FMExtension - Relocation Management Specialists

Furniture Focus

Improve productivity with the right furniture & workspace configuration.

The right furniture and workspace configuration can create an inviting workspace and improve productivity.
By Diane Bashor

(Reprinted from KC SMall Business)

The office can be more than simply a physical location where people work. An office that encourages job enjoyment and elevates self-esteem plays a role in supporting innovation and increasing worker productivity. Key to helping people feel better about their jobs is a satisfying workspace.

Setting the Mood

Furniture helps to create the overall feeling of an office. When starting the process of creating a satisfying workspace, many companies mainly are concerned about the cost. However, individual productivity can be seriously compromised by trying to save money through downsizing of workstations, lowering partitions, eliminating workstation amenities and having collaboration spaces directly adjacent to quiet spaces. If workers have to spend time searching for materials or are interrupted by adjacent workers, they lose important productivity.

When making that important purchase of furniture for your company, remember that sending the right message about their company, and they want to make a powerful first impression for their prospective clients. It is important for them to show their new workforce that management value them and that they will have the tools and equipment they need to be successful on the job.

You should consider a number of important evaluation criteria in the purchasing of new furnishings:

  • Ergonomics
  • Safety
  • Height adjustability
  • Lighting
  • Wire management
  • Aesthetics
  • Modularity/flexibility/configuration—minimum number of parts, ease of reconfiguration, ease of adjustment
  • Durability—ability to withstand repeated disassembly and reassembly
  • Warranty
  • Service
  • Delivery
  • Ongoing product support
  • Pricing

Facilitating Communication

Creating a smart furniture plan can improve the flow of information and services among employees, business owners and their customers. The office should convey a feeling of comfort, which can help clients and new hires feel at ease. An inviting space can help keep people focused, energized and connected.

The right floor plan can promote increased collaboration and knowledge sharing, improve the retention of knowledge workers, enhance productivity, increase job satisfaction, foster more effective ways of working, increase personal comfort and reduce absenteeism.

Streamlined communication and decision-making allows a company to deliver product faster and more efficiently to the market. An ever-increasing selection of furniture is being created for conferencing, teaming or making presentations. An open environment encourages the sharing of ideas and knowledge, and it allows your employees the opportunity to fully embrace interaction, creativity and spontaneity.

Height of panels can make a difference in the feel of an office space. The height of the panel really depends on the type of work you are doing. In a call center environment, where employees need to interact with their supervisor on a regular basis, it is important to have seated privacy but just as important to have the capability to stand up and interact with other members of the team or supervisors. With employees who work with highly sensitive information that requires privacy, higher panels are the norm. Privacy both visually and acoustically is difficult to attain when working in an open office environment.

Space Limitations and Work Flow

When considering the purchase of your new furniture, stop and analyze your workspace. Doing so can bring to light some space limitations and difficult work flow patterns. Perhaps your computer needs are creating problems with wiring and workspace, for example. To alleviate these problems, look for furniture with:

  • Features that will accommodate the wiring, hiding it and making it easy to connect, both within the office and to other offices
  • Beltline power that gives users convenient work surface access to data and communication outlets
  • Easy maneuverability with plenty of space to accommodate computers and storage needs
  • Work rails with paper trays and tack boards that help organize the paper flow

While analyzing your furniture needs, don’t overlook the enclosed offices. Depending on the company’s environment, the executive office may contain the traditional set up with desk and credenza. More people are going to free-standing furniture that is moveable and can accommodate many different types of work styles.

Your furniture selection and plan can give you a work atmosphere that is satisfying and that provides a quality space that tells your employees they are valued and respected.

Diane Bashor is a principal in FMExtension Inc., a full-service project and relocation management company based in Overland Park. She can be reached at (913) 384-9400.

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