Choosing the right furniture is key for creating a positive workplace environment that boosts employee creativity and productivity. When designing your space, there are a few things to keep in mind to achieve an inspiring and long-lasting environment. We spoke to Belinda Herron, Product Manager at Business Interiors, to highlight four important factors to consider when buying office furniture.
Value for money
Estimates show the average cost of more affordable office furniture offerings is $40 per square metre1, so it’s important to determine which product offerings are good value for money. “There are a few key indicators that will help you determine if a product is high quality or just overpriced,” says Belinda.
“First, check if it is from a reputable brand or designer. Does it have the right certifications? The AFRDI blue tick speaks to performance, function, safety and quality. In terms of sustainability, look for certifications like Greenguard, BIFMA, FSC and AFRDI’s green tick.”
Social certifications are also becoming more prevalent and it’s important to ensure furniture is sourced from suppliers with a modern slavery statement. Wherever possible, buy from Indigenous or local Australian suppliers.
Belinda recommends investing in high-quality furniture with a great service element. “This is where you’ll establish the balance between quality of product and value. If you choose quality products designed to last, you’ll probably deal with less maintenance and replacements, compared to lower quality and inexpensive options,” says Belinda.
According to SafeWork NSW, Australian workers spend approximately 76 per cent of their time at work sitting.2 Therefore, it’s important to invest in the correct seating.
“Ergonomics are all about providing comfort and safety for employees,” says Belinda. “A great way to provide comfortable working for employees with different needs is by investing in height-adjustable furniture offerings like sit-stand desks and adjustable chairs,” says Belinda.
Anti-microbial furniture offerings have become more popular in recent times as they help prevent the growth of bacteria and germs.
“There are three main material types often associated with the term ‘anti-microbial’. The first are anti-microbial fabrics. These are often synthetic fabrics such as polyester that have been treated to kill certain types of bacteria or inhibit their growth. The second are laminates and lacquers for tabletops that contain an anti-microbial additive. The third are plastics made from materials like nano-silver that naturally possess properties that inhibit bacterial growth,” says Belinda.
Furniture with anti-microbial properties are great for high-traffic or public areas and environments where furniture is shared as they are easy to wipe down, disinfect and sanitise.
Furniture can be a great way to show off your company culture, reflect your brand image and give the office some personality.
“Understand what your company values are and what behaviours you want to encourage based on those values,” says Belinda. “For example, a collaborative culture should provide spaces that encourage people to step away from their desks and come together. Bring in meeting tables, chairs and comfortable furnishings that help draw people into a central space.”
“If your workplace is more focused on independent work, products that make the individual more comfortable such as ergonomic task chairs and sit-stand desks are your main priority,” says Belinda.
“You need to have a strong understanding of the kind of behaviours you want to encourage to be able to select the right furniture,” she concludes.
“When choosing furniture for your office, it’s important to think about design and creating an environment your employees will be comfortable working in. This will boost employee morale, productivity and happiness,” says Belinda.
According to Belinda, an emerging trend in Australian workplaces is future-focused, technology-driven design. “We’re starting to see traditional corporate businesses incorporate more modern, residential-style furniture and finishes, so employees have that feeling of working in a comfortable home environment. We believe this approach will continue to grow as people continue to work both at home and in the office.”
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1Value Office Furniture, 2021, ‘7 Factors to Consider While Buying Office Furniture’, <https://valueofficefurniture.com.au/office-furniture-buying-guide/>
2SafeWork NSW, 2021, ‘Sedentary work’, <https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/sedentary-work>