Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience

Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience

Corporate branding usually focuses on the customer, or user, experience (UX). But what about the employee experience? Planning and furnishing your office spaces properly can lead to engaged employees who are champions of your brand.

Planning the Current Work Environment


Photo: Friant Novo Workstations

Remember when the open office came under criticism for its distracting noise and lack of personal space? Office managers purchased quality benching solutions, but then critics noted that employees needed personal space. Privacy screens were made part of the design, like with the ODS Artiv Open Plan Benching.

Modular cubicles became another way to create personal workspaces within the open office.


Photo: Friant Interra Cubicles

Then Covid-19 hit and completely upended the open office. Companies immediately adjusted to accommodating remote workers, a term once given to graphic artists and other freelancers. Now, finance departments, marketing and a host of others were in their homes or parks logged on to Zoom meetings instead of having in-person huddles.

The debate between fixed walls and the advantages of an open office were no longer important.

But offices in Southern California are re-opening as the rates of infection have dropped. Counties are in different phases of opening so how will your current work environment change?


Photo: HON Abound Cubicles

Which employees will work in the office full-time, and who’s splitting their office presence with remote work?

Traditionally, emphasis was placed on the need for individual work areas and one or more meeting spaces, but now areas designated for group meetings or huddles may outweigh the importance of space for full-time individual work areas, even in a time of social distancing.


Photo: HON Chicago Showroom

Why does the topic deserve attention?

Plan your office space as a strategic part when you plan your office branding. Make a commitment and investment for your employees. As you do, they’ll believe more firmly than ever in your brand and your mission. As they feel more comfortable in the work environment and know what’s allowed, the messages about your brand’s promise will flow organically to your customers.

Merging Top-Down, Bottom-Up Strategies

Listening and gathering feedback from employees is essential, but, let’s face it, at the end of the day, leaders are held accountable for the decisions they have to make.

Planning an office space and creating employee engagement means gathering the individual perspectives from people who have different learning styles and shaping them into a cohesive whole. A final outcome won’t always make everybody happy. But rather than overriding their opinions, respect each person’s voice and you’ll create goodwill.


Photo: Loftwall Desk Shield

Getting input from the experience of employees is similar to listening to your customers and what they experience. It’s an inside-outside approach to creating a strong brand.

Make the Office a Community Destination

Work has to get done. We know that. Marketing, sales, production, and customer care all aim toward one goal—satisfied customers who are ready to buy again and talk positively about the corporate brand.

As you scan the office setting, consider the work area as a community destination and not just a functional location where people must come in to get work done. Companies who have experienced Covid-19 know the need for offering employees flexibility.


Photo: Friant Shield Screens

A reason that a main office and its physical space will remain is because people need a rallying point in their work, or a community destination spot. That’s how you can re-think your office space. So even if you have employees who split their time between the office and a remote location like home, having a comfortable space to come to can work well.

As you plan your office, keep the following key areas in mind:

  • Workstations
  • Meeting areas, like a dedicated client space
  • Personal space
  • Break areas

Use the necessary shields and protective equipment so your team feels safe.

Photo: Loftwall Desk Shield

Do you envision fewer daily workstations and a greater use of meeting areas?

Personal office space in the traditional office setting and at remote settings can get cluttered and uncomfortable. Your office can be a place for the team to come meet, or stop in to do work and get away from the distractions of home.

This type of set up is normal for professionals like real estate agents who are out meeting people and only stop into the office to do paperwork.

Tips for creating a community gathering spot include:

  • Having the essential tools that employees need
  • Attractive lighting with as much natural light as possible
  • A contemporary look and comfort that they can’t provide on their own like quality ergonomic chairs and workstations

Employee Experience as You Plan Your Office Branding from the Inside Out

A welcoming office promotes employee engagement.

Employees who believe in the brand are a catalyst to a better customer experience. When your brand means a lot on the inside, then it’s more likely to get noticed on the outside.

Read Also: The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs
Main Photo: HON
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: FriantHON and Loftwall 

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Every important trend has a human element that we ignore or don’t consider. This can happen when designing and planning an office for maximum productivity. It’s important to remember that the end result has to support the people who work there.

Sounds obvious, right?


Photo: Global eO+ Panels

But we often put things before people. Look at it this way.

In the past, what did web designers do to rank a website high? They worked to get the attention of the search engines while ignoring the needs of the people who read the site. Keywords were stuffed into articles even if that hurt the readability and cheapened the user’s experience.

But now, pleasing the human reader is the most important variable in ranking a site.

The same can be said for the office as noted in this post, The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs. We have all this great technology, but do we use it to support the employees as well as we possibly can? A well-designed office weighs the needs of the people.


Photo: OFS Obeya Archtectural Structures

Know Your Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of fitting a working environment to people, instead of making people fit the environment. Providing height-adjustable desks, proper office lighting, ergonomic chairs and accessories are part of creating a workplace that allows workers to move at their best.

Photo: 9to5 Seating @nce Chair

Design with a focus on ergonomics and you’ll make great strides toward having an office where people are supported as they focus on their tasks.

Achieve that by laying out a floorplan and then deciding what furnishings are necessary.


Photo: Cherryman Amber Collection

Get Input

Ask your employees what matters to them. How do they work best and what would they like to see in a work area? Create a scale like the one in the article 7 Factors of Great Office Design in the Harvard Business Review.

Ask your team how strongly they prefer permanent walls compared to open spaces, or if they like spaces that “promote conversation and lingering.”

Define Spaces

Make areas well defined. That may seem easy to do, but if space is at a premium, then it’s not easy to separate workspaces with lounge areas or the breakroom.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating

Make areas for workstations clear with enough storage to reduce clutter. Keep break areas clean and make sure personal areas in an open office setting are quiet.

If your space has room for a rec area, then bring in foosball tables or ping pong tables that easily fold and can easily be moved when extra space is needed.

Plan Easy Navigation

A supportive office is easy to navigate for people whose sight is impaired and face challenges moving around. Have workstations in clearly designated areas with clear pathways that lead to personal quiet areas and breakrooms.


Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize 

Use indoor plants to create boundaries between defined areas. The plants help to deflect sound waves, freshen the air and add a touch of color.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating 

Light Up

Natural light is welcomed in the office. Enlarge windows as much as possible and use skylights or solar tubes to bring in as much of the sun as you can.

Photo: Global Bridges Benching Series

Light is a natural morale booster. It helps employees get into a rhythm of sleeping well at night and staying as alert as possible during the day. Use desk lamps at workstations and computer areas so workers don’t have to strain their eyes to see.

Make sure stairwells and other darkened areas are well lit to reduce the chance of accidents.


Photo: Koncept Gravy Lighting

When laying out a plan and designing an office to support your employees, evaluate your ideas by asking, “How will these conditions benefit the people working here?”

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Get expert input on your space planning needs. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of experience in helping Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and other nonprofit organizations.

Read Also: Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: OFS Heya
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: 9to5 Seating, Cherryman, Friant, Global, Koncept, Nevins and OFS

Repurpose Your Office Space for the Post-Covid Work World

Repurpose Your Office Space for the Post-Covid Work World

(IMPORTANT NOTICE: The recommendations on this article about Covid-19 in the office are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

The stay-at-home orders forced employees into flexible and remote working arrangements. Now’s the time to implement the best office strategies to maximize workflow and personnel needs.

A Great Time to Repurpose Your Office Space

The office is often seen as a place where you had to show up if you had a job, but the Covid-19 stay-at-home order changed that perception. Companies were forced into repurposing office space when their teams had to work remotely.


Photo: Adesso Executive Height Adjustable Desk

Employees in Southern California are returning once again to their previous work environments, as you can tell by the freeways that are getting more crowded.

But don’t just put everyone back in the same workstation. Instead, pause and review:

  • What worked during the pandemic’s stay at home orders in Los Angeles, Orange, or nearby counties
  • What could have worked more effectively
  • How will you be able to repurpose the existing office and make it serve more effectively than ever?

Put those hard-earned lessons to the test.

Let’s start with the purpose of an office.

Why We Need an Office

Traditionally, the office was the place where nearly all employees come to the workplace because that’s where communication and decisions happened. Teams met there, managers relayed goals to others beneath them, and directives were given and followed up on. You had to go to the office, unless you were in outside sales and seeing customers in a place like El Segundo one day and Irvine the next.


Photo: Friant Novo Panel System

Telecommuting isn’t new, and while it was tossed about as an option most employees kept going to the physical office. Now, during Covid-19, we discovered the routine of working remotely.

Let’s be realistic. Office spaces are opening up again and it’s important to have a central location or off-site locations that act as office hubs. Not everyone is going to work at home indefinitely or in some type of isolated environment.

Why?

As noted in the Harvard Study of Adult Development, people want social interactions. Healthy relationships reduce stress, and we feed off the energy of those in our department or colleagues from down the hall.

If we only work at home by ourselves then we’ll miss the funny comments from the office comic or the greetings when we walk by the receptionist desk to our cubicle. We take those little things for granted, but they’re important office morale boosters.


Photo: Cherryman Verde Reception

At its best, an office provides the tools and space to collaborate and solve problems or serve customers. Some workspaces work well in sequence under the same roof. A clothing company or manufacturing facility in Gardena or Ontario can have designers working on computer assisted design (CAD) and seamlessly send their work into production.

If a problem arises, then it’s easy for someone in production to halt the machines and huddle with the designers.

The role of an office is supporting people so they can excel in their tasks and work together to create a successful company.

But as we’ve seen in 2020, not all employees need to be in the same physical setting full-time. Sometimes, the office works well as a space to rally around where you can set and clarify goals before employees head to their home offices or other remote workspaces.

Two Types of Workspaces

We’re seeing two main types of work environments emerge: centralized workspaces and decentralized workspaces.

We’ve relaxed the hierarchy that was once the standard in our country’s industrial era, like at the old Goodyear plant that employed thousands in Van Nuys or the aerospace facilities near the South Bay.

Employees in most industries can now produce work from their homes.

What does that mean for space utilization?

Consider this. A highly centralized company that had either fixed walls or an open office plan had to make sudden changes during the height of the pandemic.
Photo: AMQ Kinex Height Adjustable Tables

Suddenly, you had to connect with your team remotely.

As restrictions are relaxed, you could insist that everyone come back in and take their assigned places. Or, you can evaluate what office strategies worked and how you can now harness the advantages of a decentralized or flexible work environment.

Here are three important takeaways:

  • Keep corporate goals as clear as possible
  • Communication is more strategic than ever
  • Trust is critical in a flexible office environment

The goals from upper management remain a guiding force. They always have been, but when you’re in the same place all the time, casual conversations and questions reinforce those goals.

In a flexible or decentralized workspace, find ways to help your team internalize those goals so they remember them.

You have to trust that your team that is going to get their work done, even if they’re not physically present. This gives the opportunity for them to be engaged and take ownership.

How to Use Your Office Spaces

A manager in a centralized office that either had fixed walls or an open office floor plan may feel that the amount of space is wasted unless it’s filled with people.

If that’s the case, consider all these uses of space in a flexible or decentralized office environment:

  • Additional room for client huddles
  • More space and freedom for collaboration
  • Areas where you can create on-site social media posts
  • Places to sit and have smaller team meetings two or three times a week
  • More room to train new hires and let them gain experience

Keep in mind that the open office plan came under fire for invading privacy. Employees were known for tuning out their colleagues by wearing earbuds or headphones and thus eliminating the hoped-for collaboration.


Photo: Trendway Conference Area

Finally, with flexible office spaces you may have workers coming into the office as a break from their home offices and the distractions they encounter there.

Make use of modular office furniture solutions or architectural walls for break areas and workstations to help repurpose your office space.

Plan and Repurpose Your Office Future with Experts

A company doesn’t just form and happen by accident and neither does a productive office. Supporting your employees with the tools they need requires design and planning.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture provides layout design and services in addition to supplying you with quality furnishings that can help repurpose your office space. Lay out your office design and plan based on your corporate goals and then get the desks, ergonomic chairs and accessories needed to maximize well-being and productivity.

Your office is not a static environment.  It’s dynamic and requires that you manage spaces so that they support your team as effectively as possible.

Read Also: How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo by: Trendway
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQ, Cherryman, Friant, Krug and Trendway

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

2010 Office Furniture Wins El Monte/South El Monte Business Of The Year Award

South El Monte Business of the Year Award

2010 Office Furniture is proud to receive the 2020 South El Monte Business of the Year Award and its recognition as Southern California’s leading retailer of new and used commercial office furniture.

San Gabriel Water Company has also received the 2020 El Monte Business of the Year Award for providing safe, reliable water service to El Monte and South El Monte for over 80 years.

10 Years and Going Strong

Established for over 10 years, 2010 Office Furniture is a small business with over 45 collective years of experience and is partnered with over 100 distinguished manufacturers dedicated to satisfying its customers with its broad selection of the highest quality office furniture and exceptional customer service.

2010 Office Furniture joined the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce in 2009. They’ve maintained a close relationship with the Chamber by sponsoring fundraisers and joining in on the efforts to support the community.

Praise for 2010 Office Furniture

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our community. Today we honor 2010 Office Furniture, a valuable part of this community,” EMSEM states.

“I hope that you have many more years of success and thank you very much for all that you have done. It’s not easy to run a company during times like these, but you guys continue to succeed,” Mayor Gloria Olmos said.

El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce

EMSEM— the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce — is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to represent the unified voice that advocates for strength in education, membership and government legislation in economic development.

It’s a community made up of local businesses in El Monte and South El Monte that works with the Chamber to keep tax dollars local, support local businesses, and encourage local employment.

EMSEM memberships come with many benefits: they gain easier access to authorities such as City Council Members, community organizations, schools, and local law enforcement. They also offer networking opportunities like internet exposure and newspaper mentions in the form of flyer inserts and membership rosters. They give an edge to competitors as a consequence of exclusive training opportunities on relevant topics.

Read the Full Article

Visit the EMSEM Chamber website and learn more about the organization: El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce

Read Also: Sophia Alexander Receives Greater Irvine Chamber Lifetime Membership
Main Photo: (From left to right)  Gloria Olmos, Mayor of South El Monte; Kenneth Chang, 2010 Office Furniture President/CEO; Alex Pons, 2010 Office Furniture General Manager; Rachel Barbosa, City Manager of South El Monte
Resources & Special Thanks to: El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce

Sophia Alexander Receives Greater Irvine Chamber Lifetime Membership

Sophia Alexander Receives Greater Irvine Chamber Awards Lifetime Membership

Former Vice President of Sales at 2010 Office Furniture, Sophia Rose Alexander receives a Greater Irvine Chamber Lifetime Membership.

Bryan Starr, the president and CEO of Greater Irvine Chamber, proclaims that, “The Greater Irvine Chamber is pleased to recognize Sophia Rose with a lifetime membership. She has been instrumental in growing the Chamber’s Leads Group program, helping to create a space for our membership to form quality relationships, and meet people they trust with their business.”

Greater Irvine Chamber Leads Group

For the past eight years, Rose Alexander has spent countless hours as a part of the Chamber doing various volunteer leadership roles and helped expand the Chamber’s esteemed Leads Groups program. The Leads Groups program dedicates itself to contributing to the economic development of the Irvine area by enhancing and growing the businesses of Greater Irvine Chamber members through networking.

Rose Alexander has an impressive list of accomplishments: within a year of her membership, she joined the Wednesday Leads Group and went from being the co-chair to chair of the Group. She also spent her time with the Ambassadors Committee as a co-chair. Their mission is to promote and represent the Greater Irvine Chamber in the business community. About two years later, Rose Alexander was appointed as a Leads Group Coordinator and helped form the 1st and 3rd Tuesday, 2nd and 4th Thursday, and 1st and 3rd Thursday Leads Groups. As the Coordinator, she was tasked with working with the Chamber’s membership to grow the networking referral group. The next year, she was named the 2014 Member of the Year and Ambassador of the Year.

From Dallas to Orange County

Rose Alexander began her journey to success in 2011 when she relocated from Dallas Texas to Orange County in an effort to broaden her contacts.

She says that, “It’s been such an honor to serve the Greater Irvine Chamber for the last eight years. When I first moved here, I didn’t know anyone other than my daughter. Joining the chamber in November of 2011 with 2010 Office Furniture was such a blessing. Not only did it jump-start my business in OC, but it afforded me the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. The Chamber staff and members became my family as I got to know them all. I’ve met so many wonderful people, created a huge circle of influence and made a lot of wonderful life-long friends along the way. It’s been a pleasure helping create the Leads Groups, improving and growing the groups, and mentoring members along the way.”

Read the Full Article

Read the full article on the Chamber website and learn more about the organization: Greater Irvine Chamber Awards Lifetime Membership to Sophia Alexander

Read Also: Use Benching Cubicles to Boost Productivity in Orange County
Main Photo provided by: Sophia Rose Alexander
Resources & Special Thanks to: Greater Irvine Chamber

The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs

Best Office Spaces ERG International Connos, Newport and Tango Collection

Office spaces that are responsive to a changing marketplace and the circumstances impacting society have a competitive advantage. Employees should be able to focus even when change swirls around them, and they can use different spaces that give them the freedom to work as effectively as possible.

Keeping your team healthy and well is a high priority due to Covid-19 and ailments from colds and the seasonal flu. Sick employees, upticks in sales that create demand for more workers, or economic downturns affect how many permanent and temporary staff occupy the floor space.

Best Office Spaces Friant My-HitePhoto: Friant My-Hite Tables

A strategic office design and space plan charts the regular workflow through the workspaces and environmentsneeded to meet your goals. Each space contributes to employee productivity and achieving the results you want for your organization.

Assigned Spaces

The responsibilities that you have as an employee often begin at your assigned workstation or desk. Whether you’re the CEO, Vice President, a mid-level manager, or just starting out with a new company this is where you’re expected to perform at a maximum level.

Strategic space planning will allow for an effective workflow between individuals and departments.

Workspaces that are responsive to the needs of employees are considered ergonomic and make use of flexible furnishings like the Friant My-Hite Height Adjustable Workstation or the Hon Accelerate Workstation. Multiple configurations are possible to safely accommodate individual workers side by side or in small groups.

Best Office Spaces HON AcceleratePhoto: HON Accelerate Collection

Remote Spaces

When stay-at-home orders were issued during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote spaces became a necessity and not just a cool option. Employees who were accustomed to the layout of a corporate office were suddenly asked to work from home, competing with personal needs like children taking online classes in the living room or their bedrooms.

In today’s world, if a team member has a bad cold, but is still well enough to work, then staying at a home office or other remote space is a smart option.

Best Office Spaces Friant CollectionPhoto: Friant Work From Home Collection

Looking ahead, one-third of full-time employees in the U.S. are expected to work remotely in the coming decade as noted in TechRepublic.

What makes an effective remote space?

Uncluttered space is important, one where an employee can step out of their personal life and into their professional role. An adequate surface, an ergonomic chair, and an Internet service that has satisfactory transmission rates all help to make a productive work area.

And just like in a corporate office setting, have access to natural light and move often to change the body’s position and posture.

Collaborative Spaces

Getting together to lay out challenges and find solutions is an important part of any business. It’s possible in an open office environment to create collaborative spaces that don’t interfere with the work of individuals who need to focus.

Look at what you can use to define the space:

Best Office Spaces OFS Obeya Architectural StructurePhoto: Obeya Architectural Structures

These products create flexible, or responsive, environments. You can move different pieces to fit the needs of the moment, keep the furnishings and accessories in one place or rearrange them to create a new area.

Add personality with the OFS Obeya Architectural Structure. You can add audio-visual equipment, curtains, additional panels, planters, and other accessories.

A collaborative space can also double as personal areas for employees when a group isn’t meeting.

Restful Spaces

Don’t confuse restfulness with a lack of productivity.

Whether it’s legend, fact, or a combination of both, it’s widely reported that Albert Einstein slept for about 10 hours every night and, in addition, he’d take regular naps during the day. He’d let his sub-conscious tackle problems and then come up with solutions while he dozed.

The lesson for us today is that an office that’s all work and no personal reflection is draining. We can thrive on fast-paced excitement, but many times we also need to withdraw and quiet down.

We can’t live non-stop in a fight-or-flight response, as noted in Understanding the Stress Response on HarvardHealth.com. Chronic stress “contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction.”

What does a restful place look like?

Define the space by creating a boundary that’s similar to collaborative spaces. If possible, allow for a flow of natural lighting and use plenty of indoor plants to bring in nature. Plants help the air remain fresh, they boost moods, ease stress and deflect sound waves for a quieter area.

Photo: Nevins Climb Seating Series

A modular arrangement like the kind available with the Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating solution allows the furniture to be used for individuals or group meetings.

You can make a rest area look more like a living room and less like an airport lounge for the most personal touch possible.

Patios are a bonus. Install sliding glass doors to connect an indoor space with the outdoors where team members can retreat to for quiet moments. You may choose to have one space like a lounge for phone calls, and another space for reading, writing and reflective thinking.

Photo: Nevins Synk2 and Climb Seating Series

Resource Spaces

No industry is immune from some sort of change today, whether that due’s to a worldwide phenomenon like the Covid-19 virus or technology changing how business is done.

Staying up to date is essential. Dedicate a small space as a learning center. You can have books and magazines on a shelf, a computer dedicated to research, and a bulletin board where you encourage employees to post an article they’ve read that lead to an aha! moment or breakthrough.

Photo: Global Linking Panels

Defining spaces shows that you expect more than people showing up, putting in their time, clocking out and then going home. You’re investing in them and you see them as the company’s most valuable assets.

Different spaces have specific purposes. Put them together and you’re working to create community and a shared experience. The team stays engaged with their work and with each other.

Get Professional Guidance on Creating the Best Office Spaces

An effective office layout takes deliberate planning around your corporate goals.

2010 Office Furniture can help to maximize productivity and create the best office spaces possible for your company. Share your space planning and office furniture needs to get the input you need.

The team at 2010 Office has nearly a half-century of combined experience advising and supplying the most distinguished companies in Southern California.

Read Also: Office of the Future: Plan an Office that Meets Your Company Goals and Personal Needs
Main Photo: ERG International
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: ERG International, Friant, HON, OFS, Nevins, and Global Furniture Group

 

Energize Your Office with Movement

Energize Your Office with Movement AMQ Kinex

A productive office emphasizes smart movement over a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to learn how to energize your office with movement that’s good for the body, mind and overall well-being of employees. Moving comes in many ways that are beneficial.

The Problem with Not Moving

Sitting during the workday begins before you arrive at the office. Once you leave home, you may be sitting in the car for thirty minutes and up to an hour on freeways and streets.

Guess what’s happening during that time?

Stress is building. Yesterday’s troubles may still on your mind, or you may have to change routes because of an accident. Anxiousness can kick in while you wonder if you’re going to make it into the office in time for that important meeting or call.

Your mind is active, but you’re physically confined.

So when you get to the office and make it to your workstation, you may be buzzing inside and all fidgety when you’re confined at your desk again.

Sound familiar?


Photo: OFS Genus Chair and Heya Lounge

In recent office history, employees were considered productive when they were sitting at desks and quietly absorbed in their work. The longer they sat still, the better. Those who stretched or got up often for a drink of water or trip to the bathroom were suspected of not focusing or working hard.

In the modern office, that attitude is changing with plenty of studies showing the benefits of moving instead of remaining in one physical place or posture.

Why?

Sitting or standing in one position stresses knees, elbows and ligaments. Posture suffers as well, and parts of the body like the neck and shoulders and lower back muscles get strained and sore. It’s a physics principal that works on inanimate objects, too, like recreational vehicles (RVs).

RVs that aren’t driven need to be on blocks so weight is taken off the tires. The air in the tires won’t circulate and the vehicle’s pressure will ultimately ruin the treads. Our bodies are similar.

Sitting at a desk for a few hours at a time makes you like that RV stuck in the driveway, especially if you’re at a workstation that doesn’t support your natural body movements.

Wonder why your brain gets foggy?
Photo: Maverick Height Adjustable Table 

When your blood isn’t circulating well then you have less oxygen flowing to where your thinking occurs.

Movement helps you maximize personal productivity.  That’s why it’s important to remember to energize your office with movement.

The Benefits of Movement in the Office

Moving is essential for learning because it ignites our mental functions. When you’re moving, blood is flowing to the brain.

Changing positions reduces weight on specific points of the body and minimizes stress on your joints.

A study advising ‘sit less, move more,’ available as an abstract by the National Institutes of Health, notes that the use of active work stations reduces fatigue levels and lower back discomfort.

The study, focused on six universities in Spain, concluded that simply reducing “insufficient physical activity” by 10 minutes had health benefits. Ratcheting movement up to two hours a day was highly recommended.


Photo: Energize your office with movement with Humanscale Office Ergonomics

Here are simple ways to add movement in the office and promote employee wellness.

  • Supply ergonomic chairs that support a person’s weight and allow natural movements
  • Use height adjustable desks
  • Think of “90/10” – 90 minutes in one position, followed by 10 minutes of movement
  • Encourage stretching exercises at workstations
  • Use good posture while on phone calls
  • Allow working in different areas, including out of the office
  • Take brief walks at lunchtime
  • Make water breaks part of the day
  • Install a treadmill or two if space allows
  • Bring in a masseuse once or twice a month to give chair massages

Quality ergonomic chairs like the Humanscale Freedom Task Chair are engineered for movement. A chair like this adjusts to the user’s weight automatically, including a “weight-sensitive recline system.” Armrests are adjustable allowing for a comfortable posture when typing on a keyboard and looking at a monitor.

Photo: Humanscale Freedom Chair

Desks like the Maverick Height Adjustable Desk are useful for executive offices, reception areas or for shared work surfaces. An employee can sit with a desk surface that’s just right for them or raise the desktop and stand to change positions.

Make Movement Part of the Office Culture

Moving more in the office means you’ll also have to trust employees for acting responsibly and to take charge of accomplishing their goals. Don’t expect to look over their shoulders and micro-manage their work.

Stay in communication. Set deadlines they have to meet, no matter the location they’re in.

Photo: AIS Height Adjustable Table

The Covid-19 pandemic tossed the office environment into chaos when stay-at-home orders were issued and the familiar workplace suddenly changed. Virtual meetings became normal and expected.

If you have employees who want to sit at their workstations and then switch locations to another part of the office temporarily that form of movement can be healthy. If someone wants to go home early and finish the workday there, or even in a park, then that could a helpful way to minimize stress.

A smartphone itself is an amazing communication tool with its access to social media platforms that allow video and text messaging for updates and progress reports from anywhere with a wi-fi signal.

Movement doesn’t mean a lack of productivity or skipping out on work.

Space Planning is Essential


Photo: AIS Day to Day Powerbeam

The team at 2010 Office Furniture knows that an office isn’t just a collection of useful furniture. They’ll help you arrange your workspace to help energize your office with movement, to promote office health, productivity and effective communication.

Share your office design and space planning needs with 2010 Office to get the layout that addresses your needs most effectively.

2010 Office Furniture supplies Southern California’s most distinguished companies, from large corporations and prestigious universities to leading nonprofits in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

Contact 2010 Office Furniture and share your thoughts.

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo: AMQ Kinex Workstations
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQ SolutionsOFS, Maverick Desk, Humanscale & AIS

 

Office of the Future: Plan an Office that Meets Your Company Goals and Personal Needs

Office of the Future Global River Lounge

Businesses around Los Angeles have seen how the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders had a sudden impact on their office workplace and operations. Many small businesses have had to fire more than half of their staff. A neighborhood clinic in Pasadena immediately switched to tele-medicine appointments because they had to cancel in-person visits.  Many are wondering: what does the office of the future look like and what does it mean for us?

Our communication tools make it easier than ever to have user-rich experiences when people are physically separated.

The complexities of Covid-19 created what consulting firm McKinsey referred to as a “large scale work at home experiment to reimagine how work is done.”

Office of the Future Friant Work From Home
Photo: Friant Work From Home

As technologies develop and people adapt to new circumstances, will workers want to return fully to the office, work remotely, or have flexibility in where they work?

That answer is key to understanding the office of the future.

A Brief History of Offices

The early to mid-20th century was the age of heavy industry in the United States. Steel was king in many cities. Automotive manufacturing turned Detroit into Motown and, locally, Southern California had its own automotive headquarters. Toyota once had its main U.S. offices in Torrance with over 5,000 employees.

In the industrial age, executives of all ranks, plus tradespeople like graphic artists, were expected to work completely in-house. Companies were run top-down and offices were rigid in their rules and expectations because steel, cars and other similar products were manufactured in a linear fashion.

The technology that was needed to run a company, like large mainframe computers, was housed solely on the company’s property.


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit Adaptable Headers

All work got done in the office. End of story.

Then along came:

  • the study of ergonomics
  • personal desktop computers
  • cell phones
  • laptops
  • cloud-based applications

You can see what happened.

And then Covid hit.

Little by little, technological changes and societal shifts have transformed how and where we do our work, giving us a peak at what the office of the future look like.

Offices that Support Employees

Studies reveal that about 62% of full-time employees in the U.S. worked at home at the peak of the Covid-19 virus. A majority of those workers, up to 80%, said they enjoyed working out of their houses.

Photo: Photo: Nevins Arlo Table

The distinction between the office and personal lives has blurred. It’s possible for many workers to perform their functions from anywhere that they have an Internet connection. Virtual meetings quickly became normal and apps can let someone perform a variety of functions remotely, like setting the temperature at home or tracking inventory shipments.

Employees, though, are drawn to an office that’s planned for maximum productivity—and one where they know they’re supported through quality furnishings and tools.

A company that offers a supportive environment can find it much easier to rally its team in one place and boost morale in ways that aren’t possible for a worker whose only at a remote location.

Office of the Future Allermuir and DeskMakers
Photo: Allermuir Famiglia and DeskMakers Adaptable Division

An office that supports people will have assigned workstations, collaborative spaces for small group meetings, teleconferencing, and areas for quiet and personal reflection.

The office of the future has flexible options that extend beyond the walls.

Flexible Office Expectations

Work must get done, but the way it’s approached is less structured now than in the industrial offices of the 20thcentury. Technology gives us mobility that was once impossible. The challenge for employees isn’t running off somewhere to hide, but it’s getting unplugged because the office can follow you wherever you go.

Here’s one way Covid-19 brought about changes. In the old days, if you had a bad cold then you’d tough it out and head into work. Today, you’re told to stay put and work from home. No more Mr. Tough Guy.

Inside the office, flexibility is also possible thanks to the many styles of modular furniture and safety devices available.

An example is a small company with 20 employees who are divided into four different departments. Business starts booming and suddenly new progammers or marketing team members are needed. Modular cubicles are easy to set up to accommodate a group of four or five people and either add additional workstations or reconfigure for smaller numbers as necessary.

Office of the Future Enwork Skyline
Photo: Enwork Skyline and Edge Desktop Screens

Now here’s something else to consider about today’s office setting. A growing company can rent space for added flexibility.

Let’s say the XYZ company in El Segundo is expanding and wants to hire a few new employees who live in the Inland Empire. The commute would be outrageous, and yet ABC wants to bring the small team together in one space.

Renting a shared workspace in a city like Ontario or Riverside could be the answer. The space can be set up for maximum productivity just like the main office.

There are truly many flexible options for staffing and supplying offices today and into the future.

Office Communication is Key

Clear communication is essential in an office that’s functioning well. Online meetings make it possible for workers to hear and see each other, but the non-verbal cues we pick up on in-person are missing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help.

Microsoft has created Together Mode, a new meeting experience that “digitally places [meeting] participants in a shared background … that makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on people’s faces and body language.”

The goal is to reduce fatigue that comes through video conferencing and create realistic interactions.

Together Mode can also create the shared experiences that people value, even if they’re working remotely.

An Office Blends Core Strengths

Companies have a core strength and that’s the product line or service that they build their reputation on. Global brands like Coca-Cola have a different core than, say, a regional dental practice with several locations, a law firm, or university.

A successful company or non-profit organization knows its core well and then hires talent to achieve profitable results.

The employees themselves have their own individual core strengths, and that means they have to be supported in different ways. A graphic designer who lays out presentations and marketing collateral has different needs than a project manager or a vice president of sales.

The key is planning an office to maximize the strengths of each team member, or, the departments where they work.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Stad Workstation and Allermuir Phoulds Chair

This is a timeless principle—one that will still hold true within the office of the future—valuing people as the company’s greatest asset and supporting them as effectively as possible.

How do you achieve this?

By arranging office spaces that take into account:

  • Inter-office workflow
  • Remote workers
  • Employees who choose either on-site or off-site
  • The different zones needed in an office for work, meetings, and quiet

Get Professional Guidance on Starting Your Office of the Future

Share your project here and get the office layout and furnishings you need to support your team.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of combined experience advising and supplying Southern California’s most distinguished companies.

Read Also: Energize Your Office with Movement
Main Photo: Global River Lounge
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global Furniture Group, Friant, Nevins, DeskMakers, Allermuir, Enwork & Groupe Lacasse

 

Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office

Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office

(IMPORTANT NOTICE: The recommendations on this article about Covid-19 in the office are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Amazing changes are shaking work environments as the world tackles the prevention of spreading Covid-19 in the office.

The open office was the trend with clusters of employees sitting together until the pandemic hit. Now, the puzzling question is how do workers keep their physical distance and still collaborate?

How far apart should people be?

Six feet is the best answer, but do you know why?

That’s the average distance that respiratory droplets from a sneeze or cough travel before they settle and aren’t likely to be inhaled by other people.

In the real world, people sneeze at different levels of intensity so we can’t accommodate every person, and staying six feet apart isn’t always possible. But we can make adjustments to help create a healthy environment and show workers that your company is looking out for their best interests.

Ways to Help Achieve Healthy Social Distancing in the Office

Covid-19 in the Office Groupe Lacasse Paradigm
Photo: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm

Modular furniture to the rescue!

Workers can use their office furniture with flexible set-ups to help keep a proper distance and stay productive.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Change seating arrangements
  • Install counter shields, desk shields, space dividers, or freestanding panels
  • Create modular rooms for meeting space
  • Use breakrooms with caution

Change Seating Arrangements

Benching solutions brought workers face to face and side by side in the open office. Remember those long rectangular benches with several people on one side and then several on the opposite side? The only separation between the two sides was a low-profile divider.

In cubicle work pods, employees looked toward each other, but that was before the pandemic hit.

How do you make it work now?

Reconfigure work pods so employees are working at angles and turn their seats so they’re back to back. This minor change can also help create more personal space and privacy.

Once you’ve chosen your seating arrangements, install what are now known as sneeze screens.

Screen styles are tailored to fit a variety of desking options and counter needs.

Use Clear Dividers


Photo: Enwork Acrylic Screens

Challenges create the need for solutions. Dividers may offer protection from the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace and 2010 Office Furniture carries a wide variety of these office essentials.

Don’t worry. Workers don’t have to feel like they’re stuck within canyon walls because the dividers are clear and allow light to filter through. They can work well with rectangular bench seating stations by helping to protect workers on either side of the screen.

The dividers are crafted from glass and can easily be installed. Certain products like the Fulbright Isolate Mobile Glass Screen are easy to re-arrange so they can also be used in places like lobby waiting areas and between office workers.

Partitions can work well in open plan workspaces and restaurants.

Create Signage Guides to Help Prevent Covid-19 in the Office


Photo: OFS Obeya Archictectural Structures

Use signs with positive messages that let visitors and employees know the office follows guidelines for personal safety.

Marketing teams talk about the customer journey, but your employees have their own journey from home that leads to the office. Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, advises businesses to create signs with their brand to guide employees as they travel that path. It’s easy to buy off-the-shelf signs, but mass-produced signs can bring on stress since “the color palettes and typography of some signage can make a space feel harsh, dangerous, and unwelcoming. Shifting the design to something more friendly and human can help to instill a sense of community and common purpose.”

Use brightly colored duct tape as guides along floors or walls, and to mark 6-foot distances near elevators, restrooms, the break room, and other places people gather.

Install Architectural Walls to Help Prevent Covid-19 in the Office

Covid-19 in the Office Trendway Clearwall
Photo: Trendway Clear Wall

Modular furniture of all types is economical and that includes architectural walls to create conference rooms or delineate private working spaces. You can define private spaces that look inviting and help provide the health security people need. You can create spaces with floor to ceiling walls or cubicles with guards to help reduce the likelihood of moist droplets spreading from one person to another.

Trendway offers three options for offices that want a sleek, modern look: Clear Wall, TrendWall, and Volo Wall. Clear Wall is a floor-to-ceiling solution with no framing between adjoining walls, while TrendWall provides the same services with framing. The Volvo Wall is another alternative that combines aesthetic with functionality with its glass sliding door. Glass options include clear or glazed.

Offices that want a framed wall with a wood grain look can choose the OFS Obeya Architectural Structures. Walls can be open or closed and make it possible to install tables, media equipment, and planters or other accessories.

These are office walls that define spaces without blocking out people.

Greater Use of Teleconferencing in the Office

Covid-19 in the Office OFS Slate
Photo: OFS Slate Media Wall

Even with all these modifications, social distancing may be even more effective with the use of teleconferencing equipment.

The digital platform makes it easy to livestream meetings. With projectors, screens and monitors to video conference, there is no need to crowd in small spaces and heighten the risk of COVID-19.

Inter-office streaming between floors or departments can help reduce foot traffic and people moving from one space to another.

Modify Food Events and Breakroom Habits

Covid-19 is changing how people will gather in breakrooms.

The Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) says social gatherings to celebrate retirements, milestones or birthdays may still be conducted if you’re careful and aware of your surroundings and how you serve the food.

Let’s say a company is providing pizza to its employees.  Instead of having the pizza readily accessible to everyone in a buffet-like setup, consider designating one single person wearing a mask and gloves to serve the pre-cut slices to each person.  This is much more sanitary as it will help minimize the number of people the pizza comes in contact with.  Also, for those who would like to share homemade goods at work, make sure each cookie or brownie has been carefully and individually wrapped, and that the person who made it wasn’t sick.


Photo: OFS Obeya Archictectural Structures

To help maintain physical distancing during typical workdays, reduce the number of chairs available in the breakroom and stagger break times for different departments.

Use fun signage to mark six foot distances and make sure tables are wiped down after they’re used.

Extra precautions and a few strategic configurations will promote a healthy office environment and help reduce the risks associated with the potential spread of Covid-19 in the workplace.

Ask your teams to get involved and supply them with adequate amounts of hand sanitizer.

For employees who are telecommuting, ask if they need additional equipment to work from home. You can create guidelines for home office best practices.

A virus like the coronavirus doesn’t have to shut down operations. Taking smart steps that follow public health guidelines can help make employees feel secure and take ownership of their own health and the well-being of those around them.

Get the Expertise You Need to Help Prevent Covid-19 in the Office

Get expert advice on re-configuring your office and making it safe. Talk to the team at 2010 Office Furniture. They have more than 45 years of combined experience advising corporations, non-profits and small businesses throughout Southern California.

Read Also: How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo by: OFS LeanTo
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS, Groupe Lacasse, Enwork & Trendway

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19

How to Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans From Covid-19

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article on how to help protect workers are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Open offices are facing changes as companies work to maintain a healthy workforce and answer today’s most critical question: How to protect workers from the risks of Covid-19.

Don’t expect drywall to suddenly appear and start separating workers. Risk mitigation plans can include modular furniture solutions to maintain an open office atmosphere while helping to protecting

How Open Offices Became Popular


Photo: National Epic

As Silicon Valley started booming in the early 2000s, start-up tech companies needed talent to work closely in collaboration with each other. Office spaces without walls provided a non-traditional communication flow that worked well.

The rest is facility history as companies in all industries found that open offices were budget friendly and flexible. It was easy to add workstations when hiring more workers or change floor plans to accommodate fewer workers. Permanent walls were a mess and costly to re-configure.

Why Open Offices were Criticized

Privacy became something of the past and the hoped-for collaboration took a hit as employees wore earbuds and noise cancelling headphones to block out the conversations and phone calls of co-workers.

Instead of providing a place to focus, critics said the open office was filled with distractions.

Open Offices Needed Private Spaces


Photo: Senator Group Chemistry

That shift created the need for personal break areas and one-on-one or small group meeting spaces. Office furniture reflected that demand with innovative meeting pods and the design of flexible workstations.

Open Offices Risked Germs Spreading Before Coronavirus

An office space is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs passed from one person to another. Moist droplets travel whether they’re in the restroom, the breakroom or on the main office floor. In 2011, a Danish study found that open office workers had a significantly higher incidence of sick days than those working in “cellular” or individual offices. The findings were published by the National Library of Medicine.

But there’s no need to cancel the open office floor plan. Help protect employee health using modular furniture and accessories.

How Open Offices are Using Modular Solutions for Protection


Photo: Friant Shield Panels

Open offices faced criticism, but just think of all the open spaces people normally gathered in like neighborhood pubs and restaurants, sporting events, concerts and parks. Innovative solutions are already available.

An array of protective office shields and dividers are available through 2010 Office Furniture:

The different styles of dividers allow you to help protect workers without making them feel isolated or cut off from other co-workers. You can help reduce the risk of spreading viruses but maintain an atmosphere of collaboration.

Space Planning for the Office in the Post-Pandemic Era


Photo: Friant Novo & Dash

Adjust floor layouts to create physical distancing. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) takes a comprehensive approach to planning offices for employee health and well-being. In its online coronavirus resource center, the IFMA recommends thorough space planning.

Adjust workstations to give employees the recommended six-feet of physical separation or purchase new, flexible workstations.

Know how many office visitors to allow in at one time and eliminate items in high-touch areas like light switches. Update traditional doors that have handles with automatic doors. Provide plenty of anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Encourage workers to wear masks when necessary.


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit

The team at 2010 Office Furniture has decades of expertise helping established corporations and small-to-large sized businesses plan their space to adjust to changes in the marketplace and respond to the question of how to help protect workers in our current pandemic.

Use this time to re-imagine how your office is laid out. Check the 2010 Office Furniture office inspiration center for designs ideas to help create privacy and focus.

More Tips for a Healthy Workplace


Photo: Loftwall Split Space Divider

Remember other key office wellness tips like encouraging your team to take breaks and go for walks outside to keep the blood flowing. Stay hydrated throughout the day and maximize the use of office plants to bring nature indoors and keep the air fresh.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends that businesses give employees flexibility to:

  • Work from home if not feeling well
  • Care for ill family members
  • Return to work without a health provider’s note if the employee has a respiratory illness

Helping to reduce the risks of spreading the coronavirus doesn’t have to halt your office operations. Make the needed changes and get your employees to join in and take ownership for their health and the well-being of those around them.


Photo: OFS Staks Workstations

Making adjustments shows that you care about your team and that you want the best for them.

The organizational consulting firm McKinsey concludes that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach for offices on how to protect workers against the spread of coronavirus. How offices will look “will be based on what talent is needed, which roles are most important, how much collaboration is necessary for excellence, and where offices are located today, among other factors.”

Get the input you need on planning, ergonomics and desking solutions. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has more than 45 years of experience working with large corporations, non-profits and small businesses throughout Southern California.

Contact them with your project needs and questions.

For Your Reference

Here are links to public health agencies in Southern California:

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Orange County Department of Public Health

San Bernardino Department of Public Health

Riverside County Department of Public Health

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo: Friant Interra
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Friant, National, Senator Group, Loftwall, OFS, DeskMakers

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)