Office Furniture That Promotes Productivity
Workplace productivity means happier employers and employees, but you can’t maximize productivity with a simple formula. It is a complicated goal to achieve. Employees need to be engaged and want to feel their talents are being put to good use. It can be tough to find the key to employee engagement and the resulting productivity, but it is well worth the effort. Disengaged employees are costly.
Obviously, engagement in every aspect of the office matters. People spend at least eight hours of their day, if not more, at their desk and in the office. How an office looks and feels is going to play a significant role in how people work while they are there. Learn why your office’s furniture matters and how the right office furniture can improve productivity.
Office Furniture and Productivity
Office furniture may seem like a minor detail when it comes to productivity. After all, you invest heavily in performance metrics and employee engagement strategies. But, the furniture that fills your office actually can be a vital part of how people view and operate in their workspace. Here are four reasons why great office furniture increases productivity.
Location, natural light, decor, furniture and layout all contribute to an office space’s overall aesthetic. When an office has a pleasing aesthetic that makes people feel comfortable, they are more likely to be productive employees. Dull furniture that is crammed into an office going to hurt peoples’ moods and overall work performance. Think about choosing furniture that gives your workplace visual appeal. Consider dropping high-walled cubicles that isolate employees and block natural light. While consistency is an element of aesthetics, furniture that allows and encourages people some personalization can go a long way toward improving daily productivity.
Keep in mind that your office’s aesthetic matters to customers too. If your employees find the space to be grim and unconducive to productivity, imagine how customers who come to the office will feel. Create an area that’s welcoming and inviting. You want customers and clients to feel comfortable and confident in your company’s ability to solve their problems. Coming to your office should be a pleasant and productive experience.
Imagine how distracted you feel when you are uncomfortable. It can be challenging to focus on anything else, let alone accomplish the tasks on a mounting to-do list. This is one productivity obstacle that the right office furniture can easily remedy. Consider the ergonomics of your office’s desks and chairs. People are all different heights and weights. Furniture that can be adjusted to match different people’s needs is going to serve the workplace better than a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, many desks are set at 29 inches, but some research has suggested 27 inches is actually a better desk height. The height of a desk will determine where a person’s eyes look at their monitor, how they sit at their desk and where they rest their arms as they type. Standing desks can be adjusted to a wide variety of heights and allow employees to stretch their legs rather than sitting for the entire day.
Furniture design affects both aesthetics and comfort. If the furniture is completely utilitarian and uninteresting to look at, that feeling will seep into people’s day-to-day work. Inside of opting for the dull and expected, seek out design that gives people something interesting to see. The right design can encourage people to feel more motivated. Design, of course, also plays a role in the comfort of office furniture. Do the chairs in your office allow people to sit with their legs at 90 degrees, the optimal angle? Do the chairs have back support? There are so many office furniture options that you won’t have to choose form over function. You can select the design that looks right, fits into your company’s overall brand image and feels comfortable.
The layout of office furniture can impact productivity. Some of the top office complaints include lack of visual privacy, too little space and noise distraction. Each one of those issues detracts from productivity. So, when you start setting up your furniture, aim for a layout that allows people as much privacy as possible while still giving each person enough space to work without feeling cramped. If there is a noisy area of the office, try to separate that area from the workers who need quiet to concentrate and effectively do their jobs. At the same time, remember that the layout should not promote worker isolation.
Types of Office Furniture That Boost Productivity
An office, large or small, needs a variety of furniture to function. Here, we walk through the staple office furniture types and how they can play a role in improved productivity.
1. Desks and Workstations
Desks and workstations are where people spend the bulk of their work days, which means making the right selection here is very important. When it comes to selecting a desk, check how the design will affect computer monitor placement. Will employees be able to keep their eyes 24 to 36 inches from the computer screen? If people are forced to sit too close or too far away from their screens, they will inevitably experience eye strain. Anyone who has experienced the discomfort of eye strain — itching, twitching and even headaches — knows how quickly this can derail productivity. Similarly, desks that do not allow people the space necessary to sit comfortably will lead to discontent that eats away at the ability to effectively accomplish work goals.
Most people (80 percent) will experience some low back pain at some point during their lives. Office chairs can exacerbate this type of pain or even it. Selecting office chairs that will minimize this type of discomfort is essential for your employees’ overall productivity. Checking to see if your office chairs be adjusted for people of different heights is the first place to start. Sitting with a straight back, your feet on the floor, and your arms flush with the surface of the desk is the best way to maintain a healthy posture that reduces strain on the lower back. Chairs with seats that can be raised and lowered will allow people of different heights to achieve this posture. Ideally, the back of the office chair will also have some flexibility, allowing people to shift their back throughout the workday to find the most comfortable position.
3. Conference Rooms
Most employees will spend at least some of their time at the office in meetings. Some of the biggest decisions, from brainstorming new ideas to closing mergers, are made in the conference room. You want your people to come to the table with their minds sharp and ready to work. Why does conference room furniture matter? It sets the tone for the room and what happens there. Like desks and office chairs in a personal workspace, you want a conference room table and chairs to be comfortable. Plus, you want the furniture to be versatile enough to serve all of the room’s purposes. Is the furniture formal enough to be used for customer meetings? Is it arranged to support smaller, internal meetings? A conference room that has the flexibility to meet those various needs will ensure everyone can be effective and productive in that space.
4. Reception Area
Your team might not spend a whole lot of time in your office’s reception area, but the furniture and design there still very much matters. The reception space is usually the first thing anyone — from customer to potential hire — sees when entering the office. You want to make the right impression. Select furniture that fits with your company’s brand. Next, ask yourself if the furniture is comfortable enough to sit in while waiting. If people feel uncomfortable in the waiting area, that impression is going to last throughout the entire office. The moment anyone steps through the front door of your office, you want them to feel welcome, at ease and ready to work.
Storage is another essential furniture category for any office. Where does your company keep its important files and documents? Do employees have to crouch down to access that storage? Do they have to walk across the entire office to pull that paper they need? Does their desk have enough storage to meet their needs? If an office’s storage equipment is difficult to access, scattered or insufficient, it is going to cut into people’s time. Look for desks that have enough drawers and storage for people to keep their paperwork organized. If employees don’t have that space, it is easy for their desks to become cluttered. While clutter may seem of little concern, research shows it can have a negative effect on both mood and productivity. Make it easy for your team to keep clutter to a minimum so they can focus on what matters most. It is also important to consider storage unit design and placement. Storage that requires people to bend over continually is going to result in discomfort, while storage that is placed too far from the main workspace is going to mean people are frequently getting distracted away from their desks or keeping piles of sensitive documents on their desks instead of stored properly and securely.
How to Create a Workspace That Promotes Productivity
Office furniture and productivity does not have to be a major challenge. Here are a few tips to select the right furniture and layout so you can help your employees get back to focusing on what they do best.
1. Design With Movement in Mind
Sitting stationary for eight hours or more is going to lead to discomfort and a feeling of stagnation. People need an element of movement to keep themselves comfortable and focused on the task at hand. Your office furniture can facilitate movement. Opt for standing desks over stationary desks. Employees can lower and raise the desk throughout the day, alternating between sitting and being on their feet. One study found 65 percent of people reported increased productivity while using a standing desk. Though standing desks can be helpful, they are not the only way to encourage movement. Furnish a quiet space in your office that people can get up and go to when they need a break from their desk. This space can still be a place for work, but one that allows people the freedom to move around the office. Small breaks and movement can actually boost productivity. Many top producers take a short break every hour.
Employees can do all sorts of little things to personalize their workspace, from setting up photos to bringing in a plant. These small touches help make people feel comfortable in their workspace. Keep that in mind when selecting your office furniture. Engage your workers in the process. Ask them what furniture would help them feel the most comfortable and productive. Find out what kind of chairs people actually think are comfortable. Get their input on what conference table will best support group discussion. Consider choosing simple furniture for individual workspaces. Far from being boring, neutral pieces can be a blank slate for your employees to make their own. Getting their input will help give employees a sense of ownership, which translates into greater engagement overall. People feel their voices were heard. The more engaged your team is with the space, the more productive they will be each day.
3. Highlight Collaborative Space
Highly segregated cubicles and isolated workspaces do not encourage collaboration in the office. While you want to give employees the space and privacy for individual work, you do not want your office furniture and design to stifle teamwork. An office needs space for group think sessions and one-on-one brainstorming. Highly collaborative offices have the benefit of happier employees, group skill building and improved productivity. Even if you do not opt for an entirely open workspace with shared desks, you can find furniture that is conducive to collaboration. Select desks that do not have overly high cubicle walls. Put open tables and chairs that people can use in shared office space. Workers who feel they can talk and work with their employees will often mean more innovative, effective offices.
4. Allow Flexibility
Your office furniture should have some element of flexibility. This can mean adjustable desks and chairs. It can also mean flexibility in layout. Choosing a fluid approach over static style helps keep the office feeling fresh, and in turn, keeps employees from feeling stuck in place. Select furniture that can bring a little movement and change of pace to the workspace.
Find an Office Furniture Solution at IFR
Take an objective look at your office furniture. If you want to invest in optimizing productivity, great furniture is a vital step in the right direction. Interior Furniture Resources offers a wide selection of office furniture for rent, from desks and chairs to conference room tables and reception area seating. Renting gives you the flexibility to create and change the office aesthetic to fit your needs. No matter the office size, shape and needs, IFR has the high-quality selection necessary to furnish your office and put your team on the path to boosted productivity. Contact us today to learn more about our furniture solutions.