Archive for June, 2011

Improving Furniture Sales a Good Sign

If the office furniture industry is any indication, the economy may finally be headed in the right direction, albeit at a snail’s pace. 

Over 50,000 office furniture buyers and sellers attended NeoCon, the industry’s largest trade show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago June 13 – 15. Attendance at Neocon was up 6 % over last year, as more employers sent representatives to scout the latest innovations in the office furniture industry. Industry wide, sales are up 16 % for the year, a positive sign the economy might finally be on the upswing. 

Office furniture sales, tied directly to white collar hiring, is generally regarded as a trailing economic indicator. Also closely linked to commercial real estate activity, furniture sales have increased as more organizations look to improve their work environment as they relocate.

 Improving furniture sales might be a good sign for all of us.

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The # 1 Workplace Complaint is …

The trend continues in office design towards a more open and collaborative work environment and while there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of an office environment that enables employees to share information, there can also be a downside to all that communication as well. 

Unwanted office noise is the # 1 complaint in the workplace.

 According to a recent article in Building Design & Construction magazine, over 70 % of office workers say a reduction in noise would increase their productivity, while only 19 % of executives surveyed were aware of a noise problem.  This lack of understanding often results in a noisy work environment that can have a negative impact on employee productivity, morale and even retention. 

If you’re in the process of planning a new office space, be sure to consider the acoustics. A balanced approach to planning office acoustics includes office furniture, acoustical ceiling tiles and sound masking as the key components of an acoustically efficient workplace. 

The balanced approach to planning office acoustics is as easy as A, B, C. 

Absorb – Design elements such as carpet, acoustical ceiling tile and furniture partitions absorb sound instead of deflecting it back into the work environment. Hard surfaces like exposed ceilings and concrete floors may look cool, but are hard materials and don’t absorb sound. 

Block – For areas that require privacy, sound can be blocked with full-height walls. There are also high performance wall systems that can be moved later as your environment changes. These moveable walls offer accelerated depreciation as well. 

Coversound masking systems provide even distribution of sound to prevent workers from easily overhearing conversations. 

While a more open and collaborative work environment can be good for business, just be sure you don’t overlook the acoustics.

If you’d like to learn more about the acoustics in your workplace, call or email Team Office today.

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When Does it Make Sense to Reupholster Your Old Chairs?

If you have chairs in need of a facelift, you may be wondering if it makes sense to have them reupholstered or just replaced. The answer to that question is – it depends. There are times it makes sense to give those chairs a new look by reupholstering and there are other times it’s just not worth it.

There are 10 important issues to consider before you choose between reupholstering and replacing those old chairs at home or in the office: 

  1. Is the chair frame still in style? Some chairs “ugly out” long before they wear out. Take an honest look at the style and make sure it’s something you’ll want in your home or office 5 or 10 years from now.
  2. Be sure the frame is still solid. A good way to test this is to put one knee on the seat while grabbing each arm on the chair. Now lean in and place pressure on the top of the chair arms with your palms. Alternate this pressure from left to right and see if you feel any give in the “bones” or frame of the chair. Give in the frame is called “racking” and is a sign the chair is likely nearing the end of its life cycle. A chair that racks can also be a safety/liability issue.
  3. If your chairs are office or desk chairs, be sure to find out if they were designed to be reupholstered. Steelcase and several other popular office furniture manufacturers design chairs with thermally bonded fabric which makes reupholstering virtually impossible.
  4. Before you make a final decision, price out new chairs in a similar style. This will give you something to compare to the cost of reupholstering.
  5. Determine the amount of fabric you’ll need to recover each chair. If you’re not sure, ask your upholsterer or furniture dealer. If they can’t help, send us an image of your chair and we’ll help you.
  6. Select a fabric you like for recovering. There are hundreds of fabrics available. An interior designer, commercial furniture dealer or upholsterer should be able to provide you with samples and even assist you in making a selection.
  7. Multiply the net cost of your fabric (don’t forget shipping cost to the upholsterer) times the total number of square yards required to recover your chairs.
  8. Get a quote from the upholsterer for the labor to recover the chairs. Make sure he includes pick up and re-delivery.
  9. If your chairs are in an office environment, but sure to choose a fabric with at least a 30,000 double rub rating. The Wyzenbeek test is a generally accepted method for determining the durability of fabrics. The higher the double rub count, the more durable the fabric will be.  
  10. Consider the environment before replacing your old chairs. Very few chairs can be recycled. Consider donating your old chairs to a local organization that redistributes unwanted furniture to those in need. 

We hope these questions help you make the choice that’s right for you and your organization. If you need a hand or would just like to have a second opinion,  send us an email or give us a call.

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Is Your Business Prepared for a Disaster?

The devastating storms this spring in Missouri and Alabama should remind us how quickly tragedy can strike and how important it is to prepare your business for a disaster.

According to the American Red Cross, nearly 40 % of businesses fail following a natural or manmade disaster. Although 94 % of small business owners believe a disaster could seriously disrupt their business within the next two years, nearly 60 % are wholly unprepared for a disaster of any kind. 

To help businesses, organizations and schools prepare for emergencies; The American Red Cross provides a free, self-guided assessment rating program. The American Red Cross Ready Rating Program includes a 123 point self-assessment of the level of preparedness, as well as tips and best practices. The assessment has been aligned with the federal government’s private sector preparedness standards or PS=Prep.

Emergencies are inevitable. Be sure your organization is prepared for a disaster by taking the 123 Assessment today. Please also consider supporting The American Red Cross – where people mobilize to help their neighbors—across the street, across the country, and across the world—in emergencies. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

Text REDCROSS to 90999 and donate $10.00 now.

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