In a recent article, The Chicago Grid called out a list of frustrations that some facility planners are encountering with today’s more open workspaces – among them, the need for quiet zones and areas to make phone calls. Organizations benefit when workers collaborate and yet research shows that in many instances, productivity is being lost in our new “open offices.” Is it possible to balance the need for collaborative work areas with more private work zones in one office? With a little planning and foresight, the answer is “Yes”. For example, the space pictured below is designed with zones that are task-specific. Similar to districts or zoning in a community, today’s workplace planning should support the movement and flexibility needed to make them both functional and productive.
The 4 Office Zones
Collaboration Zones are open and provide space for associates to come together and share ideas. They can be as simple as a big table in the break room or a lounge area. Any space that makes it easy for people to meet and communicate can make a great collaboration zone.
Companies like Google are famous for their Fun Zones. Fun Zones may include ping pong tables or slides. Fun Zones provide space for fun activities and make people look forward to going to work. Don’t be fooled by all the fun and laughter though. The large companies that made Fun Zones famous will tell you some of their best ideas came from these areas.
Quiet Zones are great places to get work done, but less isolated than a private office or cubicle. Individual workspace is defined, but somewhat open and communication with coworkers is still possible.
If a deadline looms and serious work needs to be done, it’s time to head for a Private Zone. Private zones eliminate disruptions and send the message that workers should not be bothered. Private Zones allow concentration and maximize productivity. Ideal private zones may include doors and full-height walls and resemble more traditional office space, except they’re shared spaces.
Use the 4 zones to ensure that your team can find the right place for work, collaboration and fun. With some planning and intelligent design, your team will always be working in the “Zone”.
Cool looking furniture is only a part of creating a fun, creative and productive workplace. Happiness in the office trickles down from the top. Here are 6 things you can do to keep your team motivated, fired up and more cheerful.
Respecting your people and their decisions will show them that you consider them valuable and important. This will not only give your associates more confidence, it will also give them a personal reason to value the organization and its success.
You must trust every member of the team to do their job and do it well. If they see you truly trust them, teammates will trust each other and when that happens, associates will function as one unit, with each player performing their individual job while the team performs at a high level.
Be a Coach – Not a Manager
Outline a vision for the entire team that inspires everyone to achieve it. Every associate should understand that singular mission and the role they play to achieve it. This is the difference between a “company” or a “job” and a “mission” or a “cause”. It’s also a lot better reason to come to work each morning.
Provide Constructive Feedback
Instead of overlooking mistakes, point them out in a positive way so associates can learn. Practice the “10 to 1 rule”. That is, 10 positive comments for every negative comment.
Be Time Flexible
When possible, be flexible with work schedules. If an associate needs time for a personal reason and is willing to work earlier or later to get the job done, do your best to make it happen.
Show Your Appreciation
While a simple “thank you” is often good enough, you should occasionally go beyond words and do things that show your team how much you appreciate them and the work they do. Order pizza in for lunch, bring in a TV to watch March Madness or take a fun “field trip” and give them a chance to let their hair down and have some fun.
Source: Peter Economy | You As Chief Happiness Officer in Six Simple Steps | March 19, 2014 | Inc.com
There’s a lot more to buying office furniture than you might think. With just a little extra planning, you can avoid mistakes and be sure you’ll pick the furniture and the dealer that’s right for your business.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 1
– Buying Furniture Without a Good Plan
The old saying, draw twice, cut once certainly applies to buying office furniture. In fact, without a good plan, you might select the right furniture, but it won’t work the way it should because it wasn’t drawn and specified properly.
Through the exercise of creating a good drawing of your new space, you’ll more accurately assess the needs of your workers. You’ll also analyze your existing furniture and learn which pieces of your old furniture might work fine in your new plan. You’ll also be forced to slow down and be more deliberate in your furniture selection process.
A good drawing and furniture plan will also let you see exactly how your new space will look.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 2
– Not Testing the Chairs Before You Buy Them
You’d never buy a car before taking it on a test drive, so why would you buy an office chair before sitting in it for a work day or longer? It’s also a good idea to have a fair representation of your associates try the chairs as well.
Comfortable workers are more productive and happier workers.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 3
– Selecting the Wrong Fabrics
Fabric is usually the first part of furniture to show wear and tear. More durable and clean-able fabrics like Crypton and vinyl will be much easier to keep clean and last longer in high use areas like lobbies and break rooms.
Mesh fabrics that are durable and allow air flow to the skin are excellent for work areas. Leather and soft, leather-like fabrics can dress up a conference or boardroom.
It also pays to stay away from overly trendy fabrics. Trends come and go quickly, plus these fabrics are much more likely to be discontinued by the manufacturer which means any new chairs you add won’t match your existing chairs.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 4
– Buying From a Dealer That Can’t Help You Manage Your Existing Furniture
If your furniture dealer is only interested in selling you new furniture, you’re not working with the right dealer. A good, full-service furniture dealer will be there to help you throughout the life cycle of your office furniture. They’ll work in your best interest and look for creative ways to reuse as much of your existing furniture as possible.
In the event you do decide to buy all new furniture, your dealer should offer a solution for disposing of your old furniture that is both economically and environmentally responsible. This may include buying it back or giving you a trade credit against the cost of your new furniture. They will also coordinate the removal of your old furniture with the installation of your new product.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 5
Buying More Furniture Than You Really Need
While it’s always good to plan for the future, it’s not good to buy more furniture than you really need. The manufacturer probably won’t stop making your brand of furniture which means you’ll always be able to place another order when you need more.
If the dealer is telling you to buy more in order to take advantage of a temporary deep discount, ask them to extend the length of your agreement to one year or more and get it in writing. You’ll want to have this conversation before you place your order, so there will be plenty of motivation to throw in an extended term for your discount.
It’s a lot easier to order more furniture than it is to sell furniture you bought but never needed.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 6
Overlooking the Cost of Ownership
The initial cost of the furniture is just the starting point. You also need to factor in freight, taxes and installation, including completion of the final punch list.
You should also review the product warranty with your dealer. Ask if both labor and parts are provided in the warranty. If a chair stops adjusting up and down, will you be responsible for any costs to fix it?
All added fees or potential fees should be factored into your decision. Often times, the least expensive furniture ends up costing the most.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 7
Paying For “Design” From a Furniture Dealer
If you’re not buying new furniture and just reconfiguring your old stuff, it’s perfectly reasonable for a dealer to charge you for the designer’s time.
However, if you’re spending a chunk of change on new furniture and the dealer wants to hit you with fees to provide a furniture plan and specification, you need to look around.
A dealer needs a furniture plan and specification to place an accurate order and install the furniture. This is part of their normal work process and is a cost of doing business. When the economy tightened in 2008, many dealers started charging their customer’s for basic design services that had been value added for years.
In many cases, furniture dealers need to decide if they want to be a design firm or a furniture dealer. It’s fine if you’re buying very little new furniture and want to engage your dealer’s design expertise, but you shouldn’t allow any double dipping. The dealer needs those furniture drawings as much as you do.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 8
Buying Furniture From a Dealer With No Project Managers
Some dealers save costs by requiring their salespeople to also manage their client’s furniture installations. Big Mistake. Very few salespeople have the experience and attention to detail that you need for a smooth, punch list free (or very close to it) installation.
Salespeople are great with people. Not so much with parts and pieces and office furniture has a lot of parts and pieces.
Before you sign off on your new office furniture, be sure to ask who will be handling all the details of your installation. An experienced and thorough project manager is a necessity not a luxury.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 9
Buying Furniture From a Dealer With No In-House Service Department
During the initial installation, it might not seem like such a big deal to work with a third-party furniture installer. However, the problems come later when you need small repairs done or a few changes made in a hurry.
Those dealers are just another customer to the installer and you’ll have to wait your turn in a long line of other dealers and their clients. Technically, you’re not their customer and you didn’t buy furniture from them, so your happiness is not the most important consideration.
Third party installers are also a problem with repairs and warranty claims. Someone has to pay for every trip an installation company makes to your office. Your dealer may not want to pay for every trip. If not, who pays? Typically, those dealers will “bundle” your service requests in order to save trips. That may mean you wait for the service you need.
Office Furniture Buying Mistake # 10
Not Asking Your Dealer to Keep Your Standards on File
All companies experience turnover. What happens in a few years when you need to add some chairs or a few new pieces and your representative is no longer with the dealership? Your old orders might still be in the system, but maybe there were changes made that don’t show up in the system.
If you’re buying more than a few pieces of furniture, it’s always a good idea to keep an organized file of all your standard pieces and finishes. You’ll refer back to it many times and be assured that every order you place matches your existing furniture.
You picked standard finishes for a reason. Why not make sure those standards are followed in the future?
When you buy office furniture, make sure you find a dealer that has the infrastructure to provide you with the service and resources you need. With over 15 years of experience, Team Office has built a strong reputation for a full menu of services and the experienced and friendly staff to deliver them.
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“10 Questions to Ask Your Office Furniture Dealer”
According to a recent survey by ASID, over 70 % of workers in the open plan design say they would be more productive if they had less noise in their workplace.
Unwanted noise and distractions can reduce worker productivity and hurt morale. Research consistently shows unwanted noise remains a top ten complaint in the workplace. This issue has been exacerbated by the trend towards the open plan and lower cubicle walls.
If acoustics are an issue in your workplace, it might help to understand the A, B, C’s of solving acoustical issues.
Absorb: Sound can be absorbed by acoustical ceiling tile and to a lesser degree, carpet. Soft materials above and below the source of sound will absorb a portion of that noise.
Block: Cubicle walls can block sound waves and direct a portion up to the ceiling tile. acoustical cubicle panels can absorb sound as well.
Cover: Sound that isn’t blocked and absorbed should be “covered” by “white noise” or sound masking.
Team Office is proud to represent Lencore, the industry leader in sound masking, mass notification and paging systems. If you’re concerned with the acoustics in your office, call Team Office today and schedule your FREE acoustical analysis.
Team Office is excited to celebrate our 15 year anniversary this month! In June of 1999, our founders, Ron Crabtree and Brad Justice, officially introduced Team Office to the public. We started in a small office with a few employees in downtown Kansas City and have since grown to 2 locations delivering outstanding value to clients in over 30 states.
Over the years, many people have asked why we named an office furniture company “Team Office”. The answer is easy. It’s called Team Office because office furniture is designed, built, sold and installed FOR PEOPLE and BY PEOPLE – and it takes a great Team of people to do it right.
We are both grateful and fortunate to have fantastic clients and terrific associates. All of those people are why and how we do what we do. We look forward to many more years of service to our customers and friends, and want to thank everyone for their support.
We’re commemorating our 15 year anniversary by growing and improving Team Office and the value we provide our clients. We’ve invested in new resources that will make your office furniture and service buying experience better than ever. Take a peek at what we’ve done.
The entire Team Office family thanks all of you for your tremendous support. However, we’re not about to rest on our laurels. We’re raising the bar and providing you with even more value, more savings and faster delivery and service – nationwide.
Thank you all for a wonderful 15 years and we look forward to an even better future!
For over 14 years, the lifeblood of Team Office has been the referrals we’ve received from our friends, business associates and clients. Your trust and generosity have sustained our business and the terrific people who are Team Office.
With this same spirit of generosity, we created the Team Office Client Referral Program. To thank you for referring your friends and associates to Team Office, we will send you a $25.00 Giving Card from the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. You may redeem this card at http://www.gkccf.org and contribute to any 501©(3) public charity in the United States.
By giving you the opportunity to give again, we believe your generosity has been multiplied and the world is just a little better than it was before. Because you shared with us, we know you’ll enjoy sharing again.
Thank you for trusting Team Office enough to refer your friends and business associates. We will work hard to honor that trust by giving them the best service and value we possibly can.
Simply call or send us an email if you’d like to refer a friend or associate to Team Office and we’ll take care of the rest.
The Team Office Family
If you’re looking at building fixed, full-height walls, it might pay to take a look at modular walls.
Modular wall systems were first introduced in the late 60’s and for many years, mostly large corporations with big construction budgets and high churn rates were the only ones that could cost justify them. At two to three times the initial cost of standard construction, movable wall systems were difficult to justify. Just in the last decade, things have changed and movable wall systems are gaining wide acceptance with designers, corporations as well as construction companies.
As organizations of all sizes look for ways to adapt to a constantly changing workplace, the case for modular walls has become stronger.
Before you invest in standard construction walls, consider 8 advantages of a modular wall system:
Flexibility – Modular wall systems are relatively easy to move and reconfigure. There’s little down time and waste when you need to move and change.
Reduced Construction Time – Wall systems save 3-4 weeks on a typical construction project compared to dry wall.
Fewer Disruptions – Modular walls are fairly easy to move and reconfigure and there is no construction.
Tax savings – Wall systems are depreciated on a 7-year furniture schedule.
Superior Aesthetic– Wall systems can be specified with glass, laminates, wood veneer and other materials that can create a beautiful image.
More Options – Wall systems include many options such as white boards and fabric tack boards.
Connectivity – Most wall systems can connect with modular furniture systems allowing for even more flexibility and furniture integration.
Better for the Environment – Modular wall systems all but eliminate waste and provide a sustainable solution.
If you’re planning to build walls, you might consider a modular wall system. Team Office sells and installs Teknion’s award-winning wall systems, Altos and Optos. You can see more here.
For more information, call or email your Team Office representative today.