February 5, 2019
By Alyssa Jones, Showroom Manager and Commercial Designer
Which Office Designs are Employees Asking For?
Your office design should be more than just aesthetics. Furniture needs to be functional, comfortable and supportive of your employees’ workloads. As commercial office designers, we interact with all levels of employees. We hear ranges of praises and complaints, most of which don’t make it to the decision makers in the company. Here are what employees are asking for regarding office furniture and which designs aren’t working for them or their productivity.
Choice of Chair
The most requested furniture piece by employees is chairs. Employees desire comfort, ergonomic support and function. While seemingly a simple fix, chairs are the most important office furniture investment that a company makes. The most common mistake made by companies purchasing office chairs is to buy every employee the same model. Aesthetically, matching seating may look better, but considering how much effect on productivity a desk chair has, an exact match should be the lowest priority in a purchasing decision. Companies can harmonize the overall office design by reupholstering chairs in coordinating fabrics. The happiest employees we encounter have been allowed to select their office chair model. A simple way for businesses to accomplish this, especially when employee counts reach into the hundreds, is to ask manufacturers and dealers to provide loaner chairs for your employees to test. Make a day of it and provide time for each team member to sit in the available range of chairs. We always recommend removing pricing from each option so that cost does not influence any perceived value. Aside from time, a chair selection day does not cost any more than ordering an office chair normally. Ensure to only provide test options that are within your chair budget. An office furniture sales representative can offer you the best range of desk chairs within a specified set of parameters.
This process may seem like a lot of effort just to purchase office chairs however, the end results are invaluable. By empowering employees to make the decision of what they sit in all day, productivity will increase. The distraction of discomfort will be eliminated. Each employee will feel valued as an individual and heard as an important voice. Complaints of back and knee problems will reduce and ease HR’s workload. Gifting a chair, specifically selected by each employee, is motivation for them to work harder. Their appreciation will outshine any financial investment tenfold.
So much of day-to-day office activities have been digitized, yet office clutter has not gone away. Employees still work off paper, file notes, and print off reference sheets. Worksurfaces have shrunk as computers and laptops have become more compact. In many office spaces, the entirety of the desk space is covered by the computer and phone. Employees are balancing keyboards atop notebooks to create extra work area. Instead, free all worksurfaces from screens with monitor arms. Most models easily attach to the front of the desk. Keyboard trays can be mounted under desk surfaces to clear even more workable space. Will every employee use these accessories? Maybe not, however offering the option and resources to declutter their desk is another way to express an employee’s value to the company. They will get tasks done more efficiently and with fewer errors as the distraction of messes are eliminated.
Power of Privacy
Office design trends are moving towards open, collaborative spaces. Benefits from this concept include increased participation across all levels of employees, corporate and group transparency, lower costs of utilities and furniture, and a decrease in workplace autonomy. The only setback to open office designs is the lack of privacy. Managers and owners want to see what their employees are doing throughout the day, but at times employees may want their own space. Whether it be a personal phone call, entering private information, or needing a quiet area with no distractions, companies should provide a private area where employees can go to work on their own. Ideally, personal agendas are left at home, however, the reality is that there are some situations that cannot be dealt with after hours. By allowing employees the flexibility to move away from a community work environment as their needs require, anxiety and nervousness will decrease. The intense distraction of those feelings heavily impacts productivity. Offering an area to handle these issues is asked for by employees in every industry.
Motivate with Options
We aren’t suggesting implementing every request an employee makes regarding office furniture and office design, however, it is important to encourage employees to speak up in the subject. Repressed criticisms and complaints can fester into larger problems and turnover. In many instances, offering employees choices regarding their office furniture can reduce any issues later. Providing them a choice of chair or organization accessory is an easy way to empower employees and motivate them to work harder and more efficiently. Allotting space for individual or private work reduces anxiety and anxiousness that can be a debilitating distraction. Prior to starting a remodel, ask for suggestions, poll answers and present them to your commercial designer or office furniture sales representative. In many cases, most employee accommodations are not detrimental to staying on budget and can be easily added to offices.
Alyssa Jones is a commercial designer and showroom floor manager for Transfer Enterprises, Inc. Total Office Furniture Solutions in Manchester, CT. She can be reached at 860-645-9090 or email@example.com
If you are interested in replacing chairs for 10 or more employees, and your office is located in Connecticut, you qualify for a FREE Transfer Enterprises Ergonomic Chair Seminar at your location of up to 4 chair types. The chairs we bring will be based on your selected price bracket to fit your budget. If you have 9 or less employees that need chairs you may set up an appointment at our showroom store located in Manchester. Contact us to schedule your chair seminar, or with any questions at 860-645-9090 or firstname.lastname@example.org