Secret Santa Gift Ideas for your Office Cubicle.

Your co-worker’s office cubicle looks like it’s about due for some sprucing up. Here are some gift ideas you can use to help him jazz up his space (or yours):

Cubicle life can be lonesome, so how about printing a cubicle companion? Printing? You heard me. Head on over to Cubeecraft where artist Chris Beaumont provides over two hundred free designs that can be printed and origami’d into “Cubees” depicting favorite pop culture icons, from the well-known (Superman) to the obscure (Jailbot from Superjail!). The cubical design is linear cool, with none of ‘em looking out of place in a Herman Miller cubicle.

Each Cubee is ranked on a difficulty scale that gives you an idea how long it’ll take you to put it together – ideally in time for the office party. Print out thirty, and craft ‘em for the rest of the office; just have an excuse handy when the office manager asks about your massive printing expenses.        read more..

Pranks, Parties, and Other Fun Cubicle Activities.

How do you put a constantly-complaining colleague in his place? Simple: make his complaints of “I’m being buried alive in my work!” a reality, if only a little: Your next project: how to bury your whiney colleague’s cubicle. All in good fun, of course.

Frivolous? Hell no, you need these stunts to make life on the cubicle farm more bearable. Play is an integral part of a productive workforce – managers ought to tolerate a little prankery like the demonstration above.

Or an office party – with the holidays coming up, even businesses weakened by the economy ought to have an opportunity to celebrate, boosting morale and building teamwork.

Carin Warner’s workforce will be celebrating more humbly this year – “We’re going to scale back and still have fun together,” said Warner, proprietor of the Boston-based public relations firm Warner Communication, is based in Boston. Potluck party on the beach replaces weekend getaways for Warner, but no matter – the party is the important thing.

Teamwork will be reinforced by involving employees in the planning process – “The very coming together over a non-work task is in itself delightful, delicious and engaging,” said employee retention consultant Beverly Kaye.

Modular Furniture – Godsend for Facility Managers.

Facility managers take note – modular furniture is your friend. Today’s Facility Manager chimes in with some useful tips for managing office furniture, when the time comes to move ‘em around your territory.

Furniture that can be easily moved around is key. Ease of disassembly is another attractive characteristic for many FM’s. And it’s worth noting that this advantage is not limited to chairs, desks, storage, and the like.

“Modular interior construction is finally beginning to realize its potential,” observes Mark Paul, national sales manager for OM Workspace based in Naperville, IL. “Many buildings use movable walls, raised floors, sound masking systems, and indirect lighting fixtures to [facilitate easily reconfigured space.]”facilities management furniture trends

Wait, isn’t modular furniture expensive? Not anymore; one side-effect of the recession is a glut in used office furniture, and a corresponding surfeit of remanufactured office furniture that’s practically indistinguishable from brand new, but comes at a lower cost.

This provides an advantage for the facility manager with one eye to the future, and another on his bottom line.

Modular office furniture is not only adequately represented in remanufactured furniture catalogs (such as Cubicles.com’s extensive inventory of remanufactured furniture by Herman Miller – watch out, it’s in PDF). Modular office furniture’s increasing versatility and interchangeability offers the following advantages highly sought after by facility managers:

Adaptability: such furniture can be reconfigured to serve a variety of job types. They can be adapted to current usage, or put away when downsizing or restructuring occurs.

Compatibility: remanufactured office furniture catalogs allow facility managers to match newly-purchased furniture to existing product lines – minimizing the mismatch that often comes when the manager has to wait long periods before purchasing new furniture.

Customization: remanufactured office furniture allows a high degree of customization when called for. Call center operators and vice presidents have very different needs – a facility manager ought to be able to provide for the needs of both.

Mona Hoffman, vice president of marketing at Kimball Office in Jasper, IN, notes the way the wind is blowing for facility managers. “There is a need for multipurpose products that easily adapt to changing footprints and flex with the flow of people and projects,” Hoffman reports.

Noise in Open Office Plans Kills Productivity.

Office cubicle stations beware: open office setups can be bad for corporate productivity. According to Julian Treasure, Chairman of sound consultancy The Sound Agency, the impact of sound on business is way out of proportion to the attention it’s been given so far.

Most organizations have no idea about the impact that sound makes on business, and therefore don’t seek to control it. But sound does affect workers on a very deep level – changing behavior in subtle ways for both good and ill.

In open office plans, Treasure notes, average ambient noise can drop productivity by over 60%. The good news, Treasure reassures us, is that workers in open office plans can triple average productivity just by wearing headphones playing the sounds of twittering birds.

Don’t take our word for it, listen to Treasure’s TED Talk below.

Is the future looking up for office furniture industry?

A qualified yes, says industry analyst Michael Dunlap.

A survey of executives at key furniture makers and suppliers registered a 51.45 quarterly office index as of October, the best result since July 2008.

Out of 10 measures, eight show an upbeat trend – these include shipments, new product development, and capital expenditures. A few job-related sectors are still below 50 (although showing a trend towards improvement) – employment, hours worked, per-employee costs and personal outlook.

For Dunlap, a noted industry analyst, this snapshot of the furniture business shows an improving business climate. “More than 42 percent reported they are optimistic about the future. It was only 25 percent in April,” said Dunlap, the principal in Michael A. Dunlap & Associates LLC, which conducted the survey.

The October survey indicates the industry likely bottomed out on the second quarter, Michael Dunlap said.

“The continued increases in shipment, orders, and others factors during the third quarter suggest that we have passed into a new stage of recovery,” Dunlap predicted. “There may be some bumps ahead in the road, because this recovery is going very slowly.”

True that – the latest results from the Federal Reserve’s survey of economic conditions nationwide show furniture companies in Richmond suffering from lowered demands and closing plants.

In other words – still rough going, but the furniture industry looks like it’s turned the corner!

Cool Vespas Resurrected as Office Chairs.


Image © Bel & Bel.

Office furniture that’s been around the block doesn’t usually generate a lot of consumer demand. But what about office furniture that’s been recycled from classic scooters?

Watch out for Spanish design house Bel & Bel’s new creations in your local cubicle farm: super-classy hand-made leather office chairs, made primarily from Italian Vespa scooters. The Vespa’s front shield creates a perfect silhouette for an office chair back rest – combined with a few key spare parts, these make office chairs that make an incredible visual impact.

Also, given the variety of colors that old Vespas came in, you’ll probably find a Vespa chair that suits your office, no problem.

In the old days, Vespa scooters were a symbol of carefree Continental lifestyles, immortalized in movies from the Sixties. But the Vespa’s air-cooled two-stroke engine is dirty and bad for the environment; the proliferation of cheap two-stroke cycles around the world accounts for much of the air pollution in developing countries.

“In the cities of many developing countries, the pollution is horrific,” says acting director of the Energy Efficiency Center at the University of California at Davis Daniel Sperling. “Two-stroke engines are a big part of the problem.”

But Vespa is still tres cool for so many retro-maniacs. Sure, old Vespas kill the Earth a little for every mile they run, but that’s no reason to hate them completely, right? So Bel y Bel made the leap from Vespa scooters to office furniture – rejuvenating Vespa retro cool and rehabilitating its polluting former life at the same time.

Office Furniture: Re-used or Remanufactured?

Office furniture being the expensive, long-term investment that it is, it behooves you to figure out how you can get the biggest bang for your office buck.

Brand new office furniture might burn you in more ways than one – you might end up paying top dollar for chairs, desks and cubicles that just won’t get the kind of use that justifies the expense. (Especially during these parlous economic times.) When your big operation cuts its workforce, what are you going to do with all that extra office furniture?

Consider alternative number one: used office furniture. With office closures being far too common these days, it’s a buyers’ market for used office furniture: barely used, and much cheaper than their brand new counterparts.

How much should you expect to pay for used office furniture? It depends on what’s available, and how much of it you need. Of course, quality will be highly variable, and you can’t expect to get exactly the color or make you want.

Now consider alternative number two: remanufactured office furniture. What’s the difference? Remanufactured office furniture comes from previously-used office furniture, but put through a remanufacturing process that strips off the old surfaces, refurbishes the structure, and refinishes the surface so the whole thing looks practically brand new – despite prices that may be up to 80% cheaper than comparable brand new furniture!     (read more)

Cubicle Farms Making Way for Apartments?

We saw this happen in Soho – a run-down work area is transformed into a hip residential community. Of course, this happened after a long process involving penniless bohemians, urban gentrification, and soaring real estate prices. Could it happen again to recession-hit office cubicle blocks?

It just might – office vacancies are rising to 13 percent in Manhattan alone; pricey office towers are losing tenants fast, and older office buildings are facing a crunch they just might never pull out of.

In New York, ground zero for the recession is putting its toe in the residential water; the New York headquarters of the American International Group (AIG) at 70 Pine Street will undergo a transformation at the hands of developer Young Woo, who plans to split the building’s 66 stories between condos on the top floors and commercial establishments on the lower floors.           read more

Special Seating Deal this October!

Forget about ghosts and goblins this Halloween. You know what’s really scary? Lumbar pains, especially when they strike the executive workforce.

If you’re the guy who made the decision to buy the chairs in the office, the suits will blame you for their lowered productivity and increased suffering. Luckily, there’s a way to correct the situation.

For the month of October, Cubicles.com is offering Offices to Go’s Leather Executive Seating solution for the special price of $199! (Originally $239). read more

Ergonomic About-Face for New Apple Patent.

The ergonomic thingamajig that Apple submitted for patent is turning out to be the last thing Apple fan-boys would ever guess it to be: a multitouch mouse cum keyboard gadget. Just what your office cubicle needed – another expensive way to get carpal tunnel, from your friends at Apple!

Seriously, the patent (long believed by Apple true believers to be a new tablet computer) is just another way of getting data into existing Apple computers; not as sexy, but just as useful.

Turns out that input with a stylus, keyboard, or mouse can be duplicated with the right kind of touch-sensitive technology – an insight that Apple seems to have glommed onto with its new patent.

The patent application, filed by Morrison and Foerster LLP, describes a hand-based system that permits “unprecedented integration of typing, resting, pointing, scrolling, 3D manipulation and handwriting into a versatile, ergonomic computer input device,” reports the AppleInsider blog. read more

 Page 4 of 5 « 1  2  3  4  5 »