Whether you’re relocating or simply upgrading, you may be tempted to put off buying new office furniture. Why? Because although browsing through catalogues and choosing the right items might seem like fun, you’re actually making a substantial capital investment and that needs to be taken very seriously indeed.
So before you start spending that hard-earned cash, here’s our advice on what to consider before taking the plunge and the common mistakes you need to avoid if you want to get it right.
Don’t choose looks over comfort
There are plenty of chairs that look great, but if they’re not comfortable, buying them will be a total waste of time. You need to consider whether or not your employees are going to want to sit in them for most of their working day, so it’s very important to actually try before you buy. In other words, ask for a sample and give it the “sit test”.
The same applies to any other seating – for reception, for example. Are your clients and visitors going to feel comfortable if you have to keep them waiting?
Always test your furniture
The saying “try before you buy” holds true for office furniture. Go to the supplier, sit in different chairs and look at different desks. Ensure that the chairs that you have chosen actually fit under the desks that you need. Make sure the chairs you want for more casual seating work with other pieces, such as tables or low level storage. A boardroom table may look quite small in the wide open space of a showroom, but actually dominate the space you intended it for. When it’s installed, will there still be room for people to sit around it?
Always ask your Employees opinion
You may have a vision for your offices and choose furniture on that basis. However, your employees are the ones who will have to sit at the desks and use the shelving and storage, so it’s very important to ask them what they think of your plans. When it comes to chairs, in particular, all employees are different and may will need an individual approach to ensure they are all seated correctly. This is where an ergonomic assessment is useful; it can identify individual needs of staff and help you ensure that you provide the correct workstation set-up. The bottom line? Your employees are going to be using the furniture every day, so it’s important that what you buy works for them, too.
Always have a plan
For most, buying new office furniture represents spending a significant amount of money. Therefore if you don’t give it enough thought or plan the purchase carefully, you could end up regretting your decisions at a later date. The most important thing as far as we’re concerned is to look at the long term and ensure your purchases will be useful for years to come. Quality furniture is built to last, so if you want to get the maximum return on your investment, you need to look ahead.
Evaluate what you already have, then cast your mind forward and consider the future needs of your business so you can invest in the appropriate pieces and, most importantly, try not to be too influenced by current trends; what looks very “trendy” now, may not look so good in five years’ time.
Never choose price over quality
Lower-priced furniture may seem like a good idea, but then spending less will most certainly get you a lower quality product. And that isn’t a great idea in the long run; it’ll need to be replaced in a few years’ time and you’ll have to go through the whole process all over again. Quality costs, simple as that, and if you want to make a worthwhile investment, always buy the highest standard you can afford. I years to come, you’ll be glad you did
Make sure it all matches
Most people like to match their furnishings, particularly fabric seating, screens etc., to their corporate colours. Clearly, it’s not always possible to get an exact match and so you may want to go for a contrasting colour as an alternative. Whatever you finally settle on, make sure you buy all your pieces from the same place. Office furniture manufacturers may have the same name for a colour, but the actual shades and tones may be considerably different. By all means buy from different sources if you want a wider range of colours, but we would always recommend looking carefully at samples to ensure everything co-ordinates well and there are no obvious clashes of colour.
All the above seem like obvious things to consider, but we’re often surprised at how little thought people put into what could possibly be one of the largest investments a business makes and we’re always happy to lend our many years of expertise to help with the process. After all, as with any big investment, it’s always a good idea to ask an expert.