6 Reasons to Let Your Employees Work from Home

6 Reasons to Let Your Employees Work from Home SitOnIt Reya Desk

Working in the Covid era has shown how knowledge-based businesses and professional firms can be productive even when employees work from home offices.

Corporate offices are still needed as hubs that lay out the mission and set direction, but some employees can function more effectively at a home office setting.

Why?

They have the equipment, a dedicated space, and can function free from inter-office distractions like breakroom conversations, clashing office personalities, and employees who are ill.

But let’s be clear: the center corporate office is still very much needed.


Photo: Maverick Apex Workstation

Read on to learn the 6 great reasons to let your employees work from home, as opposed to the office.  Also, it’s important to understand the differences between the two office set-ups and how both environments can work together for everyone’s benefit.

Reason 1: Home Offices Provide Functionality

A variety of employees have as much functionality at a home office as they do at a central location.

Data entry, marketing specialists, and sales teams can enter information, create content, and contact customers. The financial team can access accounts via the Internet, and executives can hold online meetings.

What’s needed to make a home office work well? Start with the basics.

A Dedicated Space

When employees work from home, having an area where the focus is on work is crucial. It can be a separate room, or a designated space within an existing space, such as a living room. Use dividers to reduce distractions just like you would in an open floor plan.

The home office shouldn’t be cramped.

In greater Los Angeles and Orange County, the moderate temperatures and sunshine during the year can let back yard decks and patios also be part of the home office setting.

Internet Connection is Key When Employees Work From Home

Being connected with smartphones and a reliable Internet connection is the reason that 18 percent of the U.S. workforce works full-time from a home office or other remote location, according to OWL Labs.

Citigroup and Google are among the top corporations who have employees work from home, and have establishing hybrid arrangements, as reported by SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management.

Citigroup says most of its 210,000 employees now work remotely two to three days a week.

Desks

Say goodbye to the bulky desks of the past and embrace today’s sleek designs. Simple table-top models, height-adjustable desks, and modular workstations can all be used in the home.


Photo: Deskmakers Ascend Height Adjustable Desk

The Desk Makers Ascend Height Adjustable Desk is an example of a contemporary design that lets users move from sitting to standing position in seconds.

Lighting

The right lighting is essential to working well in any setting, even in a home space. An office that’s lit properly reduces eye strain, the stress of glare, and promotes restful nights. Natural lighting is optimal while LED lighting is preferred over fluorescent lighting which has been shown to make office workers tired.


Photo: Humanscale Nova Light

When employees work from home, affordable office lighting solutions come in a variety of shapes to focus the best light on the task at hand.

Ergonomic Chair

Sitting stresses the spine and lower back so make sure home offices are equipped with an ergonomic chair that supports the body’s shape and natural motions. A quality chair will last for many years. It’s an investment that promotes well-being by reducing strain on the back and joints.


Photo: SitOnIt Seating Wit Chair

Laptop and Monitor

Laptops have plenty of power for nearly every need. Specialists like graphic artists may benefit from a desktop set-up and large monitors. But laptops can hook up to larger monitors, as well.

Companies can develop policies when employees work from home, using personal computers versus ones purchased directly by the corporation.

File Storage

The paperless office still has paper, but minimal file storage is needed. Designs like the OSF Beck Credenza tend to have more traditional appearances. A modular storage system like the Desk Makers Catalina Cubbies can also serve as a room divider in home offices or at the main office


Photo: Deskmakers Catalina Cubbies

Combination Printer, Copier & Scanner

Like it or not, printers, copiers and scanners are still needed even with the advancement of new technology and widespread use of electronic communications. Top-rated printers with combo functions include HP Office Jet Pro 9015e, HP Office Jet Pro 6978, Canon PIXMA TR8520 and Brother MFCL-2710DW.

Reason 2: Workers Have Health Concerns

Covid isn’t the only virus that spreads germs. Other illnesses like the common cold and flu can be transmitted at the work office.  Office wellness can mean that employees work from home when they’re not feeling well.

Being active is important and taking stretch breaks or quick walks every two hours may happen more easily at home than in the corporate setting.

Reason 3: Workers are Connected Remotely

Work vocabulary now includes Zoom as often as Google. Nouns have taken on another life as verbs. Connections via email, social media messaging, and inexpensive or free face-to-face platforms make communication easy.

What may be challenging or tough is disconnecting after hours, weekends, or while on vacation.

Reason 4: When Employees Work From Home, They Save Money

The cost of gas around Los Angeles is pushing $5 per gallon or higher. Reducing a daily commute to a few times a week, or less, lets your team keep more money in their pockets.

Fuel isn’t the only cost.

There’s wear and tear on the car in addition to buying lunches.

Reason 5: Top Talent Likes Flexibility

A friendly and flexible work environment aids in retaining top employees. Studies made pre-Covid are evidence that it’s preferably for many to have employees work from home. A 2019 article on HR Daily Advisor.com reports that the firm Crunchbase, a company specializing in business insights, “found that by offering flexibility around family life, it was able to attract and retain top candidates.”

Reason 6: A Central Office is Still Needed When Employees Work From Home

Why is the corporate office still important?

Employees have social needs which is why arrangements that include working from home with time in the office are popular. No one truly wants to shut the door on a space where there’s stimulating collaboration.

How can you make the corporate office a desired location?

Schedule regular meetings that are interactive and filled with shared insights.

Use office designs and layouts that are welcoming, have break rooms that are well-supplied with beverages and healthy snacks, and create lounge areas.

The central office can be a destination where collaboration happens, while the home office can be a place to focus on specific tasks.

We’re Here to Help Your Employees Work From Home

The team at 2010 Office Furniture has supplied furnishings and planned office spaces for some of the most recognizable brands in greater Los Angeles, throughout Orange County, and in the Inland Empire.

2010 Office Furniture has more than 50 years of combined experience to address in-office or hybrid work arrangements, as well as home office needs.

Contact us with your project needs and questions.

Read Also: Reasons to Refresh and Improve Office Layout
Main Photo: SitOnIt Seating Reya Height Adjustable Desk
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Deskmakers, Humanscale, Maverick & SitOnIt Seating

Equipping Employees for Both the Corporate Office and Home Office

Equipping Employees for Both the Corporate Office and Home Office

Today’s corporate and home office environments will remain dramatically changed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Are you seeing it in your work setting?

Expect a hybrid trend to continue. Employees will work up to a few days each week in the corporate setting and then put in the remaining hours each week at a home office or other remote location.

Savvy executives and office managers will plan and design their spaces so employees will be properly equipped at home and in the work setting.

Read on to see how you can create spaces that are productive and also meet expectations for workers and the company.

Why Employees Want to Work at Home

Surveys shows that office workers have a lot of practical reasons for working remotely at home or another location.

Reason 1: Plenty of quality furnishings are available for home offices like height adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs and accessories to create a professional setting.

Reason 2: They don’t face stressful commutes and they save money by not going to the office. You know the stories of what it’s like battling traffic every morning and late afternoons on freeways like the 405 through West LA and the 210 into Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley.

The people surveyed estimate that savings in gas and other personal expenses saves them up to $ 5,000 a year.

Reason 3: Concerns about Covid—and this comes in a distant third.


Photo: OFS Aptos Private Office

Here’s a breakdown from a survey of 2,000 adults that Flexjobs, an employment agency, did in April 2021:

  • 84% of people didn’t want a daily commute
  • 75% personally saved money
  • 32% still had Covid concerns
  • 26% enjoyed being closer to their pets and home responsibilities
  • 15% said a home office made childcare easier

Another reason workers like their home office is they don’t have to wear face coverings. Physical distancing and mask requirements are easing up in California beginning mid-June. But according to updated guidelines from the state’s department of public health, masks are supposed to be worn in indoor settings:

“In indoor settings outside of one’s home, including public transportation, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status…”

Exceptions are made for people working alone in a closed room or office.

The on-going regulations may sway people to work from home.

What CEOs Want for the Corporate Office

Not surprisingly, CEOs and other executives surveyed wanted their people at corporate workstations, although they understood that workers got used to remote locations. In a survey conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers in January 2021, most corporate leaders agreed that a hybrid office model can work.

Here’s the breakdown of how many days the CEOs want their employees to spend in the office:

  • 5 days a week—21%
  • 4 days a week—18%
  • 3 days a week—29%
  • 2 days a week—15%
  • 1 day a week— 5%
  • Only 1 – 3 days monthly—6%

The most pressing concern for executives was keeping their teams aligned with company culture. Too many days spent working remotely would lead to drifting and a loose association with the company’s goals and values.

Companies can attract employees by offering quality settings that can’t be duplicated remotely. The other draw of a corporate setting is the social interaction. Make the office a positive place to be.


Photo: HON WestHill Lounge

The Power of the Flexible Office

A property management authority was commenting on commercial office leases in Long Beach and remarked “that a lot of tenants that don’t really know what the world looks like — don’t have a good grasp of, once we’re out of this pandemic, what their office space needs are going to look like.”

Products made for a flexible workspace design are more important than ever.

If you need more workstations, or fewer, then consider solutions like the DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking. It’s easy to configure and comes with many different privacy options.


Photo: Deskmakers Teamworx Workstation

The Attraction of Ambiance in the Office

A popular office trend in workspace environments is known as Resimercial, which means combining the best of a home office and residential setting with the durability and demands of a commercial space.

The lines between work and home are more blurred than ever.

It’s acceptable for office lounges to look like living rooms when they’re properly furnished and arranged well.

You can also create an upbeat office setting where people want to be. Use primary colors and furniture with clean lines. Triangular shapes and circles add depth and intrigue.


Photo: Arcadia Contract Domo Benches

Add plenty of indoor plants to bring in the best of nature and make sure a maximum amount of natural light is flowing into the space.

The Support of the Healthy Office

Show employees that they’re safe and well-protected with mobile glass screens and an array of space dividers. Private and semi-private office cubicles are useful for distancing while still offering a sense of collaboration.


Photo: HON Ignition Chair

Get the Ideas You Need for the Corporate Office and Home Office

Smart space planning is essential to laying out an office setting for maximum productivity and employee engagement. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has over 50 years of combined experience working with office managers and executives at the most distinguished companies in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

Contact them with your project needs and questions.

Read Also: How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo: Arcadia Contract Avelina Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Arcadia Contract, Deskmakers,HON & OFS

(IMPORTANT NOTICE: The 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.)

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.)

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