Category Archives: Blog

How Office Furniture Can Affect Productivity in the Workplace

There are many things that affect productivity in the workplace, from office culture and leadership styles to amenities, wellness programs and reward structures. Office furniture is often overlooked when it comes to creating a productive workplace, but it too has a significant impact. Just think about it – a cheap, uninteresting and bland space is an inferior quality space that isn’t welcoming or enjoyable to use, and people within it feel inferior and unappreciated as a result. Here are some modern office design ideas from our contemporary office interiors team on how the right contemporary office furniture can create an inspiring, engaged and ultimately productive team.

Organization and Storage

Some people feel more productive as soon as they walk into a store filled with organizing goodies like files, boxes, folders, colored post-its and dividers – and we don’t blame them! A well-organized office space with sufficient, clearly marked storage for each employee helps reduce clutter and frustration, as well as making it easy to find and store documents, reach deadlines, prepare for meetings and manage workflow effectively.

Office Workflow

Although open plan, collaborative spaces are still a big trend (with COVID-19 social distancing and protection protocols, of course), it doesn’t mean that your workspace should be a free-for-all. A logical, clearly demarcated division of departments and duties will make it easier for people to work together on their specific tasks, whether it’s HR, payroll, reception or creative departments. The easiest way to create this division is to get the contemporary office furniture that’s best suited to each department’s tasks, as well as personal use furniture for brainstorming sessions, lunch and breaks. This creates a natural flow of work through the office, where no-one is in the way and where everyone has the best equipment for the job at hand.

Support Employee Wellness

It’s a well-known fact that office furniture needs to be comfortable and supportive because of the long hours that office workers spend utilizing it. Without the right support, employees can suffer serious health problems, including health complications from existing issues, back and neck pain, repetitive strain injuries and more. All of these issues significantly affect productivity, with unhealthy employees costing organizations $153 billion in absenteeism alone. By investing in contemporary office furniture that supports wellness in the workplace, you can make your office a healthier and therefore more productive space.

Adding Value

When employees feel valued by the organization they work for, they’re more productive, more engaged and more enthusiastic about going to work. Today, this means creating a space that is welcoming and comfortable, that supports wellness and provides social distancing protection and hygiene. Furniture is a fundamental part of this, whether it means investing in sit-stand desks to support health, comfortable seating to welcome clients, or protective desk barriers and Perspex desk shields to protect your employee’s health. By showing how you value your staff, you gain the loyal and motivated team you need to succeed.

Modern Office Design Ideas for a Safe, Hygienic and Productive Office Space

BE Furniture is a leading provider of contemporary office furniture and office design services in New Jersey. Our aim is to help you achieve a space that is aligned with the values your brand holds, as well as best practices for productivity, employee wellness and COVID-19 protection. In addition to office fit-outs, furniture and COVID-19 protective equipment, we also offer recycling for old office furniture and equipment that is no longer needed, making your project beneficial to the planet as well as your staff.

Contact us today to begin transforming your workspace into a powerful, productive and welcoming space.

 

Reconfiguration vs. Redesign vs. Remodel

Even the best-designed office space will become dated and tired over time, and changing it is all about keeping your brand current and relevant. If you aren’t moving to a new location, then your main options are to reconfigure your space, redesign your office or remodel. Here’s how each option measures up, from our contemporary office furniture specialists.

Option #1 – The Office Reconfiguration

This is the most budget-friendly and simplest way to refresh your office space, as it generally involves replacing worn out office furniture, changing your layout, and repurposing existing pieces.

It’s the best option for offices where everything is in fairly good condition and only a few changes are needed to bring out the best in the space. It’s more about replacing items that are nearing the end of their lifespan or are damaged and trying out new layouts to improve workflow than it is about transforming the look of the office completely. With just a couple of affordable contemporary office ideas from design specialists and some key items, you can make a real difference to how your office works and feels.

Depending on the scope of your project, a reconfiguration can take just a day or two with minimal inconvenience to staff.

Option #2 – The Office Redesign

This is a more in-depth transformation that’s driven by a need to refresh the aesthetics of the office space. If your office looks bland, dated or shabby, then this is usually the best option to choose.

Typical projects in an office redesign include reconfiguring the space and replacing worn items as well as bigger projects like upgrading the lighting system, installing video conferencing equipment, repainting, redoing the flooring, and installing modern workstation options like ergonomic furniture and sit stand desks.

This is a great option if you want to improve staff morale and retention, and want to create contemporary office interiors that prioritize wellness have a real wow-factor – but without spending too much of your budget.

It’s also a popular option for organizations seeking solutions to the challenges of COVID-19, who need to create ways that employees can socially distance at work, maintain strict hygiene protocols and keep the workplace clean. Common projects include installing privacy or clear acrylic screens at workstations and reception desks, installing hygienic HEPA air filtration units and replacing furniture that easily gets dirty with options that can quickly and easily be sanitized.

Depending on the scope of your project, a reconfiguration can take a few days or a work week with moderate inconvenience to staff.

Option #3 – The Office Remodel

This is the most intensive and thorough transformation your workspace can undergo while remaining in the same space. In addition to the types of projects covered in a redesign and reconfiguration, a remodeling can completely transform your space from the floors to the ceiling and everything in between.

Typical remodeling projects involve new flooring, the installation of new walls and glass architectural walls to create new space, installation of new tech systems, new ceilings, and entirely new spaces like office kitchens, cafeterias and restrooms. This is the most costly option, but the results are worth it when you work with a professional team. It is a complete reimagining of your space in line with your vision and brand, and should last many years to come.

As you can imagine, these are fairly extensive and noisy projects that generally require organizations to fully move out of the space temporarily, and employees often work from home for the week or two that the remodel requires.

Reconfigurations, Redesigns and Remodels – We Do It All

BE Furniture in New Jersey is a leading provider of office design and furniture solutions. Our team has worked extensively with a wide range of clients across different industries to design and deliver cost-effective, high-quality office reconfigurations, redesigns and remodels.

In addition, we work closely with organizations to create spaces and implement measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, including supplying Perspex and acrylic screens, privacy desk dividers and much more. We have the contemporary office furniture ideas to create a safe, productive workplace.

Contact us today and see how contemporary office interiors can transform your workplace.

How to Increase Privacy in Your Office Space

Open plan offices were once seen as the best layout to optimize productivity and use of space – but this design comes with its own challenges. The lack of privacy made work that required confidentiality a big issue and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these spaces are now a safety hazard too. Here are some modern office design ideas that help improve safety and productivity through the introduction of critical privacy measures.

3 Elements of Privacy in the Workplace and How to Achieve Them

In order to create a more private workplace, three elements need to be present.

  1. Acoustic – Open offices are known to be loud spaces, since there are no walls to black and absorb the sound of conversations, brainstorming sessions, electronics, telephone calls and more. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to dampen sound and increase acoustic privacy in your office space.

    You can try including introducing soft furnishings that absorb sound, like couches, upholstered seating and even paintings.You can replace loud wooden, laminate or concrete flooring with acoustic vinyl or carpeted flooring that absorbs sound rather than adding to it. You can also zone office space more effectively to set social and collaborative spaces far away from task-focused areas, allowing employees to choose their workspace according to their immediate needs.
  2. Spatial – The space in which office workers have been allocated has been shrinking over the decades, from 225 feet in 2010 to just 151 square feet in 2017, with hot-desking and shared workstations becoming the norm. This makes privacy a huge challenge, and one way of combatting that is to create more spaces where people can work in privacy when needed – for example, utilizing boardroom space or creating smaller meeting rooms around the open, collaborative space.

    Of course, due to COVID-19 it has become more essential than ever to give employees enough space to preserve their health. Implementing flexible working hours and work-from-home policies will allow employees that are in the office both to socially distance and work privately.
  3. Visual – Working in an open plan, collaborative office space can make you feel like you’re living under the microscope, where everyone can see everything you do, all the time. This creates a negative space for productivity where employees feel policed and micromanaged.

    There are ways to deliver personal visual privacy while balancing the organizational need to control costs and maximize the use of space. You can invest in screen privacy protectors, add clip-on desk dividers to wall off each workplace, and change the configuration of your contemporary office furniture to maximize individual privacy.

    Again, these are vital measures to take not only for employee privacy, but to add additional protection against the transmission of COVID-19. These physical barriers effectively help prevent the transmission of the virus through coughing and sneezing, and are a useful measure in addition to sanitizers and masks.

Implement an Office Design That Prioritizes Privacy and Safety

BE Furniture is a leading supplier of office design services as well as contemporary office furniture in New Jersey, helping our clients to maximize productivity and safety through the delivery of budget-friendly, high-impact designs and furniture solutions.

We also help organizations adapt to the new normal by supplying an end-to-end service to design and implement a healthy workplace in line with social distancing criteria. From protective screens, acrylic barriers and workstation dividers to easy-to-sanitize chairs, protective reception screens and HEPA-filtered air solutions, we provide comprehensive assistance to tackle this challenge.

Contact us today to talk about modern office design ideas that improve privacy, support collaboration, and protect your employees from COVID-19.

Key Elements of a Modern, Functional Reception Space

The reception area is the entrance to your business, and generally, the first impression clients get of your business up close. The longer your clients and visitors are likely to sit here, the more important that the area create a comfortable and enjoyable experience. In 2020, we must add to that, a “safe” experience as well, especially as pertains to your employees. Businesses that rely significantly on a reception area for guests, potential hires, VIPS, and clients, should go the extra mile to ensure waiting and being received is pleasant, safe for all concerned, and says or presents something about your brand..

That being understood, there are a number of common elements that make for outstanding reception area’s, even on a limited budget. Here’s a few thoughts from the experts at BE.

Invest in a Proper Reception Desk

Reception desks are very specific pieces and come in all shapes and sizes from a wide variety of different manufacturers. Reception desks are generally a bit higher than a normal desk and can go from between 28” and 34” high. Key considerations include whether there will be more than one receptionist, will they stand or sit? What kinds of work will they be doing when there is no one to receive?  What kind of phone system will you have and will the desk require a computer, special video, building management consoles, or other equipment? At BE we help companies select from hundreds of styles with all these capabilities and more, even custom built items.

The reception desk is functional for sure but it should have a style consistent with your brand and the impression you are trying to create.  Stability, for a law firm, and creativity for a marketing firm, etc…

New to some reception desks in 2020 are sneeze guards though many desks used in the healthcare industry have long had these in some form or another. A sneeze guard is typically a clear acrylic barrier that is both easy to clean and prevents direct exchange of bodily fluids however they may be discharged. These can be easily retrofitted to most existing reception desks so no need to chuck out your old furniture if it suits you in all other respects. Sneeze guards on your reception desk protect your clients but mostly they protect your employee’s and are probably something that will be around now, long after COVID-19 is done.

Seating

Seating choices in your reception area are dictated by a number of things:

  1. How many people will be waiting simultaneously?
  2. How long will they typically wait?
  3. How often is your reception area used?
  4. How comfortable do you want it to be?
  5. Are your visitors typically alone or in groups?

Your answers to the above questions may dictate whether you use couches or chairs, how separate the areas are, whether they share lighting and tables while they wait.

Then there are the matters of color, company brand style, durability of fabrics and for 2020 the cleanability of the furniture and materials used. As the area with the highest potential for bringing uninvited microbes into your business, your reception seating needs the most diligent cleaning protocols of any area of your company. New furniture and materials make this much easier, while allowing you the diversity of colors, patterns and materials to design to your heart’s content.

Functional Colors

In a recent study “Impact of color on marketing,” it was found that up to 90% of choices made about a particular product or brand all other things being equal, are based on color alone. Your reception area is a gateway to your business, and your color choices need to be deliberate based on what you are trying to acheive. Do you want a calm, functional space? Then look for mostly natural, muted colors and add accents of color with chosen pieces.  Do you want to be dramatic? Then rich, vibrant colors are the key. Whatever your choice, it should be consistent with your brand image, and the impression you are trying to create.

 Accessories

Make sure your reception area is up to date with modern lifestyles. People often want to recharge – their phones, laptops, earbuds, or iPads while waiting. Install easily accessible USB or power outlets wherever you can. A key element to a modern reception area is good Wifi. Your customers won’t mind the long wait as much, if they have a hot coffee, a place to charge their device, and good Wifi.

Signature Statements

Consider investing in signature items in your reception area that makes space truly yours. Things like fresh bouquets, a functional art piece from a local gallery, a bold company graphic, or a statement chandelier can leave a big brand impression.

Businesses don’t need to sacrifice their style to make a reception area accommodating. Spend time and the money to make this room as clean and welcoming as possible while keeping your company style and brand present

Modern Reception Design Ideas for the New Office Reality

BE Furniture is a full-service corporate office design and contemporary office furniture company, offering a wide range of environmentally-sensitive, healthcare conscious, and innovative products for reception areas and so much more.

For more information, please contact us today or visit our website at https://www.befurniture.com/

For Your Company’s Return to Work, its about Rework, not Replace

With so many companies planning their return to work, our phones are ringing off the hook with clients wondering whether their current office furniture, layout and workflow is able to be made into a more bio-safe and hygenic workspace for now and the foreseeable future. What we’re telling our clients is basically a version of “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Use the necessity of changing your office design to become both a safer, and a more attractive workplace. Office remodeling can change the personality of your office as well as motivate your employees, improve employ performance, and attract new clients, while better retaining employees. But in these times your remodel can also add design and furniture features that improve employee separation, facilitate social distancing yet allow for teaming, introduce bio-engineered worksurfaces, and make new cleaning and workflow protocols work better. To make your office remodeling work for everything you need, in 95% of cases you don’t have to throw everything out (unless you want to of course!) you just need to consider the modification and addition of a few elements.

Consider Movement In Your Office

Design and layout choices now are about limiting incidental interaction, while allowing efficient movement to important area’s. What was less important in a pre-covid world has now become a central fixture of office layout. The introduction of natural barriers full of plants or artwork, become both beautiful visual elements and practical barriers that direct employees where you want them to go and how you want them to get there.

Consider Bio-Toxic Worksurfaces

Several Manufacturers provide copper or copper infused chairs and work surfaces. For critical area’s such as conference rooms and touchdown stations, its worth considering an investment in work areas that will not harbor virus’ or bacteria for long. Even certain kinds of fabrics and backing materials are known to be less friendly to germs are can be easily cleaned with stronger cleansers without losing their beauty. It’s all about cleaning friendly materials now.

Partitions that Protect but Don’t Separate

Visible, view through partitions distributed through BE Furniture from several manufacturers, can be added to most work surfaces. Made of clear acrylic they fully protect workplace neighbors from the worst effects of errant sneezing and other contact, while allowing employees to see each other and remain in close proximity desking layouts.

Teaming Areas

The days of packing to standing room only into a tiny conference room are probably over for the foreseeable future. Conference rooms seating has to be pared back, worksurfaces cleaned after every meeting, and virtual meeting elements should be part of every teaming area now. Meeting in smaller groups will drive changes to workflow that may require the creation of more but smaller protected teaming areas. BE’s Movable Wall solutions have long been a cost-effective solution to the challenge and are more than ever relevant now. They even come with potential tax benefits for the business owner, check them out at our moveable glass walls page.

Keep the Air Clean

In an age of concern about airborne disease, paying attention to the quality of your office air is a pretty good idea. If you rent office space, ask your landlord to have the ductwork professionally cleaned. Better yet consider the installation of a UV Ductwork Sterilization System. But finally consider the installation of a local commercial air filtration system. One of the most advanced on the market is the Dyson Pure Cool, by Dyson for business. Using a combination of Hepa filtering and UV light, the Dyson Pure Cool can remove up to 99.97% of particulates from the air, and a single unit covers more than 400 square feet. Actually all Dyson products represent the leading edge of hygienic technology, you can see it all at BE’s Dyson Products for Business page

Design for the New Objectives of Workplace Safety

A few decades back, workplace safety meant not getting hit by falling boxes, run over by forklifts, or keeping your hands away from the printer head. But the concept of workplace safety post COVID has just been reinvented, my friends.

For those who are planning to remodel or start over with their office environment, you need to partner with a company that leverages a deep understanding of the new meanings of workplace safety. Please contact us at Business Environments, we want to help you with that.

Tips for Surviving Your Office Remodel

After great consideration, the time has finally come for an office renovation. There is big excitement in the air and you can’t wait to start working in your new office space. But the excitement is soon short-lived as you realize you’re going to have to work with noise, dust and the confusion.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you manage this exciting yet frustrating time.

Craft a renovation strategy.

To get the best return on your investment you have to create a well thought out strategy for creating a new and improved office space. The first part of your strategy should be creating an estimated renovation budget. Add up the costs of construction, needed materials, new furniture, labor, etc., and make sure to leave some room for unexpected costs. Next, you are going to have to plan what you’ll do with employees during the renovation. Can they continue working in the construction area or do you have a vacant space you can relocate them to? Lastly, plan your office space design, keep in mind the current number of employees, future growth, technology, functionality, how employees prefer to work and office design trends. To reduce unplanned costs work closely with your contractor and designer to create a timeline and plan of action for a trouble-free renovation project. 

Communication.

Conveying a positive perception of the office renovation is one of the most vital parts of an office renovation. Make sure to keep your employees informed of what you are planning to do and why it is important. Changes when renovating your office space can create some concerns, especially when the staff feels like they are left out. Disclosing your visions using sample boards is a good way to avoid concerns and keep employees informed. Remind your staff and clients although the noise and debris may seem endless, it’s temporary! 

Contain the Dust.

It will be hard to get away from dust from sanders, electric saws, and chemicals from spray paint. To help minimize the amount of pollution that may come from remodeling, make sure that it is stated in your contract with the contractor that barriers such as heavy plastic sheeting or compression-fit temporary walls must be in use for the period of the project. If it is possible to consider for you and your personnel to temporarily work from home. This would be a good option for those members of your company who suffer from breathing issues.

To try to minimize the impact of pollution in your office:

  • Be sure your contract requires that the contractor is responsible for the final cleanup
  • Consider hiring an additional cleaning company to clean as the project progresses. 
  • Use compressed air to occasionally blow dust from your computers and keyboards.

Maintain good productivity levels.

An office renovation can have an impact on employees’ productivity unless you take care of a few things. Make sure to keep productivity levels high in the office throughout the project. Try your best to keep the clutter, noise, and dust to a minimum. Unusual noises are distracting can have a negative impact on employees. If you notice that the office light is being affected by the remodeling consider alternative lighting options. A study found that lighting is a key factor affecting employee productivity, so make sure windows aren’t covered and artificial lighting is available to provide enough energy and good moods for productive employees. If possible try scheduling contractors to work in the late afternoon/evening hours when employees are gone or letting your employees work from home for a while.

Modern Reception Desks that Enhance Your Workspace 

At BE Furniture, we assist our clients in achieving an optimal workspace for their business. Whether you are looking to remodel your current reception area completely or replace your furniture with modern reception desks, our experienced team can handle it all. 

For more information about our design services for office reception areas, which includes glass partition wall units, desks furniture and more, please contact us today or visit our website at https://www.befurniture.com/