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Office Furniture Buying Guide

November 1st, 2018

Office Furniture Buying GuideContents

Introduction

Deciding what office furniture you need

Office chairs buying guide

Office desks buying guide

Office storage buying guide

Get in touch

 

Introduction

Choosing office furniture is a crucial part of setting up your office space. Whether you’re refurbishing an existing office, setting up shop for the first time or simply adding capacity to your existing space, making good choices from the start will help you to get the most for your money.

Office furniture is a big investment for any business, and if you’re buying multiple chairs, desks and other items, you’ll be setting aside a large portion of your budget for these purchases. Spending wisely and choosing items which will suit you not only now, but also in years to come, is essential if you want to feel you’ve spent well on your items.

Having a clear idea of what it is you’re looking for is a great place to start. We’ll help you refine down what’s important and not so important in office chairs, desks, storage and other items so that you can make great choices right now and enjoy them for years to come.

We’ll also help you understand what makes an amazing office design, so that you can create a workspace that you and your team will enjoy coming to every day. Talk to us directly for more advice and information, or check out our other buying guides for information on specific products.

 

Deciding what office furniture you need

Requirements for new office furniture vary wildly, depending on the depth of your furnishing needs. From simply replacing a few worn out items to entirely furnishing your new premises, having it clear from the start exactly what you need is a great first step towards choosing office furniture.

Here are some guidelines to what you’ll need, depending on where you are in your business journey. All businesses are highly individual, so undoubtedly you’ll have some bespoke needs that we cannot cover here. However, if you need more advice on planning your office furniture requirements, or want to talk to a specialist, give our team a call and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Starting a new business from home

If you’re just starting out as a freelancer or sole trader, your home office doesn’t need to be a huge investment just to get you started. Depending on the type of business you’re going to be doing, you can really keep things minimal at this stage to keep your initial overheads low. As much as it can be tempting to go out and buy all the shiny new stuff for your shiny new business, economically speaking you should be aiming to get the most bang for your buck, and only to buy what you need. In general, this will be:

  • An ergonomic office chair: Something robust enough to stand the test of time, and suited to your weight and body shape for safe, comfortable sitting. Check the recommended hours for each chair, and think about how much time you’ll be spending at your desk.
  • A big enough desk: Unless you’re very lucky, it’s unlikely you’ll have a dedicated office space from the word go. The majority of home workers start out in a corner of their living room or in a bedroom, so consider where your desk will be going to ensure it’s not too large. Having said that, you need enough space to run your business without being cramped, but think about what you’ll actually do at your desk before purchasing an oversized model which you might not really need.
  • Office storage: Again, this is incredibly dependent on what you’ll actually be doing while you’re working. Some businesses are practically paperless, whereas others generate reams of invoices, designs and contracts each week. Think about how much paperwork and equipment you’ll need to store, and chose enough office storage to take care of everything in an organised fashion.
  • Lighting: Good lighting is essential to keeping you focussed, alert and preventing eye strain. Consider the ambient light in the room, as well as focussed task lighting for on your desk itself. Think about installing a daylight bulb if the natural light is lacking, as it can help support your natural circadian rhythms and keep you feeling well.

There may be particular equipment and furniture that you need specific to your task, but essentially this is all you’ll really need to set up your office in your home. Keep it simple from the start, ensure you’ve taken care of all the essentials and you can always add to your facilities as time goes on.

 

Setting up business for the first time

If you’re launching a start-up or small business for the first time, you’re going to need everything. You may well be on a tight budget, which could tempt you to look at the used market for solutions to your office furniture needs. However, we would always advise buying new over second hand, both for safety as well as for aesthetics.

Second hand furniture has been thorough the mill. You have no guarantee when you buy it whether it’s a year old or ten, so you have no idea what lifespan is left in it. New furniture will always come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which can range from three years up to seven or even ten. This means you have some guarantee of how long your investment is going to last, and that you’re not just throwing your money down the drain with something that could break in a weeks’ time.

Used office furniture is also a health and safety risk. Office chairs could collapse, desks could fall on someone… it doesn’t bear thinking about. As well as these obvious risks, you have to bear in mind that standards evolve over time; purchasing an office chair that was up to British Standards ten years ago could well prove to be a risk in modern premises, whether that’s about fire, ergonomics or something else. Having a worker (or customer) injured and claiming against you at the start of the business is just not worth the risk.

Apart from the potential for older furniture to let you down, it really doesn’t set the right tone for your new and exciting business venture. Greeting clients, suppliers and potential partners in shabby, worn out looking offices says that either your business is failing or you’re just too tight to invest. Neither of these is a good first impression! Set yourself a realistic budget for your furnishings, and choose items that will stand the test of time and will present the right image for your business. Think about:

  • Employees: You’ll need a desk and chair for each member of staff as a minimum
  • Expansion: Is there room to add more staff as your business grows?
  • Meetings: Will you be meeting clients on site? If so, you’ll need meeting room furniture
  • Welcome: Will you have a reception? If not, how and where will you greet visitors?
  • Essentials: What do you need to store, how much paperwork does your office produce and how are you going to organise it

You may need other items, depending on the business you are setting up. But if you can manage a desk and chair for each employee, as well as sufficient storage, you’re off to a great start.

Expanding into a new location or moving to larger premises

If you are opening a new branch or moving to a larger office, the project is unlikely to cost as much as a full fit out, but the process is also a little more complex. As much as you’d like to start from scratch and grab all brand-new things, chances are budget and time doesn’t lend itself well to an ‘out with the old’ mentality.

If you’re launching a new satellite office, consider how your staff are going to feel if the new branch gets all brand-new furniture, while they are stuck with outdated, dysfunctional items. Using as much old furniture as possible, while purchasing new for both sites, will ensure everyone ends up with a solution that suits their needs.

Similarly, if you are moving your main office to larger premises, you probably shouldn’t ditch everything you’ve acquired over the previous years. Here are some tips to help you get to grips with what should be replaced, and what can make do for a little longer.

  • Conduct an appraisal: Figure out what exactly you own already. Do you have a stock room full of old meeting chairs and folding tables that don’t get used very often? Could these be used in the new office for a more productive purpose?
  • Take the opportunity to replace: If your existing staff have been ‘making do’ with older furniture, take stock of what has reached the end of its lifespan and take this opportunity to replace.
  • Share the good stuff around: Undoubtedly, you’ll need to buy some new items for your new premises, but don’t give it all to the brand-new staff. Thank your existing employees by furnishing them with new chairs, desks and storage and shift some of the older but still usable items over to your new team.
  • Buy only what you need: It’s hard to judge what’s essential for a new or expanding office, but try not to overbuy before you’ve moved in. If you’re short of a filing cabinet or two, it’s much easier to order some on next day delivery than it is to find somewhere to store redundant furniture that you thought you were going to need.
  • Plan out the space thoughtfully: Just because it’s ‘new’ space, doesn’t mean it’s spacious. You’ll still need to plan the layout thoughtfully if you want to maximise the usable space, so take the time to acquire measurements, lay plans and organise the office meticulously to make the most of the dimensions available.

Expanding your office or launching a new branch is an exciting time, but don’t get carried away in the process. Keep an eye on your budget, and ensure there are some perks for your existing team to keep moral at a peak.

Refurbishing your existing office

Undertaking an office refurbishment is no mean feat. Aside of all the coordination, organisation and planning you need to do, it’s important to think about what furniture really needs replacing, and what can be reused so that you stay within budget. Here is some food for thought if you’re about to undertake a renewal of your office space:

  • Is your furniture old, or just filthy? Chairs in particular can look very worn when actually they are just in need of a good clean. See what you can salvage through specialist steam cleaning before resorting to the expense of investing in new furniture.
  • Is it still comfortable? Unfortunately, particularly when it comes to chairs, discomfort often has no short cut. Once the padding and support begins to break down, those chairs are just going to cause back pains and poor posture in anyone who needs to use them.
  • Is it within warranty? If a chair or desk has ceased to serve useful purpose but is still within its warranty period, it’s worth talking to the retailer or manufacturer before rushing out and buying new.
  • Could it serve another purpose? If a desk is old and tired, could be used to accommodate a printer, or as an occasional table in a less frequently used room? Similarly, could tired office chairs be relegated to a hot desk, or simply kept in the store room for short term use by trainees?
  • Can it be sold? If something just plain no longer fits into your office, or doesn’t serve any useful purpose, it can be worth looking at selling it on the second-hand market. This is particularly common with filing cabinets, as many offices move to a more paperless organisation; there’s nothing wrong with the item, they simply don’t need it any more. Your trash is someone else’s treasure, and could boost your budget for investing in new.

Taking the time to fully appraise what you already own as a business can save valuable budget when it comes to renewing your office environment. Only replace what really needs to be replaced, but in the same vein, don’t make do with terrible furniture. Having your employees and clients seeing you investing in amazing furniture will not only boost morale, it also proves that you are doing well, and that your business is here to stay.

 

Office chairs buying guide

Choosing good office chairs is incredibly important. A good office chair can reduce muscle strain and promote good posture, whereas a poor chair could see your employees suffering with back and spinal problems after extended use. Even on a day to day basis, your team could be suffering from fatigue, discomfort and stress by continuing to use a poorly fitting chair, so this is one area where you should really do your homework before making a purchase.

A goof office chair will allow you to move through the day; you’ll need to lean, shift, recline and wriggle, moving the weight and stress areas away from muscles which have become tired or fatigued. Getting in and out should be easy, and the chair should be supportive enough to provide comfortable pressure in both reclined and leaning forward positions.

Believe it or not, office chairs are not all made equal. Different brands suit different body shapes, and each type of chair is designed for a different purpose. While you may not have the time or budget to buy each individual employee the ideal chair, putting some thought into who and how they will be using it is a good first step to making a great investment.

Types of office chair

There are many types of office chair available, each of which suits a different need and purpose. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Operator chairs: These are generally the lower end of the budget, but still well designed, robust chairs which are suitable for a variety of office tasks. Additional features such as lumbar support and armrests can be specified. These are good, all-purpose chairs, designed to stand the test of time and to provide safe, comfortable seating for your employees. Look out for weight limits and hours guidance to give you an indication of the robustness and suitability of the chair to a variety of tasks.

 

  • 24-hour office chairs: Designed for use in intensive businesses, such as 24-hour call centres, these chairs are heavy duty and robust. They contain enough adjustment to allow for different operators to use the workspace on different shifts, and incorporate heavy duty materials to withstand extensive wear and tear over their lifespan.

 

  • Bariatric chairs: Also called heavy-duty chairs, these are specifically designed for the heavier user. They can sometimes feature a wider seat base, and are constructed in a more robust fashion to withstand greater weight being placed on them. Look for the weight guidance to find these sorts of chairs, with many of them designed to accommodate 25 – 32 stone and more.

 

  • Orthopaedic chairs: These are at the top end of any chair budget, and feature the latest in ergonomic design and orthopaedic technology to ensure the spine is well cared for. Many incorporate pre-tensioned orthopaedic straps into the lumbar support, giving adequate back protection for workers who tend to suffer with spinal problems. The don’t just need to be used as compensation, however; if you’ve got the budget to invest in high ergonomic chairs from the outset, this can be a good preventative measure, resulting in a more comfortable, less fatigued work force.

 

  • Meeting room / visitor chairs: Any product which is designated as a meeting chair or visitor chair is not intended for extended use. These are the types of chairs you will generally have in your waiting area, or perhaps around your boardroom table for meetings and suchlike. They tend to be housed on a fixed frame base, and some are even stackable to allow for easy storage.

 

  • Kneeler chairs: Not so long ago, kneeler chairs were hailed as the best thing for backs in the workplace. However, subsequent research has found that prolonged use of these chairs can actually cause more harm than good. For short bursts, these are very good for encouraging correct posture, and for helping relieve strain on the lower back caused by sitting badly. They should not be used as an all-day sitting solution, but can be a great addition to your office for temporary use by concerned team members.

 

  • Draughtsman chairs and stools: Draughtsman chairs and the stool version of these are high rise, small wheel base units, specifically intended for designers, architects and those who need to move over a large working area. They are slightly top heavy, which is fine if you’re expecting it, but are much more suited to a studio or workshop environment than to PC based office work.

 

  • Executive chairs: The term executive chair can refer to a wide range of top end office chairs. Some highly ergonomic seating solutions are labelled as ‘executive’, while other ‘executive’ models are simply oversized, flashy leather numbers which do little to improve the posture. With the latter, be wary about buying high backed executive chairs, as actually they can push the head forward at an unnatural angle, causing back pain and strain on the shoulders. They generally focus on form over function, and provide less support than most of us would need to do our job well all through the day.

You may find chairs that are blessed with other confusing names, but in general, most office chairs will fall neatly into one of these categories.

Understanding office chair adjustments

Office chairs come with all manner of knobs, levers, handles and buttons, but what do you really need to get comfortable? Generally speaking, the more adjustment available, the more ergonomic you’ll be able to make your workspace. However, greater adjustment can often mean greater cost as well, so it’s important to understand what’s most useful to you so you can balance cost and value when you purchase.

Seat height: Very important

The adjustment of seat height should enable you to place your feet flat on the floor. If this is not possible, a footrest should be used to elevate the resting surface.

Backrest tilt: Very important

Being able to tilt the backrest allows the user to sit forwards or recline back as the task dictates. Chairs should remain supportive throughout the range of movement, and should encourage you to sit at between 95 and 105 degrees between spine and thighs.

Depth of seat adjustment: Moderately important

We are all different shapes and sizes, so it’s unlikely we’re going to buy a chair from the factory that perfectly fits our body type. Being able to adjust the seat depth can help ensure our thighs are supported, without us having to sit forwards to get our legs to dangle down.

Back support adjustment: Moderately important

Some office chairs allow you to pump up or slim down the curvature of the back support. This is very useful, and can make for a much more comfortable seating position with support in all the right places.

Armrests: Not very important

It can be nice to have armrests, particularly if you spend a long time typing. However, unless you’re looking at a high-end chair with height adjustable arm rests, they are highly likely to cause more problems than they solve. Being unable to bring your chair close to your desk, or having your elbows too high or too low because of ill-fitting arm rests can mean you’re better off without them altogether.

 

What material?

Office chairs are often available in a wide variety of material finishes. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons, and the right one for you will depend on how you plan to use that chair. For example:

  • Mesh chairs: These are very comfortable, as they have plenty of give in them when the user leans back, and allow air to flow to the back, reducing perspiration and overheating. However, they are also easily damaged, and become pretty much unusable if the mesh is torn.
  • Leather: Leather chairs look the business, and are a popular choice with executives in large offices of their own. However, they are not very breathable, and can cause you to sweat and overheat. They are also higher maintenance, requiring regular lubrication to keep the leather from drying out and cracking.
  • Fabric: Fabric chairs are a popular choice in many offices, and for good reason. Fabric is less breathable than mesh, but more so than leather, and is cheaper to buy too. They come in a wide variety of colours, helping you create a brand focussed environment. However, they also stain easily, and can retain moisture and smells from the local environment.
  • Leatherette: Also known as false leather, this type of material looks good and is easy to wipe clean. It doesn’t require moisturising like real leather does, but it is highly unbreathable and can make the user very hot and uncomfortable.
  • Vinyl: A modern, plastic based material, vinyl can really look the business. It is available in every colour of the rainbow and is a modern, good looking material. Again, it’s wipe clean, but on the downside, it’s much more easily torn than leather or leatherette, so is not suitable for high traffic areas. It’s also completely non-breathable, making it a hot and sticky surface to sit on for long periods.

You might find other materials available in your search for the perfect chair, but it’s important to approach your decision-making process with a view to the important questions: Is it comfortable, is it easy to clean, is it breathable and is it hard wearing.

 

Questions to ask before buying an office chair

Asking yourself a few simple questions will help you make a great choice when you’re shopping for a new office chair. For example:

  • Who will use it? The size, weight and age of the person can mean they have different needs.
  • How long will they use it for? Check the hours ratings on chairs to ensure it’s up to the job.
  • Is it just for one person? 24-hour chairs are highly adjustable, making them suitable for hot-desking and shift work.
  • What will they be doing? Does the person need to be able to wheel themselves around a large work area, or would they be better in a non-moving chair for safety?
  • Is the desk already in place? If the chair has to fit with an existing desk, you’ll need to consider the size, height and other dimensions of the chair to ensure a good fit.
  • Is appearance important? Decide if you really need a chair in your brand colours, or if a better chair in a standard colour will suffice.
  • How much can I spend? Setting out a budget before you even start looking will narrow down your choices effectively, and ensure you’re not looking at the wrong products.

Taking a moment to think through these questions will help you understand more about what you’re looking for. With so much choice on the market, it’s better to have a clear vision in your head from the start, otherwise you could be overwhelmed with options.

 

Office desks buying guide

Choosing great desks for your employees is just as important as choosing their chairs. People spend so much time at their desks, having a good product that fits with their bodies and needs is essential. Office desks and chairs should work in harmony to create an ergonomic environment that will keep your workers comfortable and happy.

The ergonomics of office desks

Just as the ergonomics of a chair can make a huge difference to comfort and productivity, so can the design of the office desk. Here’s what you need to know about setting up an ergonomic workstation:

  • Height: The desk should be at elbow height when the person is sitting in their chair. Hips should be at an angle of greater than ninety degrees, with thighs sloping slightly downwards.
  • Size: The employee should not be forced to stretch and lean in order to undertake regular tasks. This means all essential equipment should be close at hand, such as the phone, mouse and keyboard.
  • Monitor: The top of the monitor should be at eye level, with no need to look up or down to see the display. If possible, the monitor should be at arm’s length from the operator, to avoid eye strain of the display being too close or too far away.
  • Armrests: If the operator’s chair has armrests, the desk should be of the right height to allow the armrests to slide underneath. Otherwise they will be forced to sit too far back, and can end up leaning forwards, causing strain on their back.
  • Design: If the person is likely to need to undertake lots of different tasks, for instance, working on a computer, writing on forms and operating equipment such as scanners and printers, it’s a good idea to look for a desk with multiple work surfaces. An L or U-shaped design will allow them to turn in their chair and reach everything they need with ease.

Employing excellence in ergonomics can have many benefits for businesses, from improved employee satisfaction to reduced risk and cost of sick days. It’s not just about being comfortable, but also about being healthy and feeling valued in the workplace, so start your buying journey for your office desks with these considerations in mind.

 

Types of office desks

You have a huge range of designs and desk types to choose from, so get to know what types are available to you so you can start narrowing down your choices.

Writing desks: Open desks with little or no storage, minimally designed to feature a large desktop. These are ideal for working on mostly paper based activities, or to using a laptop rather than a desktop PC. They take up only a small amount of space, and are a good, inexpensive choice for a hot desk or occasional desk.

Computer desks: Designed for use with IT equipment, these practical desks usually come with plenty of storage for paperwork and stationary. Many also feature racks or shelves for the tower part of a desktop PC, and usually have holes in the surface for keeping cables neat and tucked away.

Bench desks: Bench desks are super simple, basic choices which offer a versatile solution for meeting rooms and conference areas. Simply a rectangular desk with a leg at each corner, multiple bench desks can be arranged into a variety of layouts to suit different meetings and events.

Secretary desks: For a home office, a secretary desk can be a good choice; however, in the professional workplace they are largely outdated and have been superseded by other designs. They usually have a hinged surface for storage, topped with drawers or shelves, and take up less space than many modern computer desks would.

Floating desks: If floorspace is at a premium, a floating desk can be a great solution. Mounted to the wall, these have options to include storage above the desk surface, and sometimes have locking doors or flaps to keep items secure. Ideal for occasional use, or as a standing desk, do check the weight limits on these and ensure you are fixing them to a robust wall.

Corner desks: When you have less space to work with or are trying to make use of an awkward area, a corner desk can be a great choice. Available with or without storage and drawers, these fit neatly into the corner of the room to help you create more workspace when you’ve run out of other options.

L-shaped desks: For workers who undertake a couple of distinct tasks and need more available workspace, the L shaped desk is the ideal choice. These allow for a computer to be securely housed in one area, while leaving a second work surface available for writing or other tasks.

Multi-person workstations: Modular desks can be arranged to fit several people into a multiple workstation. Triangles, star shaped and cross shaped arrangements can be made, ideal for teams of people who need to be in close communication with each other.

Height adjustable desks: Being able to adjust the height of a desk really maximises the ergonomic possibilities. It allows the worker to change to a more comfortable position throughout the day, and can be a great solution for shift workers or desks used by many different people.

Sit-stand desks: Sit-stand desks are highly popular with today’s workforce, and have been shown to have many benefits for the user. They can be raised and lowered, either manually or with an electric or gas-powered lift, and let people be more mobile and active during their working day.

There are other types of desks out there, but these are the main types you’ll come across as you start the procurement process. Knowing which types of desks do and do not suit your needs will allow you to eliminate unsuitable products, and to focus in on the items that could be just what you need.

Considerations for your office desk

Choosing a great office desk is about more than just getting a functional work surface. There are many options to consider here, so get to grips with what will suit your needs and be confident you’re making a great purchase.

Materials

Office desks come in a variety of materials which each have their own pros and cons. Solid wood is a beautiful material to behold, but it takes a bit of looking after and is not suitable to be placed near a radiator or anywhere where it will get damp. The modern alternative is wood veneer, which looks very attractive and yet is easy to clean and keep maintained.

Very modern desks can be found in gloss or matt laminate in a variety of colours, or in powder coated finishes for a sleek, hardwearing solution. Both laminate and power coated desks are durable and easy to clean, and are highly scratch resistant, making them a great choice for heavy duty use.

Desks can also be found in gorgeous glass finishes, which is highly modern and aesthetically beautiful. Of course, glass is incredibly hard wearing, but can be difficult to keep clean and free of fingerprints and dust. Most glass office desks use highly toughened materials, but there is still the possibility of impact damage if a heavy item is dropped onto the desk.

Storage

No doubt your employees have to deal with a fair bit of paperwork, and probably need access to stationary, files and other items during the day. For this reason, having storage with your desk is a wise choice, but you’ll need to decide which type is more suited to your needs.

  • Built in: Built in storage which comes with the desk is handy because you know it’s going to fit where you need it to. There are a range of configurations available to choose from, including shelves, drawers, filing cabinets and more. The downside is you’re stuck with that storage facility for the life of the desk, so if your needs change, it could become inconvenient.
  • Standalone: Free standing storage can be slotted underneath the desk to create a convenient, space saving solution. The benefit of this is that, should your needs change in the future, you can simply wheel away the storage you’ve bought and change it for something more suitable. On the downside, it can be tricky to get something which completely fits under the desk with no wasted space.

Thinking about your storage solutions at the start will help you identify which type of desk will suit you best, and will reduce the need for additional expense later on.

Colours and styles

You’ll find lots of different design led choices for your office desk, from different styles to colours and finishes. Whilst it’s nice to buy something that looks amazing, it’s also imperative you don’t let this overtake your search for a functional desk.

Having coloured desks can be a great choice in a design led, modern business. But also, bear in mind that some manufactures will change their products, amend their designs and alter their raw materials. This can lead to some colours no longer being available, or deviating from the original colour you purchased, which can be a problem when the time comes to add more furniture or replace a worn-out item.

Also keep in mind that trends tend to change rapidly. While the leading start-ups, and cutting-edge companies may all be flaunting bold oranges and lime greens in their offices this year, next year could be a whole different story. Unless you’ve got the budget to chop and change with the trends, it’s a better strategy to go for something timeless and classy than to hop on board with a fad that could burn out in a few months.

 

Questions to ask before shopping for an office desk

Before you leap in and start browsing the array of possibilities for your new office desk, let’s take a look at the things to consider:

  • Who will use it? Will it be one person using this desk, or several? How will you ensure it suits all the users adequately?
  • How will it be used? Does the person need to undertake more than one task? How much workspace do they need?
  • Where will it go? If you have a space already lined up for your desk, make sure to measure accurately to avoid disappointment later on.
  • Do you need storage? Would it be beneficial to have drawers or filing cabinets built into the desk, or do you have units to use already? If you do, make sure to measure accurately to ensure they fit under your new desk.
  • Does it need to accommodate an existing chair? If so, you’ll need to make sure the chair fits neatly underneath the desk, or that the arms can be adjusted to ensure it does.
  • What about delivery? Will you choose ready assembled or a flat pack product? If it’s ready assembled, have you checked your doorways to make sure it will fit through? If flat packed, who will be responsible for putting it together?
  • How much can I spend? Getting a great office desk doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but you do get what you pay for. Check manufacturers warranties to ensure you are getting a good desk that’s built to last.

Choosing a great office desk doesn’t have to be a headache. Talk to our experienced team about your office furniture needs, and we’ll be happy to help you find a product that fits your needs and budget.

 

Office storage buying guide

Purchasing functional office storage is the first step to being a more organised, efficient business. From filing cabinets to cupboards and drawers, having enough of the right type of storage is essential if you want to stay organised and

Filing cabinets

Most businesses will need filing cabinets of some sort. Archiving rules mean certain documents need to be kept for various periods, which means you’ll need a solution to keep these items organised and safe. If you handle sensitive materials such as customers names and addresses, or financial details, you’ll need to ensure you can lock your filing cabinets to keep this data protected.

Cupboards

Cupboards come in all shapes and sizes, from tall cupboards for storing stationery supplies, to specialist cupboards for storing laptops or hazardous materials. If your floor space is limited, tambour door cupboards can be a better choice than traditionally opening doors, as they simply slide apart rather than swinging open. Wooden and wood veneer cupboards look very nice, but for heavy duty uses metal tend to be more durable.

Bookcases

Bookcases are often nice to have, but do think carefully to ensure you can make good use of them. If a lot of your projects are stored in folders and ring binders, bookcases will be useful, but only as long as they fit your files and folders in vertically. If you have a lot of books for your business, or literature such as industry journals, bookcases can be a good storage solution for these too.

Shelving

Shelving can be a more versatile solution than bookcases, as you can adjust the configuration to suit your needs. Zinc and galvanised shelving units offer excellent durability and hygienic surfaces, ideal for use in medical or food preparation environments. Smaller shelves can provide useful storage for lever arch files and folders, whereas our widespan shelving provides simple solutions to bulky items, such as in your warehouse or post room.

 

Buying the right office storage for your needs

Your choice of office storage solutions will depend greatly on what your individual needs are. Figuring out what you need is often something of a work in progress, so don’t feel you have to have everything sewn up from the start. Creating an efficient storage and filing system is key to running an operationally effective business, so don’t be afraid to change things around if you can see better ways to do things.

Purchasing just what is absolutely essential in the early stages can avoid being stuck with storage you either don’t need or which doesn’t work for you. You can always add additional items later on, once you know how much space you’ve got and have a better grasp of your needs.

 

What else do you need for an ideal office?

If you’re starting from scratch, it can be hard remembering all the things you’re going to need for your new office premises. Here are a few areas to think about which will guide you on what you need to buy:

  • Other furniture

It’s not just desks and chairs you’ll be needing, so have a think about what other furniture you’ll use in your business to ensure you’ve ordered everything you need. If you have a reception area, you’ll need to look at reception desks and chairs as well as visitor seating and occasional tables. Planning a meeting room? You’ll need some meeting room chairs, and potentially a boardroom table or modular tables for that area. And if you plan to serve meals or snacks at work, you could benefit from some bistro and canteen furniture to give your employees somewhere to sit.

  • Plants

Bringing plants into the office is a great morale booster, and can be better for the office environment too. Plants harness free radicals and contaminants in the atmosphere and give off clean oxygen, acting like a natural air purifier for the room. Numerous studies have shown that being more connected with nature in our workplace can help us feel more energetic, positive and can reduce stress. However, if you aren’t prepared to put in the work required to keep real plants looking healthy and well, your office could always benefit from the green touch of some high quality artificial plants instead.

  • Ergonomic accessories

Getting ergonomics right from the start can make all the difference to your employees. While it is not possible to custom design the perfect chair and desk for every individual who works with you, it is possible to adapt the furniture you have to make it better for them. For example, shorter workers may require a footrest to get their legs in the correct position. Those with more pronounced curvature to their spine may benefit from additional lumbar support. Wrist rests, chair mats and other accessories can make the workspace safer and more ergonomic, so make yourself aware of what is available and see if you can improve the comfort of your employees.

  • Clocks

Keeping time is important, and it helps for everyone to judge the time by a central timekeeper. Installing wall clocks where everyone in the office can see them is the best way to ensure there is no argument over what the precise time is. Make sure they’re large enough to be seen all over the office.

  • Fans

Investing in a few desk or floor standing fans can help improve comfort levels as well as reducing your spend on thermal comfort. Oftentimes different people have different tolerances to heat and cool, and by providing a fan to give individual workers a bit of on the spot cooling, you can reduce the likelihood of them reaching for the AC controls as soon as it starts to warm up.

  • Waste paper bins

Waste bins come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you can select the type you need for specific jobs. Don’t feel that you need to put a bin at every desk, or even at every cluster, as it can be beneficial for your workers to get up and move around regularly during the day. It might also help to make them think twice about being wasteful with things like paper, and gives you the option to install an office based recycling system, helping your business to be greener too.

There are many other office furnishings that your premises could benefit from. What you need and what you want, however, are often two different things. Try not to overbuy from the outset; most suppliers can rush deliver items if you need them in a hurry, which is a better strategy than being stuck with a lot of equipment you didn’t really need.

Get in touch

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices available to you for office furniture, we’re here to help. Our expert team have bags of experience in kitting out offices, from brand new start-ups to rolling renewal programmes. We’re here at the end of the phone or on email to assist you in your buying decisions, so give us a call or send us a message and we’ll be happy to help.

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Last Modified / Updated on: May 31, 2018 at 11:10 am