When you shop for affordable office furniture, there’s sometimes a fine line between cost-effective and poor-quality. Buying uncomfortable or inadequate furnishings isn’t a good investment even in the short term. From a business perspective (and the viewpoint of your employees) what are the bare minimum requirements for each piece of furniture? Here are a few to start with:
As the folks over at chworkspace point out, when you have a limited budget you definitely want to spend more on seating than you do on any other item. That’s because chairs have the greatest impact on ergonomics, productivity, and satisfaction for your workers. Leather upholstery isn’t necessary, but you do need to find chairs with enough padding or a properly contoured mesh seat to provide good support and keep pressure off the backs of the thighs. A stable base and a height adjustable cylinder are necessities. Preferably, seat and back tilt features will be included as well. Adjustable arms and a head rest are nice – but you can get by without these for a while if the chairs are otherwise fairly comfortable.
Fortunately, in modern offices you don’t need nearly as much worksurface space as you might have 10 years ago when boxy CRT monitors were the norm. However, employees do still need a little elbow room. A worksurface 3 times the width of a standard flat screen monitor is typically plenty of space for desk jobs. Most affordable office furniture in the desk and work table category is covered in laminate. Check the seams and corners to make sure the surface material isn’t prone to peeling. Check metal components to verify that they are welded rather than just riveted together.
At least a little bit of filing and personal storage space is a must for office jobs. It’s better to buy a couple of extra cabinets than have employees overload the units you have with too much stuff – that’s the #1 way to damage the drawer mechanisms and turn a piece of affordable storage equipment into useless junk. Be willing to pay extra for lockable overhead bins or personal storage towers. Avoiding the hassle of dealing with just one workplace theft will be worth the money.
These tips apply whether you are buying new or used office furniture. To find out how to evaluate the quality of pre-owned cubicles, check out this previous blog post.