As much as we may hate to admit it, we spend a lot of time in the office. Too many of us suffer in an office environment that is not well designed, and we make do with whatever furniture is afforded to us. But those in the know are aware that an effective, personalized workspace and intelligently engineered office furniture makes all the difference in our productivity and overall effectiveness. Whether you are setting up a professional corporate space or a small home office, there are certain considerations to keep in mind.
MAKE A LIST OF YOUR BASIC NEEDS
Before you start thinking about what furniture you will need, make a detailed list of your most basic office needs. The list should include items you must have for your office such as a computer, fax, printer, telephone, file storage, and so on. When making your list, think about the ways in which you plan to use the office. If you are a graphic artist you may need space for a computer and a larger table, or workspace for your artwork. If you are a consultant, you may need additional space for locking file cabinets to protect sensitive documents, and a place to meet with clients.
CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION
If you are in a corporate environment, chances are your location is predetermined, but you still need to think about how best to use this space. Consider the location of windows, the entrance and the placement of wall outlets. In most cases, the desk should be positioned with a view of the office entrance and to make the most use of available natural lighting. Home office locations are much more flexible, ranging from the corner of a family room to a dedicated office in a spare bedroom. Make sure your home office is removed from potential distractions such as the kitchen, family traffic and noise. You can also make use of the space underneath the stairways or at the end of a hallway. The important thing is that you have a permanent space that is dedicated for work.
SELECT FURNITURE DESIGNED TO WORK FOR YOU
There are many choices when it comes to office furniture, and in particular the most central component - the office desk. While it may appear to be just a place for you to work, quality office furniture should integrate your technology and promote efficiency. Keep your electronic components in mind. Beyond your computer and printer, think about your cell phone, video camera or music player. A good desk includes wire management to keep those unsightly cords out of view. A desk’s top needs to be durable so you need not be concerned about marring it or leaving on it an unsightly ring from your morning coffee. Look for desks that include storage to keep everyday items out of view. If your computer requires a CPU tower, consider storage solutions that will incorporate it to keep it clean, protected and ventilated. Make sure that you choose an ergonomic desk chair with appropriate support. Your back will thank you.
CHOOSE FURNITURE THAT REFLECTS YOUR STYLE
Now you get to be creative. Choose furniture that reflects your style. Are you looking for something traditional or contemporary? Wood furniture has a more traditional feel, while steel and glass pieces are more modern and industrial. For a transitional environment, consider a combination of these materials. A professional office needs a consistent look, so choose a common aesthetic for your desks, storage cabinets, chairs and other prominent elements.
ACCOUNT FOR FILES AND SUPPLIES
Don’t forget all of the other elements that make up your office. A great desk is one thing, but if it is piled with paperwork and supplies it isn’t conducive to working. Utilize file storage drawers and cabinets to keep everything neat and organized. Mobile file cabinets provide flexibility as well as additional workspace. A locking file cabinet may be required to keep your files secure. If space is tight, consider adding shelves to your office to make use of vertical space.
In order to create an effective office, everything needs to have its place. Component systems offer the most flexibility in this regard, allowing you to combine work surfaces, file storage, supply cabinets and more to customize your office to your needs. Once you have a place for everything, STICK WITH IT! By paying attention to the details during the setup of your office, you can ensure that you have created a space where you actually want to work.