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Tips To Put Some “Spring” In The Workplace

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Environment, Facility Management, FacilityBlog, Featured Post, Interiors, Professional Development, Safety, Sustainability, Technology, Topics

Tagged: , , ,

Published on March 28, 2013 with No Comments

Photo: Treehugger.com

Photo: Treehugger.com

Spring is here and that means warmer weather, blooming trees, bright flowers and…cleaning. While a good practice for offices, spring cleaning can also be a catalyst for modernization.

With this in mind, Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., has compiled a list of tips in three key areas to help companies transform their office spaces into the workplace of the future this spring season. 

Prioritize Indoor Air Quality and Sustainability

With people spending 90% or more of their time indoors, according to the EPA, prioritizing indoor air quality (IAQ) is a must for today’s modern office. Environmentally preferable solutions are a great way to improve indoor air quality while ensuring employee well-being and benefitting the environment.

  • Focus on 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. When selecting office furniture, look for environmentally preferable pieces as well as furnishings that contain low-emitting materials, such as formaldehyde-free finishes, vinyl and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free fabrics, and bio-based and natural fibers.
  • Concentrate on cleaners. Traditional cleaning chemicals can also release unwanted contaminants into the air. Sustainable cleaning solutions typically contain low levels of or no VOCs and are a safe and economical alternative for companies looking to preserve IAQ and protect building staff and assets. Applying cleaning solutions from a spray bottle or aerosol spray directly onto a cloth can also reduce the amount of chemicals released into the air.
  • Go “green.” In addition to selecting environmentally preferable furniture and cleaning solutions, there are a number of other ways companies can showcase their commitment to sustainability, including recycling old technology, such as monitors, computers, and ink and toner cartridges; evaluating a product’s entire supply chain, from manufacturing and packing to shipping and delivery; and by aligning business processes with relevant third-party certifications.

Optimize Valuable Real Estate

To combat rising real estate costs and economic uncertainties, many organizations today are downsizing their office space. As such, they are turning to furniture/design and technology solutions to maximize efficiencies and real estate.

  • De-clutter. Filing systems and desk and drawer organizers are cost-effective options to tame clutter, improve organization and enhance productivity. Don’t forget that filing systems can also include electronic devices, such as flash drives and external hard drives that help prevent paper documents from taking over workspace. And don’t neglect your cleaning cabinets either. Eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies in cleaning closets by consolidating and getting rid of unnecessary solutions and supplies.
  • Maximize space. 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), are not only great space savers, but they also afford companies the opportunity to easily adapt their workspace to accommodate multiple business audiences and work functions. Modular casework—rather than built-in millwork—also opens up new opportunities for space utilization.

Modernize Décor and Technology

“Times they are a-changin” and office styles are evolving with it. But it’s not just about the look. Making a few strategic tweaks can improve employee productivity and demonstrate business savviness as well.

  • Redecorate on a budget. Sprucing up the office doesn’t have to mean big bucks. Refurbishing existing rather than buying new furniture, incorporating natural light and subtle paint colors (IAQ friendly of course!), and incorporating modular furniture that can be easily rearranged are all cost-effective ways to transform old, drab areas into new, vibrant spaces.
  • Upgrade technology. Replacing desktops and older laptops with tablets will not only modernize the office and illustrate technical expertise, but it will also save space and enable workers to access important information anytime, anywhere. As an added bonus, updating computers with energy saving devices will also benefit the environment.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at schwartz@groupc.com.

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