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Office Furniture Blog

6 ways to create a collaborative workspace

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Companies are constantly adapting to provide the most efficient and productive work environments for their employees.

Research has shown there is a multitude of benefits from creating a collaborative workplace, from greater employee satisfaction to increased idea generation. One of the most important outcomes is the positive effect it has on an organisation’s innovative output.

A cohesive environment is a perfect vehicle for creative thinking and idea generation. Higher levels of innovation lead to increased productivity and business growth. As a result, implementing a collaborative workplace is a must for any business looking to fully leverage the talents of its employees.

Here we share six ways you can create a collaborative workplace:

1. Encourage departments

Working with the same people day in, day out, can slow the innovation process. Having an open plan office and designing the layout to include collaboration style furniture, can help encourage engagement between teams and departments. When different departments come together, great ideas bubble to the surface with diverse strengths and perspectives working together. 

2. Lead from the top

There is nothing less motivational than a boss who remains cooped up in an office, separated from the rest of the office. It is important to remember that collaboration is not only reserved for part of the organisation. It should be adopted by every member of staff, no matter their level or job role. Visibility is key – If employees can see their managers and directors effectively collaborating then they will feel inspired to replicate this behaviour, hence improving their own productivity.

3. Positivity and rewards

Ultimately, we are only human and even the most dedicated employees need an appropriate reward if they have achieved success. Rewarding individuals can be commonplace, but don't forget to reward team efforts too. This is crucial in encouraging future collaborations, as employees will realise the benefits of working together.

4. Encourage people to socialise outside of work

We all lead busy personal lives and the thought of having a work event we are obligated to attend, can often add stress. However, socialising with co-workers outside the office is an effective way to open channels of communication, create a better understanding of each other and break down any walls of judgement or mistrust between team members. When team members learn they share common interests or challenges outside of work, they can see their team members as more human, which helps to decrease individual bias, stereotyping and false objectifying.

5. Establish a judgement-free idea-sharing culture

One obstacle that often prevents employees from putting forward their ideas, is a fear of judgement or rejection. Overcome this impediment by establishing a creative and judgement-free workplace culture, where new ideas and discussions are consistently welcome. Refrain from setting too many guidelines, as these can stifle creativity. Place an emphasis on creative freedom and valuable workplace collaborations will follow.

6. Have the right technology in place

If you are pushing to create a fully cohesive workplace culture, then you need to ensure that you have the appropriate technology in place to facilitate collaboration. Help employees do their jobs faster so they can invest more time in teamwork and innovation. Cloud-based software is increasingly popular and fast becoming the norm. Stay ahead of technological advances in order to keep your employees engaged and motivated.

Individual work will always have its place in the office, but teamwork and collaboration boost overall company success.

The Pros and Cons of Corner and Straight Desks

Wednesday, June 06, 2018
The type of desk that suits your office best depends on a variety of factors, including office size and layout, business type and individual preference. Here, we compare two of the most common desk styles in NZ offices – corner desks and straight desks – highlighting their pros and cons so you can make the best decision when fitting out or renovating your office space.

Corner Desks

Corner, or L-shaped, desks can be very convenient, especially in small spaces or home offices. Office Furniture Warehouse stocks a variety of corner desk styles, from sleek white to contemporary wooden or sophisticated charcoal.

Pros

Creates space – by bordering an office corner with an L-shaped desk, you are making use of what would otherwise be dead space. Corner desks create little pockets of space, giving you room to move around while offering plenty of desk at which to work effectively. This efficient use of space makes them especially great for small or home offices.

Separation of tasks – for workers with a variety of tasks to accomplish, having two distinct sides to one desk can help compartmentalise. A project manager might use one side for management work, and the other side of the bend for hands-on technical work.

Cons

Computer positioning – the idea with L-shaped desks is to make use of the corner by putting your computer there. In practice, some people find it awkward sitting in the crevice of your two joining surfaces, while others feel this wastes the space behind the monitor.

Difficult in certain offices – the corner desk doesn’t suit all office layouts, especially large, open spaces which look and function better with desks used along the walls or even in the centre of the room.

Straight Desks

Straight desks are the traditional desk that usually comes to mind – rectangular in shape, making them fit easily into any office space and any layout. When in doubt, we recommend straight desks – you can’t really go wrong with one of these!

Pros

Versatile – with their simple, straight design, these desks fit well into any office space, even those with odd layouts. This makes them the best and easiest choice for large, open plan rooms with plenty of employees. Put the desk against the wall or create a row in the centre of the room – it works either way and looks good.

Ergonomics – the simplicity and right angles of the straight desk makes achieving an ergonomic work environment easier.

Cons

Limited space – straight desks provide enough room for most workers, but those who find their desks constantly filling up with paperwork might prefer the additional space a corner provides.

Lacking in imagination – these desks are traditional, which isn’t a bad thing, but some modern and chic offices find they want more mould-breaking alternatives to suit their innovative style.

Office Partitioning – How to Best Utilise It

Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Office partitions are easy, quick and affordable ways to create privacy while still letting you enjoy the benefits and style of an open plan space. Office Furniture Warehouse has a variety of products that create partitions within the office, from floor standing screens to partition clamps. Here are our tips when it comes to setting up an office partition.

Talk to your staff

Your staff can be an invaluable resource when it comes to transforming your office space. If you require office partitioning, it’s a good idea to survey your employees and understand what type of work space they feel creates the most productive and positive environment. By including them on the design of office partitions, you give them ownership, boost morale and take onboard useful ideas and new perspectives.

Consider your workspace and needs

Do you need complete privacy with floor to ceiling partitions, or will desk partitions do? Do you want the partition to be a permanent fixture in the office or is a removable partition preferred? By considering your workspace, the office culture and the needs of the partition, you can figure out which one of the many available partition styles will work the best.

Home offices

More and more Kiwis are working remotely and are in need of a great home office. An office partition can be helpful to transform part of a room into your office, efficiently separating your work space from your living space. Whether you work in a main centre like Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton or Christchurch, or in small, rural towns, order a partition with free NZ wide shipping to create an effective workspace at home.

Keep aesthetics in mind

Partitions can be done very well, maintaining the overall feel and style of the office. On the other hand, if done poorly, they can be intimidating and isolating, so it is important to keep consistent within your office’s aesthetics. This can mean choosing the right colour and material, the best location for the partition, and an appropriate partition height.

Look at different partition types

Office Furniture Warehouse has several different types of office partitions on offer, from tidy Boyd partitions which are lightweight and affordable ways to create individual workspaces, to contoured desk screens for privacy and Modulink Velcro screens at various heights. Read through our description of each one or get in touch with us to discuss your particular needs. If you’re at a loss, we also offer customised solutions to fit your office to a tee.

Office Storage – Which Systems are Right for You

Sunday, May 06, 2018
For an office to function like a well-oiled machine, it needs to be tidy and organised with an efficient storage system. Office Furniture Warehouse has a wide range of cheap office storage systems to fit any office type, style, size and budget. With service in the main centres – Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch – as well as free shipping NZ wide, there’s no excuse for a Kiwi office to be lacking in storage.

Office Mobiles

Mobile office storage systems are perfect for modern work environments making use of hot desks, collaboration and co-working spaces. If change and mobility among staff members is common, it’s handy to have office storage units that are easy to move. There are plenty of sizes, shapes and colours to suit any office’s style and there are lockable options when privacy and confidentiality is a concern.

Examples of appropriate office types: IT offices, co-working spaces.

Credenzas

Credenzas are wonderful, discreet storage systems that maximise space and efficiency and come in a variety of sizes, styles and finishes. Their multi-drawer, waist-high design provides workers with plenty of storage space as well as a flat surface appropriate for computer monitors, paperwork and display. While today’s credenzas are modern in appearance, a credenza can be a hat-tip to older more traditional office styles of the past. Consider getting a credenza for versatility, tidy storage and efficiency. 

Examples: lawyer’s office, engineering firm. 

Tambours

Tambour cabinets offer clean lines and practical storage. They are made of solid steel and have lockable doors, useful for private documentation. If your office holds onto sensitive material, has a sleek look and limited space, a tambour is a good choice. For a modern space, a tambour with a built-in top planter combines convenient office storage systems with refreshing greenery.  

Examples: architecture firm, marketing company. 

Office Filing Cabinets

A good filing cabinet brings organisation to the home or business office. If your office has plenty of hard-copy print material like documents, notes, invoices and flyers, get a cheap yet good quality filing cabinet. Filing cabinets allows workers to file away important documents efficiently and tidily, so you can say goodbye to messy desks and chaotic paperwork.  

Examples: doctor’s surgery, home office. 

Bookcases and Cupboards

Bookcases and cupboards suit pretty much any office, offering a tidy solution to storing books and paperwork. Bookcases are great for displaying items without creating clutter, while cupboards create orderly spaces with plenty of storage hidden away behind closed doors. Office Furniture Warehouse has office cupboards in a variety of heights, sizes and finishes. 

Examples: most offices.

Office Lockers

Office lockers are starting to become appreciated for their practicality and security, but they are still an under-rated star when it comes to office storage. Our lockers are durable and high-quality, come in 1 to 4 tiers and are made of commercial grade steel. Their use extends beyond the tradition office and are finding homes in many business types, from hospitality establishments to gyms. 

Examples: offices with many employees or public access.

Standing or sitting at your desk – which is healthier?

Thursday, April 12, 2018


While standing desks – popular among Leonardo da Vinci, Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill – have been around for ages, they have only recently shot back into popularity. All of a sudden, office workers across New Zealand seemed to be chucking out the chair and standing while they work. 

 

This rise to popularity of the standing desk, seen most in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, has its proponents, but it also has a fair share of critics. Let’s examine the pros and cons on both sides of this hotly contested office furniture debate to determine which is the healthiest way to work.

 

Arguments for standing

 

  • Burn calories: when you’re standing as opposed to sitting, your heart beats faster and you burn more calories. It’s only a little bit higher but over 8 plus hours, it adds up.

 

  • Chronic disease: the biggest reason for office furniture that fosters standing is that sitting down for long periods of time is associated with increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

 

  • Good posture: stand up desks promote good posture, which is great for warding off back aches, pains and injuries.

 

Arguments for sitting

 

  • Varicose veins: studies show that sitting at your office desk results in fewer varicose veins than people who are constantly on their feet.

 

  • Back pain: remember when we said that stand up desks promote good posture? Well, that’s only true if you’re standing properly with a straight back and even pressure. Many people continually lean onto one leg which has the opposite effect, causing sciatica and lower back trouble.

 

  • Balance, comfort, efficiency: Many New Zealand office workers feel that they have active lifestyles outside of work; they don’t need office furniture to get them to stand. Plus, they feel more comfortable and efficient working while seated. 

 

Is the sit-stand desk the answer?

 

There are clearly reasons to both sit and stand while working. If you aren’t a die-hard fan of one or the other, there is a middle ground: the sit-stand desks. Popular among workers of all varieties across Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, these desks give you the best of both worlds and are likely the healthiest option of all. 

 

The evolution of the office chair

Monday, March 26, 2018
Charles Darwin is usually credited with the theory of evolution – the concept that all life on Earth came from the same ancestor. His theory can keep people in New Zealand debating until they’re blue in the face, but what’s undeniable is how the humble office chair has evolved over the years! Let’s take a look…

The Early Office Chair
As the Industrial Revolution ramped up in the early 19th century, business became the backbone of many economies. The office chair was created to accommodate workers spending long hours in the office as opposed to hours spent in the field, factory or farm.

The First Modern Office Chair
The mid-1800s saw the creation of the railways in America and along with them came a surge in clerical and management jobs. These roles needed better office chairs, so the Centripetal Spring Armchair was created. Though it was made of cast iron and velvet – far more regal than today’s office chair – it was revolutionary with many of the features that we look for today, like a swivel seat, ease of movement, suspension and a supportive headrest.

Twentieth Century Chairs
There wasn’t any rapid office chair innovation in the 19th and early 20th centuries, where chairs improved in aesthetics (giving us awesome retro chairs!) but still had many of the same features.

Ergonomics
It all happened in the ‘70s! Office workers in New Zealand and abroad wanted more out of their office chair and began to prioritise their health, noticing that back problems were rife amongst office workers. Ergonomics developed and along came comfy, healthy, supportive chairs – woohoo!

Today’s Office Chairs
Today, the culture of office worker wellbeing has improved dramatically and the modern office chair reflects that. Modern New Zealand offices appreciate that different workers have different needs based on height, lumbar support and ergonomics. There are highbacks, midbacks and kneelers. There’s fabric and leather; wide seats and long seats. What really defines today’s modern chair is choice.

The benefits of having healthy living plants in office spaces

Thursday, March 15, 2018

We caught up with Victoria Allwood, Director of Living Decor, to find out about the benefits of plants in the office, latest indoor greenery trends and ideas on how to easily incorporate greenery into office spaces.

What are the benefits of having healthy living plants in office spaces?

For many people, plants are simply an attractive decoration. However they are doing a whole lot more to make people's environment not only healthier to work in, but a more calming, pleasant place to be. Research shows that plants clean the air of toxins, reduce sickness in the work place and boost productivity.
 
What trends are you seeing at the moment in terms of office greenery?
 
Current trends are open plan offices with tambour plant units and some free-standing plants. This set-up allows for more storage but also makes full use of vertical space where floor space can often be limited.
 
We are definitely seeing a strong trend towards having living plants in offices as people begin to understand the benefits. A few years ago, designers and architects were keen to show off the features of their buildings without additional decoration, such as plants, to take the eye away. Today the opposite is true. Living plants are becoming an integral part of their office design right from the outset.
 
Interestingly, the swing back to 'retro' look plants is notable and we are often asked for plants that were popular in the 70's and 80's such as monstera deliciosa, ficus lyrata, rubber plants and climbing plants such as philodendron cordatums. Plants that we had in our home when I was growing up. Requests for macrame hangers is also fairly common and I asked my 95 year old father if he still had some of mums in our garage at home!
 
Green and leafy is the look people are after, rather than the more structural plants of the 90's such as yuccas and succulents. The growers have been scrambling to source and grow these retro plants again after moving right away from them when the demand disappeared.
 
Similarly we have installed and maintained a variety of living walls, ranging from 3 story high living structures through to living pictures which feature plants instead of a painting and look incredible.
 
What easy ideas would you suggest to incorporate greenery into office spaces?
 
The simplest way would be to include either table top or counter top plants and free-standing plants into the office spaces.
 
A beautiful free-standing plant in a stylish planter costs less per week to hire than a bottle of milk. These can be moved to where they are needed and provide a splash of greenery for people to appreciate.
 
Tambour planters are also very effective as they double as office storage.
 
Once plants are in place all people have to do is enjoy them, as all the hard work is done by us. We come in and look after them and replace and refresh them regularly. Couldn't be easier!
 
An important point to note is that plants have to be strong, healthy and pest-free in order to do their job well. Hiring a plant ensures this is guaranteed, whereas purchasing a plant and expecting it to perform without regular care and sustenance is not going to be a long-term solution. Living Decor offer affordable indoor plant solutions to fit all budgets throughout New Zealand. Find out more
 
*An example of an organisation leading by example when it comes to office plants is City of Melbourne (Council). Their building Council House 2 (built in 2006) has a key focus on the indoor environment quality with indoor plants playing a vital part in this. The most impressive thing to note is they have a policy of at least one indoor plant per person.
 
Read more about this fascinating building here

Office design from around the globe

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Scandinavian
Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway are the undisputed leader in minimalist design. Their crisp lines, neutral colours, and practicality all epitomise their world-renowned design style, which has been around since the early 1900s. While Scandinavian design is popular in New Zealand when it comes to home décor, it hasn’t been picked up quite as quickly in the corporate world.

The American Tech Scene
You can’t put a spotlight on interesting offices without mentioning the Tech Scene of America’s Silicon Valley. Known for powerhouse companies like Google and Facebook, San Francisco has long been the leader in ‘campus culture’ companies where going to work looks more like a fun day in university than a day at the office. Not often shown in these predominantly tech-based companies with squash courts and Olympic pools is the high expectation that workers will spend the large majority of their days on campus.
 
Innovative African Design
Increased white-collar jobs flooding into many African capital cities and the need to support young entrepreneurs full of ideas but lacking capital has led to the creation of some pretty impressive and innovative offices in Africa. Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana and Nairobi in Kenya are just a few of the many cities with innovative offices putting San Francisco’s tech hub to shame. Among these offices are multilateral development banks, co-work spaces and innovation incubators.
 
Sustainability in Berlin
Germany’s capital city Berlin is known for being a trendy, bustling metropolis with a population of around 3.5 million people. Not as well-known is the city’s commitment to nature and preserving the environment. Nearly half of the city is made up of water or greenery, and areas that were dilapidated after the fall of the Berlin Wall have been transformed into green spaces.
 
This sustainability seeps into workspaces as well. There are few high-rise office buildings in Berlin, especially in the city centre. Instead, offices are usually in low or medium-rise buildings that better co-exist with Mother Nature and the few skyscrapers that do exist have to include rooftop greenspaces. As a result, German office workers benefit from proximity to nature and increased access to sunshine and outdoor views.

Staying safe at your desk

Monday, February 19, 2018

Working at a desk is far from the most dangerous job you can have, but there are risks associated with sitting in front of a computer for forty hours a week. Here are some of the most common health and safety concerns for office workers and how to stay safe at your desk.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
The limited and repetitive movements related to sitting and typing on your computer all day long can lead to RSI. RSI is actually a general collection of symptoms rather than a specific diagnosis; it refers to pain in the muscles, nerves and tendons that results from repetitive overuse. Carpel tunnel syndrome, a condition caused by a compressed nerve in the wrist, is the best-known type of RSI.

An ergonomically set up desk is a great way to reduce the risk of RSI, as they have been scientifically designed to prevent strains, promote health and increase productivity. Taking a short break once an hour to stretch your arms and move your wrists also keeps RSI at bay.
 
Back Aches and Pains
Sitting down in one position all day can lead to back aches, neck pains and sciatica. Today’s office furniture industry has made huge strides in the area, offering a wide array of office furniture that helps support a healthy office worker. Sit-stand desks, desk chairs with lumbar support and modern activity-based seating options are all ways that your office furniture can promote better posture and healthier bodies among staff members.
 
Eye Strain
Did your parents ever tell you that sitting too close to the television screen would damage your eyes? This scare tactic was employed by parents everywhere, but the reality is that staring at a computer screen at close distance all day long can cause eye strain, which includes sore or dry eyes, headaches and blurry vision.
 
Adjustable computer screens help limit eye strain, but the best thing you can do is make sure to look away from the computer screen once an hour, giving your eyes brief but regular breaks from the glare of the screen. And make sure to wear glasses if needed so you aren’t squinting, which will worsen strain.
 
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Office workers are often inside most of the day, which in winter can mean that they rarely see the sun. Arriving and leaving in the dark can be hard on morale, leading to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Everyone is at risk of the winter blues, but there are ways to keep office workers smiling through the colder months. Fun social club activities and lunchtime walking groups help, as promoting a positive and healthy office culture.

5 ways to beat the back to work blues

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


1. Remember – the evenings are still your time so get back into holiday mode after work.

Make the most of the long, warm summer evenings and pretend you are still on holiday as soon as 5pm hits. Get outside with a walk on the beach followed by a swim, catch up with friends for a meal out or have a BBQ at home out on the deck.


2. Use your lunch breaks to get some fresh air.

Being stuck in the office all day after so much time outside can be pretty difficult. Make sure you get outside in your lunch break and don’t eat lunch at your desk. A short walk outside can do wonders for your afternoon productivity and state of mind. Or, organise a lunch or coffee date with friends to nicely break up the work day.


3. Get organised and prepare amazing lunches.

How much better is your morning at work when you have a delicious lunch to look forward to? A bit of preparation the night before can go a long way. Check out these light lunch ideas which are healthy, tasty and won’t leave you feeling sluggish.


4. Organise your desk and files to prepare for the year ahead.

Getting your desk and files in order and reducing clutter on your desk will clear your head and can help reduce feelings of stress or overwhelm. If you find you are in need of more office storage, consider an office mobile, credenza, cupboard or tambour. Now is a good time to clear your inbox and electronic files as well.


5. Plan to take a trip away the next weekend.

Getting away on the first or second weekend back can help ease the transition back and give you something to look forward to. Head to a nearby beach or lake and get back to that blissful and relaxing feeling of being on holiday.