Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

Creating and designing an ergonomic workplace with ergonomic workstations isn’t just a passing fad. Here’s why.

You’ve known plenty of dedicated employees who struggle with maladies such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back strain, or spend hours squinting at the computer screen. In the break room or in social settings, how many times have you heard co-workers or friends moan and say they’re getting older?

What do you think?

Do you know the impact that the right desk, chair and lighting can have on office well-being and productivity?

Find out how ergonomics came about so you get a good understanding of not just how to create ergonomic workstations but why it’s important.


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Tables

What is Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of how employees interact with their work surroundings. The purpose is creating an environment to meet the needs of workers instead of making employees fit into the work setting.

Can you identify with this familiar situation?

A person types away hours every day on a keyboard and strains the wrist. Who hasn’t heard of carpal tunnel syndrome? The employee has to take time off to get treatments or can’t work as productively.

Keyboards, chairs and desks are now designed to support good posture instead of making workers potentially suffer more problems. The equipment is designed to help people do their tasks well and reduce the risk of injuries.

Ergonomics, also known as human factors, creates efficiencies while minimizing problems that come from doing repetitive tasks. The discipline is appropriate for both white collar workstations and factory floors.

How Ergonomics Came About

An Italian physician in the late 1600s noticed how metal mining workers suffered poor health. Respiratory illnesses were prevalent but also their bodies were affected by awkward working positions.

They forced their bodies to meet the demands of the working environment and paid a price in poor health.

Skip ahead to 1857 when a Polish biologist is credited for creating the word ergonomics based on the Greek words ergon (work) and nomos (natural laws).

Now head into the late 20th century and into Southern California where local universities like UCLA started to improve working conditions through ergonomics. Since 1987, UCLA’s Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program has “trained thousands of workers and supervisors in office ergonomics.”

A company of any size can design a work environment to adapt to the needs of its people. Let’s see how this is done by looking at something as simple as the office chair.

What Ergonomic Stations Reduce or Prevent

In the late 1800s, the growth of railroads in the U.S. made it possible for businesses to reach customers across the country. A heavy emphasis was placed on office administration to track orders.

Bookkeepers, secretaries and other support staff needed something to sit on. Wooden office chairs were a one-size fits all solution. End of story.

The chairs were sturdy and you didn’t have to worry about them breaking or falling apart. They were completely stationary. If you had to bend and take paper from a desk drawer your hips and back had to pivot since the chair was built to stay in one place.

If your hips or lower back got sore, then you’d take anti-inflammatories to temporarily reduce the pain.

Along came executive chairs that looked fancier and had wheels. Now you could glide to the nearby filing cabinet or to the phone. By the 1970s, more executive chairs were designed to support a person’s body.

Executive office chairs were more comfortable, but they still didn’t address two underlying maladies facing the modern office worker:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries

This is more than just bad backs. MSDs affect nerves, ligaments, blood vessels and tendons as noted on a write-up of ergonomics on the OSHA website.

When a person does the same work constantly at a desk or chair that’s at an improper height and they have poor posture, they’re at risk for repetitive strain injuries. MSDs lead to frequent absences from work.

Employee absenteeism became widespread and serious studies evolved on how workers interacted with the workplace. That’s the focus of ergonomics.

Flip the calendar back to the early 1900s and you’ll find in-depth work appearing on ergonomics. The growth and use of aviation in the world wars that followed made the U.S. military see how they could make crew members better able to handle their duties. Engineers studied the intersection of airplane design and the limitations of the human body.

Now, back to the office.

Here’s where this extensive research has taken us—to high quality solutions that are readily available.


Photo: 9 to 5 Seating Ergonomic Chairs

You work in an office every day but can you name the basics element of a workstation?

If not, no problem. It’s listed below.

Principles of Ergonomic Workstations

What makes up a workstation?

  • Desk or Worksurface
  • Chair
  • Monitor and Keyboard or Laptop
  • Mouse and Mouse Pad
  • Lighting


Photo: Humanscale M10 Monitor Arm

Do those last two items surprise you? They shouldn’t.

Learn why as you read along.

When setting up an ergonomics workstation, pay attention to the space design of the room, a key part of the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.

Also look at the placement of accessories and the equipment layout on the desk as noted in a detailed write up on computer workstation ergonomics by The University of Western Australia. A person’s joints shouldn’t be stressed while sitting and working.

Here’s a summary of how an ergonomic workstation keeps a person in a neutral position:

Be seated so you’re eye level with the top of the computer screen.

Use a wrist pad when not typing to rest your wrists at a neutral position. Wrist pads aren’t meant to be used while typing.

Adjust armrests so elbows are close to the side of the body and are bent at a 90 degree to 100-degree angle.

Adjust the chair so feet are sitting either comfortably flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Be aware of good posture. An article and infographic from the province of Alberta, Canada notes that your ears should be above the shoulders. Those should be over the hips. This position reduces back strain. Use a lumbar pillow or roll against the lower back for extra support.

Now, let’s look at individual items.

Desks

Here’s a tip for working comfortably at a desk. Make sure the surface has everything within easy reach so you don’t have to turn and twist unnecessarily.

How does your desk adjust to your body so you can be more productive and reduce the risk of injuries? Height adjustable desks are an ergonomic solution in many offices.

Desks that support good health can be used in private offices and serve the needs of one person or they can be used in a pod of four people or more. Each person can adjust the desk to suit their preferences so they can work using the best posture possible.

If you’re wondering what to look for in the best ergonomic desks then consider this: make sure the desk changes heights quietly and is easy to reset.

How heavy will the items be on the surface? You don’t want equipment that creates instability.

Height adjustable desks fit well in compact spaces, executive suites and open plan offices.

The equipment does more than provide a place to work. Desks that adapt promote office wellness. A 12-month workplace study from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that height adjustable desks are linked to increased productivity, better concentration and improved health overall.


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Worksurface

 


Photo: Humanscale QuickStand 

Office aesthetics are important, and today’s desks fit traditional office spaces and the latest floor plans.


Photo: HON Empower Worksurfaces with Privacy Screens

A private office desk like the Krug Adesso Height Adjustable Desk has a finely crafted appearance while the Hon 10500 Series Height Adjustable Desk is minimal for a compact work place and collaborative open floor plans.

Desks are a good way to improve ergonomics, but now let’s look at chairs.

Chairs

Sitting for a long period of time simply isn’t a natural position for the body. That’s why it’s important to move. Stretching every 20 minutes to a half hour and take a quick walking break every 90 minutes to two hours.

Moving gives your muscles and tendons a chance to reset.

Make sitting easier and less harmful to your body by using an ergonomic chair that supports a body’s natural movement.

Think of it this way.

You’re not sitting still on a chair. You’re reaching for files, turning to look or listen to a co-worker, and, yes, sitting with good posture, we hope, while typing up your latest report.


Photo: Humanscale Freedom Chairs with Headrests

Remember that ergonomics is meant to keep the body in a neutral position, meaning little to no strains on the joints and lower back.

If you’re looking for the best ergonomic chair, then you need a chair that has a comfortable tilt to it with good lumbar support. Make sure your knees are bent at about 90 degrees. Use a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor.

Choosing a chair that works is subjective since no two bodies are the same. Evaluate the material, the durability, and overall comfort. Make sure the chair provides support so you’re not hunched over or leaning forward excessively.

Ergonomic Computer Accessories

Posture has a tremendous impact on overall well-being. Your head weighs as much as 12-pound to 14-pound bowling ball so you don’t want to learn forward to squint at the computer screen.

The more your head tilts forward, the more you’ll strain your muscles at the base of your neck and along your shoulders.

Keep computer screens at an eye level so you don’t have to lean forward to read the screen. Accessories like a keyboard and mouse should let the arms remain horizontal. Be careful that your wrists aren’t bent or extended upright.

Office lighting also affects your work and posture.


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems

Light


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Pendant Lights

Light does more than just let you see what you’re doing. Controlling the proper amount of light flowing from windows and lights is part of an ergonomic office design.

The right amount of light in an office boosts your employees’ morale. Natural light is a proven mood booster that promotes a restful night’s sleep as well.

There are three basic types of lighting:

  • General
  • Localized-general
  • Local, also called task lighting

General lighting covers a large area such as ceiling lamps that cover a wide area.

Localized-general lights include ceiling lamps that can direct light to specific areas.

Task lighting is much more focused and lets specific users adjust light levels. Desk lamps are a good example of task lighting.

Good lighting tips include arranging light fixtures so they’re not creating glare on computer screens, but providing enough focused light so users don’t have to squint.

Light “enhances the mood and desirability” of work spaces and public places as noted by the International Association of Lighting Designers.

Now consider the various elements of an ergonomically sound workplace? Can you understand what it ultimately delivers?


Photo: Humanscale Infinity Desktop Light

The Ergonomic Workstation Solution

Sitting comfortably with good posture, being able to handle repetitive tasks with little discomfort and working with proper light are all elements of an ergonomic workstation, and healthy work environment.

How we feel physically also impacts our thinking and our emotions. Investments in the right equipment are investments in people and their health.

Make this a team effort. One person in the office doesn’t have to decide how to carry out improvements and changes. Employees typically want their voices heard.

A successful ergonomics program involves employees in worksite assessments, solution development and implementation.

Here’s the end result of an office that’s planned well.

Expect a reduction in absenteeism from ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome, aching shoulders and bad backs. Employees will be more engaged and alert with proper workstations and a supportive environment.

Give your team the opportunity to function at their optimal levels.


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: Humanscale Ergonomic Workspaces

Get the Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs and laying out an office that meets the needs of employees and departments. Call or submit your questions.

Our team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity
Main Photo by: ODS / Office Design Studio
Resources & Special Thanks to: OSHA, University of Western Australia, UCLA, MyHealth.Alberta.Ca, IALD, & Respective Product Manufacturers: ODS / Office Design Studio, 9 to 5 Seating, Friant, HON, and Humanscale

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends

TRENDS BLOOM AT NEOCON – 2019 OFFICE FURNITURE TRENDS

Tens of thousands of guests from around the globe were dazzled at NeoCon 2019 a couple of weeks ago at Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart, as top industry names such as Herman Miller, Vitra, Steelcase and more lead the world’s biggest manufacturers in showcasing their most impressive and newest products.  As the single most important event of the year for commercial office furniture, NeoCon is the world’s leading platform for commercial design innovation and networking.  Hundred of brands were represented in areas of furniture, textiles, building materials, lighting, wall coverings, floor coverings, outdoor products, accessories and more. 

Every year, NeoCon gives us a special glimpse into the future.  From the most popular colors, fabrication and materials to progressive shapes, structures and cutting-edge innovations, here are the top trends we found at the show.

LIGHTING STEALS THE SHOW

Manufacturers definitely pulled out all the stops inside their showrooms–and it was oftentimes difficult not to look up.  Fabulous lighting displays were everywhere this year at the Merchandise Mart, attracting guests to each of the beautifully designed rooms and vignettes.  Lighting was no longer there just to complement, but instead wow the guests and lead them in.  Maybe–just maybe–it really is all about the lighting..?

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 1) BUZZISPACE 2) HUMANSCALE 3) STEELCASE 4) STEELCASE

PASTELS & NEONS LEAD A RAINBOW CAST

Among the dizzying display of rainbow colors, 2 types were no doubt up front and center: pastels and neons.  Pastels came in all different hues, but there was definitely a love affair with dusty pinks, magentas and salmons this year (probably trickling down from Millennial Pink’s fading popularity, and Pantone’s 2019 hot color of the year, Living Coral).  Neons were also very much in your face, especially with highlighter yellows and greens.  But one thing’s for sure, the colors didn’t stop there.  There was a bold experimentation with geometric color-blocking and mixing-and-matching of everything–from neutral palettes to bright, cheerful hues, and to darker, brooding tones such as burgundy and teal.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 5) OM 6) HAWORTH 7) STEELCASE 8) GLOBAL

DECADENT TEXTURES & FABRICS

One universal theme that was clear and very much present at NeoCon 2019 was comfort.  And nothing says comfort more than fabrics and materials that draw us in and make us feel good.  From luxurious fur, velvets and felt to exquisite leather, chenille and quilted surfaces, this is the era of rich, decadent textures and fabrics. And we all want to be enveloped in them–not just at home–but at the workplace.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 9) ARCADIA 10) INDIANA FURNITURE 11) STEELCASE 12) HAWORTH

REAL FURNITURE HAVE CURVES

Falling under the comfort theme, we were shocked at how much curves there were in many of the furniture design displayed.  It seemed as though there was a unified, conscious effort to make sure everything was rounded off, softened up, and cushioned.  And when you saw something that was hard-edged or sharp, its starkness was minimized with blunt edges and organic textures.  Gone are the days of sharp and sleek. For now, it’s bye-bye furniture anorexia and hello furniture with curves.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 13) DAUPHIN 14) OFS BRANDS 15) JASPER GROUP 16) BOSS DESIGN

THOUGHTFUL GREENERY & BIOPHILIA

Biophilia in recent years have taken root and flourished into our offices, reaching its peak in 2017 when Pantone announced Greenery as color of the year.  Now, a more refined way of introducing the outdoors indoors was seen throughout many of the showrooms.  It was no longer trees, plants and leaves galore.  Greenery was tastefully pulled back and incorporated in more thoughtful, inventive and even quirky ways.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 17) GLOBAL 18) STEELCASE 19) KRUG 20) AIS

ALL ABOUT PRIVACY

We all knew it was coming.  When office walls started to disappear around the early 2000’s to make room for collaborative open-plan layouts, our privacy went along with them.  Now, there is a much stronger need and demand for private, secluded spaces for quiet, concentrated work.  We were excited to see many innovative solutions that were offered at this year’s show.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 21) NOOK 22) STEELCASE 23) SILEN SPACE 24) JASPER GROUP

RESIMERCIAL COMFORT TO RESORT BLISS

Resimercial design, which was huge in last year’s show,  helped bring the comforts of home to the office.  It provided professionals comfortable, informal workspaces where they can be productive, collaborative, and dynamic.  This year (as though feeling at home wasn’t enough) we saw a lot of rich, natural, soothing wood finishes, parachute chord details, light and airy curtains (serving as room dividers) and wicker weave applications–all reminiscent of being at a 5 star island resort.  It was as if resimercial design is now giving way to hospitality design.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 25) OFS BRANDS 26) HERMAN MILLER 27) HERMAN MILLER 28) HAWORTH

Read Top 5 Commercial Office Furniture Trends – 2018 NeoCon
Main Photo by: Global
Resources & Special Thanks to: Respective Product Manufacturers
Photos by: 2010 Office Furniture

 

NeoCon 2019 Winners

NeoCon 2019 Winners

CONTRACT MAGAZINE ANNOUNCES NEOCON  2019 WINNERS

Every year, Contract Magazine hosts the Best of NeoCon Competition which surveys the latest and greatest in commercial product design and highlights standout entries in various design categories.  The 2019 winners were announced during an awards breakfast on June 10 at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, where eighty-three awards and recognitions   were given, including six Editor’s Choice awards, eight Innovation awards, and a Best of Competition prize.  Below are all winners from this year’s competition. Drumroll and envelopes please!—Here are the Best of NeoCon 2019 winners:

Acoustic Panels & Solutions

Gold: Snowsound: FLAT
Silver: Luxxbox: Linea Acoustic LED Lighting System

Acoustic Privacy & Modular Solutions

Gold: OFS: Leant To
Silver: Framery Acoustics: Framery 2Q


(Image Source – OFS: Leant To)

Architectural & Decorative Glass

Silver: Skyline Design: Oblique & Chevron

Architectural Products

Gold and Best of Competition: OFS: Obeya
Silver: Connectrac: Flex


(Image Source – OFS: Obeya)

Carpet: Broadloom

Gold: Tarkett: Tatami System
Silver: Mohawk Group: Textural Effects

Carpet: Contract Area Rugs

Innovation: Mohawk Group: Connecting Neurons Definity

Carpet: Modular

Gold: Patcraft: Deconstructed Felt
Silver: Shaw Contract: Suited

Case Goods

Gold: HALCON: HALO Office
Silver: Herman Miller: Geiger One Casegoods

Conference Room Furniture

Gold: Nucraft: Alev
Innovation: Tuohy Furniture Corp.: Meich Tables
Silver: Andreu World: Reverse Wood

Education Solutions

Gold: VS America: JUMPER
Silver: Keilhauer: Buncha

Flooring: Hard Surface LVT & Planks

Gold: Patcraft: Handloom
Innovation: Metroflor Corp.: Metroforms with Attraxion Magnetic Attachment Technology
Silver: Milliken & Co.: Change Agent LVT

Furniture Collections for Collaboration

Gold: Steelcase: Flex Collection
Innovation: Teknion: Bene Box
Silver: STYLEX: Free Address


(Image Source – STYLEX: Free Address)

Furniture Systems & Enhancements

Gold: Watson Furniture Group: Cloud 9 Rail
Silver: HALCON: HALO Office

Furniture: Benching

Gold: Innovant: Cross Benching

Healthcare Fabrics & Textiles

Gold: Designtex: Biophilia 2.0
Silver: CF Stinson: Chiaroscuro Collection

Healthcare Flooring

Gold: Teknoflor: Coordination Collection
Silver: Mohawk Group: True Hues

Healthcare Guest & Lounge Seating

Gold: Kwalu: Prizzi Lounge
Healthcare Patient Seating
Silver: Spec Furniture: Tailor HD

Lighting: Decorative & Hospitality

Gold: Eaton: Shaper Sense Acoustic LED Luminaires
Silver: LightArt: Acoustic Wing

Lounge Furniture Collections

Gold: Haworth Inc.: Cabana Lounge
Silver: Andreu World: Rap Sofa

Movable Walls

Gold: Teknion: Tek Vue
Silver: Allsteel: Beyond Pavilion

Office Accessories

Gold: Allsteel: Radii
Silver: Watson Furniture Group: Cloud 9 Cart and Garage

Seating: Bar Stools

Editors’ Choice: Martin Brattrud: Cumbia
Gold: Davis Furniture Industries: Muse Barstool

Seating: Benches

Editors’ Choice: Nienkämper: Heartbeat
Gold: Green Furniture Concept: Nova C Perch
Silver: Allermuir: Axyl Bench


(Image Source – Allermuir: Axyl Bench)

Seating: Conference

Gold: OFS: Kasura
Silver: Davis Furniture Industries: M75

Seating: Ergonomic Desk/Task

Gold: via seating: Younique
Silver: Nightingale Corp.: NLC


(Image Source – Via Seating: Younique)

Seating: Guest

Gold: Allermuir: Kin
Silver: Andreu World: Gala

Seating: Outdoor Contract & Hospitality

Silver: Andreu World: Nuez Outdoor

Seating: Sofas & Lounge

Gold: Andreu World: Rap sofa
Silver: Green Furniture Concept: Nova C Recliner

Seating: Stacking

Gold: Sandler Seating: HDS 1.1
Silver: SitOnIt Seating | IDEON: Mika


(Image Source – SitOnIt Seating: Mika)

Signage & Wayfinding

Gold: Takeform: Lucid Refined Interior Signage
Silver: 2/90 Sign Systems: SafeCare Signs

Space Dividers/Partitions/Screens

Gold: Clarus Glassboards: Flex Wall
Silver: Naava: Naava Flow

Tables: Communal & Task

Gold: Nucraft: Epono
Silver: Davis Furniture Industries: Inform


(Image Source – Nucraft: Epono)

Tables: Height-Adjustable/Training/Work

Editors’ Choice: Versteel: Sky
Gold: Watson Furniture Group: Cloud 9 Desk
Silver: Senator International: Array


(Image Source – Senator International: Array)

Tables: Occasional

Editors’ Choice: Studio TK: Freehand Occasional Tables
Gold: Nucraft: Alev
Innovation: Davis Furniture Industries: Lift

Technology-Integrated Solutions

Gold: Steelcase: Roam
Innovation: Connectrac: Flex
Silver: National Lighting: Revive

Textiles: Upholstery

Editors’ Choice: Wolf Gordon: VEER
Editors’ Choice: Luum Textiles: Future Tense Collection
Gold: HBF: Lost & Found
Innovation: Haworth Inc.: Haworth Knits
Silver: Momentum Group: Architectural Textures Collection

Wall Treatments

Innovation: Momentum Group: Woven Silica
Silver: Designtex: Metallic Wallcoverings

Workplace Technologies

Gold: CF Stinson: designMix with colorAI
Silver: FreeAxez: Gridd Mobile

See NeoCon 2018 Winners
Resources: www.contractdesign.com

Workstation Solutions in Los Angeles for Maximum Office Productivity

Workstation Solutions in Los Angeles for Maximum Office Productivity and Industry Growth

Looking at Industry Growth

A company’s growth and daily operations impacts the office design and workstation solutions so employees work as efficiently as possible. In Los Angeles County, there’s an upbeat forecast for professional services.  Equipping staff in managerial and executive positions requires an understanding of desking solutions and how to maximize their use for industry growth.

Office and Industry Outlook

Professional services in the greater Los Angeles area is “promising because it supports many occupations that pay well in component industries” whether or not they benefit from automation. That’s according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Council (LAEDC).  The LAEDC also states that a “looming workforce shortage” exists since there’s an undersupply of about 2,000 workers to fill job openings. The LAEDC did a supply and demand study and came up with the worker shortage data based on data from regional community colleges.  There may be an “oversupply” in programs for paralegals, architects and engineers but a greater demand in administrative support, veterinary science, along with computers and design.

Office Planning – Industry Growth

Companies are more than statistics so space planning and design becomes essential when choosing the best workstation solutions. Height-adjustable workstations like the My-Hite Workstation by Friant allow individual workers to customize their own workspace experience.  The E5 Open Plan Benching by Mayline is a space saver while offering “expansive power capabilities.”  Know individual preferences and how departments can function well to select the right benching system.

Office Workstation Summary

Desking and benching solutions allow for customized workstation systems. Select a look and feel that reflect the company’s brand and provide the best support.  Open plan benching and desking solutions such as the Aptos Open Plan Desking by OFS can come with storage so each person has a place for their own work and personal items.

There are plenty of workstation solutions to accommodate offices in any industry in Los Angeles County. Base decisions on:

  • The number of employees
  • Possible future growth
  • And how departments or individuals communicate internally and with outside clients and vendors

A well-planned office — from the reception area to the breakroom — is an asset that helps employees work well and feel supported.

Image Source: Global FreeFit

Tips for Styling the Office Workspace in Orange County

Tips for Styling the Office Workspace in Orange County

Putting Together an Office Plan

Growing companies in Orange County should consider how the layout of an office reflects on the company’s brand. A sleek layout that’s efficient and clean can boost morale and productivity. Tech firms gaming start-ups in Irvine and real estate brands headquartered in the OC can budget wisely and create an office plan and space design that brings decision-makers and talent together.

The Executive Area

Collaboration is a key to an office functioning effectively and a good flow of communication starts with the executive team. High level strategy includes analyzing financial data, knowing changes in the marketplace and the talent needed to round out the existing team.  Having a place to discuss is critical. Executive office desks can lend themselves to an atmosphere where it’s easy to access the CEO. No one has to hide behind walls.  Consider the Verde Collection of desks by Cherryman. It can have a minimalist appeal while Cherryman’s Amber Desk design fits well for open offices, providing plenty of room for sharing ideas while keeping personal space defined.  An executive space doesn’t need layers of drywall to stand apart from everyone else. Style and use of space set the boundaries while inviting communication.

The Office Floor

Open plan cubicles are a good way to create boundaries while allowing a flow of information.  A solution like the Accelerate Workstation by Hon provides flexibility, a place to focus and the openness to share. The Crossroads Workstation by ODS combines a classic cubicle with today’s technology and includes room for personal and work filing and storage.  Cubicles are flexible to accommodate growth and change so companies aren’t locked in to physical walls or bulky desks and furniture. Clean lines create order and give a look of stability.  In a corporation with larger floor space, departments can have their own set and style of cubicles. In a smaller firm like a small business or a start-up, cubicles can function for a work area and modular furniture can allow for a specified meeting place.

Image Source: Global Lufton

Benefits of Using Open Plan Cubicles in Los Angeles

Companies using open plan cubicles in Los Angeles are reaping the many office benefits they offer. Today’s many styles of open plan cubicles in Los Angeles provide defined personal areas without creating an atmosphere of barriers. In addition, re-configuring an office to accommodate growth over the years is easy and affordable.

Cubicle Styles

It’s important to understand what the many cubicle styles are in today’s office environments, and what works. Stylishly colored cubicles that blend in well allow a company to display its own distinct brand instead of a haphazard collection of desks or one-color partitions. Gone are the days of drab gray.  The modern office is all about color.  You’ll also find that many open plan cubicles in Los Angeles these days help alleviate the sense of claustrophobia. The EO+ Workstation by Global is a good example of modular panels that are visually pleasing and use translucent glass to let light filter through. This system works well in a spacious office or compact location. The Initiate Workstation by HON is similar to the EO+ and allows for each person to add their own distinctive touches to their workspace. When collaboration is important, consider cubicles by Friant like the Interra, Tiles, and System 2 workstations.

Easy Cubicle Configuration

Flexibility is important for large corporations in and around Los Angeles as well as entrepreneurial start-ups. New accounts or a need for better employee to employee communication can necessitate change.  Open plan cubicles can meet the fine line needed for discussion and idea sharing while offering privacy when a team member needs to withdraw from others and work in a focused manner.  Cubicles are easy to configure whether new hires come through the door or an office needs re-arranging to service a major account. Yet, the steel and aluminum parts are durable for a long life.

Considerations for Space Planning and Design

Knowing how to properly plan and design a space requires an understanding of what makes an office function well. Consider present needs and how the team is arranged and the impact of projected future growth.  In an open office setting, private areas become important for people who need to withdraw. A space doesn’t have to be large, but it should be defined in some way. Lounge chairs or hanging plants create boundaries without feeling like barricades.  Open plan cubicles make it easy to provide defined workspace, personal break areas and places for shared equipment like copiers.

Image Source: Friant

Enhancing Office Communication for Best Results

Enhancing Office Communication for Best Results

Sharing ideas, tackling tough issues, and simply engaging in casual banter is all part of office communication. Laying out workstations and lounge areas to support effective dialogue requires planning.  A lack of information flow gets teams off alignment (as noted by this article with a survey from Clear Company). Achieving the best use of space that fosters effective communication can build consensus and keep the team tracking toward the same goals.  Here are several types of communication and how a layout can enhance each one.

Project-Focused Sharing

A collaborative team faces a tight deadline and needs adequate time and space to give and take input. Open plan workstations like Teamworx by DeskMakers and Novo by Friant allow for small teams to gather in collaborative workspaces.  This style of workflow provides good office communication that’s ideal for brainstorming, planning and charting progress. An office set-up such as this will allow for coming together easily and then retreating to implement ideas.

Open Meetings

Great news such as promotions and landing large accounts are always more easily shared and celebrated. Addressing tough topics at the office however is more delicate. Promoting office communication with open meetings that allow for honest discussions help keep teams together in good times and in lean moments.  Office arrangements that include custom conference tables and multi-purpose chairs or adaptable lounge areas can enhance this office communication need.

Active Listening

Active listening is challenging in an office environment that’s busy and filled with phone calls and client meetings. It is especially difficult in an open office setting. Create a space for small groups or one-on-one discussions to take place without feeling like everyone is listening in. Private and semi-private seating arrangements such as Qove and Heya by OFS, Co-Op by Arcadia, and Coact by First Office are great examples of lounges that provide a focused space.  These types of setups promote focused conversation and effective office communication.

Keep Moving

The most natural environment where employees interact is the staff lounge or lunchroom.  One way to enhance office communication here is by promoting staff to move and get their blood flow going. Consider a multi-use product like the Nomad Sport Conference Table which can be converted and used for a ping-pong match. This can let off steam and lead to a robust time of sharing ideas and solutions.  Remember, communication is most effective when there are breaks and spaces for people to move around and absorb what’s been shared. Lounge areas are ideal for escapes and offer places to mill around, socialize, relax and re-focus.

Implement Better Office Communication

If you are interested in designing your office to promote better office communication, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Office Communication Best Practices: Goal Setting

Image Source: Scale 1:1 Nomad Table

Make Office Ergonomics Your Next Smart Move

Make Office Ergonomics Your Next Smart Move

What is Office Ergonomics

Keeping employees well and productive isn’t just about giving lectures on how to stop smoking or regulate blood pressure. Physical movement is one of the keys to keeping an office staff healthy.  It impacts work-related absenteeism (since prolonged sitting or standing stresses muscles and joints which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs), and can overall affect a company’s performance.  Oftentimes, office movement is directly related to office design and the furniture utilized by the staff.  Conditions like unwieldy office chairs can cause ailments, and existing health problems to persist and worsen. That is why addressing the issue of office ergonomics come is so important.  Office ergonomics apply the science that lies behind the interactions people have with their environment, so personal well-being and office efficiency occur at a peak level.

Don’t Just Sit (or Stand) There

Sitting for long hours or standing for long periods of time will stress the body’s joints. Poor posture aggravates muscles and joints.  One very common example is an employee working in front of a computer screen.  Ever pick up a heavy bowling ball? A person’s head weighs between 10 pounds to 14 pounds. Leaning forward to glance at the computer screen with gravity pulling down on the head will gradually strain the upper two vertebrae out of alignment. This will pinch the nerves in the brainstem, an area located at the bottom of the neck and shoulders, which ultimately will cause health problems for the employee.  This risk, however, can be alleviated through regular movement, proper workstation arrangements and chairs that flex with the body.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll – or at Least Stretch

When the topic of movement in the office is brought up, most workers think the main reason is to burn calories. But that’s just one of the resulting benefits.  Moving, even small stretching exercises, maintains a healthy blood circulation and is important for the health of the muscles. You can also promote movement by adding some key types of furniture to your workspace.  Height adjustable desks (for both collaborative spaces and individual offices) as well as a conference table that can double as a ping-pong table are effective office additions that can help keep employees moving.  It’s important to note that the key is to avoid being in one position for too long. Standing while working, which helps with movement, should still be done in brief amounts of time, perhaps intervals of no more than 15 to 20 minutes.

Workstation Standards that Raise the Bar — For Best Office Ergonomics

Proper workstation set up is, according to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), “the first step in combating musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the office environment.”

OSHA standards are:

  • Aligning joints in the neutral position
  • Chairs adjusted correctly for the individual user
  • Backs supported
  • Computer monitors, keyboards, and accessories like a mouse are at the right height for the user

This is why adjustable office furniture is so important. Individual pieces can all be adjusted independently.

Sit On It with Confidence

Every office has people with a range of postures.  Chairs that don’t conform well to sitting positions can result in tight shoulders, breathing that’s constricted, and tightness in the thighs and throughout the legs.  That is why it’s important to have ergonomic chairs that allows users the freedom to move naturally while in a sitting position.  Ergonomically designed chairs like the Cherryman Eon Chair and 9 to 5 Seating’s Vesta Chair have lumbar support and an advanced tilt feature,  which helps these chairs to work well at conference tables and for individual office use.

Image Source: Humanscale

3 Popular Office Layouts to Meet Your Office Culture

3 Popular Office Layouts to Meet Your Office Culture

The Importance of Office Layouts

An office layout that’s set up for maximum functionality and efficiency creates a productive environment. Achieving this optimal arrangement takes planning and accounts for all the necessary accessories and equipment.  Here is an overview of different office layouts, how each can be furnished, and the impact on the personal preferences of employees.

1. Open Office Layouts

A large space without walls is a simple definition of the open office. It’s a highly relational approach to work and fosters communication and collaboration. In practical terms, the layout can also be an easy way to manage people who do a single task like data entry. Tech companies and start-ups often benefit from this layout.  The challenge is that privacy is scarce and there are more distractions than in divided offices.

Seating and Workstation Options:

Adjusting for Personal Needs:

  • Letting employees work from home when they need privacy
  • Creating private areas using comfortable and state-of-the-art lounge chairs like Focal Point and Connection Zone
  • Using Co-op lounges for private, small group discussions and phone conferences

2. Cellular Office Layouts

A large space that’s divided using cubicle style desks offers greater privacy and more personal space than the open office. Benefits include being adaptable in space sizes and design. Sales organizations can benefit from this style where time is split between the office and going out to see clients.  The cubicle usually evokes images of corporate sameness with a dull gray interior and workers slotted into positions. However, today’s options are quite attractive. Instead of industrial grade partitions with desks squeezed in, the desk and cubicle are often one and the same.

Seating and Workstation Options:

Adjusting for Personal Needs:

  • Since cubicles can divide up a room, having an open area for lunches or lounging can offer variety.

3. Private Office Layouts

For an office space that already has hallways and walls, offices ensure the greatest degree of privacy possible. This style is found in top-down organizations and hearkens back to the days when the president of a company had the largest office or prized corner office.  Professional firms and companies where individuals need a high degree of focus in their work can benefit the most from this setup. The downside is that it hinders the relational aspects of work that younger generations enjoy and the layout can seem intimidating and overly formal.

The look of the furniture for private office layouts can reflect the company’s brand and the individual’s brand and personal tastes.

Seating and Workstation Options:

Suggested Innovative Office Layout Ideas

Be a trendsetter or invite employees to design their own office space whether the existing plan is open, made of cells or private rooms.

Shared and Personal Space:

  • Shared spaces can have individual lounge areas nearby. If you use a product like the Mayline – E5 Open Plan Benching that accommodates eight people, then each person could have an individual lounge chair nearby that has a reading lamp and available plug-ins.
  • Encourage the team to decorate according to their hobbies and interests: a library look, sports, or outdoor area.

A Middle of Room Lounge:

  • In an open office space, use modular cubicles or open plan benching around the sides. This is nice if windows let in plenty of natural light. Then in the middle of the room, create an open area for break-time reading, eating and beverage service.
  • Consider an arrangement like the Coact lounge or the Island Modular to bring people together.

Choosing Reception Furniture

The style of office layout will help determine the type of reception desk and guest chairs to use in the entrance of your office.

Designing Your Office Layout

Looking to design your own open, cellular or private office?  Let our experts help you!  2010 Office Furniture has more than 45 years of experience working with some of the most prominent companies in Los Angeles and Orange County, including Southern California Edison, Irvine Chamber of Commerce, The Honda Center, UCLA, Bunim Murray Productions, Hollywood Park Casino, Living Spaces, W Hotels, Sony Pictures Studios, Dignity Health and more.  Share your project with us today and talk to us about a complimentary space planning consultation.

Image Source: Hon

Top List of Office Furniture Manufacturers

Top List of Office Furniture Manufacturers

Office Furniture Manufacturers that are California Cool

Today’s leading office furniture manufacturers provide office furniture that is easy to customize to the needs of employees. Whether you have an animation studio in Burbank or an architectural firm near downtown Los Angeles, a solution like open-plan desking from a maker like Maverick can create a welcoming collaborative work space.

California is home to several excellent office furniture manufacturers that create innovative and durable products for a range of businesses. An entrepreneurial spirit runs through each one and that includes a commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction.

Maverick Desk

In the early 90s, the founders of Maverick Desk were doing all the work of creating desks for customers, packing the items, and handling sales. The hands-on approach gave them the knowledge and understanding to meet customer demands. Today’s cutting-edge automation at their site in Los Angeles allows the company to manufacture custom desks, conference tables and other office products within 72 hours or less.

DeskMakers

Turn an ordinary reception area into an inviting space with a customizable reception desk that has a sleek appearance. Flexible office design for lobby furniture, conference tables, and case goods are a strength for DeskMakers.

From its beginnings in East Los Angeles in the mid-sixties, DeskMakers has grown to be one of the leading office manufacturers on the West Coast. Innovation, and laughter, are among the core values that guide their manufacturing process.

9 to 5 Seating

Ergonomically designed chairs that are manufactured well reduce muscle strain when sitting for long hours at a work station. 9 to 5 Seating in Hawthorne is a forward-thinking manufacturer crafting chairs to meet the needs of specific industries like healthcare, hospitality, and environments that demand heavy-duty seating.

In its 30 years, 9 to 5 Seating has developed an all-inclusive approach to manufacturing that handles an entire process from design to powder coating—like 10 factories in one facility.

Friant

Professional firms like credit unions and municipalities needing smart-looking office furniture are among the customers who appreciate products made by Friant. The San Leandro-based manufacturer also provides excellent storage solutions with free-standing cabinets.

Environmental awareness is built-in to Friant’s process, using LED lights in the factory that vary the amount of energy used according to the needs.

ERG International

Corporations, universities, and healthcare facilities needing soft seating in lounge areas or attractive and sturdy chairs for stacking can find what they need with ERG International. Based in Oxnard, the family-owned manufacturer that started in 1981 offers unlimited color selections for a range of tables, cabanas and chairs.

Its automated system results in high-quality products that meet rigorous environmental standards.

Via Seating

A chair is “the single most crucial factor that can impact your health and wellness at work,” according to Via Seating. Companies that want unique “motion seating” solutions can look closely at Via Seating’s product line, developed with more than 30 years of manufacturing experience.

Chairs are made for every possible task in an office including outdoor seating with an innovative design.

Our Trusted Office Furniture Manufacturers

Every supplier that 2010 Office Furniture selects is carefully vetted for quality and compliance to environmental needs and safe manufacturing processes. Start-up offices and corporations wanting to re-configure their arrangements should contact 2010 Office Furniture for input on space planning.

Visit the Specials page to see current sale prices.

Refer to 2010 Office Furniture’s Commercial Office Furniture Partners page

Read Also: Office Trends that Keep Employees Engaged and Productive
Main Photo: Friant Novo Panel System
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Maverick Desk, DeskMakers, 9to5 Seating, Friant, ERG International & Via Seating