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If you’re embarking on a refurbishment project, chances are you’ll be in the market for new furniture. As you may discover, finding the right products for your unique needs can be easier said than done, especially in a post-pandemic world where working practices are becoming more flexible and employee centric.

With changes afoot, our goal is to help you overcome the challenges of finding the right office furniture and avoid buyer’s remorse. For every problem, there is a solution, so we’ll offer plenty of guidance to ensure you make smart investment decisions that benefit both your employees and business.

From finding a suitable suite for hybrid working to catering to a diverse workforce, we’ll cover a variety of common challenges that businesses encounter. So, take a seat, get comfortable, and read on for some valuable tips.

Choosing Furniture for Hybrid Working

With employees using offices less due to hybrid working, businesses have had to rethink their office layouts and design. As such, many have been left with questions about the role of office furniture in their workspace.

London-based company Social Finance is a great example of a company that successfully switched to hybrid working post-pandemic. With the aim of maintaining a strong team culture and efficient workflow, Social Finance introduced a range of furniture to create various work “zones” for specific tasks.

The new furniture includes banks of desks for general work, a robust locker system for personal storage while hotdesking, booths for in-house collaboration and quiet working, and soundproof Zoom pods for video chats. This zonal layout, made possible by the furniture selection, has proven highly successful in facilitating the hybrid working style, making Social Finance a great case study for those looking to do the same. See more of the project here.

Related content: Hybrid Office Design – How to Set up Your Space for Success

Catering to Employees’ Individual Needs

These days, many companies are ditching the “one-size-fits-all” approach to choosing office furniture. They recognise that every employee is different, with varying shapes, sizes, and physical conditions.

The question is, how do you cater to this?

Some employees may not know the kinds of office furniture solutions that will benefit them, so it’s worth doing some homework. Here are some things to consider:

  • Physical conditions – Your furniture choice is key in helping people with physical conditions feel more comfortable. For example, people with back trouble will appreciate comfortable task chairs with lumbar support. This supports the natural curve of the lower back, helping to reduce discomfort and prevent long-term problems.
  • Neurodiversity – Neurodiversity is the idea that everyone’s brain works in a different way. Take someone with ADHD, who may prefer a sit-stand desk so they can move around. Similarly, someone who is easily distracted would benefit from a soundproof pod for quiet working or “deep work” sessions.
  • Posture – For the posture-conscious, kneeling chairs are a great option. They have a tilted seat and knee rests, which allow the user to distribute their weight more evenly and maintain a natural curvature in the spine. This makes them ideal for employees of all ages who want to avoid back issues and improve their posture.

If you’re not sure where to start, begin by speaking with your employees about the existing furniture. It may be a case that a few new additions could make a big difference to their comfort and productivity.

Related content: Design for Neurodiversity – a Workplace Guide

Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Office

Every office has different shapes, dimensions, and layouts, so this must be considered when choosing furniture. The good news is that many office furniture companies offer bespoke solutions that can be made-to-measure for specific workplace dimensions. Furthermore, some may also provide furniture designs that are personalised and unique to your needs, offering a vast choice of finishes, colours, and fabrics.

Our tip, therefore, is to find a reputable furniture company with space planning and design expertise before investing in a new suite. As mentioned before, this will help you avoid making the wrong decision on furniture and ensure that your new products match the aesthetic of your space.

For an example of bespoke furniture, take a look at Alcatel Submarine Networks’ stunning reception area. As part of an office refurbishment in London, the Greenwich-based company needed a new, custom-built reception desk made with natural elements to complement its surroundings. See the result here.

Sourcing Sustainable Furniture Solutions

If you’re passionate about tackling climate change, then you’ll no doubt be on the hunt for the most sustainable furniture option. While the simplest solution is to opt for a second-hand suite, it’s not necessarily the most practical given the limited choice. As we’ve mentioned, you need to take into account the unique size and shape of your office, so that may pose a challenge.

Beyond the second-hand route, here are some things to consider when sourcing sustainable options:

  • Find furniture that is certified sustainable – There are a number of different certifications that can help you to identify sustainable office furniture. For example, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification ensures that wood is sourced from responsibly managed forests.
  • Choose a responsible supplier – When searching for a supplier, look for statements that outline what the company does to reduce its environmental impact. For example, a good supplier may take steps to increase recycling rates, design products that are environmentally conscious, and use alternative means of travel to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Look for recycled materials – In our recent blog on mezzanine office ideas, we talked about how recycled furniture like Frovi’s Foundry shelf can complement the modern industrial look. Products like these are of course good for the environment too, meaning they offer more than just style.

In addition to the key points above, you can also consider buying furniture from local suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of transportation and choosing furniture that is easy to disassemble and recycle. By taking these steps, you can make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change.

Narrowing Down the Choice

These days, the amount of office furniture available to buyers is astonishing. This can be overwhelming and make buyers more vulnerable to making the wrong choice. So, where do you start?

Here are some ideas…

  • Look at similar projects – When getting some ideas for your furniture, we recommend doing some research into case studies of companies with a similar approach to yours. This will shed light on the kind of furniture they have chosen to facilitate a specific working style.
  • Set a budget and compare productsOffice furniture can be expensive, so it’s important to set a budget before you start shopping as well. By setting a budget, you can compare prices and features from different suppliers to make sure you are getting the best value for money.
  • Get help from the experts – Arguably, the best approach is to work with a design and fit out contractor that knows the furniture market. With their extensive product knowledge, contractors can give guidance on the furniture that will complement your working style, match your office and layout design, and meet your budget requirements.

With so much furniture on offer, our final tip is to take your time when choosing. Consider the points above and resist hasty decisions, or you could be left with a collection that’s literally difficult to shift!

Thank You for Reading!

As you can see, there are plenty of challenges to overcome when choosing office furniture. We hope some of the points we’ve covered here will make life a little easier when it comes to making the final decision.

As a final takeaway, our advice is to plan ahead before spending big. Take some time to decide the purpose of your new furniture and how it fits into your future plans. If you get it right, your new furniture will undoubtedly be a great investment for your businesses.

Written by Chris Sparham

Are You Looking for New Office Furniture?

Are you struggling to decide on the best office furniture for your workspace? If so, then Rap Interiors can help. As an experienced design and build contractor, we’ve procured and installed furniture solutions for countless clients across London and the UK. Whether you need height adjustable desks, task chairs, pods, breakout area seating or anything else, our knowledgeable designers will guide you on the best solution for your needs.

To arrange a consultation, please call our office on 0333 600 1234 or fill out the enquiry form below.