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The true value of your environmentBusinesses spend a huge amount of money each year on office furniture. Projections from the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) suggest that the United States market is rallying:
• 2015 – Production up 5%, reaching $10.2 billion; consumption up 9%, reaching $13.2 billion.
• 2016 – Production up 6%, reaching $10.9 billion; consumption up 10%, reaching $14.5 billion.
Why are companies investing so heavily in workspace furniture? Scientific research has made it clear that simple adjustments to the physical environment can substantially reduce stress and optimize certain employee skills.
Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health and Ohio State University found that stress levels were much lower among employees in a recently remodeled open office with natural light than they were in an aging workspace with single-story ceilings and wall AC units. Another study determined that the paint on the wall will have an impact on the mindset of employees: while being around the color red can make the workforce more accurate, you will likelier boost innovation by surrounding your staff with blue.
How not to break the bankAlthough it’s wise to invest in your business’s interior, the bill can be enormous. You want to buy office furniture that best fits your purposes, avoiding any unnecessary items so you can focus your dollars on getting high-quality pieces that will last for years.
Let’s look at desks and chairs as examples:
Desks – Get something that really fits your office, and control your costs by considering the features that your employees really need. Optional features include shelves, drawers, wings, peninsulas, hutches, and credenzas.
Furniture should integrate with your office design:
“You can simplify [the selection] task by deciding what style of office desk you would like (contemporary, traditional, classic wood, laminate, etc.) and balancing it with what you can afford,” advises Genesee Community College IT Director Jim Bucki.
Also consider ergonomics. Lower back pain is the #1 cause of disability worldwide, and it is amplified when we sit. Desks that can be easily adjusted allow you to customize the station to prevent repetitive strain.
Chairs – Roughly speaking, the price of a chair will rise due to the use of sturdier materials and design, or the addition of extras. Among workspace furniture, chair adjustability is the most critical ergonomic factor. You also want to consider cleaning and maintenance of different types of materials, such as fabric, weather, wood, plastic, or metal.