Open offices are quickly becoming the norm. Open, flexible spaces that allow people to group up and spread out as they need in order to effectively do their jobs. However, this style of office space is completely ineffective if your office furniture doesn't allow for a fully flexible workspace.
Chairs That Are Light But Adjustable
Regardless of what type of office space your employees are working in, they need seating that is adjustable enough that it can fit their body type, no matter what that may be. Working in a flexible, open office adds a layer of complexity to this problem by requiring that the chairs be light and mobile enough to be able to move them from area to area quickly and efficiently. Rather than large, imposing executive chairs, consider opting for smaller models, with light padding and a mesh back. It is possible to find this type of seating in versions that will meet compliance standards, but doesn't keep your employees from being able to wheel the chairs around the office easily.
Another option for this type of environment is to mix and match a bit. While it doesn't present as "clean" of a look to this office, this will allow your employees to select the type of seating they find most comfortable, rather than trying to find a single model that will work for everyone.
Desks that Fit the Type of Working Environment You Need
Many open offices work just like cubicles—just without the cubicle walls. If this is the route that your office is going, than traditional desks will likely be a perfectly acceptable route. For permanent or semi-permanent workspaces, you still may want to put up short dividers between the desks, so that neighbors can still maintain their personal boundaries. If you want to embrace the open concept a little further, you can go with long tables or pods of desks that don't necessarily conform to traditional rectangular spaces. These options work best in a setting where desks are not permanently assigned, as they leave little room for personal items.
For a collaborative enterprise, the desks, like the chairs, should be able to move freely around the space. This allows people to rearrange their workspace based on the number of people who are currently working together on the project. A larger group meeting can be quickly broken out into smaller groups, pairs, or individuals just by pulling apart the combined desk space.
Infrastructure That Works Anywhere
With all this moving around that your employees can now do, they will need a way to bring their technology with them wherever they go. The first way that companies are doing this is by choosing laptops over desktops. While they do allow workers to work away from the office, they also allow employees to work from anywhere in the office. This only gets more important if you are going with a design that does not have assigned workspaces. Even if an employee doesn't sit at the same desk everyday, they need to be able to work at the same computer every day so that they can set it up to best reflect the needs of their job.
Now that the computer portion is tackled, support these laptops with plenty of places to charge the laptops and solid wireless internet access so employees don't have to constantly be fiddling with cables. Adding electrical outlets throughout the space will cost a bit upfront, but it will still be far less than what you were spending on cubicles and private offices.
Getting the right office furniture is about more than meeting your budget restrictions. It is about making sure employees can do their jobs comfortably and effectively. Keeping the principles you have learned here in mind will assist you throughout the furniture selection process.