Building and sustaining a successful business is a constant balancing act of understanding what to invest in, when, and how much, while accurately estimating what the return might be. Whether it’s bringing in new employees, creating a new product, or moving to a new office space, there are tough decisions to be made.
With all of the above already on their plate, it would be completely understandable for a business owner not to think much about what type of desks or chairs they have in their office, but they’d be wrong to overlook these not-so-minor details.
We’re here to tell you why investing in modern office furniture and other smart office accessories should be a top priority for you, no matter what stage of growth or success your business is at. Because you’re not expecting to fail, are you? Right, of course, you’re not. So if you’re expecting to succeed, then making smart long-term investments that will pay off in spades for years to come is always a good idea.
The modern office starter kit
1. Standing desks
Ever hear of Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill or Ernest Hemingway? They were all known to do much of their writing while standing. Not to say that the simple act of standing up will suddenly produce a grandiose speech or a great novel, that’s a lot to live up to, but great minds realized a long time ago that sitting in one spot all day doesn’t lead to your best work. And this remains true today. Our in-depth feature on sit-stand desks dives into the specifics of how best to set up your new workspace and make it as streamlined and efficient as possible. No point in having an awesome, futuristic desk if it’s set at the wrong height for your body and covered in clutter, right?
2. Ergonomic chairs
A lot of people spend a lot of time and money to find a good mattress for their home, and it makes sense. You spend as much time on that mattress as you do anywhere else. Well, you probably spend the second-most amount of time, or close to it, sitting on your chair at work. So why not invest the same amount of effort in making sure your office chairs are just as supportive as your mattress would be? Those big, blocky leather office chairs are becoming dinosaurs. Ergonomic chairs are the way to go and they not only come in a variety of styles to fit all body types, but they also come in a variety of colors so they can be part of fresh office design on top of being practical and supportive. Learn what to look for when choosing your new office chairs, to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
3. Smart office accessories
Is there another word with so much limitless potential as “accessories?” It could mean almost anything. But in this case, we’re going to stay on topic and talk about modern office accessories to compliment your new standing desks and ergonomic chairs. Think lamps that perfectly fit your desk space, ergonomic stools, and flow boards! What’s a flow board, you ask? Check out our 9 must-have accessories to see what it’s all about and find some other awesome tools to upgrade your office with.
Alright, so now that we have our foundational pieces in place, let’s dig into why they’re so important.
Why is modern office furniture a worthy investment?
- It prioritizes your employees
Your employees are the lifeblood of your company. Paying them an attractive salary is important, of course, along with offering good benefits and other perks. But even the best salaries and benefits don’t have a direct, physical impact on the work that they do while in the office. You could pay somebody very well, with all kinds of perks, but if they’re sitting all day long on a chair that gives them a stiff back and working at a desk that’s too low or too high, that employee isn’t going to enjoy being at work as much as you’d want them to. And for many, the act of raising this issue to a manager might create unnecessary anxiety and a distraction from their work.
There are a whole bunch of studies that show why happy employees are good for the bottom line. And moreover, it’s a no-brainer that healthy employees are a better investment than ones that will need time off for physio in years to come.
- It helps retain and attract talent
Talent retainment has a huge impact on the success of your company. One study estimated that replacing a departing employee can cost upwards of double that employee’s annual salary. And then there’s the time it takes for a new employee to be trained, get comfortable and reach the level of productivity of the one who left. Multiply that by a few positions, especially senior roles, and you’ll have a serious productivity problem on your hands.
Along with retaining talent, smart office furniture helps attract top job seekers to your company. Forget the numbers your company does, or whatever your status might be in your given industry. If a highly-skilled applicant comes in for an interview and your office looks like something out of a TV show from the 90s, that candidate probably isn’t choosing you.
They’re going to have several other interviews lined up and those companies could have beautiful, creative office spaces fitted with advanced standing desks and ergonomic chairs. Which environment would you want to spend every day working in for years to come? Salary matters, but it isn’t everything. And let’s also remember that with social media, the word about your office can spread faster than ever before, for better or worse.
You want to give your current employees every possible reason not to leave or look for work elsewhere, while giving top talent every reason to choose you.
- It’s your calling card
Your brand and the image it portrays no longer stops at your logo, or your advertising. Your office is now part of your calling card, too. There’s a reason Google invested millions into its campus-style headquarters, and why the best of the best from around the world want to work there.
Whether it’s partners, investors, potential employees are even just visitors, it matters a great deal what they see and what their impressions are when entering your office space. And this goes double for your employees. You want them being proud of where they work.
Why the recent demand for better office furniture?
The irony of modern office furniture, such as the standing desk, is that it’s based on concepts that aren’t actually modern at all.
Presbyterian minister, Job Orton, famously stated back in 1797 that “A sedentary life may be injurious.” Maybe it actually wasn’t a famous statement at the time. Who knows. But looking back, it was certainly ahead of its time and puts into perspective any debate about whether or not a standing desk is a good thing to invest in more than 200 years later.
One point Orton may not have realized at the time, however, is that standing all day may also be injurious. Like many things in life, even our favorite foods, too much is often no good for you. Too much sitting is bad. Too much standing, too, can be bad. It isn’t a battle of sitting versus standing. The key is movement. And standing desks encourage more movement.
The piece of information that is actually modern is that recent studies have provided greater insight into the most efficient way of utilizing a standing desk. It turns out there might be a magic ratio of how much time you should sit or stand per hour to keep physically and mentally on point.
Most importantly, we need to acknowledge that the need for better furniture in the office coincides with more people spending more time in offices. The New York Times published an insightful graphic showing how moderately active jobs such as construction, mining, and manufacturing have decreased since the 1960s, while more sedentary work has increased.
We simply spend way more time nowadays sitting around staring at screens, both at work and probably at home, too, which only compounds the sedentary damage done at the office. We’re not moving around naturally like we used to, so we need smart office tools and accessories to help offset that shift in culture.
What types of companies can benefit from modern office furniture?
- Tech companies
This one is obvious. If your entire mission statement revolves around innovation or disruption, then how can you not be using state of the art tools in your own office? Standing desks and ergonomic chairs should merely scratch the surface of what you’re providing for your employees. And beyond your employees, as stated above, you want everybody that steps into your office to look around and feel like they stepped into the future, not the past.
- Banks, major corporations
More traditional, corporate environments are an interesting case study for modern furniture upgrades. We’ve all seen movies or TV shows that depict the prototypical big box office, with grey cubicles for days, standard desks for all and squeaky chairs that look like they take years to break in, and probably weren’t good for your back from day one anyway. But several major banks around the world are proving that those old designs, and the preconceptions that come with them, are fading.
Obviously, the bigger the company, the more employees you have and the bigger the investment it’s going to take to overhaul your office with smarter furniture. But think of it this way: most jobs at your company probably don’t require a whole lot of physical movement throughout the day, yet they do require a high level of mental awareness.
Do you really want your team working on deals worth thousands, or millions, of dollars while feeling tired and groggy? Or would you rather they feel energized and razor-sharp?
When you really break it down, you could consider an office renovation as an investment in your clients, and the quality of service you’re providing those clients, not just an investment in your employees.
- Multimedia companies
Production houses. Newsrooms. Gaming companies. You can all join the club of work environments that are tailor-made for more innovative office tools. These types of companies are filled with positions that require hours and hours of their employees staring at computer and TV screens, often for long stretches of time than say, somebody working at a bank. Assignments are often based on production deadlines that don’t necessarily fit into tradition work, break and lunch schedules. You can’t change the gig, but you can certainly offer better support for your talented editors, producers, and coders to make their jobs more comfortable.
At Autonomous, we talk a lot about working smarter to achieve your goals. But the key to working smarter isn’t just about having the right tools to be more efficient; it’s also about cultivating a feeling, a positive mindset that then allows you to be the best version of yourself.
Investing in the right modern furniture and accessories for your company will not only make your employees happier, healthier and more productive, it will also cultivate feelings of acknowledgment and appreciation. And those feelings are a priceless investment for any company.
- No Comment.