The technology of office furniture

Special to The Business Times from Office Outfitters 

My computer is broken,” “the server is down,” and “there is no wireless connectivity” are words that strike fear in the hearts of today’s business owner. Work cannot continue without being connected. The onslaught of technology and the need for connectivity has made an impact in the office furniture business. The products have evolved, but technology is forcing companies to think of work spaces in new ways.

            “At Office Outfitters and Planners, we’re in the office design and furniture business, but, it seems we no longer sell desks,” says owner Duncan Rowley, “We sell computer holders — technology connection, interface and integration touch-down points.  Your computer is likely to be a laptop with dual monitors supported by separate monitor arms. But our concern is how long your chair will keep you comfortable as you change your screen position to be more productive.”

            In today’s business world, workspaces are becoming collaborative, leadership is decentralized, the need for immediate feedback is increasing, and information needs to be shared simultaneously. The “vintage” business owner can’t use vintage thinking when it comes to new work spaces. If the space is designed to be effective, individuals can fully contribute to their company’s drive to innovate and compete. In many ways, making information and knowledge accessible begins and ends with individuals and their workspaces.

            Progressive ideas for productive office spaces need to include an environment that is conducive to sharing, collaboration, discussion, learning and innovation, all while ensuring sustainability and centering on mobile connectivity. Real estate costs and how the millennial employee stays productive are different than the baby boom crowd. “More time is spent together and there is a need for proximity to one another-despite the fact that the people connected may be on opposite sides of the country,” says Rowley, “Our staffs are globally connected at all times and how Office Outfitters can better facilitate information sharing, updating Facebook, monitoring LinkedIn, and Tweeting on Twitter has become part of our mission.”

            Does this mean that employees are destined to become Wall-E blobs with all of this connectivity? Office Outfitters has products and technology to ward off the effects of staying connected. Now you can adjust your desk’s height while you work so that you can stand while you update your Facebook status. Walk along on the Walk Station as you tweet your latest triumph. Additionally, there is no need to travel to meetings with distant clients or team members. Meetings can be conducted virturally and we can collaborate online in real time via Media:scape.

            Most collaborative work spaces today support leader-led presentations where information is controlled and shared by one person at a time.  Media:scape removes barriers and democratizes how people access and share information by allowing all participants to contribute their ideas — equally, quickly and seamlessly.  Easy user interface is the key feature that encourages the ability to share ideas. Collaboration via your laptop is a simple as getting connected via a puck, HD camera and dual monitors simultaneously and you can be working with your team anywhere in the country.

            The internet has accelerated the rate of change across every office environment and to be competitive, businesses need to stay on top of the latest trends. Employees are inundated with information, more than they can readily absorb and manage. Because employees have more “incoming,” they need to spend more time organizing — finding a place to put things that’s readily accessible. “The fact is, paper hasn’t gone away, our use of it is actually increasing,” says Rowley, “We print e-mails to keep track of them. We pile them in varying stacks based on their importance and need for resolution. Additionally, the phone, stapler and pile management desktop tools share real estate with three monitors, a laptop, an i-phone and an i-pad. And at Office Outfitters, our job is to create a workspace where an employee’s productivity is maximized in this environment.”

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