As companies ring in 2012, many are looking for easy, quick and cost-effective ways to improve their physical offices. During this process, they’re seeing that furniture and design improvements can impact more than just office aesthetics. These changes can also help create more comfortable, sustainable and productive workplaces. Small changes can go a long way, and companies are considering strategies for making their office spaces feel welcoming and new.


To help you take advantage of the latest furniture and design trends in 2012 – all without breaking the bank – today’s guest post from Business Interiors by Staples offers 10 tips:

1. Look good on a budget – Office design can project luxury without going over budget. For example, selecting a laminate instead of veneer flooring, and vinyl rather than leather seating, can create a high-impact look that’s still budget-friendly. Also, by choosing connected seating versus freestanding chairs in waiting areas, businesses can save up to 15 percent per chair.

2. It is easy being green – Sustainability remains an increasingly hot topic. Companies can help fulfill “green” goals and prioritize office health by using environmentally preferable furniture and fabrics. When making purchases, it’s important to look at the percentage of recycled and renewable content, and also look for relevant environmental certifications, such as GREENGUARD, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and more. In addition, including plants throughout the office literally adds a green touch.

3. Light it up – Lighting has the ability to impact mood and productivity. Rather than relying on harsh, fluorescent lighting, the incorporation of natural light can help bring the outside in. By also using adjustable LED lighting, companies can help improve worker visibility and save on energy expenses. The costs of LED lighting have also dramatically dropped in recent years.

4. Incorporate hybrids – For companies seeking to do more with less and/or maximize smaller spaces, hybrid furniture products, which serve multiple purposes, can help. For example, look at products like “mobile pedestals,” which are filing cabinets with plush tops that also transform into visitor seating.

5. Keep it mobile – Typically lightweight and easy to rearrange, mobile furniture is gaining popularity. In addition to mobile pedestals, other furniture on wheels – including whiteboards, partitions and more – can help facilitate spontaneous brainstorming sessions and be easily rearranged afterward.

6. Foster collaboration – As teamwork continues to play a big role in the workplace and some offices contend with smaller square footage, companies are looking at ways to maximize space to promote collaboration. Businesses can make team interactions easy and natural by designing rooms for a variety of purposes. Additional strategies include incorporating open, intuitive layouts; lower cubicle walls; and mobile and hybrid furniture products.

7. Tie in tech – As the office landscape continues to incorporate new technologies, businesses can improve operations with furniture that complements the devices they’re using. Furniture and accessories that support “powering up” and also help tame cable clutter can create a more aesthetically pleasing and productive environment.

8. Facilitate flex working – Office dynamics are shifting, as technology also enables companies to support a growing number of mobile and flex workers, who use corporate office space only on a periodic basis. By making design tweaks to support multipurpose room functions, designing offices for two, and allowing for private and collaborative spaces, companies can help support their flex worker populations.

9. Give a warm welcome – Businesses can instantly improve their office appearance by creating a warm and inviting reception area. By including freestanding furniture that’s approachable and not confined by high panels, using lamps for softer lighting and placing interesting artwork on the walls, companies can draw visitors in and keep them there.

10. Get organized – A new year is the perfect time for companies to resolve to be more organized. Simple additions such as filing cabinets, along with desk and drawer organizers, can streamline business and help remove unwanted clutter.