5 Ways Your Small Business Can “Spring” Into the Office of the Future

Date posted: May 28, 2012

Have you had a chance to “spring clean” your small business yet? It’s never too late to create a more modern, organized and green work space. In this guest post, Stacia Seegar, furniture sales executive, Business Interiors by Staples,  explains why it’s never too late to create a more modern, organized and green work space.

It’s that time of year again. As May showers bring bright flowers, warmer weather brings spring cleaning. While a great opportunity for employees to tame clutter, get rid of those pesky dust balls and eliminate lurking germs, spring cleaning can also be a catalyst for modernization. How? Here are five tips to help small businesses transform their work space into the workplace of the future this spring season:

1.     Prioritize indoor air quality. According to the EPA, people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. As such, indoor air quality is a growing area of importance in today’s small businesses. Selecting environmentally preferable furniture and cleaning solutions are an effective way for small businesses to improve indoor air quality while promoting employee health in your work space and benefiting the environment.

When it comes to furniture, certain materials, finishes and fabrics can contribute to off-gassing – which occurs when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde are released into the air – and emit other harmful vapors. Environmentally preferable furnishings often contain low-emitting materials, such as formaldehyde-free finishes, vinyl and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free fabrics and bio-based and natural fibers, keeping air clean. Similarly, traditional cleaning chemicals can also release unwanted contaminants into the air, but sustainable cleaning solutions typically contain low levels of or no VOCs – making them a safe and economical alternative for small businesses looking to preserve indoor air quality and protect building staff and assets.

2. Go “green”. Sustainability isn’t just the latest trend – it’s here to stay. In addition to selecting environmentally preferable furniture and cleaning solutions, there are a number of other ways small businesses can showcase their commitment to the environment. Consider recycling more than just paper and cardboard and add old technology to the mix, such as monitors, computers and ink and toner cartridges. When looking for sustainable products, evaluate the product’s entire supply chain, from manufacturing and packing to shipping and delivery. And don’t forget to ensure internal sustainability goals are aligned with relevant third-party certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

3.     De-clutter. Whether in a cubicle, office or conference room, clutter can negatively impact employee productivity. Filing systems and desk and drawer organizers are simple, cost-effective options to tame clutter and improve organization. Don’t forget that filing systems can also include electronic devices, such as flash drives and external hard drives, which can help reduce the amount of paper piling up on employees’ desks. And don’t neglect your cleaning cabinets either. Eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies in cleaning closets by consolidating with all-in-one cleaners.

4. Maximize space. To combat rising real estate costs and economic uncertainties, many organizations are downsizing their office space. To make the most out of valuable real estate, consider implementing multi-purpose furniture, such as filing cabinets with plush tops that transform into visitor seating, and multi-function devices, such as all-in-one printers (combination fax, scanner and printer). Not only are these great space savers, but they also afford companies the opportunity to easily adapt their workspace to accommodate multiple business audiences and work functions. Using modular casework – rather than built-in millwork – also enables companies to change room dynamics easily and cost-effectively.

5. Redecorate on a budget. Sprucing up your small business doesn’t have to break the bank. Refurbishing existing office furniture instead of buying new pieces, incorporating natural light and subtle paint colors (air-friendly of course!) and incorporating modular office furniture that can easily be rearranged are all cost-effective ways to transform old, drab areas into new, vibrant spaces. Replacing desktops and older laptops with tablets can also modernize the office and illustrate technical expertise.

Making a few strategic tweaks can impact so much more than the look of your office. A clean, modern and functional workspace can also positively impact business operations and improve employee productivity. So this season, don’t just view spring cleaning as another item on your to-do list. Rather, look at it as an opportunity to reinvent your office to support evolving needs in the 21st century.

Stacia Seegar is a furniture sales executive at Business Interiors by Staples.


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