Archive: October 2013
In the present competitive era, the concept of ergonomic office furniture has become the need of every workplace. It ensures a healthy environment in an organization. If you are planning to install ergonomic furniture in your organization then you must know what ergonomics is actually all about?
Well, Ergonomics is a means of offering an environment that could best facilitate employees’ performance and their overall productivity. Ergonomic furniture is designed considering the health of employees who spend most of their day using office furniture.
According to research studies, an insurance company witnessed $6,20,000 in improved productivity with ergonomic furnishings investment of $500,000. Additionally, within 2 months of moving into a new building with an open office concept showed that 60% employees believed that productivity had improved and 80% had a higher level of customer focus. Moreover, according to 90% of the 200 decision-makers, an appealing office design can certainly impact and enhance the overall productivity of employees.
Ergonomic furniture is useful because without it, employees generally encounter the following issues:
- Wrong heights for table and chair
- Banging the knees on the keyboard
- Cramped space
- No back support
- No elbow support
- Elbows on hard arm rests or desk surface
- Cradling the phone while using the computer
- Here are some of the major benefits of ergonomic furniture:
- Ergonomic chair-
- Backrest tilts backward and forward
- Backrest tension control
- Lumbar support
- Adjustable armrests (height and lateral movement)
- Height adjustability of work surface
- Lies flat
- Low profile
- Proper key displacement
- Input device-
- Long cord for proper placement, or wireless
- Comfortable fit for hand
- Workable surface area
- Moves easily
Not only this, as per the real case studies, there has been an increased production, reduced data entry error rates, and improved job satisfaction in employees. According to Fast food providers, redesign of workstation lead to 20% increase in productivity. In addition, a reputable steel company when redesigned its observation pit saved over $1,50,000 in only a year through reduced waste and increased productivity. An evidence by applied materials discovered that when they researched and selected a better hand-driving tool, there was a 50% increase in product output. Furthermore, there was a 400% increase in productivity in terms of man hours when they used properly designed and tested casters for manually moving 7,000 lb. clean room manufacturing equipment.
Therefore, ergonomic is a must-have solution for organizations aiming to enhance the productivity of their work staff and expand their business. This will help businessmen take their organization’s success to a much higher level. Not only this, ergonomic furniture comes is stylish designs that certainly pleases the eyes of the visitors and increase opportunities of business. People love to work at a place where not only the ambiance and working environment but the furniture is also good.
When it is about comfort, style, health and better productivity, look no further than ergonomic furniture.
For more information on ergonomic office furniture, make an appointment with one of our consultants at Capital Choice Office Furniture. Or, check out our ergonomic chairs and customizable desks available in our showroom today!
Author: Tim Scott
When it comes to the old new vs. used chairs debate, which one comes out the winner?
Well, we think victory is in the eye of the beholder.
Each option has their own set of advantages and disadvantages (which we list below), but in the end it all comes down to the priorities of the buyer. If affordability is your bottom line, then you can’t miss going used, especially since there are so many retailers like Capital Choice Office Furniture that offer like-new or Better than New from well-known manufacturers.
But if you like having more of a selection, the ability to customize your chairs and not having to worry about missing parts or broken pieces, then buying new is a better fit.
When it comes to other factors like ergonomics, buying either new or used could work. As long as seat adjustments can still be operated and the seat and/or cushion is still comfortable and supportive, you can find great deals on ergonomic chairs as well by going used. Of course, maybe you’d prefer not to have spend time sitting on each and every chair candidate to test these things out before you purchase it, in which case buying new might be less of a pain in the neck.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to buy new or used, read on. Here’s what you need to know:
Cheaper: This is perhaps the number one reason to buy used instead of new. Businesses and individuals can save significant amounts of money on used chairs, up to 70 percent or more off the list price of a new chair, which adds up to a lot of cash, especially if you’re a startup with limited funds or trying to outfit a large office. Keep in mind that in some cases that’s 70 percent off of high-quality, name brand chairs. Just because you’re pinching pennies doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style, or comfort for that matter.
Faster: If you’re hoping to furnish your office in a hurry, then used furniture that you can purchase and take home from the store on the same day is your best bet.
Greener: Did you know that, according to the EPA, 9 million tons of usable office equipment ends up in the landfill annually? You can do your part to stop needless waste by purchasing used chairs. What’s more, you’re helping lower the demand for new furniture, which uses natural resources and energy to produce.
Healthier: Used chairs are not only healthier for the environment, they could be healthier for your office. You know that new headache and nausea-inducing new furniture smell? That’s actually the slow release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in things like finishes, adhesives and upholstery in new office furniture. Over time, these VOCs off gas and the furniture is safer to use. The advantage of used furniture is that it’s already gone through this process by the time it reaches your office, unlike new furniture.
Damaged: From missing wheels to broken armrests, your used chair could have a flaw or two. Make sure to fully inspect whatever piece you’re purchasing to make sure that any damaged pieces are at least fixable and that missing parts are replaceable. If you want to buy used but don’t feel like making repairs, look for retailers that sell refurbished furniture.
Worn in: Even if the chair isn’t technically broken in anyway, chances are it will be more “lived in.” This means the seat cushions might not be as firm or the armrests could be more dinged up from years of scrapping the undersides of desks or the upholstery can be threadbare in places. Again, some used furniture retailers offer refurbished pieces that address these problems, or you can try to freshen them up yourself.
Harder to match: If you’re trying to furnish a whole office, you might have a more difficult time finding matching chairs or chairs that fit your office aesthetic when shopping used versus new.
Brand new: Who doesn’t like shiny new, unbroken, immaculate things? The best part about buying new is that you are the first person to use the furniture, which means you get all the advantages of firm cushions, functional adjusters and fabric unstained by spilt coffee.
Bigger selection: When you buy used, you’re at the mercy of whatever’s listed on Craigslist, in classifieds or at your nearest retailer. While chances are, you’ll still find a pretty good selection, you might not find pieces that totally match your needs aesthetically or ergonomically. But the sky’s the limit when you’re buying new.
Easy to buy en masse: If you’re trying to furnish a large office, you’ll need a lot of furniture, and we imagine you’d prefer that furniture to match. If you shop used, you could end settling for pieces that look similar, but don’t match or even pieces that don’t go together at all. Buy used, and you’ll be able to order the number you need from the manufacturer without worrying about whether there will be enough of a certain model.
More expensive: If you’re shopping for high quality chairs that were built to last, you’ll pay a premium for them, especially when you’re buying new. A brand new Herman Miller Aeron Chair can retail for more than $1,500 (used at Capital Choice is just $529). While you might be able to justify dropping that amount for a few chairs in a small office, it can get expensive fast if you’re a larger business.
Lag time for orders: Depending on how much furniture you’re purchasing and where you’re purchasing it, there can be a lag time between the time that you order the furniture and when it’s actually delivered to your office. This can be weeks or even months, which should be a big consideration for companies who are growing quickly. When buying used, you already know what’s in stock and you can most likely have it in your office the same day you bought it.
Whether you’re running a business or just safeguarding personal documents, investing in a fireproof filing cabinets can save you a lot of headaches in the event disaster strikes.
If your method of caring for your vital records involves a flimsy, three-ring binder or a shoebox in your closet, it might be time to re-evaluate.
Paper starts burning at 400 degrees Fahrenheit but structure fires burn at much, much higher temperatures. Unlike a regular wooden, metal filing cabinet or that three-ring binder, a UL-tested fireproof cabinet is designed such that internal temperatures won’t exceed 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer. This means when a fire strikes your home or business, your documents should be protected long enough for emergency workers to put out the fire.
Think you don’t have enough paper records to justify purchasing a costly fireproof cabinet? Think again. Businesses attain a fair amount of paperwork that can be difficult, if not impossible, to replace if destroyed.
Here are the items that must be stored in a fireproof filing cabinet for your business.
1. Contracts and agreements that prove ownership of property, equipment, vehicles, products, etc.
2. Grants and leases
3. Operational records including current accounting and tax records, current personnel payroll, leave and insurance records, budget records, account histories and shipping records
4. Current client files
5. Current standard operating procedures (SOPs)
6. Produced reports and summaries
7. Software source codes
8. Emergency operating records (any documents that dictate planning, organization and company hierarchy in the event of a disaster)
9. Founding documents
If you’re in the market for chairs for your office, whether they’re ergonomic desk chairs, sturdy conference chairs or waiting room seating, deciding to buy used is a smart move. Not only will you pay less money, but you’ll also be helping the environment out, too, by ensuring that quality furniture doesn’t end up in a landfill.
Before running out to your nearest thrift shop or cruising Craigslist, you’ll want to make sure you can separate the good from the bad from the ugly. Keep in mind that if you shop from a used office furniture retailer like Capital Choice Office Furniture, we’ll have done some of the legwork for you by repairing and refurbishing pieces that need a little TLC (and you’ll still save up to 70 percent over buying new).
Here’s what to keep an eye out for when shopping used to ensure you snag the best pieces for your money:
Good bones: If you come across chairs with ugly, stained, tired and/or dated fabric but that is structurally sound and well-constructed, then it could be worth your while to give it a little facelift with some new upholstery. However, keep in mind that there’s no need to dress up a dud. If the chair is otherwise cheaply constructed, don’t bother spending more to spruce it up.
Rips or stains: Most used furniture will have signs of wear (you can’t expect perfection), but you want to make sure any tears or stains can either be repaired, cleaned or aren’t in obvious spots. Like we mentioned earlier, if it’s a high-quality piece underneath some tired fabric, it might be worth your while to reupholster it.
Sturdiness: Before buying, sit down in the chair to make sure that it’s both comfortable and solid. Skip chairs that are rickety, have adjustments that aren’t functioning or have broken arm rests (or arm rests with overly worn padding). If it’s a high-quality chair with a broken part, it might be worth your while to see if you can order replacement parts to repair it.
Brand: A used chair from a big box store doesn’t have the same value as a used chair from a well-known, well-respected furniture maker. The great part about buying used is that you can probably afford the name brand pieces (think Steelcase, Herman Miller and Haworth) that you might not have had the budget to buy new. Even used these pieces retain their value because they’re built to last and have timeless style.
Comfort: The nice thing about buying used is that the chair is already broken in. Of course, on the flipside, it could be a little too broken in. You’ll want to make sure that the foam is still firm enough to support you comfortably rather than leave you sitting on a hard-as-rocks base.
Smell: While this shouldn’t be an issue for most office furniture you purchase, it’s worth it to take a whiff before buying. It can be almost impossible to get the smell of smoke out of upholstery (just ask any used car salesman), not to mention pet odors (should you be buying a piece someone used at home).
Start shopping for high-quality used office chairs at Capital Choice Office Furniture.
BY STACY YUEN
The most heated argument about modern offices pits the relative privacy of cubicles and offices versus collaborative nature of open workspaces
When the cubicle hit the furnishings market in 1967, it forever changed the landscape of office culture and the way we work. At the time, it was considered the tool for greater office efficiency.
By the 1990s, the satirical comic strip Dilbert was regularly earning laughter and nods of agreement by poking fun at the impersonal “cubicle farm,” blaming the invention for helping stifle creativity and breed workplace dysfunction.
Today, many people see the cubicle – as well as its upscale older brother, the corner office – as passé as the fax machine. Instead, they tout the Google-inspired collaborative or open workspace as the best thing since PowerPoint.
It’s not surprising that the suppliers of office furniture are trying to stay out of the dispute and offering to help create either type of environment. Linda Kano, president of Interior Showplace, a Kakaako office supplier, says one size does not fit all, as every organization has a different culture that helps shape which office layout is most appropriate.
“The workplace can help shape creative and engaged workers,” says Kano. “(This is done by) considering a variety of places and spaces for groups and individuals to work, creating open space but also private spaces to think and focus.”
Software entrepreneur Henk Rogers’ business empire – Tetris Online, Blue Planet Software, Blue Planet Foundation and Blue Start-ups – is a perfect example of adapting workspaces to the type of work being done. All of the organizations are headquartered on the 17th floor of Harbor Court in downtown Honolulu, yet each has a slightly different layout.
Open office allows for this impromptu meeting to discuss Blue Planet Foundation’s mission
Photo: David Croxford
Danny Han, marketing and PR manager for Blue Planet Software, the licensing agent for the Tetris brand, says BPS employees work in cubicles or offices.
“We’re working with some top secret stuff,” says Han, whose private office overlooks Honolulu Harbor. “In the world of video games and toys, you don’t want information leaking out until it’s ready to be unveiled. So offices with doors become necessities.”
Meanwhile, the nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation, whose mission is to end the use of fossil fuels, has an open workspace. BPF’s seven full-time staff members work at stations situated around a big table for impromptu “pow-wows,” says communications director Catharine Lo, who firmly believes having a space unbounded by walls encourages creative, out-of-the-box thinking.
“We’re always throwing funny quips back and forth, trying to one-up each other, and, once in awhile, the most ridiculous remarks turn into the best ideas ever,” says Lo. “For example, once we were joking about having a crack squad of efficiency geeks who could go around and use a phone app to report places wasting energy. Among other names, we thought we could call the app, ‘Rat ’em Out!’ It didn’t result in an app, but now it has become an easy meme that we all understand whenever we’re referring to missed opportunities to save energy.”
After much thought, Tetris Online also opted for an open workspace, both for easy collaboration and other reasons. “Cubicles are also an added cost and require more space,” explains Casey Pelkey, VP of marketing. “We can put four desks in the same space where only three cubicles would fit. We reinvested the money we saved into ergonomic desks and chairs to make our employees as comfortable as possible.”
Tealet’s open workplace encourages collaboration
Photo: David Croxford
In general, creative industries seem to gravitate toward the open concept and it’s fitting that architectural firms lead the way as advocates of collaborative work environments.
At Architects Hawaii Ltd.’s new digs at Pacific Guardian Center, everyone from production, design, marketing and accounting sits in a modern, wraparound staff room surrounded by stunning ocean views.
Even president and CEO Bill Brizee can be found at a drafting table among his employees. He says he has no qualms about the arrangement, as he hasn’t had an office since 1996, the year the firm got rid of barriers.
Sara Belczak, AHL’s senior interior designer, spearheaded the workspace project and brought the entire staff together to collaborate on the space and design so there would be no surprises and to promote “buy-in” of the change.
“Open spaces are not a new phenomenon and it’s popular on the mainland with Google and Facebook starting it all,” she says. “With a lot of tech firms, it’s either ‘collaborate or die,’ and these kinds of open bays promote communications between people, and that’s so much more productive for projects.”
“Benching” arrangements put Architects Hawaii’s employees across from each other
Photo: Courtesy of Architects Hawaii
The main criticism of open workspaces appears to be the lack of privacy, but AHL seeks to address that concern by including private project rooms along the interior. Even there, the open concept prevails as the rooms’ walls are made of glass.
The rooms are also equipped to be converted into private offices, if needed. Each is furnished with a big-screen TV that can become a computer desktop, and a telephone that can quickly be programmed to the user’s individual line. Interior walls serve as whiteboards.
Belczak says most downsides to having everyone working in a single room without walls can be remedied by tweaks in design, adding accessories and technology, or simply communicating with one another.
“For instance, we’ve discovered it’s difficult to find a space to just have a private cell-phone conversation. Now, we have to go down to the lobby to do that. But there are furnishing solutions – these stylish phone booths that you can hang on the wall,” says Belczak. “Also, we find that sometimes people talk loudly on their phones with the speaker on, so we have to gently educate folks about things like that.”
Modern open offices like AHL’s utilize “benching” arrangements where employees sit in rows or across from each other. There is usually a centralized common area, such as AHL’s project-storage islands in the center of the workspace to reduce personal desktop clutter. AHL’s LEED-certified office utilizes furniture meeting the LEED height requirement of 42 inches or less to maintain the view. Belczak says it’s also the perfect height for team members to gather around to discuss projects, enhancing communication.
With its own textbook example of a collaborative workspace, AHL has created a business niche for itself by helping clients design their own open workspaces. Belczak believes most industries – including law, insurance and accounting – can benefit from some sort of open space, if not for team building, then for recruiting and retention.
“A lot of it is generational. Our younger, more tech-savvy workers will go where they feel more comfortable and, for the most part, it is this type of congenial, open concept and access to senior staff where they feel they can get the mentorship they need early in their careers,” says Belczak.
That’s not to say the older generation won’t embrace the concept.
“There are four generations here. It may be a little more difficult for the older employees to accept this idea, as change is always difficult,” Belczak explains. “But we’ve found that once everyone sees everyone in the same type of workstation, there’s an improved camaraderie of the whole firm.”
Semi-open offices provide space for meetings, private conversations and other uses
Photos: Courtesy of Steelcase
Multipurpose rooms allow for meetings, presentations, parties and more
Architectural and construction project management firm Bowers + Kubota Consulting, headquartered in Waipahu, also put considerable thought and effort into its workspace design and came up with a hybrid solution combining private cubicles and offices with an open workspace.
“It depends on the duties of the individual whether a collaborative or private environment makes the most sense,” says B+K president Brian Bowers. “I personally prefer an office because much of the work I do is private in nature, including confidential discussions with both team members and clients.”
B+K’s project team works in a semi-open office. Cubicle desks are on wheels to enable quick mobilization into a “roundtable” environment. The cubicles are open on two sides to maintain the “open office” feel, but each cubicle has a translucent sliding panel to provide privacy when needed.
Bowers says these cubicles provide less storage than regular cubicles, requiring staff to be more organized or suffer a cluttered desk. However, storage lockers along the perimeter walls can help workers reduce that problem.
A hybrid workspace is also the choice of PKF Pacific Hawaii, an accounting firm.
“We’ve found that giving each employee their own workspace, allowing for an area to collaborate in the middle and providing them with the best views in the office, offers a setup where they can be efficient and productive,” explains partner Trisha Nomura. “When employees are happy with their physical space, it definitely impacts the way they work.”
Nomura says the company put a lot of effort into planning the office layout and considered many factors, including cost, impact on employees and the ability to serve clients.
Other financial firms have rejected the open-space model and remain staunchly traditional. “We have offices and cubicles,” says Alton Miyashiro, managing principal N&K CPAs, explaining that its more private environment works just fine and the company has no plans to change it.
“But we do have one section in our audit area that has lower-walled cubes,” Miyashiro says. “We did this because our auditors work in teams, so the lower walls seemed to be better for communication.”
For complete article, see Hawaii Business.