As a small business owner, there are a myriad of different items to consider when building a company; daily accounting and customer satisfaction dominate the work day. However, many owners do not realize the importance of finding and choosing the appropriate office furniture. In fact, there is an entire science behind the furniture purchasing strategy. A number of key factors must be considered to obtain durable and valued furniture for many years of use.
Furniture for your small business must be matched to the company's industry. For example, an automotive store may handle dirty and greasy parts for repairs on site; employees will constantly have filthy hands and fingers, even as they work in a back office for paperwork and research purposes. A business owner in this particular situation should purchase furniture that is easily cleaned and incredibly strong, such as vinyl.
Functionality is another key feature that should be factored into a furniture purchase. What is the item going to be used as? Is it a desk for a busy receptionist? In this case, the desk should be relatively large to accommodate customers walking up to its front side and placing items down. The receptionist should have ample space for a computer, as well as a writing area for paperwork. In contrast, an office worker that mainly works with internal paperwork, such as an accountant, does not need a large desk for greeting customers. In fact, he or she should have a smaller desk so that the worker has office space to store accounting files under or around the desk.
Business owners should not clutter an office space with excessive furniture; the cramped space will look disorganized to clients and will feel uncomfortable for daily employee movement. Before even visiting a furniture store, owners should access each space's needs. Are there one or two employees in this space? What functions must they perform each day? Do they stand or sit for most of the work day? By assessing the basic needs of each space, an owner can determine the type of desks, chairs, and storage files needed, rather than blindly purchasing furniture at the store.
The lack of clutter within an office space contributes to employee satisfaction; happier employees are more apt to perform with high productivity and enthusiasm. In fact, the orientation of the furniture can encourage worker collaboration. Spacing desks far apart and back-to-back can isolate workers. Alternatively, business owners can insist on placing casters on both desks and chairs. These wheels can entice employees to move their corresponding work area around during the day so they can collaborate with each other. This process promotes team work and a better company culture.
Worker injuries are a top concern for business owners. Worker's compensation and health insurance premiums can quickly increase if employees are constantly injured from repetitive movement stress or improper work habits. As a solution, systems furniture must be ergonomic. Chairs for employees that sit for long durations, such as receptionists, should have lumbar support for the back. Computers placed on a desk need to be at a particular height to prevent eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome within the hands and arms. Purchasing ergonomic furniture will prevent worker injury over the years to keep insurance premiums low.
Owners can purchase furniture from a standard retail store or browse online retailers. Retail stores are a common choice since owners can physically see and sit on the furniture to evaluate the durability and functionality of a particular product; online retailers can only rely on images across the computer screen. Some owners enjoy browsing the Internet for specific furniture they have already seen in person at a physical store; owners can shop for better pricing on the same product seen locally.
There is a major drawback to purchasing furniture online. Shipping and handling fees for heavy items, such as an executive desk, can be astronomically high. Owners must read all the fine print before agreeing to an online purchase; the discount on the furniture may be overshadowed by the high shipping price. However, there is some reprieve from shipping charges. Some online retailers may be near a particular business. An owner can request that he or she will pick the item up personally, rather than waiting for a delivery person.
Owning a small business can create a very tight budget. Purchasing inexpensive items may be the first impulse, but owners should be wary about buying the lowest price items. An item that is inexpensive may have poor construction; a heavily used and inexpensive chair can break relatively quickly. The owner will find that he or she will need to purchase another chair faster than anticipated. As a result, any discount found with the inexpensive chair will be compounded with the purchase of another chair within the same business quarter or year.
Leasing or renting furniture is another option for limited small business budgets. Owners can fill out a contract with a rental or leasing company for a specific duration, such as one year. The furniture can be used for the time period while owners access their value and functionality; returning furniture that does not work well for a business is simple at the end of the rental period so the owner does not waste precious funds.
Overall, purchasing office furniture for a small business requires planning and research on the part of the owner. Attention to employee needs and industry culture will help the owner choose the best furniture layout for a successful company.