise pollution, security, and privacy, etc.
- The design of your office and layout of the furniture. Think about traditional office design, open office design or a hybrid of both.
- The impact of your office’s design on visitors, customers, and clients. Think does your office design inspire confidence or create concerns?
- The ability of your business to grow, add new employees, services, etc. The decision you make is greater than the needs of today and should include the projection of your business’s future needs too.
Each of these points impacts the decision-making process of whether to go with new, used or remanufactured office furniture. On top of these needs, are the differences between all three of these options and other considerations, such as cost, availability, etc? A good example of why this matters comes from the tech industry.
Case Study: Open Office Design and Its Downfall
Back in the .com era, startup companies sprang into existence almost instantly. Their budgets were short, and for many, their life spans were even shorter. These are the companies that brought us the open office design. A design that discarded cubical cities and created a task-oriented space. This design occurred because of short budgets and the idea that cramming people together would increase their productivity, creativity, and focus.
Since then open office design has taken off as the coolest trend, but studies show that open office design does not increase productivity, creativity or enhance focus. In fact, it does just the opposite. The constant drone of 100 phone conversations, people chatting, telephones ringing, the sound of 200 hands typing, and people coming and going impedes creativity, productivity, and destroys focus. 
This is a prime example of why the result of what you create should be forefront during the office design process. What you create is a tool that will either help your team excel or not. Notice that we have not even gotten to the “which is better for you — New, used or refurbished.” That is because setting up an office is more than just picking out a nice looking desk. The process can become overwhelming, but that is why Tri-State Office Furniture is a leader throughout Pittsburgh (McKees Rocks) PA, Wheeling WV, and Charleston WV.
We are here to help you evaluate your office’s needs, show you furniture that fits those needs, and to reduce the stress of buying furniture for your office. Reach out to us at any point during the design process, and we will happily provide you with outstanding service. Chat with us online at Tri-State Office Furniture.
Consider Your Office Furniture Needs
There are many factors to consider when you plan an office. A good tip is to think about what your office needs are for today, and will be for the next year. Those two aspects become the current list of needs for your office. That does not mean you have to buy everything you need today, but by being aware of your immediate needs and upcoming needs, you can make a more informed decision about how to proceed. A short list of things to jot down before shopping for office furniture:
Total usable square footage
Estimation of visitors — Do you need a waiting area and reception desk? Privacy, meeting, and conference needs
Total number of employees
Specialty groups of employees — Think accounting, marketing, etc. Shared space needs such as work centers, etc.
Lighting needs total budget
Your goal it to get the most value for the money spent. Remember that the money you spend on office furniture is not all of the money that you spend. The rent for your office space is also part of that process. That is why it is important to get the most usage out of the space you have. The process of designing an office space is all about creating value both for the use of office space and the opportunities that your office space can provide. From here, you can look deeper into what type of office furniture you need — New, Used or Refurbished
New Office Furniture — Pros and Cons
Pros — One of the best features of new office furniture is that you are buying the latest style with options to include easy implementation of the latest technology. If your business model is constantly adjusting to meet the evolving needs of your industry, then consider the benefits of new office furniture, rather than used.
Pros — New designs also help to send a message to your employees and customers. An office that is current exudes the feeling of confidence and style, and that is a power statement. Consider the trends of open office design. The reason that so many non-tech offices opted for open office designs was to appear innovative. Tech startups are highly innovative, and that message was not lost on other industries.
Pros — New office furniture also means good opportunities for choosing green products, green manufacturing, and sustainable materials. If your customer’s corporate vision includes environmental concerns, then consider the benefits new office furniture offers.
Con — One of the downfalls of new office furniture is that is usually the most expensive. Tip: However, if your team requires something specific then remember that there is no substitute for the best tool for that job.
Resources: Reach out to Tri-State Office Furniture if you have questions, need help with ordering or designing your space. You can chat with us online, by phone, or send an email.
Used Office Furniture Pros and Cons
Pros — One of the many great features about used office furniture is that it is often the most affordably priced so you can easily extend the value of your purchase.
Pros — Another positive of used office furniture is that there is usually a large selection available in many styles, colors, and materials.
Pros — Used office furniture is a green product. It fits right into the mantra of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Buying used is very green.
Pros — It serves a purpose and can be a good starting point for a new business venture.
Cons — Finding large quantities of matching styles is difficult, but not impossible. The exception is cubicles, which are usually available in quantity.
Cons — It can have little flaws, such as chips, dings, and scratches.
Cons — It can show its age by its design — Think 1970’s style
Used office furniture is almost always a great deal. If you have a limited budget or need furniture to get your business up and running, then used is a great way to go. Many of the designs are somewhat timeless, and at Tri-State Office Furniture all of our used office furniture is high quality. Don’t take our word for it, please explore our huge selection of used office furniture.
Remanufactured Office Furniture
Remanufactured office furniture is something that many people do not consider simply because they don’t know about it. We are always excited about remanufactured furniture because it has a like-new quality without the like-new price.
Pros — Resurfaced to match your color schemes — including cubicle wall fabric and laminates for desk surfaces. Remanufactured offers some of the most creative options for office design.
Pros — This is a highly green form of furniture as it repurposes and reuses existing products thus limiting the impact on the environment. As far as green furniture goes, this is one step down from used furniture, but the results are amazing.
Pros — Less expensive than buying new.
Pros — In great shape with clean, scratch-free surfaces
Pros — Great value with modern styling and color options
Cons — Requires a longer wait time for custom color and fabric choices
Cons — Not always available in large quantities
Cons – Usually more expensive than used.
Cons — While refreshed color schemes help add a modern touch, styles can be dated
Remanufactured office furniture means that the piece has new fabric (cubical walls) repainted or stained wood and refinished wood. At Tri-State Office Furniture we offer in-house electrostatic painting and will work with you to match your office color schemes.
Remanufactured furniture is a real boon to office design. It bridges the gap between used and new, and it does so with sophistication and value. Reach out to use about our selection of refurbished office furniture or to ask questions about our electrostatic paint process.
Why choose Tri-State Office Furniture?
We offer outstanding prices on new, used, and refurbished office furniture. Some other reasons to choose us:
Tip: We ship nationally, and we work with offices of all sizes.
Huge Selection — When it comes to office design and furniture selection, Tri-State Office Furniture is here to help. We offer a long list of services and one of the largest furniture inventories throughout the Tri-State area. Local businesses can stop by any of our three massive warehouses and peruse our 525,000 square feet of quality office furniture. We have physical locations in Pittsburgh (McKees Rocks) PA, Wheeling WV, and Charleston WV.
Full design services — Take advantage of our design service which helps businesses of all sizes get the most out of the space they have. Email our design team to get started.
Regular Local Deliveries —We offer regular deliveries to businesses within the Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Cleveland, Akron, Erie, Charleston, Huntington, Beckley, Parkersburg, Ashland, and Clarksburg.
Established Companies – We carry recognizable name brand furniture in used, refurbished, and new options.
Versatile Stock – Our products work in both the corporate and residential settings
We are happy to answer your questions or put together a quote that is specific to your business. We are easy to work with and make the process of designing and furnishing your office a snap. Contact Us for questions, inventory, or help with new, remanufactured or used office furniture. We provide a non-pressure sales process and work with you so that you can make an informed decision about how to furnish your office.
Learn More and Dig Deeper:
- The Open Office Concept is Dead — Fortune
When you think about making changes for your business everything needs to be evaluated. From future market forecast, market depreciation, durability, over all benefit, and cost. There are many things every business owner must consider before making a change. Working closely with the accounting department, consultants, and field experts will ease difficulty of selecting from the choices that are available. This process applies to talent acquisitions, technological upgrades, office relocation, brand expansion, marketing plans, and the list goes on, however one business element of greater importance is office furniture. Does office furniture value and price correspond?
Expanding or restyling is an investment into the future of your business. New Office Furniture could be for an expanding clientele or due to new office staff. An evolving office staff is a foundational component to a solid and loyal team that will bring about strong workforce and strong ROI for the company. Increasing the office furniture value is one component into increasing the Company value.
Looking for staying power is another important element to not only the organization and workforce but also to workplace stylings. Having a reliable physical space for organization and structure and stress free operations to be completed. There are also warranties available to guarantee the excellence of the products. This also guarantees longevity, which is a big part of office furniture value because these products have a longer use life than is what is deemed by the depreciation value per standard accounting regulations.
Having an aesthetically pleasing and functional space is another element to office furniture value. Atmosphere simultaneously benefits employees, employers, and clients. There is a cycle of confidence, hard work, commitment to set goals, and positive results when surrounded by a stimulating ambiance. Being set up for success is a big part of achieving success.
Finding the right items for the right price that meets the quality, atmosphere, and growth capabilities is what any business owner wants. Finding the right price point is specific to each organization. There are solutions for every budget, especially when considering second hand items like, office chairs, reception desks, conference room desks, lounge area seating, filing cabinets, and cubicles. Finding office furniture with the right price with all the important elements of buying new office furniture met is definitely a valuable find. Browse our new and used items in one of our warehouses today.
“February proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment with increases we have not seen in years,” Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute
The economy is about to shift, this change will affect both large corporations and small businesses, there is a ripple effect caused by economic growth that has exponential reach. Being prepared for these changes give competitive advantage over the business opponents. Having space and furnishing for expanding human capital, while not weighing down the current budget, or cluttering the current space is a daunting task.
Budget can be a concern for small businesses that don’t have the available funds to expand but want to engage the growing market opportunities. Utilizing previously owned furniture will decrease the need for large immediate funds while providing the need for new office furniture. Resale distributors can offer fair and often better than their competitors pricing. New office furniture is just as important of an investment as work force. Human capital unlike furniture can fluctuate after the initial investment new office furniture cannot, however both investments can greatly affect the bottom line. The average cost of hiring a new employee is, for hourly employees 20% of the employee’s projected income for the year, and for salaried employees the average is between $2000-$4000. Making an investment into the future with employees unlike furniture will be an investment that gives back. New office furniture is a investment in the moral of the team and employees.
Work Space that new employees that enter the job market need a place to work weather they are production workers, administrative staff, or service provider. Production and line worker still need space for meeting, personal belonging and breaks, and documentation of their production line’s output. New office furniture for the production space would include meeting tables, filing cabinets, and lounge or seating solutions. On the administration side of the office the new office furniture need is everything from specialty office furniture, lounge seating solutions, meeting tables, full filing systems, office desks, to task seating solutions.
Finding the right fit for these new office furniture that would be needed for expanding workforce is very precise and require planning and can be evaluated by a design professional at a cost. Using the retail consultant with the new office furniture often comes free of charge and just needs to be established ahead of time. Have clear lines, a budget, and desire for versatility with continued growth and hiring a designer can be avoided.
Flexibility. Is required for a unpredictable work force. In a reactive economy there needs to be flexibility to grow or get lean following the rapid changes that are occurring in a shifting market. The ability to be flexible with physical property is much more difficult than human capital human capital can be released at a moment’s notice. While physical investment must either be disposed of either through auction, sale, destruction, or donation. Having a good relationship with a re-purposing warehouse is beneficial in both the increase and decrease of the economy, because no matter the economic forecast there is are benefits. From design and planning, to purchase and delivery, and back to resale and shipment; having a company that specializes in used and new office furniture on speed dial is never a bad thing. Are you prepared for what this year has to offer. Call us today with any questions, or just stop in and say hello at one of our Pittsburgh PA, Wheeling WV, or Charleston WV showrooms today.
“If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” That is how the old saying goes. While most employees like their job the office environment is usually not described as a dream location. Constructing an environment that employees want to be in, while avoiding a sterile feel is important to the moral of employees. That trickles down through all work channels and can affect the customers too. Office art can be incorporated in many ways, from cubicle trimmings to act deco style functional furnishings, wall art to sculptures, a little bit of flare goes a long way.
Cubicles are rarely something that evoke excitement, even the most creative folks can struggle with a cubicle’s design. These spaces are designed to allow the work force a designated work space. They allow for separation between spaces and easy access to co-workers. However, most cubicles are made of semi cushioned or cork-board with a cloth covering and lot of medium density fiberboard with a commercial laminate finish and cool neutral cool metal finishing. This area can be dressed up much like a teacher class room, using paper boarders or decals that reflect seasonal changes or you can customize your cubicle with different fabric at Tri-State Office Furniture. Photos are always a standard addition to each employee’s space, along with plant life. Thinking a bit more outside the box, using fabrics and crafting supplies along with magazine clippings and frames the small office art can be reflective of the large office’s style.
Not every set of cubicles are bland or sterile, some options have a more stylized design that mimics traditional office furnishing. These furnishing are more office art then furnishings, incorporating specific materials like wood, steel, or glass. These furnishings also often have vibrant colors and varied textures of textiles and fabric to create a visually interesting presence, while not distracting from the office environment. These concepts can be taken to the extreme too. In Google’s offices, they have spaces set up like living rooms, or subway cars to inspire out of the box thinking with out of the office type décor.
Art Installations and wall art
If holding a meeting in a space that looks like a subway car or like a hospital room doesn’t appeal to you find a happy medium. Keep the installations, like the subway car or thought provoking sculptures to a designated area like the lobby or foyer. Keep objects that may distract employees or clients in areas that will not distract from the daily operations of the office. They will serve as a conversation starter upon arrival and departure. Use wall art to brighten the office without demanding all of the attention in office. Office art tends to maintain a tradition feel unless of course the space is extremely stylized.
Office art should be a compliment to the daily operations of the business. It should distract enough from the day to inspire creativity but not so much that it inhibits achieving productivity.
Using an interior designer or office design consultant like Tri-State Office Furniture’s knowledgeable staff will ensure that the office is set up for the best business practices while keeping the employees and employer happy. Contact a consultant today!
The trend of wanting things new and designer, is a thing of the past. Refurbished Office Furniture is a great trend that allows for individuality as well as an eco-friendly alternative to throwing away old furniture. Buying new furniture will be old in a short time anyways. It is kind of interesting when you think about it that way huh? Anyways, according to a global market research company by the name Technavio, refurnishing office furniture, will be an increasing trend for office and home furnishings until late 2020.
Tri-State Office Furniture – August Newsletter. Check out Tri-State Office Furniture’s NEW Office Furniture Arrivals. Are you looking to purchase or upgrade existing cubicles? Having trouble keeping to your budget? Let Tri-State Office Furniture assist you with our amazing refurbishing capabilities! Our experienced and skilled team can help you find the perfect furniture to fit your needs and your budget.
- Herman Miller Ethospace Workstations
- NEWLY RECOVERED Humanscale Freedom Black Task Chairs
- NEWLY RECOVERED Steelcase Leap Black Task Chairs
- Kimball Arpeggio Guest Chairs
- Knoll RPM Task Chairs
Efficient fixes, hopefully before a problem arises, is how a successful business operates. Always assessing and managing blind spots, leaks, bleeds, and kinks in the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual operations. Office problems can be categorized into a number of major categories with many companies existing solely for office solutions, often promising to serve all office needs although specializing in very different services. Knowing the anatomy of office solutions is the first step in handling any setback or forecasting setbacks.
If you have read any of our other publications, you know that one of the key players in the office furniture game is Kimball Office. We featured Kimball Office in the third part of our top 100 Office Furniture Companies series last year. Kimball Office, originally known as a piano manufacturer, was acquired by the small contract furniture company the Jasper Corporation in 1959. From this collaboration of furniture and fine artistic craftsmanship has evolved into one of the most recognized names in office furniture. They produce a full line of office, hospitality, healing, and learning environment furnishings. This company has a global reach and is known as Kimball International.
Highly efficient production is the foundation of every business. Whether on the production floor, in the board room, or on the human resources team, there are obstacles to overcome in achieving the division’s goals. Understanding how to maximize the potential for efficiency by negating traffic jams and miscommunication is a key part to any company. Large companies even have their employees sign a non-compete compliance contract that can either bar an employee from seeking employment with a competitor for a specified period of time or a confidentiality agreement to protect their intellectual property – which is not limited to but can include office layout and flow. Finding your perfect office layout may take time and a series of trials and errors but here are a few tips and things to be aware of from the furniture industry professionals when implementing your office layout.