Space saving solutions for the home office

April 11, 2014

As Britain witnesses a rapid increase in the number of people starting up their own businesses from home, more and more people are faced with the prospect of creating home offices for the first time. This often means working out of a very small space as whatever part of the home gets the least use is converted for work purposes. Furnishing a space to provide everything that’s needed can be tricky. Fortunately we are able to offer some neat solutions to help you get that space just right.

 

Plan before buying

 

You’d be surprised how many situations we encounter where people buy all their office furniture first and only then start thinking about how to fit it in. Sometimes they succeed but it leaves them with little room to move. Making a plan first makes a big difference. The first thing to think about is light. If there is a window in the room, the desk should be arranged so that light won’t be shining directly onto the computer screen. This provides the first piece of the positioning puzzle. If some light comes in sideways and you think it light be a problem, blinds are a great way to control it.

 

Once the position of the desk has been decided, think about the position of peripherals like the printer and scanner or any other essential equipment. Some of our PC workstations are designed to accommodate these within the same space; alternatively, you could choose broad shelving to fit along the side of the desk, keeping peripherals in an easy to reach position, as well as providing extra room for storage. Remember that you’ll need to be able to run cables round the furniture you buy unless you are relying on wireless for your computer and phone connections. Cables are generally considered a more secure bet and it’s good to have the modem in the same room so you can quickly address any issues with it.

 

Storage solutions

 

In a small office, shelving can often provide the most efficient method of storage for your books, documents and supplies. Using clearly labelled plastic boxes rather than storing documents in piles keeps things safer and makes them easier to find in a hurry. All our furniture is fully assembled and built to last so you won’t have to worry about the headaches that come with self-assembly. Alongside the shelves, we offer filing cabinets in all sizes, so you may find something that does fit into your space even if you can only use it for your most important or current documents.

 

Seating solutions

 

In a small office, a big, luxurious chair isn’t always practical. We have some very comfortable slimline chairs that will let you enjoy one of the big advantages of a small space, being able to turn around and reach whatever you happen to need. We’re price leaders in this market, well give you a 30 day trial offer on anything you buy and our phone lines are open 8am to 8pm, so getting started couldn’t be easier.

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What your furniture says about your business

Whatever your company, whether you’re a SME working in B2B, or you’re part of the local council or education sector, your office space is vital to how people see you. In particular, the furniture you choose speaks volumes. It could be you work from a home office, or you have a large premises in a dedicated office block. No matter your office’s size or location, you should take great care in choosing furniture, both for the sake of your clients and your employees.

 

For a start, your furniture is what gives people their first impression of the company. Think about your overall business culture, and how you can tie your furniture into this aesthetic. Muted or dark colours and sleek lines exude a corporate feel, while the bright and quirky suggests an artistic and creative mindset. Antique style and imposing furniture give an air of an established and authoritative company, but would look out of place in a tech start up, where a bold and futuristic egg chair would be more at home. Neutral colours and comfortable cushions can work well in a reception area to make clients feel more relaxed, compared to primary colours that are more startling and less inviting.

 

However, your furniture is not just about the impression it gives to clients; it’s also important for creating a positive working environment for you and your employees. For example, you should ensure office chairs are comfortable and promote good posture. The space should encourage inspiration and focus, and a large part of this is ensuring the office is free of clutter and not too cramped. This feeling of a light and airy space is good both for the workers’ state of mind, and for convincing clients you are in control.

 

To achieve this uncluttered look, you’ll need the right storage. Invest in some good filing cabinets and book cases, and make sure there are lockers readily available for staff use. Using smart space-saving solutions is especially necessary in a home office environment, where space is often at a premium. Consider options such as folding tables, which can be stored away when not in use.

 

You should also base your furniture choices on practicality as well as style. Think about your business needs – do employees need plenty of surface space to complete their work? Are noticeboards or whiteboards necessary for a meeting or boardroom? Would your reception benefit from display and presentation products to showcase company literature?

 

Whatever the individual needs of your company, we at Furniture At Work can help. The UK’s largest suppliers of office and executive furniture, we have everything you need to kit out your place of work, whether that’s a school, an office or your home. Our furniture comes fully assembled, and you can chose between next day delivery (to any floor) or our collection service. With flexible payment terms, you can also take advantage of instant credit facilities if you’re a government department such as a council, school or the NHS, and we offer very attractive discounts for all bulk orders. Why not subscribe to our free monthly catalogue to see what products we have on offer, and get an instant quotation over the phone once you know what you would like to order. Our call support centre is manned by furniture specialists, and you can call any time between 8am and 8pm. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Setting Up Business from Home

April 10, 2014

A daunting part of starting a business can be the cost of getting everything up and running, so what better way to keep costs down than by starting your business from home? Even though you are working from home it is still vital to create a comfortable, smart and professional space. Create the right atmosphere for yourself and your business, starting out with the best and most useful accessories, to help you create the perfect home office.

 

To begin your home workspace you will need the basics.

 

A Desk and Chair

 

The desk should be the correct height and size and it should feel right and comfortable for you as you may be spending a lot of time at it. For practical purposes, a desk with a drawer and a keyboard shelf would also be beneficial.

 

The correct chair is just as important as the desk. It should offer you the support you need, as the last thing you want is a sore back. The chair should be height adjustable, have a tilt-able seat and should be able to be adjusted to suit your weight, height and the way you sit.

 

A Lamp and Clock

 

A good, flexible lamp is important, especially if you will be staying up late. Eye-strain makes you more tired and relying on a ceiling light is often not enough, especially if you are going to be doing lots of reading and focusing on the screen.

 

A clock should also be a key part of your office. Choosing one with clear, visible numbers will make it easier for you to be aware of the time as often as you need to be. It should also be one which is wall mountable so it is out of the way in what may be a busy and crowded space.

 

Storage Space

 

A solid bookshelf with deep shelves would be helpful as well as boxes for items that you way want kept away from prying eyes. Magazine files are also great for storing invoices, books, receipts and post.

 

A lockable drawer unit would be perfect for storing away laptops and sensitive material.

 

A Laptop and Printer

 

If you are taking your laptop out and about, you will want something light and small. The screen size does not need to be an issue if it is a more practical size and can be plugged into a large screen.

 

It is not advisable to look for the cheapest option when buying laptops and printers, instead look for value and quality.

 

An all in one printer would be helpful, especially if you are short on space. Try and find one that scans, prints, copies and faxes and uses cost effective ink cartridges.

 

In the end you will have a great looking, professional and functional office. Some of the world’s biggest businesses began in their front room, and two thirds of new entrepreneurs are now taking the same steps. A tidy, organised and fully functioning office will help you keep a clear mind and work in a productive atmosphere without spending excessive money on office space.

 

 

 

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The importance of buying quality furniture

April 7, 2014

Whether you’re replacing worn out old furniture that has served its time, or you’re kitting out a new premises entirely from scratch, it can be tempting to try and cut costs. You might work from home and not see the point of splashing out on yourself, or you may be buying for a large institution like a school or the NHS and looking to minimise expenditure, but ultimately purchasing very cheap furniture can be a false economy.

 

For a start, the main issue with buying cheap furniture is the quality. You might feel you are being savvy with what looks like a bargain deal, but when that office chair breaks within the first few months you’ll be wishing you had invested more. Cheaper pieces of furniture are likely to break or wear out sooner, meaning more costs in having to replace them.

 

Not only that, but such cheap furniture that is liable to break can be a real hazard. If it’s just you that ends up getting hurt because a bookcase has fallen on your head that can be bad enough, but even worse is if an employee or client ends up getting injured. In these situations, and especially if you’re responsible for the safety of pupils or patients as a school or the NHS, you have a duty of care, and there can be serious consequences if someone gets hurt.

 

The other issue with the quality of furniture is simply comfort. A very cheap price tag is usually indicative of poor design, and the last thing you want while trying to get on with work is backache from your chair, or from a desk that is an awkward height. This applies to your workforce and clients as well – you want everyone to be as productive and comfortable as possible.

 

Another issue with cheap furniture is convenience. A lot of the time, that bargain you picked up means your furniture will come flat-packed for self assembly. Not only is this incredibly time consuming and often frustrating – imagine how long this will take you with a bulk order for a school! – but there is also the danger that you could assemble the furniture incorrectly. Again, this leads to the potential for causing injury. Thankfully, Furniture At Work offer a large selection of assembled items and can even offer full installation an packaging removal on certain products.

 

Perhaps not quite so hazardous to your well being, but just as important, is the issue of style. Sure, you saved money on that reception sofa, or on the tables in your meeting room, but what do they say about your company? (Could possibly link to previous article on ‘What your furniture says about your business’ here) You want your furniture to leave a good impression with any clients, with a welcoming atmosphere, and to create a positive working environment for your employees. Cheap, ugly furniture in out of date styles and unflattering colours simply won’t do that.

 

Thankfully, buying quality furniture does not need to break the bank to be a good investment. At Furniture At Work, we are price leaders, supplying high quality and attractive office furniture at excellent prices. We offer big discounts on bulk orders, and our flexible payment terms and instant credit facilities for government departments make covering the cost of the furniture you need even more manageable. Why not call our telephone support call centre for an instant quote – it’s manned by office furniture specialists from 8am – 8pm.

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Making the right impression with quality reception furniture

January 6, 2014

Your reception area is the first thing that people see when they enter your building. Therefore, it’s really important that you have top-quality, attractive office furniture in there. If you neglect this part of your premises, you could suffer a range of ill-effects.

Potential customers could be deterred, meaning your bottom line may be affected. Also, a bedraggled or badly designed reception can put off possible members of staff, hindering your recruitment efforts. After all, people want to work in pleasant environments and if your reception is substandard, candidates may assume this reflects the rest of your office.

Seating

One of the things you’ll need to think about when planning your reception area is your seating. This should look good and be comfortable for guests. Of course, you’ll also need to make sure you have enough chairs, benches or sofas. Making people stand around waiting does not look professional.


Here at Furniture At Work™ we sell a host of seating products that could be just what you’re looking for. Whether you’re after tub seats, modular units, leather suites or anything else, we should be able to help.


As well as meeting your practical requirements, it’s a good idea to make sure that your seating reflects your firm’s general ethos and style. If you’re trying to present your company as modern and chic, then contemporary designs are best. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to emphasise your traditional, professional side, maybe antique replica chesterfields would be better.


Desks


No reception is complete without a desk. As well as enhancing the look of your entrance area, this must meet the practical needs of your receptionists. This means it must be big enough, having sufficient storage and so on.


To help ensure that your staff members agree with your final choice, it may be wise to bring them in on the decision making process. This way, you can guarantee they will be pleased with the desks they get.


Those all-important extras


As well as buying these big ticket items of office furniture online, it can pay off to consider those all-important accessories that can help to make or break the overall look and feel of receptions. For example, one or two attractive pieces of artwork could boost the appearance of the space, along with a few plants. If your budget will stretch to it, it’s nice to get deliveries of fresh flowers on a regular basis to add a splash of colour and vibrancy.


Meanwhile, it may also be a good investment to get a TV for people to watch while they’re waiting, and some newspapers and magazines always go down well. If you want to be especially welcoming, you could even put a water dispenser and some fresh fruit in your reception.


A coffee table, entrance mat and coat stand can also enhance your reception


See for yourself


If you’d like to check out our collection of cheap office furniture, just take a look around our website or get in touch with our friendly and professional team.

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Are Swiss Balls as chairs really such a good idea?

November 25, 2013

Office ergonomics is something all conscious business owners should be aware of. It should feature in the initial planning of every office environment and should influence the office furniture you buy. The range of office furniture UK businesses have to choose from is vast, but you need to ensure it is set up in the best possible way too. But ergonomics isn’t always a staid and boring topic, and occasionally it gets downright quirky – all in the name of design partnering with good health practices. Take, for example, Swiss balls.

In recent years, a visitor to any trendy design company wouldn’t be surprised to see the employees sitting (okay, balancing precariously) at their desks on Swiss balls. These over-sized beach balls have been used in gyms for years for developing core strength, balance and fitness, but do they really have a place as office furniture?

There’s now gathering opinion that is starting to challenge the concept and suggests that perhaps we should all be returning to ergonomically designed chairs instead.

A laudable idea – just not a good one

According to Jeanie Croasmun, writing in The Ergonomics Report: “The intent of the ball chair developers was laudable: to take an item that seems to be beneficial in an area of health care (rehabilitation and strengthening/wellness) and apply the same principle to the office.” But while the idea may be laudable, the application, she believes, is flawed: “The exercise ball might be great for strengthening and toning in the gym or at home, but it can’t compete with a truly ergonomic chair for long-term sitting in an office environment.”

Focusing in on what’s important

Jeanie isn’t alone, and a host of other experts have started coming out against the over-use of what is effectively a piece of gym equipment in a completely alien environment.

You’ve also got to ask yourself – are they really that comfortable to sit on all day long? Strengthening your core muscles may give you a six-pack, but does focusing on not falling off your seat all day mean that you’re not focused on your work? Swiss balls as a piece of ergonomic furniture may be ‘trendy’, but it seems that, like all trends, the backlash has started and that 2014 may well see a move back towards well-designed ergonomic office furniture online and in stores across the UK.

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Posted by Furniture@Work

 

Confidentiality in the workplace

November 17, 2013

Regardless of what kind of business you operate, chances are there will be confidential documents that need to be kept in secure storage. Whether it’s financial records, clients details or staff files, there is a responsibility to the business owner to ensure that these confidential documents are always safe under lock and key.

Secure storage for clients

Whether you’re working from home or sourcing office furniture for a 300-person strong company, clients need to have their details protected with secure storage. The majority of filing cabinets will have central locking systems and sometimes even individual locking for each drawer. But remember not to leave the key in the lock, as that tends to defeat the point somewhat!

Confidentiality isn’t just about locking information away though, it’s also about dealing with it appropriately. If you have a locked cabinet for instance that just deals with one client, should their name really be on the tag on the front for everyone to see? In some industries that isn’t a problem but if you’re a law firm or working in connection with medical records, then that may not be acceptable.

Secure storage isn’t a consideration just for current documents and information either. It’s also important to think about what happens to that paperwork when it’s obsolete. Ensuring that you have correct confidential shredders is vital to keeping client information private, no matter how innocuous it may seem.

Secure storage for staff

Providing secure storage for staff is a top priority when looking after their needs and requirements. The extent and size to which secure storage is provided will depend on the nature of the work but, at the very least, a locking drawer in or next to each desk gives staff the knowledge that they can keep their valuables safe while they’re at work.

In companies where changes of clothes or shoes are required then personal lockers are the way forward and provide employees with their own, lockable space. In situations where long working hours are frequent, lockers also give extra flexibility to staff to keep personal items that they made need, safe.

Even in a three person office, everyone requires their own personal secure storage as well as secure storage for their clients. While it can be easy to overlook personal confidentiality in a small and friendly environment – it doesn’t make it any less vital and all employees have a right to lock up their belongings.

Security, responsibility and reputation

Businesses are only as good as how their clients view them and so it doesn’t matter how many high profile contracts you’ve completed, if you compromise your client’s interests, you’re in a bad way. Confidentiality is the absolute cornerstone of trust and one simple mistake can cost your business its reputation. Taking precautions against break-ins, unauthorised movement of files and documents and the exposure of documents when they’re being used is a good habit to get into.

Simple steps to ensure that you are deserving of your clients’ and employees’ trust can make all the difference. Investing in secure, responsible storage is an easy way to make a good start and sourcing office furniture online gives you flexibility, a wide choice and the vital ability to keep costs down.

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Why Employers Need To Protect Their Office Workers’ Wellbeing

October 23, 2013

A company’s workers are undoubtedly its most vital asset therefore it is absolutely imperative that employers do everything they can to protect the wellbeing of their staff. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by investing in suitable furniture. After all, many office workers these days spend up to eight hours a day sitting at the same workstation so ensuring they are comfortable is the least an employer can do.

Furniture at Work Complaints

It is not a surprise to learn that workers who are forced to use uncomfortable, substandard furniture invariably find themselves developing health issues of one kind or another sooner or later. However, furniture at work complaints of this kind are not things which pop up overnight; they develop slowly over a long period of time. So, whilst employees with stiff backs and other musculoskeletal problems may think they are just feeling the effects of a big night out or a poor night’s sleep, they will actually be exacerbating a problem which is only likely to get worse and worse. More people than ever in the UK now suffer from musculoskeletal disorders. It is widely believed that many of these disorders are caused by sitting and typing in awkward positions for prolonged periods of time. Disorders of this kind are related to neck pain as well as sever discomfort in the shoulders, arms, back, hips and knees.

Impacted Productivity

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), around 11.6 million working days are lost each year to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. So, alongside the moral issue of keeping employees fit and well simply because it’s the right thing to do, it is also clear to see that investing in well designed office furniture makes good business sense too.

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Meeting Storage Requirements

September 28, 2013

Many furniture at work problems arise due to poor storage solutions that are not adapted for their primary purpose. Of course, storage invariably always does get used but this does not mean that space is being used effectively. Using filing cabinets to store bulky items, for instance, may not only waste space but it could also damage the cabinet.

Versatility Is Key

Even despite data becoming ever more digitised, hard copies of important documents are still required. If these documents are private and contain sensitive data, they really should be kept under lock and key. Lockable cabinets can solve many furniture at work problems that arise, particularly if those cabinets themselves are being kept in a secure room that is rarely accessed or easily monitored.

Lateral filers are great for those offices where some storage is required but perhaps doesn’t need to be high density. Double wide foolscap storage can offer plenty of storage over time without sacrificing too much space in the office. Investing in a cabinet with a nice finish can also serve to improve the look of the office.

High Density

4+ storey filing cabinets are a great way to store large numbers of files together. The more adaptive options on the market will allow you to stack side by side with differing heights to allow you to adapt to the environment by placing some cabinets beneath workstation desks.

Multidrawer

Multidrawer flat and wide filers can allow you to store all sorts of different items, from tools to paper. These are very handy to have around since you can store everything you need in one compact cabinet that won’t take up so much space. With a small investment in a worktop it could put to further use to give more space in the work area.

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Easy Solutions To Furniture At Work Complaints

September 26, 2013

<2>Good Posture

Many furniture at work complaints come from repeating the same action every day non-stop. For those businesses who have invested wisely, the equipment itself might not be to blame – it could be bad posture or an incorrectly set up chair, table or other device. It is important to note however, that if you expect your employees to sit and work for 8 hours a day that they need not only regular breaks but also a chair that is adjustable. Chairs that don’t adjust will cause problems eventually, since they should offer ample support for the back and hips as well as allowing the elbows to remain parallel to the worktop. Knees should also be level or below the hips, certainly not below. If possible, a foot rest might also be provided.

Ensuring that employees know how to set up their workstation effectively requires no specialist training. They simply need to follow these simple guidelines. The issue does however change for those employers who must cater for pregnant women and those with physical disabilities. This can require some expert insight if you have not already received it but should not be prohibitively priced.

Breaks And Exercise

A regular break every hour or so can not only stave off the effects of sitting but can also yield productivity increases. If some employees are suffering through sitting then it can help to do some simple exercises to make furniture at work complaints a thing of the past. Exercises designed to work the wrists, neck and spine can really help to stretch those muscles and tendons that can become fatigued during the day. Information should be available on the specifics of each exercise, although it is always a good idea to gain access to some occupational training to ensure that employees have the knowledge to keep themselves safe.

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Posted by Furniture@Work

 

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