Ever since offices ventured into the world as a place of work in the late 19th century there has been considerable demand for office furniture. The business is booming and there is a particular style and function unique to every environment. The most basic furniture and equipment that any company needs usually begins with a desk and a chair. In the digital age that we are now in, most work in any office is completed in one space; sitting at a desk in front of a computer maybe with a few trips to the printer and the coffee machine. The scope for choosing the appropriate desk and chair is huge and the sheer amount of options and styles available makes the mind boggle.
Types of Desk – Just at a quick glance you can choose between a contemporary or traditional style. Classic wood or laminate, as well as additional extras depending on the task such as drawers, shelves and lateral file drawers. Unfortunately it’s not as simple of just selecting the first desk you see, different jobs will have different requirements. A draftsman is going to need a considerably large work surface in order to layout drawings and sketches. Whereas a data entry clerk will not require the same amount of space, but will require a work environment that is ergonomically designed in order to reduce the stress and fatigue of sitting in the same position for 8 or more hours a day.
Types of chair – Employees are going to be spending the majority of their day sitting on their desk chair so a primary concern is comfort. If an employee feels comfortable within their work space they will likely be more productive, in turn benefiting the business. The level of comfort may be different according to the individual but choosing chairs with an adjustable height feature can ensure that employees are able to make their own environment comfortable. A lot of desk chairs also offer features such as adjusting the tilt, back angle and seat angle, as well as being on wheels to enable easy movability.
Choosing the right kind of furniture that is inviting and comfortable to both employees and clients can significantly increase productivity. The colors and designs chosen should represent the identity that the company wants to portray. The overall aesthetic of any office is not just functional but also a marketing opportunity.
Law firm – Many companies around the world are being encouraged to reduce their office footprint, in 2015 this means a re-think of how to furnish a law firm. Many companies are converting to paperless filing systems saving space by getting rid of cumbersome file cabinets. Also a thing of the past is the large oak desk that is the stereotypical view of a lawyer’s office, now most firms are including smaller executive desks that fit in with the new efficient floor plans. Closed door policies are also a thing of the past, and Law firms are embracing the idea of a collaborative workspace, adding in small meeting rooms and lounge areas. The traditional dark colors associated with law firms are being replaced with fun bright colors that are more inviting in an attempt to make clients feel more comfortable. What also makes a difference is the area of law the Law firm practices. For the more traditional office areas of law, such as estate planning, the old stereotypical law office is still preferred. But for attorneys that frequent the courtroom more than the office, the specifics of the office environment are not as important. According to San Rafael DUI Attorney Michael Rehm, most attorneys that spend their time in court on a regular basis just want an office that can provide the essentials, such as office equipment for research and writing, and a confidential place to meet clients. Other than that, a trial attorneys office is the courtroom.
Financial services office – Workers in this environment are big fans of privacy, so be prepared to see the traditional office cubicles in full use. Financial services offices handle very sensitive and confidential information and for this purpose they will require a segregated area that can hold secure filing systems in order to store sensitive information.
Medical Office – Although a very different profession to that of a lawyer or financial advisor, a Doctor will still require some of the standard equipment that furnishes offices across the world. They will still need a desk, usually quite a substantial one with ample space for files, and a computer, as well as a comfortable desk chair. However there is some furniture that it would be unlikely to see in the office of a lawyer. Every medical office will feature an exam table complete with overhead, adjustable exam lights. They will also require side tables and trays in order to hold all manner of diagnostic equipment. Most medical offices will go for a color scheme that represents hygiene, e.g. light colors with bright lighting.
Call Center – The call center is a fast paced, busy workplace with a high volume of employees. Space saving is key in this environment, and for that reason call centers tend to stray away from traditional office furniture. Alternatively, they use clusters of desks that can seat between 4 and 12 people, referred to as center pods. A call center has another defining feature, a hell of a lot of wires. Obviously having wires trailing across the floor is a health and safety hazard that no manager needs to deal with, so all desks need to be optimized to safely and discreetly deal with excess wiring.
Although it is clear that different business require different designs and furniture for their environments, the technological age has made all manner of businesses more flexible. Many companies now use ‘hot desking’ as a way to conserve both money and space, meaning that instead of employees having specific work stations, they work where there is a space available, minimizing unused space when employees are off work or on their lunch. As well as, in many occupations especially those is media such as in newspaper or magazine offices, employees are encouraged to bring their own devices saving the need for desks that can hold large desktop computers. Also, there is less of a need for storage systems as everything can be stored on a laptop or tablet, with all the information any employee needs being easily accessible at any time.
With more businesses and office buildings springing up every day the demand for office furniture is only going to grow, with more options, more specialisms and more choices, by 2020 our desks will be making our lunch!