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The 2007 – 2008 recession has seen some tough times for several aspects of the US economy. Bear Stearns and airline companies plummeting, prices for gas, oil, and food soaring, the inflation and weakening of the dollar, and the lowest unemployment rate since 2003 (5%) with almost 18 million unemployed competing for less than 4 million job openings. What this means is a lot of companies are downsizing, reorganizing, and yet many are aggressively expanding. It also means that everybody is trying to save some money.
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Over the last few months, we have accumulated a lot of information on feng shui for our readers, and received a lot of good feedback in return. While we have a whole sectional / page on Office Furniture Feng Shui here on our blog, we decided to compile a short list of the most frequently asked questions relating to feng shui and its applications in and out of the office. We hope this helps with your interior design, furniture purchasing, and office management decisions.
Top Ten Feng Shui Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is feng shui and what is its purpose?
- Where does the practice of feng shui come from?
- What are the benefits of feng shui?
- Is feng shui the real deal or just superstition?
- How does feng shui work?
- How can I judge whether implementing feng shui principles in my office really helped?
- What are some basic feng shui principles?
- What is a bagua map?
- What kinds of companies out there do feng shui interior design arrangements for office furniture?
- How can I get started practicing feng shui in my office
1) What is feng shui and what is its purpose?
Feng shui is a body of knowledge containing best practices and a set of guidelines for creating a balanced, harmonious environment, in terms of both exterior and interior applications. Pronounced “fung shway,” feng shui is derived from the Chinese words for “wind” and “water.”
Besides its origins with its focus centering on generating oneness with nature, feng shui’s meaning of “wind” and “water” is doubly relevant in that these two elements are very sensitive to the energy passing through each other. A calm night may have placid mist on the water and a gentle breeze, but if there is energy in disharmony, a hurricane could occur.
To prevent hurricanes from happening, feng shui teaches a combination of simple and complex rules that are orchestrated to correctly channel the energy around us and in us, which is called “chi” or “qi”. In business terms, your company’s chi could be interpreted as a mixture of what propels your team and compels clients towards mutual harmony and benefit. In other words, your company’s chi is basically the energy from your surroundings that promotes good business. Feng shui’s chi impacts on how comfortable you might feel in your home, the stress level at work, and even how welcome a new client feels upon entering your office.
2) Where does the practice of feng shui come from?
Ancient Chinese shamans and kings used feng shui principles involving astronomy to find connections between mankind and their surrounding home in the universe. Closely utilizing the science and cosmography of the first magnetic luopan compass and the luiren astrolabe, feng shui was used as a tool to determine time and layout plans for agriculture for bountiful harvests and to arrange graves, homes, palaces, businesses, and even whole cities. Feng shui relics and artifacts have been found dating back to even 3000 BC. It was during the Zhou dynasty (770-476 BC) that feng shui became interwoven with the I-Ching classic Book of Changes, fortune-reading trigrams and hexagrams with advice for what to do in certain situations in life.
3) What are the benefits of feng shui?
While the applications of feng shui have evolved over the years and some of the nuances of the rules have changed leading to new schools of thought, the art of feng shui has been tried and tested and has yielded thousands of years of steady results. Users of feng shui in the workplace cite increased productivity, reduced stress from disharmonious surroundings resulting in better health, morale, and energy level, and improved confidence among the benefits produced by feng shui’s impact. Other benefits include improved employee employer relations, better logistical flow of people, nicer office and office furniture aesthetics, and a deeper connection with nature.
4) Is feng shui the real deal or just superstition?
While some of feng shui’s belying meaning may seem mystical, much of feng shui is rooted in common sense and practical living. It has also been tried and tested over 5000 years and is still around. In fact, feng shui has been employed in some of the world’s most famous and successful architecture of both ancient and modern times. It should be noted that mystic astrology and scientific astronomy have closely been related since their beginnings, and a case can be made for astronomical alignments impacting life and energy – even stock prices – on Earth. As technology advances, more applications can be found for feng shui. Environmental psychology notes the benefits of ergonomically designed furniture based on scientifically reducing stress on the natural curves of the body – why not also a holistic ergonomic of naturally fitting into one’s environment?
5) How does feng shui work?
Feng shui takes information about your surrounding environment, accesses tools such as a bagua map, luoshu grid or luopan compass, and determines a reading for the appropriate design, layout and siting of a place of residency, business, repose, etc. Then a process is put into action involving the removal of bad energy, followed by the arranging of objects and furniture to channel the optimal flow of positive energy, and the additional placement of objects or arrangement to get the energy going. The way it works after this process takes place is really a continual awareness and sensitivity towards one’s surroundings and a attuning to a positive attitude towards becoming one with nature.
6) How can I judge whether implementing feng shui principles in my office really helped?
Write a checklist of before and after questions and survey your employees. You might ask:
- What is your personal stress level like at work?
- Are you more in tune with your surroundings?
- Do you feel that your concentration level has improved?
- Are your communications with fellow employees and supervisors improved?
- Is it easier to get around the office?
- What were you holding onto before implementing feng shui office techniques that you have since let go of?
- Is your focus more or less on career growth now as before?
These qualitative questions and of course the bottom line can help determine the ROI of feng shui in your office.
7) What are some basic feng shui principles?
Some basic feng shui tenets you might have heard include “don’t have your back to the door” and bring in red eggs and red fish for good luck. You should fundamentally follow the bagua map in geographic location / siting, exterior facing, interior allocation, and desk arrangement for various furniture, equipment, picture frames etc to match functionality with the reading. Decluttering your office is also a key element. Many other feng shui rules allow for freedom of space, strengthening hospitality, confidence and communication. Natural elements such as flowing organic lines, energetic paintings, windows, plants, and water are good for energizing and maintaining the flow of positive chi energy. Desk materials (wood, metal, glass) and interior colors also have their significance in feng shui.
8) What is a bagua map?
A bagua map is a grid and compass correlating 8 directions with 8 basic readings of chi in balance.
9) What kinds of companies out there do feng shui interior design arrangements for office furniture?
You may find that several companies out there do feng shui including interior designers, home decorators, architects, and more. However, not all companies that claim to do it can back it up, so do your homework. Also, while feng shui is a holistic teaching, employing many aspects of your surroundings (siting, physical building and appearance, interior arrangement and appearance, interior function, etc.) it is best to opt for a company with breadth of service. With the new and used office furniture reseller CubeKing for example, you have a one stop shop for office furniture purchasing, liquidation, removal and storage, as well as office space planning.
10) How can I get started?
Call CubeKing at 1-888-399-7025 or go to their website at http://www.cubeking.com to get started using feng shui techniques in your office today and revive your company’s chi
Making financial investments internally in your company can be a tough decision, because usually you’re pitted against two goods. On a basic level, that typically means weighing the advantages of something short term, like salary bonuses against the benefits of return on long term investments such as growth programs, equipment, and upgrading office furniture. While it may be easier to calculate for the short term, long term investments can pack much more punch and have longer lasting effects. That’s why we have provided some decision making tips to help you make a solid, confident decision about the long term investment of upgrading your office furniture.
The Top Ten Reasons to Upgrade Your Office Furniture System
1) Image is Everything
Making good first impressions can make or break a deal. For many companies out there, the phrase “image is everything” rings true. It is true not only for companies that fall under the typically image conscious industry categories like fashion, finance, and frou-frou department stores and hotels, but for most companies seeking to strengthen their brand position in the market. Hence the increase in demand for modern office furniture systems, feng shui interior design and space planning, and branded office environments. As your industry becomes more competitive, customers will seek the more mature companies with established brands, quality style, and customer service. Looking the part by appealing to your client base can significantly increase your business, creating a substantial ROI for your new office furniture system.
2) Comfort Consciousness
This one is along the lines of image consciousness but different. If furniture aesthetic is important to get your clients to walk in the door, then furniture comfort is just as important (if not more important) to help them feel at home. Employees will also appreciate the comfort of ergonomic furniture designed for posture support and to alleviate stress, increasing energy level and productivity. And of course, the boss can enjoy the comfort of a high back black leather office chair for his or her executive office.
You may be experiencing tremendous growth, but may not be prepared to hop ponds and move to a bigger office. If that’s the case, then installing a better, more efficient and upgraded office furniture system to maximize space and number of stationed employees is the right solution for you. If you are planning on moving to a new office, you’ll probably want to anticipate future growth anyway by installing a flexible office furniture system that allows for maximum head count. Workstations and cubicles do an effective job at managing space while balancing open air office layout with a level of privacy and comfort.
Another case of running out of room, lack of good storage solutions is a common reason to upgrade your office furniture system and storage units. Many modern workstations and desks come with built in or configurable storage solutions, such as pedestal storage bins, overhead cabinets, shelves, drawers, and the like. Book cases and filing cabinets are a great way to organize your work and reduce pile up, clutter, confusion and duplication of loose account folders.
Are you working around your office furniture or is your office furniture working for you? If you find yourself hunched over to view the computer monitor, out of room to jot down notes, or unable to move the mouse because your tower is too far away because your feet have to have room… it’s probably in part due to your office furniture. Adding office furniture accessories and components on top of your desk can be a patch up job, but can also clutter up your desk. Modern office furniture systems have built in solutions that resolve your common clutter and workstation usability issues.
Always bumping your co-worker on the way to the water cooler? Before you panic and run to the gym to shed a few pounds, consider whether your office furniture is to blame. If your current office furniture only allows for narrow passageways, has chairs too close together, or doesn’t allow enough room for regular traffic flow of people, then it’s probably a good time to upgrade your office furniture. This time, also consider hiring a space planning team that can recommend a layout that is an effective and comfortable fit for the number of people you currently have in your office or to plan for the number of people you wish to achieve in the future.
Take a common sense look at your furniture: if it’s broke, fix it. The pain-in-the-butt factor for judging if you need to upgrade your office furniture consists of tallying simple observations: If your office chair arm is falling off, if you can no longer adjust your seat, if your shelf needs to be carefully balanced in order to not fall, if you keep banging your leg on that pointy desk corner, if your desk has scratches and water marks all over it, or if your lobby seating is just plain ugly – then it’s probably a good bet that you and your co-workers would feel less stressed and better off with an upgraded office furniture system.
8) Feng Shui
A lot of people don’t believe in it, and that’s ok. Most people don’t understand feng shui. But most people also aren’t informed of the benefits that a feng shui office furniture arrangement can achieve, and the common sense principles behind its ancient philosophy. Just as you probably wouldn’t paint your office pink and brown, because of your mental and visual associations with the colors and because of common sense, your common sense also suggests that out of practicality, you give feng shui treatment a try in your office. Feng shui office furniture arrangements can lend greater productivity and worker satisfaction to your office. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
9) Boost Morale
Sometimes a change of pace and a change of place are just what the doctor ordered. If life at your work has dribbled into a dreary monotonous drawl, and productivity has worsened, your new office furniture system could be just the thing your employees need as an incentive and reward for their hard work.
Of course, the appropriate budget is necessary for all investments. A budget surplus can lend even stronger rationale to upgrade your office furniture. But did you know that you can save thousands of dollars on perfectly beautiful, brand name, mint or near mint condition used office furniture by purchasing from an office furniture reseller? CubeKing, America’s #1 office furniture discounter offers a low price guarantee for legitimate offers on used office furniture, and savings of up to 90%. Visit CubeKing.com today for more information and recommendations for upgrading your office furniture system.
Plug In with the Right Office Furniture
What’s one of today’s chief recurring mainstream themes in corporate growth planning and investment and the corporate working lifestyle? Interestingly enough, this new trend is quite easy to remember: the MOTIF we’re talking about is the growth in Modern Office Technology Integration Furniture systems. These high-tech office furniture systems are designed to increase cost effectiveness, improve employee morale and productivity, and add advances in technology and customer relations foresight.
Ted Heisler, CID/IIDA, principal of Interior Architecture and Design with Ware Malcomb, wrote an incredibly helpful article featured in the November/December 2007 issue of The Leader magazine, which discusses the driving causes behind this climate shift of office technology and lifestyle. What are the driving factors? According to Heisler, “Remote access, virtual networks, video conferencing, teleconferencing, multi-national companies, and a global economy have changed how we work, who we work with, and the technology we use to get the job done.” To cater to these changing cultural work styles, modern office environments and office furniture systems for the next generation are being designed with “free address” workstations, space efficient solutions, collaborative teamwork office areas, and branded environments.
We would like to push this concept further and discuss in detail how you can use office design and office furniture systems to integrate technology within your office.
Integrated Workstation Systems
As “space efficient solutions” your workstations constitute one of the larger investments of your office environment, in terms of price, usage, and square footage. It is therefore critical to get it right when incorporating cubicle or workstation office furniture systems within your company’s office. There are many high-tech furniture brands such as Herman Miller, AllSteel, Steelcase, and Haworth – and many factors to consider when choosing a workstation furniture system, so asking the experts like CubeKing for help on this one is a good idea:
- Price – What is within budget should be carefully balanced with what is needed, wanted, in good condition, and less depreciable. What will the return be for an office furniture system that makes it easier to do work, versus an office furniture system that is more affordable but with less perks and less advantages in design to help employee morale, organization and productivity? CubeKing is America’s #1 office furniture discounter, selling high quality excellent condition office furniture.
- Technology – Look for technology incorporated into the workstation design such as computer tower holders, desk surface area, storage (shelves, cabinets, bins, filing) wiring solutions for phones and cables, hidden keyboard and mouse drawers, paneling, seat configuration, collaborative / conferencing design solutions, and more. Decide what priorities you have and their affect on the rest of the office furniture system. (E.g. Less pedestal storage under your desk may necessitate more overhead cabinets or bookshelves, which diminish wallspace but may help to reduce any excessive desk space – and vice versa.)
- Office Furniture Design Aesthetics – Workstations should be chosen to compose a coordinated office environment that impresses employees and customers and fits well with your brand.
- Ergonomics and Comfort – Make sure to allow room to breathe, move through passageways, and fit under your desk. Ergonomics also help reduce stress and encourage worker productivity.
- Work Style – Especially if your company has multiple office locations with part-time and/or traveling workers, the “free address” workstation solution may make a lot of sense as a practical and cost-effectivde way to integrate your office with a more mobile lifestyle. On days part-timers don’t come in, fill the space with part-time interns.
- Space Efficiency – Maximizing the amount of usable space and quantity of workstations should be balanced with maintaining sufficient desk space and quality of the workstations. Designing for flexibility and growth is smart, and can save money in the long term. Conserving space can also be seen as conserving energy and helping the environment. Finding a workstation supplier with a variety of workstation styles and sizes such as CubeKing will enable greater space efficiency.
- Collaboration – Workstations in pod layouts are a great way to integrate greater collaboration and teamwork through your office furniture system. Read more about office furniture collaboration in our popular blog article, “The 5 C’s of Collaboration in the Office”.
Integrated Technology Ideas for Conference Rooms
Conference rooms are the ideal place to integrate technology to increase productivity and impress clients. Opportunities for integrating your office furniture with technology abound by finding the right conference room furniture to work with recessed monitors, phones, an overhead projector, or video conferencing capabilities. Sometimes it is a great idea to buy a used conference room table, since conference room tables are generally kept in great condition and so you can save money to invest on the technology to incorporate. CubeKing supplies both new and used conference room tables, so it’s easier for you know all out the solutions available to you.
Integrated Technology Ideas for Reception Areas
Often overlooked and undervalued, reception areas offer significant opportunities to integrate modern office technology through your furniture systems. Reception areas are also important because they are the first impressions that your customers and guests have of your company. Choose from task chairs or luxury comfort chairs for the guests in the lobby or waiting area, along with smaller tables to put speakers under or digital picture frames on. Freeing up wall space in this area (by conserving space in other areas through the right furniture storage solutions) is a good idea, so you can hang an LCD TV for entertaining the guests. Playing quiet music that matches your company’s brand (like a mall store) from speakers under the small end tables can create an added touch of branded environment that impresses and says you pay attention to detail.
Space Planning for Integrated Office Furniture Systems
Incorporating and planning around electric outlets, along with hiding the wiring behind your incorporated technology may involve hiring a space planning team to assess the orientation of your office furniture. After all, plugging in technological wizardry into your office loses its touch if people see the Wizard of Oz and mess of wires behind it. CubeKing offers a premier space planning service, and has trained experts to move and install your office furniture to a “T”.
For more ideas and information on how you can use your office furniture to integrate modern office technology, visit us at CubeKing.com.
In the workplace, productivity and concentration go hand in hand. Productivity and concentration are the twin turbines that keep the business flying high. They are such important assets that whole seminars are presented about how to increase your worker’s concentration or productivity. How? The answers vary from updated software and training methods to office fitness areas to managerial tasking and status reporting and more. Like a baseball pitcher, you might have your own ritualistic wind up to the day to help you concentrate – computer on, grab a cup of coffee, check email, turn around 5 times and get started… Then there’s ginseng and other herbal supplements that have grown in popularity for improvement of one’s mental concentration – correspondingly, we get spammed every day by the same supplement companies to clutter up whatever improvement we might have made. With all this concentrated focus on maintaining good concentration and worker productivity, it seems odd that more focus has not been given to one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your work and your office life. What’s the simple trick to increasing concentration?
Sound control. Controlling the noise levels in your office will help worker concentration like no other. Even if your cubicle mate is quietly listening to his radio at a reasonable volume between the hours of 11 and 5, it may be driving you nuts. Your boss (or employees) may be talking to someone next door to you, but totally disturbing the fragile groove of your work. It may not even be about radios playing or people talking – the printer, phone, fan, or other office appliances may contribute to the wedge between your ears and your brain. But all these noises are, after all, just an automatic part of working in an office, right? Wrong. There is a very simple answer to controlling the “clickety click click bing shuffle bing ring” sounds of office life that kill your concentration, and that solution is the right office furniture.
Office Cubicles & Workstations
Cubicles offer a good level of privacy in an otherwise open air environment. The 4-wall stereotypical cubicle setting can help to insulate sound, keeping your sound in and your cubicle mates’ conversations out.
In a similar vein, call centers allow both visual and acoustic benefits for laying out an office. They make it easy for callers to hear and speak to their customers, while also allowing them to signal managers and peers for help when they need it. They also typically keep sounds moving in a uni-lateral direction away from each other towards a wall where the sound waves are absorbed.
While we’re on the topic, having the right phone system in place in the office is crucial to maintaining proper sound control and effective concentration and productivity levels. Part of this also has to do with worker phone etiquette and habits. Tell them not to use speaker phone for every call, for instance. If a call is a conference call and the speaker is needed for communication between multiple persons, then chances are they can use a more private conference room or conference area.
Designated Conference Rooms & Collaboration Areas
CubeKing’s new and used conference room furniture facilitate this smart alternative to bugging your fellow co-workers while you’re on a call at your desk. Conference and collaboration areas also offer the opportunity to incorporate effective communication and information technology and the tools necessary for powerful productivity.
Installing side paneling onto your office cubicles or workstations (if you don’t have them already) is an excellent way to sound proof your office more. It also has the advantage of adding more personal privacy and encouraging less trivial conversations – the less random eye contact, the more focus on your computer screen and getting your work done. Plus, paneling components like mini-counters, shelves, and storage pockets and cubbies can make your desk area more organized and sharpen you into a more productive worker. If maintaining visual contact is necessary, glass doors or panels can help maintain the best of both worlds with a bit of style.
Private offices are another good way of improving concentration through sound control. It is vital when confidential conversations occur between clients or employees to have an area where the word doesn’t get out into the rest of the office. Private offices, however, do not have to by default have a door, but come in many varieties of layout, furniture, accessories, etc.
Bringing that ceiling down can help get the echoes and decibels down in the office, and can also bring down the heating, A/C, and even lighting costs.
For sound control, worker productivity and other office-related challenges, CubeKing has the new and used office furniture and space planning ideas to make your office work for you. With America’s #1 office furniture discounter, you’re sure to find the right office furniture at the right price.