Think your office furniture doesn’t matter? Think again.
Your work chairs, workstations, computer desks, sofas, office cubicles, and all your other office furnishings play an integral role in the function and flow of your office, from the comfort of the work chairs to the orientation of the cubicles to whether or not there even is a sofa. And the right modifications can make a world of difference. Consider this:
Uncomfortable work chairs lead to uncomfortable workers, it’s as simple as that. Maybe your design concept has a certain “look” in mind, but any aesthetic choice must be balanced by functionality. Workers in the U.S. spend almost 1,900 hours at work every year — that’s just over 90,000 hours in the average worker’s lifetime. If the majority of that time is spent sitting in work chairs, then they’d better be comfortable.
An often overlooked factor in office productivity is orientation of the space. If quantity of workers is your only goal, then small cubicles in tight arrangements is the solution. But if you have a smaller workforce and put a premium on quality, then other considerations come into play. Do your workers need to collaborate on a regular basis or do they need to block out the rest of the office? Do they require a space to stretch out now and then between intensive tasks? Do your workers generally have the mobility of laptops, or are they tethered to desktop computers? A static office configuration will have different requirements than a more dynamic one.
For the average worker, nearly an entire hour is spent every day simply looking for lost items or lost files. That’s 12% of the work day. Adequate, usable storage and an easily navigated filing system are crucial components to office productivity. This could be as simple as having more places to file things, or as complicated as potentially rearranging the entire office to maximize the workflow from top to bottom. Every office will have different needs, but every office can be optimized.
Looks aren’t everything, but they are important, especially if you regularly have clients walking through. A thoroughly functional yet completely sterile and lifeless office environment can be off-putting, no matter how productive, but also important is the visual vibe for your employees — who, after all, are the ones who will actually have to work there everyday. Balancing functionality with beauty can be a tough rope to walk, and every office will have a unique ratio (one that may even change over time), but with thoughtful consideration and a careful assessment of the needs of the business, you can have a beautiful work space that works beautifully.