The 5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Office Furniture

Apr 18, 2022

Not considering how your office space contributes to your Attract and Retain strategy

The competition for top talent has never been greater or more urgent. Experts predict most companies will see up to 40% of their current workforce retire in the next 5-7 years as the Baby Boomers begin their mass exodus from the workforce.  Replacing the Boomers will be Millennials and Gen Z and this talent pool is smaller and has vastly different ideas about where they choose work.  Designing a workscape that is appealing to these newer workers is an important step in attracting them. (HINT; they don’t aspire to sit in a corner office 20 years down the road).

2. Not considering employee comfort and health

There is a strong correlation between employee comfort and productivity. Ergonomic design is the key to achieving comfort, productivity and safety.  It only takes 1 less day of absenteeism to justify a better chair, a good monitor arm or even a sit-to-stand work surface.  It is also away for company to show how much they value their employees- this is especially critical with younger workers.  That expression “sitting is the new smoking” isn’t targeted at Boomers, but it really resonates with Millennials.

3. Not buying furniture with future flexibility in mind

Think about how much technology has changed in the past 10-15 years and the impact it has had on the workplace.  Most cubicles 10 years were designed with a big corner worksurface to handle the large CRT screens of the day.  Now not only are CRT screens gone but many workstations today have dual flat-screen monitors in them.  Choose furniture manufacturers with a broad range of very adaptive furniture.  The speed of change in business is faster than it ever has been and your workscape needs to be as agile as your business.

4. Not factoring service into your buying decision.

Let’s face it, price is important.  But so is service, it’s the reason Internet sales haven’t taken over many industry segments.  Scale also matters; if you are buying one chair and you know what you want then service really isn’t a big deal as long as you are buying from reputable company. If you are moving into new space, however, you probably have a sense that this is a major undertaking with lots of moving parts and Murphy’s Law is the law of the land.  You need a great team with experience and this is the true value that your office furniture dealer brings to the table.  The Dealer along with the Design Professional you select will have a far greater impact on your business than price you paid for furniture.   Most companies today do not have full-time Facility Managers on staff and even those that do rely heavily on the support staff of the Dealer for a smooth project.  Assuming all Dealers have equal capacity and expertise is an easy trap to fall into.  Also it’s a good idea to find out if and when they charge for those services- you don’t want to make a commitment and then find out the meter is running with every phone call.  

5. Choosing price over value

Everyone loves a bargain, but when you’re evaluating price make sure you give strong consideration to value.  It is smart to consider the cost of ownership over the life of the product. A good example is task chairs, a throwaway chair will be less expensive but it won’t last long and it won’t be comfortable for your employees.  Bargain chairs also usually have a much shorter warranty period and a much lower weight class. Building out of dry wall is another good example.  Conventional construction may have a lower cost but it is inflexible, has a 39 year depreciation schedule and will end up in a landfill with the first change.  Off-site pre-fab construction is competitive but is far more flexible, works with technology today and tomorrow, has an accelerated 7 year depreciation schedule and can be re-used over and over again as the business needs change.

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