What is it about office furniture that makes it such big business? Surely, all that's really needed is a desk, a chair and a pen and you're away. Apparently not. Today, people have come to expect so much more from their workplace that standards have been raised and the office furniture contributes towards an atmosphere that can be the making or breaking of whether or not the staff want to work for a particular company.
If you think it couldn't possibly make that much difference, let's consider some of the aspects of office furniture that can sway an opinion.
First, there is the basic health and safety requirement. Health and safety is never anyone's favourite subject - apart from the anorak that sits in the corner! However, it has a distinct bearing on the working day. If desks, seating and VDU screens are all angled wrong, this leads to so many ills and stresses that a company could well lose money in sick days taken off by employees all for the sake of a little implementation of common sense.
Now, you can get all your angles right but this doesn't necessarily ensure comfort. Long periods spent sitting at your desk in one position can certainly lead to aches, pains and strains that can then lead to either time off work or a bit of an office stress head who then proceeds to beat up office furniture to release his or her stress.
At the other end of the scale, there is always the danger of making the office furniture too comfortable and having your staff fall asleep on you and that will never do. It is important to make visitors feel welcome and comfortable and if you are looking to talk your potential clients into submission, then the comfier the better as they won't want to get up and leave, giving you the optimum time to talk them into business.
So, seating in an office is important for health and safety reasons, for optimum work results and concentration and also to lever more sales than otherwise might have occurred. But what else is there to consider?
Well, desks are an essential piece of office furniture that should be considered. Some offices favour the traditional, large old-fashioned style of desk, particularly in places like the board room or meeting rooms but these are few and far between these days and tend to be limited to smaller, bespoke companies as opposed to the larger corporations as they are not always cost effective.
Office managers like to furnish an office with light wood these days. It gives a natural, bright feel to the room and a uniformly furnished office can make the space look stream lined and less cluttered which is important, particularly if the office is either open plan or small with minimal light.
Lighting is the next thing to consider. Not your average piece of office furniture but extremely important nonetheless. As much natural light as possible is the best thing to get into an office. It provides the optimum working light as well as helping to lighten the workers mood. When this is not possible, or for evening and winter days when it is necessary to have artificial light, then there are many things to take into consideration.
The light should not be in such a position as to throw shadows over work and it should be the correct brightness so as not to cause eye strain or glare. Daylight bulbs are the best idea to give the correct illumination to any office and lighting is also an important consideration when it comes to health and safety to make sure that no accidents occur due to insufficient lighting.
The seating, desks and lighting are the main features of office furniture you need to consider. Get this right and the rest is purely cosmetic and open to individual taste and choice.
Interior design expert Catherine Harvey looks at the considerations for office furniture that make the work place a whole lot easier.