Archive for May, 2011

5 Keys to Choosing the Right Office Chair

5 Keys to Choosing the Right Office Chair

It helps to think of your office chair as a business suit. The only difference is you’re going to wear this suit for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 5, 10 or more years. If you wore a business suit this often and for this long, you’d never buy it over the Internet and that’s why you should never buy your office chair that way either.

There are hundreds of different office chairs to choose from and no one type is necessarily the best. Choosing the chair that’s right for you is a personal choice. The chair that feels comfortable to you might be uncomfortable for someone else. While there are many choices and options, there are 5 key factors to consider that will help you choose the chair that’s right for you.

Size  You wouldn’t buy a one size fits all suit and you shouldn’t buy your office chair that way either. The average adjustable office chair was designed for users between 5’2” and 6’3” tall and no more than 250 lbs. If you don’t fit within these parameters, you should take a look at a chair made for people your size. There are several manufacturers that specialize in this type of office seating.

Adjustability  It’s important your chair is easily adjustable. Those adjustments should at least include; seat height, arm height and lower lumbar support. The seat height should be a minimum range of 16-21 inches. The arms should be height adjustable and preferably width adjustable as well. Your chair should also have excellent support in the lower lumbar region and adjust in both height and depth. The spine is curved inward and as we sit for long periods of time and slouch, that inward curve begins to flatten. This can lead to lower back pain. A chair with inward lower lumbar support will help the spine maintain its natural inward curve.

Seat Material  The material on the office chair seat and back should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is more comfortable than harder surfaces.

Design  Design does matter. You wouldn’t buy an ugly business suit and you shouldn’t buy an ugly office chair either. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some office chairs are better looking than others. Take a look around before you buy and be sure to consider looks.

– Get Fit  This is the most common mistake people make when buying a new office chair. Always be sure to you have a professional “fit” the chair to you before you buy it. This means sitting in the chair while a professional adjusts all the controls to fit your body shape and comfort preferences. Once the chair is properly fit for you, it’s also important you “test drive” that chair in your office for at least one full day. Skip this simple step and chances are very good you’ll end up regretting it.

Most of us spend more time in our office chairs than we do our cars or furniture at home. Follow these key buying tips and you’ll end up with the chair that’s right for you.

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Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Your Office Furniture Direct


  1. You won’t have a pesky middle man to deal with when something breaks or doesn’t work or look quite the way you thought it would.
  2. You prefer to work with a third party installation company instead of the company that sold you the furniture.
  3. You like someone to nickel and dime you every time you make even the smallest change.
  4. You enjoy paying for every single bit of value you receive.
  5. You don’t want anyone to bother you in a month or a year just to make sure you still like your office furniture.
  6. You really enjoy dealing with warranty claims and chasing down out of state manufacturers.
  7. You’d rather not support a locally owned business.
  8. You’d rather not build a relationship with someone who might be the source of your next client referral.
  9. You love the parts intensive nature of office furniture and relish the idea of double checking a long list of materials.
  10. You have no interest in choosing from dozens of manufacturers and would much prefer to be locked into what one company can offer.

Obviously, I’m having a little fun here, but you get the point. There are still a few manufacturers out there that will sell office furniture direct. Most organizations know why this almost never works out well, but every once in a while, I see someone try it anyway.

I recently had a friend buy some furniture “Direct” (thanks, buddy) and what he ended up receiving was not what he ordered. With no dealer involved, my friend got to spend an afternoon boxing it, dealing with the freight carrier and then paying to return it. Two weeks later, the manufacturer charged him a 30 % “restocking fee”. 

Lesson learned. 

It just makes good business sense to buy your office furniture from a full service dealer and there are several in this market. On the surface, a furniture dealer might seem like a middle man, but when you get through the entire process of space planning, specification and installation, I think you’ll see they more than earned their keep.

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Can Your Office Furniture Pay for Itself?

It’s no secret office furniture can be very pricey. Your business needs the right furniture at the right price, but before you use precious capital to pay for your furniture upfront, it might pay to look at all your financing options.

Is it better to just pay for the furniture or does financing or leasing make more sense? According to Doug Andring, Regional Representative for Key Equipment Finance, the need for financing is no longer limited to the type of asset you’re acquiring, but more a question of how you want to use your capital and cash.

“Over the last 18 to 24 months, business owners and economic decision makers shifted from accounting-based decisions to capital-based decisions knowing that cash is king and conserving that cash is a top priority in the new economy”, says Andring. “Regardless of the overall strength of a business, financing furniture at a low rate makes more sense than reducing the company’s capital.”

As long as historically low interest rates are available, it might make sense to get the furniture you need and start using it right away, while spreading the costs out over time. The extra capital can be invested to help grow your business. Another huge benefit to financing your furniture is most of your “soft costs” can be included in your payment.

 If financing makes sense, it might also pay to look at leasing. Most leases allow 100 % financing which means no down payment and no payment for 30 days. In many cases, monthly lease payments are deductible (pre-tax) dollar for dollar. This is because lease payments are usually considered an operating expense.

 How do you know if leasing is right for your business?

 The right choice is the one that meets the individual needs of your business. Common factors to consider are:

 –          Estimated useful life of the furniture.

–          How long you plan to use the furniture.            

–          The tax situation of your business.

–          The cash flow of your business.

–          Your company’s specific needs for future growth.

 So, before you sign off on that new furniture, talk to your tax advisors about the benefits of financing or leasing.

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Is Your Messy Desk Costing You Money?

I’ve never been a big fan of a clean desk. I walk through a lot of offices and every time I see a really clean and organized desk it makes me wonder how busy that person is. Are they using valuable work time to clean their desk, or do they just not have much going on? It’s possible their desk is so clean because they’re ultra efficient and so productive that they have plenty of time leftover to clean their desk everyday.

My friends who used to work at Marion Merrell Dow tell me Mr. K had a strict clean desk policy. You could have a messy desk during the workday, but there couldn’t be one piece of paper on your desk when it was time to go home. Good thing they had lots of big file cabinets in Marion facilities.

Does a clean desk make you more productive?

According to a 2010 study by Brother International, messy desks and time spent looking for misplaced items costs corporate America $177 billion annually.

The estimate for all those minutes spent hunting for misplaced files and documents added up to 76 hours – or nearly two work weeks – a year.

These costs are also hitting employees’ pocketbooks. Nearly one third of office workers failed to get reimbursed for a business or travel expense because they lost a receipt according to the study.

The Brother International study based its estimates on interviews with 800 office workers and combined that data with current salary statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Over 65 % of survey respondents admitted their desks were unorganized. Organizational experts suggest organizing your work area a few minutes at a time spread out over several days or weeks. Wholesale cleaning sweeps are great, but they usually aren’t sustainable. If you want to get organized and stay organized, you have to make it a habit.

The key to keeping organized is making sure you have a place for each piece of paper. Without a place for every document, the random piling will continue according to professional organizer Beth Dargis. Visit Beth’s website for more great tips on getting organized.

Organizing your desk might not be your idea of a good time, but it just might be the fastest way to boost productivity. It seemed to work out pretty well for Mr. K.

So, how does your desk look? Email us an image of your desk and let us know how your organizational strategy is working.

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Energize Your Next Office

For many years, marketers have understood the power color has on people and have used it to help produce business results for their clients. Certain colors are used on websites and in brands not only because the designer liked them, but for the effect they have on people as well.

It only makes good business sense for you to tap into the psychology of color before you plan your next office space. With just a basic understanding of how certain colors affect people, you can use them to not only create the best atmosphere for your business, but to help you achieve those needed results as well.

Research shows human beings have an involuntary physiological reaction to color. The color red, for example, can cause the adrenal glands to release, the heart rate to rise and the mouth to salivate. Blues and greens on the other hand are more calming and produce the opposite physical reactions to red.

Consider the following list of colors and the feelings they typically evoke before you select finishes for your new office:

– Reds: High Energy, Stimulation, Sexy and Danger.

– Oranges: Happy, Sweet and Youthful

– Yellows: Warms, Sunny, Cheerful and Happy.

– Browns: Rich, Rustic, Earthy and Durable.

– Blues: Cool, Dependable, Soothing and Quiet.

– Greens: Growth, Fresh, Healing and Natural.

– Purples: Sensual, Elegant, Spiritual and Regal.

– Neutrals: Quality, Timeless, Natural.

– Whites: Clean, Pure and Innocent.

– Black: Strong, Classic and Powerful.

 As you plan your new office space, make sure your wall paint, trim, artwork, flooring and furniture finishes are the colors that fit with your brand and business objectives. Let the power of color help you grow your business.

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