It i"2007 Trends Recap" published in December, Today's Facility Manager noted that "Furniture must always match the needs of the people working in a space, and the trends of 2007 reflected this necessity." The article reported that there was a time when each employee within an organization had a dedicated work station from which he or she rarely escaped during the workday. This is no longer the case. With wireless technology and an increasing number of people taking advantage of flexible work schedules, the offices of today barely resemble those that existed just 10 years ago. Flexibility plays such a large role in the modern workplace that it must be reflected in furniture, the article stated. One solution is to purchase items that are portable and can be reconfigured easily.
Architectural walls can help create this sense of mobility. Another point made was that ergonomics must also be tailored to the needs of a greater number of people. For example, if multiple people use the same chair throughout the day, that chair must demand fewer manual adjustments. "Making practical furniture purchasing decisions, with the aforementioned trends in mind, may help facility managers save on cost and hassle," the article concludes.
Mark Bassil, co-founder and Vice President of MAiSPACE, a Mt. Olive, NJ, based manufacturer of modular office furniture systems, says, "If these observations could be boiled down to one word, that word could well be 'productivity.' There is no question that elegant office surroundings, whether for permanent or transient personnel, contribute to morale, productivity and support the recruitment and retaining process," he says. "Simply said, the extent to which companies can provide attractive surroundings within budget can have a tremendous positive impact on productivity. "Today MAiSPACE leads the pack when it comes to delivering dramatic designs and a wide variety of colors and textures in systems furniture that can easily accommodate the moves, adds and changes (MACS) as well as the flexible staffing environment referred to in the TFM article," Bassil says.
"Our modern manufacturing and assembly techniques, when coupled with state-of-the-art approaches to supply chain strategies and distribution systems, put beauty, durability, functionality and choice within reach of what otherwise would be considered modest budgets." There are several examples of affordably priced features and options that enhance the workspace. These include perforated steel panels to improve air flow and marker boards to relay information, work surfaces and components in matching wood grain finishes, painted, fabric, wood veneer and stainless steel tiles, and sandwich glass panels for privacy and sound management. "We are also 'going green' with the use of post-consumer PET, a material composed of 100% plastic recycled bottles, instead of fiberglass in our tackable and acoustical tiles," Bassil points out. "These too are offered in a variety of colors and textures." Other examples include mobile pedestals with cushion tops and tables that can be transported to other workstations or meeting areas in a "hoteling" environment, personal movable or permanent storage towers, adjustable panel-mounted task lights, paper-management segments and ergonomically designed chairs and workstation surfaces that adjust up or down.
"Our modern manufacturing techniques put fine wood finishes within reach of modest budgets," Bassil states. "Thermo-formed membrane technology, for example, produces elegant one-piece curvilinear table and workstation tops and edges in a seamless design. The ergonomically designed cascade edge matches the forearm of the user to provide comfort while reducing fatigue." All of these, Bassil claims, are part of the ingredient mix that systems furniture lends to increasing productivity.
Taking Ownership "Companies today have a tremendous opportunity to instill a pride of ownership among employees through offering something that would be financially prohibitive in the past," Bassil says. "That is giving employees a role in designing their offices and workstations. For example," he explains, "while planning a new office layout, one client gave each employee a number of 'credits' that they could expend on 'customizing' their work areas through panel texture and color options offered by MAiSPACE. Programs such as this give the employee a sense of ownership in his or her office. This is without question a morale boosting, productivity enhancing step that is furthered with the addition of photos, plants and other personal items.
" Another approach to ownership is allowing the staff to have a say in the overall office design. This can be accomplished by forming a representative committee that, together with the firm's facility manager, evaluates the offerings of several vendors. "In this instance," Bassil says, "the MAiSPACE design won. But more importantly, company personnel had a say in the decision and thereby could take ownership.".
MAiSPACE.com will help business owners and operators make smart choices in Modern Office Furniture for their offices and selecting the right Office Cubicles. Why Corporate is Rethinking the Cubicle Office.