As a small business CEO, there is a ton to think about – finances, hiring, marketing, social media, branding, partnerships. As someone who gives advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs, I know just how much advice is out there when it comes to best practices and business plans.
However, as someone who also works in an office 40 hours a week, I also know that there is one subject that is not quite as discussed, but just as important – office furniture.
Many new CEO’s find themselves hard-pressed for time just before the opening of a new business, so office furniture is put by the wayside. If this describes you, it’s time to start taking office furniture seriously. The decision is more than “what looks good.” You have to consider ergonomic choices, cubicle types, new vs. used, and whether to buy from a broker, dealer, or even an auction.
Taking the time to choose quality office furniture will also help improve your employees’ attitude toward work and therefore improve their productivity. Thomas Wright, Leadership Chair in Business Administration at Kansas State University, found that “in a sample of management personnel with average salaries in the $65,000 range, being psychologically distressed could cost the organization roughly $75 a week per person in lost productivity.” Once again, office furniture is more important than a simple decoration of an office.
New vs. Used – Advantages and Disadvantages
The first step in choosing the right furniture is deciding whether you want new or used. This may seem like a no-brainer, but once you begin shopping you will find that the prices vary significantly between the two. What type of furniture you choose to buy often depends on the type of business you are running in terms of size and customers walk-in numbers, but knowing a little bit about the advantages and disadvantages of each will help. Consider the facts below before making a decision.
- Large selection of styles, colors, and sizes
- Latest trends available
- Replacement parts would be available if needed
- Great for buyers who expect to stay in the office for at least 3 years
- An average of 25-35% cheaper
- Great for offices of 20 employees or less
- Great for buyers who expect to use the product for just 2-3 years
- Very expensive
- Assembly often required
- There may be delays between your purchase date and your delivery date
- Not a big selection of choices
- If there is a problem, the warranties are usually expired
- There can be hidden damages
Once you decide what type of furniture works best for your company, you have to consider where you are going to buy the furniture. If you decide that new is the route you want to take, you often have your pick of new furniture stores, and can order online if you’d rather (although I recommend going to look at the product first).
If you decide to purchase used furniture, you have a few more options on your hands. Consider the three different wants you can purchase used furniture before jumping to conclusions:
- Furniture Dealers – These are usually established businesses with a wide selection of used furniture displayed in a showroom. This is probably the most expensive option when it comes to used furniture, but you can often find great deals for your money. If you like shopping and the help of a professional, a dealer is the way to go.
- Furniture Brokers – Brokers usually do not have a show room for a buyer to look at furniture, although their items are usually displayed online. Unlike dealers, brokers do not have an established business or office space; they work exclusively buying and selling furniture. It can be risky going with a broker because you often cannot see the furniture, but they are certainly cost effective.
- Auctions – The buyer usually has to get lucky if they are trying to buy furniture at an auction. An auction can have some of the highest quality furniture around, but usually this furniture cannot be bought in bulk. If you are shopping around for furniture for a personal office, and auction might be the way to go.
More than anything, you are spending time thinking about good, quality furniture for your employees. Get their opinions and ask them how they would like the office designed (office dÃ©cor is a different issue, but related nonetheless).
In the end, office furniture should be a consideration right always with finances, marketing, PR, and whatever else it is that takes up a lot of your time. You know better than anyone how important your employees are to your company, so setting aside time to pick out the right furniture for your office “family” is worth the effort.
About The Guest Author: Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to surveillance systems. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including home security systems to small businesses and entrepreneurs at Business.com.