By Stephanie Vozza
If you have designs on making your office both functional and aesthetically pleasing, then choosing furnishings that match your employees' needs and help define your office design and culture is key. Whether it's a stylish chair or a conference room table, every piece of furniture plays an important role in bringing the ideal vision of your business to life. Here are five ways you can use office furniture to create the perfect office design.
1. Divide the Office Into Zones
Open floor plans are popular because they give an office a feeling of cohesion, but they also can make completing quiet work a little difficult. Instead of handing out noise-cancelling headphones, strike a balance by creating areas that offer privacy and others that promote teamwork. Each of those unique areas requires its own furniture to support the functional goals. Equip one area of your office with private workstations. Then design other areas with furniture that invites collaboration, such as large worktables or seating groups. Also consider having areas for play. We've all heard about tech startups that have a pingpong table as a conference area, but social spaces actually help people communicate and build bonds.
2. Encourage Standing
The human body wasn't designed to sit all day. Research from the Mayo Clinic says sitting for long periods of time is linked to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Shake things up by creating work areas that allow for standing, such as standing desks and cafe-height tables.
While activities that involve fine motor skills are more difficult to perform when standing, Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, said in an interview with U.S. News & World Report that standing-desk stations are perfect for tasks like checking email or making quick phone calls.
3. Choose Office Furniture That Reflects Your Brand
When you purchase furniture, decide what it should convey about your business's personality and culture. Is your company modern? Are you trying to evoke trust? Would you like to set a tone of innovation? The pieces you choose can help you demonstrate your company's values and mission, as well as boost morale. In fact, being surrounded with boring furniture can cause your employees to lose interest in their work, according to Inc. magazine.
4. Pay Attention to Color
Color has an impact on your furniture, and matching it to the function of a particular space can enhance your employees' experience. While you could select a palette based on your company logo, it's important to know that certain colors, for example, impact health and stress responses. A study from the University of Texas found that subdued colors like blue and gray have a calming effect, while brighter colors like yellow are uplifting. Furnish quiet work areas with chairs and accessories in subdued colors, and use bright pieces in areas where you want to promote energy, such as a space intended for collaboration and brainstorming.
5. Tackle Clutter
In addition to spaces for work, you need to provide places for storage. Clutter limits your brain's ability to stay focused, according to Fast Company magazine. It also adds stress and promotes procrastination. Make sure you provide your employees with a place for everything, so everything is in its place.
Office furniture is more than just where employees do their work. It sets the tone for the physical office space that should reflect the company's values and mission. By choosing the right pieces, you tell your team that you value their contribution to your company — and that's a great message to send.