Office furniture: eight buying tips
Are you planning to start a new business, or expanding or moving your existing business to a new space? If so then you will need to think furniture. But before running blindly to Office Supermarket or Ikea – or scrolling blindly through endless furniture supplier Websites – you should take a little time to set your priorities. This will make your search more fruitful.
First of all, the configuration of your office is probably different than the one across the hall or on the floor above, so you won’t find a ready-made solution. Secondly, your research must go beyond questions of colour, style or materials. Your furniture should of course be durable, adaptable and affordable; but above all it should fulfill three primary objectives:
- Ensure that employees can work comfortably and avoid injury
- Adapt to fulfill your needs as they evolve
- Present a professional face to visitors and clients
There are no shortcuts. You will indeed need to compare offers, and there are many out there. The following tips should help you to do so more effectively.
Office furniture buying tips
- Evaluate your current stock: salvaging some of your current furniture will save you money, so first figure out what is working and what is not.
- Make a plan: it’s important to know what you want before you go shopping. If you don’t have a sense of what you want then you surely won’t find it!
- Then think beyond it: think about your space six months or a year down the road. Can your furniture be adapted to accommodate more employees, or a different configuration? Does your chosen supplier offer items that will be compatible with a future expansion of your current configuration?
- Keep it simple: choosing basic shapes and neutral colours will allow you to adapt your configuration more easily to accommodate expansion or desired modifications. And the more modular your furniture, the easier it will be to reconfigure and recombine individual pieces to meet changing spatial needs. Try to choose furniture components you can reconfigure yourself to avoid calling in your supplier to rearrange things.
- Think comfort: employees who are not comfortably installed at their workstations will get up and move about more frequently, reducing productivity. They are also more prone to injury, which can drive up your medical insurance costs.
- Insist on easy-to-clean: spills and other accidents happen, so remember to choose materials that are easy to clean. Everyday workstation chairs can be fabric, vinyl or plastic. Some professional spaces like medical examination rooms will require furniture capable of withstanding daily cleaning with fairly harsh anti-bacterial solutions. Plan accordingly.
- Consider technology: Do your reception desks, tables and shelving units allow you to pass cords and wires to power sources without cluttering up the room? Can your conference room furniture accommodate video conferencing equipment? Better to think of these issues in advance.
- Aim for value: Cheap office furniture is abundant, and sometimes it’s also inexpensive. Seriously though, buying the lowest priced furniture is a poor strategy because you will need to replace it sooner. Think about how long you would like your furniture to last, and then buy accordingly.
How much will it cost?
Given the particularity of your needs and the unique configuration of your space it is difficult to estimate the cost of furnishing it. The best approach is to seek quotes from suppliers, and evaluate their offers with the preceding tips in mind. You can start right away with the form at the top of this article: just describe your needs and you within 48 hours you’ll receive up to four free quotes from carefully selected office furniture suppliers.