When you run your own business, you know that not a single decision about its running can be made arbitrarily. Your business is, after all, your baby. And its success and reputation are inextricably linked to your own. That’s why you agonise over choosing the right employees. Why you spent hours deciding the exact right shade of blue for your logo. Heck, even little things like who supplies your toilet paper can keep you up at night.
When buying new office furniture, entrepreneurs have a lot to keep in mind. While it’s undoubtedly fun to browse catalogues and websites searching for cool accoutrements with which to furnish your office there are a lot of considerations which must be weighed before you click “Add to Cart”.
That’s why we’ve compiled this ultimate guide to buying office furniture in 2019. Don’t commit to a single purchase until you’ve measured it against the following criteria…
Aesthetics- Does its look embody your brand?
Branding is an extraordinarily multifaceted discipline. It’s about much more than logos, captions and other creative flourishes. Your brand makes a promise to your customers and has an implicit set of values behind it by which you hold yourself and your workforce to account.
With this in mind, the furniture you choose should embody your brand. It should look and feel right in your workspace both to your clientele and your employees. There’s much more than this to ensuring that you can order office chairs in the same shade of blue as your logo (although this may be part of it). It’s also about ensuring that the aesthetics are congruent with your brand identity.
If, for example, you’re a tech company you may want to choose an ultramodern aesthetic that emphasises clean lines, shiny chrome and cool and tranquil colours like blues and greys to imply that you’re equipped to face the challenges of the future.
However, if your brand is characterised by traditional values and a good old-fashioned approach to customer service you may choose to incorporate more traditional designs and a greater use of natural fabrics.
Ergonomics- Does its design facilitate productivity?
As we’ve previously discussed, there’s a great deal of correlation between your office furniture and the productivity of your workforce. As well as ensuring that your employees have plenty of access to natural light, clean drinking water and the right ambient temperature (21-25 degrees Celsius is widely believed to be the optimal temperature range for worker productivity), this also means ensuring that employees are healthy, happy and comfortable while they work.
Ergonomics considerations like contoured seats, lumbar supports, and armrests are all important as is the ability for employees to adjust their furniture in accordance with their height, dimensions and preferences.
The right ergonomics can help to make your employees more productive while also making for a happier workforce and a more pleasant workplace environment.
Cost- Will it help you to stay on budget?
Needless to say, cost conscious entrepreneurs will always make decisions pertaining to office furniture with their budget in mind. Proper budgetary management is essential if businesses are to ensure a sustainable cash flow.
Nevertheless, while liquidity is important for any business, it’s important not to make decisions solely based on cost. Opting for the cheapest solutions may cost you more in the long term. If your choice in office furniture makes your employees feel uncomfortable, listless or agitated, it’s hardly conducive to productivity which in turn may adversely affect your profitability.
For every workplace there needs to be a balancing act between monetary cost, aesthetics and ergonomics.
Space- How well does it work with the space available to you?
Office furniture can go a long way towards making the most of the workspace you have available to you. It can help teams to work together more cohesively, it can help to create a sense of flow in your office and it can also impact on employee productivity and satisfaction.
You can’t really expect to get the most of employees when they’re working in cramped, uncomfortably tight or visually busy surroundings. Look for space saving furniture, especially furniture with built-in storage options. Not only are these more space efficient they can also help to reduce clutter in the workplace, which can be visually distracting and psychologically damaging to employees.
Making the most of the space available to you can make your workplace feel as though Marie Kondo herself has paid a visit!
Quality- Will you get your money’s worth?
When you’re buying office furniture, you want to be sure that you’re making a long-term investment. What’s the point in cutting costs today if you’re going to have to replace everything in 5 years’ time because it’s become shabby, damaged and / or unsafe.
When selecting office furniture, it’s important to look at the component materials as well as the quality of craftsmanship to ensure that today’s solutions will still be just as effective tomorrow and the day after (metaphorically speaking).
You should not only consider the quality of the furniture itself but of the company providing it to you. Are they reputable? Are they trusted by local businesses like yours? Do they offer the support and assurances that you need?
Sustainability- Will it contribute towards your company’s green cred?
Finally, as we head towards the 2020s “sustainability” is the word on everyone’s lips. Businesses and their clientele are more concerned than ever when it comes to finding more sustainable ways of carrying out their operations.
Besides going paperless wherever possible and allowing your employees to work remotely, the right choice of office furniture can go a long way towards bolstering your enterprise’s green credentials. Look for furniture made using sustainable methods and using responsibly sourced, biodegradable, recycled and recyclable materials. In an era where many consumers (especially younger consumers) will eschew brands that don’t consider sustainability in favour of brands that do, it’s an increasingly important consideration for today’s workplace.
When you’ve found furniture that fits with as many of these criteria as possible, you know you’ve found the perfect match for your workplace!