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Around the Water Cooler - The Office Furniture and Cubicles Blog

 Quick Guide to Key Office Measurements

Hallways and walkways- ADA Accessibility Guidelines require hallways and aisles to have a width of no less than 3ft, however, Skutchi Designs highly recommends a width of 4ft to allow for comfortable maneuverability and the passage of two people at once. For T-shaped turns, a minimum clear space of 36 inches in all directions is required for wheelchair accessibility. Never block an existing hallway or entrance/exit as this reduces circulation and may be a violation of fire code and a safety hazard. 

 

 

Clearance Height for Modular Walls- When planning the layout for a modular wall system always keep in mind the location of ventilation ducts so as not to restrict airflow to certain areas of your office. When walling off a section that is without ventilation ducts, a minimum of 1ft between the top of the modular wall and the ceiling is recommended to allow air to circulate freely. This gap is not necessary for areas where direct ventilation is present and walls may be built to meet ceilings up to 8ft high. The exclusive Sapphire Modular Wall System is available in heights of 7ft and 8ft with more options coming soon!

 

Chair Room- Many first-time office designers have made the mistake of not leaving enough room behind a desk for the user to easily move their chair about the workspace. A minimum of 40 inches between the desk and wall is recommended to allow users to easily get up and walk around their desk. If the user sees clients in their office or anticipates visitors, then allow a square space between 48 and 60 inches in front of the desk for guest seating. 

 

 

Cubicle Doors- Skutchi Designs is excited to now offer our clients the ability to add cubicle doors to their order! Our doors come in two styles, a lockable door with inward swing to reduce obstructions to walkways and a sliding door with universal compatibility. Our lockable swinging door is available on all Sapphire orders while our 48” W sliding door is compatible with all panel systems with a height of at least 7ft and can even be mounted onto drywall. 

 

 

Visualize- As with the purchase of any product, most clients and designers would like to see their office before they buy, Skutchi Designs makes this possible with free online design tools, space-planning, rendering services, floor-plans and material samples for qualifying projects. To speak with a member of our design team contact us at 1-888-993-3757 or visit us online at Skutchi.com and don’t forget to check out the Cube Customizer to design your Emerald Cubicle.

 

All of our systems are expandable with easy-to-order matching parts and can be combined for a complete office solution. From reception stations to conference and everywhere in between, look to Skutchi Designs for your complete office solution.


Refurbished Cubicles

What is a refurbished cubicle?
A refurbished cubicle is a used unit that has been repaired or “re-finished” to a degree so as to make it seem as close to new as possible. The amount of work and detail that goes in to the refurbishment depends on the company handling the project and can range from a simple cleaning and wipe-down to replacing fabric or damaged components. This lack of standards and regulation means results can vary greatly from one product to the next and it is important to note that the amount of labor and time that goes into a refurbishment is typically directly proportionate to the final price, meaning the closer a unit is to its original appearance, the closer it will be to its original cost.

 

Among the inherent limitations of refurbished cubicles is a lack of availability and options. When you purchase used or refurbished cubicles your options are limited to only the designs and configurations that the dealer has in-stock and finding matching parts for an expansion or as replacements becomes nearly impossible. Fortunately, availability is never an issue when purchasing new cubicles, when you feel it is time to add more units or need to replace a damaged work surface or panel you simply contact the manufacturer and place your order.

 

The attention paid to a refurbishment can also impact the safety of your office, most dealers won’t disclose the age of a unit, and frankly, most have no idea. Some cubicles, though, have been in use for over 20 years before being recycled back into circulation and more often than not the electrical system, cable tracks and power outlets are not included in a standard refurbishment and have the potential to become an electrocution or fire hazard if not inspected and installed by a licensed electrician.

 

Even a full refurbishment has its drawbacks, after painting the file cabinets, fixing damaged drawers, buffing the work surfaces, cleaning the panels and replacing what can’t be saved you may still be left with old hardware, outdated electrical components and no ability to expand or purchase additional matching units despite the fact that you just paid nearly as much as a completely new system. For these reasons Skutchi Designs deals exclusively in new cubicles with options from fully custom to quick-ship solutions that can be shipped in as little as 24hrs! Featuring a range of finishes and panel materials like fabric, laminate and glass, Skutchi Designs manufactures modular furniture solutions to fit the design, spatial, and budgetary needs of any project.

 

We hope this short guide will help you make informed decisions during your next cubicle or modular furniture purchase, to speak to a member of the Skutchi Designs team give us a call at 1-888-993-3757 or visit us online at Skutchi.com. 


Cubicle Care

Work Surfaces:

                            Skutchi Designs manufactures work surfaces with high pressure laminate, a very durable and resilient material made from layered pieces of resin-treated paper that are fused together during production and applied to a solid core. They are low maintenance and long-lasting due to their resistance to heat, impact, scratching and stains associated with regular use. However, there are steps you can take along with regular cleaning to prolong the life of your cubicles and keep them looking their best for many years to come.

Care and maintenance:

  • For regular/everyday cleaning, wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth and mild household detergent then lightly rinse and wipe with a soft, dry cloth. Tip- A Magic Eraser can be used to wipe down the surface to remove grease and pen/pencil marks without causing scratches or dulling the finish.
  • For tough, stubborn stains, use an all-purpose cleaning solvent and a clean cloth to wipe stain away then rinse with warm water and dry with a soft, clean cloth. If the stain persists, naphtha can be used to clean area but should be handled with caution because of its flammable nature and toxic fumes. Extra care should be taken to remove all residue.
  • Avoid any abrasive cleaners like Ajax powder or Oven Cleaner and strong acids as these can permanently damage the work surface. Scouring pads, metal wool and sand paper can cause scratching or dulling and should never be used to clean laminate surfaces.
  • Sources of extreme heat such as hot plates, Bunsen Burners and space heaters should never make contact with the surface as they can cause the laminate top to separate from the substrate causing a rippling or bubbling effect or scorch marks.

Note: When using any cleaning solvent or commercial cleaning chemical it is a good idea to test it on the underside of the work surface to ensure it is not damaging to the finish.

Panels/Partitions:

Panels are offered in three high grade materials, High Pressure Laminate (HPL), tempered glass and polyester fabric. These panels can provide privacy and acoustical conditioning for your office or work area and come in a virtually unlimited number of colors and patterns.

  • Laminate- These panels are the most durable on the market and provide excellent sound transmission loss making them highly desirable for areas where secure information is handled or where privacy is a concern. They can be cleaned and maintained with the same steps as our laminate work surfaces and should be wiped down regularly to maintain a sanitary work environment.
  • Glass- Glass panels create an open feeling and allow natural light to permeate your office which can elevate moods and increase productivity. Caring for glass panels is as easy as washing a window and requires only household window cleaner and a soft, dry cloth. Tough, stuck-on residue from stickers, glue or other adhesives can be loosened with WD-40 and wiped away but be sure to follow with regular cleaning procedures to remove any greasy spots left behind.
  • Fabric- Skutchi Designs’ fabric panels are comprised of a multi-layer core wrapped in foam and polyester fabric. This construction gives them sound absorbing properties that can mitigate the reverberation of soundwaves and help reduce office noise. Fabric panels should be vacuumed with a flat hose extension regularly to prevent dust build-up and wiped with a clean, damp cloth. Stains from ink, food and ground-in dirt can typically be removed by thoroughly mixing ¼ cup of detergent with a quart of warm water and blotting the area with a clean cloth. If you are unsure if a cleaning solution is compatible with your fabric, test it on a non-visible corner and allow it to dry before using it on a visible area. 

Why you should choose Skutchi Designs 

Choosing The Right Finish For Your Furniture

 

 

 

                             Whether you decide to swaddle your office in soft, recycled polyester and mesh fabric or deck it out in more leather and steel than an 1980’s heavy metal rocker, the choices you make in fabrics and finishes can affect more than just the visual impression made by your office. The comfort of your guests and clients, the efficiency of your employees and even things like Greenguard and LEED certifications which can grant certain tax breaks (cha ching) are all affected by the materials you choose. The reputation of a company affects its value to both current and prospective clients and stakeholders and with increasing focus on the health of the environment many corporations are trying to obtain higher LEED certifications to promote a more positive public appearance and they are achieving this through the use of recycled materials in chairs, desks and other pieces of office furniture as opposed to new materials, exotic woods and the hides of endangered species a la Ted Nugent. Another factor to consider in your decision should be the maintenance of the furniture itself and its desired life expectancy, some materials fade and show wear before others and may not be suited for high traffic areas while others like high pressure laminate are virtually indestructible and may very well outlast the galaxy (I’ve got my money on the laminate). Cleaning is also an inevitability that must be taken into account and some finishes can be ruined if the wrong cleaner is used on them, always check with your manufacturer for cleaning instructions and if you’re unsure of a certain cleaning agent test it on a non-visible portion of the furniture before you risk a permanent streak across the back of your favorite chair or the top of an expensive new desk. The first as well as the last thing that should be considered is style, after all your clients and prospects don’t care about whether or not a Clorox wipe will ruin your upholstery. The appearance and aesthetic impact is what will be remembered when a customer walks out of the building and making a powerful and lasting impression could be the difference between landing a return customer or sending them running from your multi-patterned, floral printed nightmare.

 

                             In conclusion, careful planning, a little research and knowledge of your resources can ensure a design that is pleasing to the eye, the environment and your budget. All of this and more can be attained with Skutchi Designs, a Skutchi designer can help you achieve the perfect balance of form and function with thousands of products to choose from and a complete line of in-house manufactured cubicles and partitions as well as modular offices. For tough jobs, make the easy call to Skutchi Designs (1-888-993-3757).


People, Planet, Profit

The Furniture Industry

                   

                                  The furniture industry has seen a steep decline in the last decade and a half, with a 25% reduction in business many manufacturers and distributors have been forced to make cutbacks in jobs and facilities. However, that doesn’t mean the industry is drying up like a worm on the sidewalk, it’s simply changing, like a worm that is actually a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly…. or something like that. Office culture is becoming the driving factor in the way we design, use and market furniture, there is a growing demand to “modernize” space and “go green”. Designers aren’t simply thinking about what motivational cat poster to hang up in the break room or what shade of faux leather to upholster the waiting room couch in. Consumers in the office furniture industry are considering things like ergonomics, technology integration, carbon footprint and of course cost; and while the products have changed according to the wants and needs of the consumer, advances in technology have also been a driving force in the evolution of office furniture as an increasing number of companies go paperless and begin to utilize wireless technologies and smaller hardware. The days of the large, clunky desktop and obnoxiously loud fax machine are gone, in favor of sleek laptops, tablets and smarthphones which take up only a slight fraction of office real estate and give project managers and designers much more space to work with allowing for more collaborative areas that appeal to (many) young professionals. Technology has also made the industry exponentially more earth-friendly, as advances are made in materials that have less impact on the environment many manufacturers are using these fabrics, laminates and plastics in products that appeal to the environmentalist in all of us to help drive sales.

                                  To accommodate the wants of this new wave of consumers, manufacturers are offering custom and semi-custom products with options that suit the changing environment of the modern office. Though this requires an innovative sales and design team the ability to adapt and to change with the market is crucial to the survival of any company in the furniture industry. Smart manufacturers and distributors have expanded their product line to appeal to more than just the traditional office setting with products geared toward medical and educational facilities as well as the hospitality industry. Many companies are also seeing more and more business from private and residential projects as less focus is put into the category that a piece of furniture is marketed under and more attention is placed on price and quality.

                                    Overall, this is a mature industry that is being re-invented to encompass a much broader spectrum of clientele and this is happening at a time when many office managers are realizing a need to modernize space. The combination of these factors should only contribute to the growth of the industry but only for those who are willing and able to grow with it.                                  

 

Office Ergonomics

 

How Making A Living Is Killing You

 

                                 As you read this article you are most likely seated at your computer in an office chair, leaned atleast slightly forward with your head protruding further than your chest and ignoring the fact that your chair has built-in arm rests. Was I close? This may seem like a natural, comfortable position and one that you assume automatically when you arrive at your workstation but what you may not know is that this posture, or lack thereof, is putting you at serious risk of developing a plethora of maladies some of which are life threatening health issues ranging from tendinitis to cancer and cardiovascular disease (yikes). This isn’t to say though, that you should immediately quit your office job and become a nomadic hunter/gatherer to avoid the risks associated with prolonged periods of sitting, but there are some steps you can take to improve your health and reduce your chance of physical impairment and disease.

 

                                 The average person spends 50-70 percent of their day at work and with the amount of people who work in an office-type setting constantly growing it comes with little shock that many healthcare professionals are calling sitting the “new smoking.” This is because excessive sitting is shown to contribute to the development of cancer and other serious diseases. In a review of data collected from 47 studies the information linking sitting to early death was staggering, perhaps one of the most shocking findings being that those who live a sedentary lifestyle are 90% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes. The risk for cancer also rises by about 16%, for cardiovascular disease the risk goes up by 18% and the overall risk of early death from health related issues increases by 24%. These figures make a sedentary lifestyle more lethal than obesity even in a relatively healthy person.

 

                                  There are many things you can do, however, to help negate the effects of long term sitting some of which are extremely simple such as getting up from your desk every 30 minutes or so and taking a short walk around the office for at least 30 seconds, this movement stimulates the muscles and helps to activate an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase that burns fat, though simply standing will change the distribution of weight in your body and aid in spinal fluid distribution as well as blood circulation. Now, you’re not alone in the battle against the effects of sitting as there are many products available to aid you in achieving healthier, more ergonomic work habits such as adjustable desks which can be raised (some with just the touch of a button) to a standing height or a “desk-cycle” which can be placed underneath a desk and used throughout the day to provide some physical activity without having to leave your work. Some companies are even opting for treadmill-desks which are exactly what they sound like, a standing desk combined with a treadmill that allows employees to walk at a leisurely pace while working.

 

                                   Now some of these options may sound expensive and unnecessary but the premise behind all of them remains the same, the best way to counter extended periods of inactivity is to be active! Simple, right? You could prolong your own life and drastically reduce your risk of impairment or serious disease just by moving and walking around once in a while! Combine these tips with a healthy diet and even light regular exercise and you will be on your way to a healthier, longer and happier life.

 

 


Open Offices

Tearing Down Walls And Morale


                                 When you look up from your desk what is laid before you? If you are like the majority of American office workers subjected to an open floor plan you likely are surrounded by a vast ocean of co-workers, laptops and a complete lack of privacy. The hum of office chatter constantly surrounds you along with the clatter of keyboards (especially from that one guy who sounds like he’s trying to put a hole in his). You hear every cough, tapping foot  and on the unfortunate days when you forget your headphones you are forced to suffer through the muffled sounds of your co-workers “generic jams” playlist as they insist on turning their headphones up to a volume that one can only imagine is labelled “Are you serious?”. If this sounds like a page out of your tear-soaked diary then you are another victim of the growing trend of partitionless offices that are taking over the American workplace and frustrating employees from sea to shining sea. These noisy, disruptive and stressful environments have been touted as the hot new efficiency-boosting trend in office design by everyone from The New York Times to Google who claim this open landscape encourages interaction between employees and creates opportunities for spontaneous collaboration. The truth is, that it does encourage interaction, if by encourage you mean force and by interaction you mean interruption... It becomes quite difficult to avoid interaction with someone when every time you look up you awkwardly lock eyes with whoever is across from you like a weird teenager in a high-school cafeteria.

                                  Unfortunately it isn’t just our minds being pushed to a Gary Busey level of insanity that we have to worry about (sorry Gary) but also our physical health. Exposure to all that office noise has been proven to impair us in various ways such as making it difficult to recall information and perform basic calculations. In a study where employees were exposed to open office noise for a mere three hours the subjects had increased levels of epinephrine present in their bodies (the hormone we refer to as adrenaline). This leaves us feeling wound-up, stressed and worn out. It was also found that workers in open environments made less ergonomic adjustments than those in a private setting which increases strain on the body, especially the back, this can lead to the development of serious and debilitating condtions and cause long term damage to ones health. Being surrounded by co-workers all day long means also being surrounded by any germs and viruses they may be carrying, which helps to explain why workers in open offices on average use 62% more sick days than those with private work spaces.

                                   Taking employees away from their own space and putting them in an environment where they have no control over things like lighting, temperature or decorations can also adversely affect morale. It may sound superficial but it is proven that when an employee can make themself feel more comfortable at their work station then morale, creativity and productivity benefit. Creating an inspirational space can be an integral part of the creative process for some, especially those whose jobs involve a significant amount of content-creation (Da Vinci didn’t paint the Mona Lisa surrounded by a hundred other painters). The loss of a personalized area in which to work can make employees feel alienated and eliminates their sense of belonging, they no longer feel important to the company but rather like a replaceable piece of equipment.  This can create a dystopian feel in the office and let’s face it do you really want your employees to feel like a character in George Orwells 1984

                                Now, through all of the gripes and complaints in this article I can only imagine that at least some of you are wondering “So…. What do we do about it?”. Well the answer is simple, eliminate open floor plans! Wipe them off the face of the planet and record their faults in the history books so that future generations need not be subjected to the same horrors that we’ve endured! OK, maybe that’s a little too extreme, but providing your employees with a space where they can work without distraction and feel comfortable and in control will retain and attract talented individuals who know the value of their abilities and keep them invested, happy and healthy at work. (Again my apologies to Gary Busey.)

 

Employee Engagement 

Through Emotional Intelligence 

                                 In the ever changing world of business and industry, employers and consultants are constantly trying to think of new and innovative ways to improve and increase productivity, efficiency and of course the almighty profit margin and with many studies showing that engaged employees are 20% more productive/efficient than their unengaged counterparts this makes them the most valuable resource in any businesses arsenal. Employers have tried everything from free food in the breakroom to expensive prizes and vacations for top employees, and while the thought of a tasty donut excites the Homer Simpson in all of us, this tactic of “productivity= external reward” is more at home in a three-ring circus than in your office. The point that many employers miss when it comes to engaging their employees is actually quite simple and obvious, they must be engaged. No, that doesn’t mean bosses around the country will start getting down on bended knee to ask for their workers hand in marriage (or will they?). It means that employees are real people; human beings that want to feel autonomous, competent, useful and connected. These needs must be addressed individually and consistently to encourage employees to feel engaged and invest themselves emotionally in their job and in your company.

                                The first step in engaging your employees is to become emotionally intelligent, don’t worry; the vast majority of studying involved is of yourself. You must be self-aware and empathetic towards those around you. Understand your own emotions and learn to control them regardless of the situation you are in or what pressure you may be under. If you let your emotions control you then you begin to simply react to problems instead of responding and resolving them, this is a critical mistake that can alienate workers by making them feel that management isn’t competent to deal with their issues. Think about how the words and actions of others make you feel and then consider how your own decisions and interactions can affect those around you. Try to foster a nurturing environment where expression is safe and encouraged, this a relatively new strategy that is a stark contrast to the way many people are taught to handle themselves at work/school where traditionally emotional repression is supported and outward expression is discouraged. For those who have seen the movie Office Space, don’t be a Bill Lumbergh!

                                  Now that you have the emotional intelligence and empathy of Oprah, Mother Teresa and a Tibetan Monk all rolled into one its time to focus on the actual management of your employees and utilizing their skills and abilities. Try to assign tasks that allow your employees to learn and grow as people, while building on skills they already possess. This will prepare them for even greater roles and increase competence. Be careful though that you don’t thrust an employee into a situation that they aren’t prepared to handle, evaluate their abilities, provide information, demonstrate work methods and give reinforcing encouragement and feedback on their performance. An employee who feels that they are gaining useful skills/knowledge and are working towards higher qualified positions will be more engaged and productive than someone who doesn’t see any opportunity to improve themselves. Remember, you employ human beings not robots… unless you actually do employ robots in which case we want some of those robots...

                              Relatedness to the broader work of the organization, is the next concern that we shall discuss. If you know the work you do directly affects the success of your company then you are much more likely to put your full effort into doing an exemplary job. This fulfills the natural desire we have to feel needed and in control while providing the satisfaction of being responsible for tangible success. Motivation is a large part of cultivating this mindset and continuing positive reinforcement and acknowledgement of a job well done goes a long way. Make the success of the company the success of the individual and show appropriate appreciation, not with sales contests or flashy prizes as these pit people against one another and feel more like a manipulation technique than positive reinforcement.

                                   Lastly, your employees want to feel like they belong, that they’re part of a community that cares about them more than it cares about the bottom line. Start by reviewing how your company welcomes new workers to the team, do they simply receive a tour of the office and a handshake? Are they introduced to members of the staff that they will be interacting with? Given a new hire mentor? Briefed on the goals of the team? These are just some of the many steps that can be taken to make a new employee feel more comfortable in their new environment. Additionally, some companies provide services like on-site child care or a wellness program which may include an on-site gym or a company nutritionist. Even simple gestures such as asking about their day and showing genuine interest in their opinions and concerns can convey your appreciation for their contribution to your organization.

                               At the core of employee engagement is emotional intelligence, a smart leader understands their own feelings while putting the feelings of their team and clients first. Showing people that they matter to your company and that they aren’t just a replaceable asset will foster a symbiotic relationship that benefits all parties and gives your brand the edge needed to thrive in todays ultra-competitive business world.

 

                                   


Office Space

(No, This Isn’t a Movie Review)

                          Have you ever dreamed of attaining the coveted corner office? The largest and therefore obviously a symbol of rank and accomplishment. If you have, then tonight you may want to try dreaming a new dream because the large private offices of your parents generation are going the way of the dinosaur. Throughout the history of the modern American office building there have been several changes in how much space designers have allotted for employees, in the 1970s it was generally assumed that each worker would require about 500²ft of office space, a number that had shrunk to 200²ft by the next decade and in 2012 research performed by CoreNet Global reported that the average workspace had been reduced to just over 100ft and in some cases it was even less. If you find this information alarming and suddenly you can feel the walls of your cubicle closing in on you, don’t panic… while it may be true that the vast majority of companies are downsizing to reduce costs and increase profits, these studies don’t take into account the fact that many of these companies are compensating for the reduced real estate by implementing more open floor plans and allowing employees to work where they want. This attitude is genereally welcomed by the millennial generation who is now entering the business world, as they grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets that allowed them to stay connected and access information at the touch of a button from any spot on the planet. This familiarity with mobile technology makes the millenials perfectly suited for telecommuting, working from home and being able to work while traveling, basically the American worker no longer needs to be kept at a desk or even in an office building at all.

                        The reduction of space at the office can also be attributed to the shrinking of our electronics such as computers, fax machines, phones and monitors all of which can now be carried in one device in a pocket or a purse. This is a far cry from the massive, expenisive and woefully inefficient machines that were used by previous generations to perform only a fraction of the tasks that the average smartphone or tablet can do today. With these pieces of hardware an employee can check emails while getting a coffee down the street, review accounts while enjoying the fresh air on the office campus or have a face to face interview via Skype while waiting for a plane in Copenhagen. This ability to work from virtually anywhere has revolutionized the way we can use an office building and some companies have embraced this new found mobility and converted their offices into more of a touchdown area where employees can come in when they need to, set up their mobile devices at any number of unassigned desks, couches or lounges and complete or drop off their work, as well as pick up new assignments or have important in person meetings. This style of management allows one relatively small facility to accommodate a much larger pool of employees than a traditional office set up because there will never be a full shift of employees there at one time. Strong leadership is crucial in this style of office and a slow transition is necessary so that people can adjust to the radically different environment. Some employees may embrace these changes from the start but those who have become accustomed to working in a cubicle or relying on the physical storage of an office may find it hard to go wireless and make the transition to a less restrictive schedule.

                              The thought of an office campus where employees are free to roam the grounds and set up shop where ever they please may seem like a dream come true for some but its simply not possible for all and an unproductive venture for others. For offices that handle work requiring a quiet atmosphere or frequent in person contact, then the traditional cubicle set up is a tried and true solution that has worked for countless companies over the past several decades. An office with private workstations where employees can store files, keep a dedicated phone line and a computer with job specific software can be an invaluable resource in many industries and may be a choice of preference for some. These assigned work stations accompanied by a communal area like a conference room or lounge where employees can meet and share ideas are great catalysts for innovation and breakthroughs while also providing a change of environment. Even if an open floor plan is preferred it is always a good idea to have several private areas set aside as “Quiet Areas” where important calls can be made, meetings can occur and employees can escape any noise or distraction for work that requires much concentration. Over all the most important thing you can do before designing or redesigning your office is evaluate your needs and weigh them against your resources. If you try to change the environment of your office too drastically then the entire facility will suffer and even if the transition to a new system is made slowly it may not be the best choice for your employees or your business. Remember, a Skutchi office designer can help you every step of the way from design to installation and project management to make sure that your office is a perfect match to your business with the latest and greatest in office furniture and cubicles.

 

Color Psychology

The Effect Of Color On Mood

When designing or decorating any type of area whether it is an office, kitchen or conference room one of the most daunting tasks can be trying to decide on a color scheme. The options available today are almost unlimited and the decision you make can end up drastically changing the effect that the room has on its occupants. While the amount of research is disproportionate to the amount of color we see in our every day lives there has been some modern studies on the effect of color on mood, productivity and the human psyche as well as very interesting findings regarding physiological reactions from exposure to different colors. While factors such as personal preference, culture, mood, even climate and temperature make some situations more subjective than others there are some tips you can use to help achieve the atmosphere you are looking to create.

What Is Color?

To effectively pick a color that is right for your space it helps to first have a general idea of what color is and how it is made. To put it simply the colors we see are just reflected or emitted waves of light of various wavelengths resulting in different shades perceivable by the human eye. Sunlight contains every color but if it were to shine on a red car every wavelength except for red would be absorbed with red being reflected back to the eye, a black car would absorb every wavelength resulting in the absence of color and a white car would reflect all allowing you to perceive every wavelength combined. Sir Isaac Newton first discovered this phenomenon in the 17th century when he used prisms to separate white light into the visible spectrum and reassemble the colors back into white light.

Different Colors Effects

When picking a color you have to examine several factors that will help determine which is right for you. Some questions you may ask could be what type of business are you conducting? Is it a high energy environment or an area that is supposed to be calming or relaxing? Are you trying to create an open or intimate feel? Do you plan on painting every wall? Once you’ve determined what type of atmosphere you would like to create then you can start thinking about which colors will help you achieve it. For areas that will see a lot of physical activity, red can be a smart choice as some studies have shown that it makes people react with greater speed and force than other colors, however students that were exposed to a red environment prior to an exam generally scored lower than their counterparts who were not. Red also has the potential to raise blood pressure, heart rate and increase respiration speed which may be a concern and make it an inappropriate color for some applications. Blue is shown to evoke feelings of calm and intelligence, it also stimulates creativity and concentration making it a good choice for offices and classrooms. You have to be careful however, as the wrong shade can create a cold, unfriendly feeling. Green is a very versatile choice that can be toned to fit almost any application, it is restful to the eye, cool and cheery and green rooms can make a person feel refreshed and peaceful. Yellow can be a difficult color to use as different shades can produce very different effects, some will create an uplifting environment that is cheerful and bright but the wrong tone or misuse of the color can result in an area that is depressing, stressful and can make people irritable or in extreme cases physically ill. Other colors can also produce very strong effects as well, for example orange influences a person both emotionally and physically, it can stimulate appetite and focuses our minds on physical comfort but overuse can result in a room that implies a lack of intelligence or immaturity. Purple is associated with luxury and royalty and makes people feel calm and sophisticated while promoting creativity. Some colors are considered neutral like gray, black and brown; these make great choices as accents but generally aren’t used as a base color as they can overwhelm the rest of a rooms décor. When choosing your color try to use a combination that compliments eachother, analogous colors are typically next to one another on the color wheel and are pleasing to the eye when used in conjunction with a third complimentary accent color. Triadic combinations are usually vibrant even when using dull or pale tones, triadic combinations are evenly spaced across the color wheel and should be used with one color being the dominant hue while the others are used to accentuate. It is typically advised that you use no more than four colors for one room but theres no law against using every color of the rainbow! Just remember to fit the overall scheme of your room to its purpose and with a little bit of knowledge and research every design project can produce results that will please the eye and draw in business.

 

My Office Says…

 

Ensure Your First Impression Isn’t Your Last

 

 Imagine you were to walk into an accountants office for the first time and immediately you notice that the dated light fixtures cast a dim glow which only accentuates the aged wall paper, the slightly fraying carpet and the lounge furniture that has long since seen better days. Most likely you also imagine not giving them your business and possibly running for the door. Now think of an office that has bright natural lighting accompanied by modern hanging fixtures, a sleek coffee table crouched before a pair of pristine, elegant lounge chairs and a receptionist seated behind a tall, modern desk. Obviously this highly polished reception area is much more inviting and therefore would logically garner more business than the first office. In business image can be the difference between utter failure and successs and we have ask ourselves “What does my office say to my clients?”

 

First Impression

 

As the old adage goes “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” This has always held true especially in business where a client usually forms an opinion of a company within the first few minutes of interaction. What do your clients see when they come to your business? Will they be greeted with bright, energetic colors or calming neutral tones? Is there ample, comfortable seating? Natural or artificial light? All these and more are factors that will contribute to the way a possible client thinks of your business from the very moment they walk in, and creating an inviting entrance area is key in bringing in possible customers. Skutchi Designs Incorporated offers a wide selection of furniture and accessories that can make your reception area and office space stand out among a sea of competitors by offering different material and color options along with space planning and design advice.

 

Keep It Business Appropriate

 

One thing you want to avoid is sending the wrong impression about your company by not matching the décor to the manner of business you do. For example a doctors office most likely would want to use a color scheme that exudes calm with pastels or earth tones while a business dealing with sports equipment may want to use vibrant neons and bright colors that could be associated with high energy environments and activities. Sticking to colors and materials that someone can associate with the products or services they are looking for can make them feel that they’ve come to the right place and will encourage them to remember you when they think of these things. Simple color association may be the difference between securing a return customer or being forgotten.

 

Know The Trends

 

While being on the cutting edge of the latest design trends may seem important it is not always necessary to make a lasting positive impression. Sometimes a classic, traditional approach is more appropriate and using timeless techniques and looks can create a feeling of regality and sophistication. Knowing the trends, however, can grant advantages, especially in offices that are looking to achieve a modern feel. Blending natural materials such as unfinished stone, leathers, stained and exotic woods or even live plants with industrial accents like chrome, steel, cement and resins can create a very modern and refreshing environment which is a fast growing and increasingly desired look. While it may seem eclectic the proper combination of these materials can be sophisticated and inspiring. For anyone trying to achieve a certain atmosphere or even just trying to decide what look is right for them WWW.Skutchi.com has the services and products to help you create a unique and functional workspace that will impress and inspire.

 

What Does It All Mean?

 

What it all comes down to is that no matter what manner of business you do, you can create a workspace that is inviting to potential clients and business partners and also a place in which employees will look forward to spending time in. Whether you want the latest looks or a classic vibe there is no better place to start than with Skutchi Designs Incorporated for quality products and friendly, helpful service at every stage of your project. Give us a call anytime at 1-888-993-3757 and start your path to a better workplace environment!


Are Cubicle Parts Interchangeable?

 

Some of our most commonly asked questions are concerning the compatibility of different cubicle pieces and if cubicles can be moved for renovation and construction projects. The short answer in most cases is no. Some things like file cabinets and sometimes work surfaces may be interchangeable but this depends on the unit and system. The Sapphire Cubicle system for example uses tiles which can arrive separately and are assembled on site, in the event that one of these tiles needs to be replaced they can be removed and a new piece can be installed in its place. In the Emerald system, however, this is not the case as it is a monolithic system in which the cubicle walls arrive fully assembled and if damaged an entirely new wall must be ordered to replace it. No two systems can interchange pieces such as connectors, electrical supply units or walls though. Customers also often inquire about moving the cubicles for construction or lifting them with jacks to replace flooring, the only solution to this is to completely disassemble the units and remove them from the area until the project is complete. You should never try to lift them with jacks or any other device as this will cause an uneven distribution of weight and the resulting stress can cause the pieces to be pulled apart causing thousands of dollars in damage and possibly completely destroying the cubicle. To sum things up simply do not try to move any assembled pieces before taking them apart and only order replacement parts that are of the same brand and from the same system to avoid wasting precious time and resources.



Office Planning Survival Guide

What Skutchi can do for you.

 When planning an office whether you are remodeling or starting with a new space there are many factors to consider to create a professional and comfortable workplace environment that will foster creativity and efficiency and propel your business towards success. Evaluating your needs and resources are key to the process and knowing the space you have to work with will allow you to use every inch of available space to its full potential. Skutchi Designs Incorporated has the tools and knowledge to help in every aspect of office planning from space planning and design to installation and project management. Skutchi makes it possible to have the office of your dreams with a budget that won’t break the bank!

Step 1: Know your space.

Proper and accurate measurements are a vital part of any step of office planning, knowing how much space you have to work with will allow you to effectively position equipment, furniture and work areas so that they don’t interfere with each other and hinder functionality. You wouldn’t want to order a six-foot desk for a 5-foot space or prevent a door from being able to fully open. By sending the measurements of your area to Skutchi when planning your office you’re guaranteed an efficient and visually pleasing design that can be customized to your needs and wants. Some key measurements are wall to wall, width of doors as well as the direction in which they open and position/dimensions of columns and built-in fixtures.

Step 2: Who are you planning for?

Who will be using the area you are designing? What will they be doing in this area? Does the employee have any special needs? These are questions you should ask yourself when deciding what items to fill a space with. If an area is going to be used primarily for drafting it will have different needs than an area used for filing or storage, you may have to use a larger space to accommodate for large drawing tables instead of shelving units or filing cabinets. It is also important to know where the power sources in your space are located, this can aid in the placement of appliances and fixtures and help you avoid having to run extensive wiring. Properly outfitting the different areas of your business is essential to creating an efficient workspace. A Skutchi office planner can make sure that each section of your office is properly equipped to get the job done and can advise you on purchases that can improve the quality of your business.

Step 3: Accommodate Growth.

Companies are constantly growing and evolving and as they do so must the space they inhabit. This inevitability requires an office planner to think about how their office layout will allow for an increase in volume of both workload and employee head count. Does your current layout leave any available space that may be used in the future? If not you may want to consider options such as open floor plans or “Hot Desking” a seating system in which there are no assigned desks or cubicles but rather a number of workstations that can be used by anyone. This allows an office to eliminate the 1:1 ratio of workstations to employees because when one shift leaves they take all their supplies with them and open up the desk for the next shift to come in and set up. An open, unassigned seating plan means that a relatively small office can now employ a larger pool of employees and handle a greater volume of work.

Step 4: Budget Your Project.

Every project should have a target budget and every office planner should have an idea of what the client wants to achieve with that budget. Skutchi Designs Incorporated is committed to being well aware of all of their clients resources and balancing them with their needs and wants. This knowledge and dedication results in work spaces that are functional, stylish and suited to anyones individual needs. Offering fully customizable products as well as GSA and State Contract Approved options means any project can be a Skutchi project! Money isn’t the only resource which must be budgeted however; time constraints are often a crucial factor when creating a work space and Skutchi can work with you to make sure that deadlines are met and opening day is not delayed.

Step 5: Decorate

Once you’re aware of the amount of space you have to work with, what kind of equipment your business requires and how much time and money you can spend on the project it is time to think about the esthetics of your office. Do you want the space to look modern or traditional? Do you have a color scheme in mind? Have you thought about fabrics, laminates and other materials? Whether you’re starting from scratch or have a fully formed concept in mind an Office Planner from Skutchi can help you realize your vision and make it a reality. Remember that most Americans spend around half of their waking life at work so creating an atmosphere which is not only functional but also comfortable and inviting is a key element in employee happiness and performance.

 

These tips can help you make informed decisions on the layout and design of your office and along with Skutchi Designs Incorporated can turn the process into an enjoyable experience that results in a work area which will keep your employees happy and efficient and help your business flourish. For any further advice visit WWW.Skutchi.com or call us at 1-888-993-3757.


Office Furniture Insight from 'Around The Water Cooler' ~

cubicles Design Cubicles & Office Furniture:
Yes, you can have the office look you want, right down to the trim around your cubicle...and the purple cushion on your seat/file cabinet. Continue Reading