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ARCHIVED  August 27, 1999

How to buy office furniture

Office furniture is an important subject because the right work spaces contribute to higher productivity. Listen to your employees and develop a “furniture-management plan” that details budget considerations and includes a time line from inventory of existing furniture to planning spaces and buying new furniture.

Think long-term
You will want to find out what employee needs and work styles are and be able to offer ergonomically correct furniture, but try to think long-term with regard to furniture, avoiding impulse buys in response to requests and instead seeing purchases as part of a long-range numbers plan.
First off, don’t assume you have to march out and buy a new piece of furniture — make sure you don’t already have what you need. A careful inventory of existing furniture is as important as buying new furniture.
Early on, decide what it is you need for the work setting rather than looking at furniture lines and evaluating their features. And remember you can blend furniture lines. The most cost-effective buy will be furniture that is flexible and durable so that it may be reconfigured or moved as needed.
List function above image on your list of objectives. The primary aim of a new purchase should be to fit the user. Think about the asthetics a of piece and how it complements the work setting as secondary considerations.
To reduce costs long-term, consider leasing furniture if it soon may become obsolete.
Consider employee welfare/safety. Investing in adaptive work surfaces and ergonomic seating, correct lighting and acoustics, etc., can help avert the possibility of liability or workers compensation claims.
Shop around and find a furniture seller who is knowledgeable about workplace issues and understands your specific needs. You’ll need someone to advise on the best use of space, design, installation, ongoing services and product quality.

Office furniture is an important subject because the right work spaces contribute to higher productivity. Listen to your employees and develop a “furniture-management plan” that details budget considerations and includes a time line from inventory of existing furniture to planning spaces and buying new furniture.

Think long-term
You will want to find out what employee needs and work styles are and be able to offer ergonomically correct furniture, but try to think long-term with regard to furniture, avoiding impulse buys in response to requests and instead seeing purchases as part of a long-range numbers plan.
First off, don’t assume you have…

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