The discovery of paper in China helped to fuel the need for a piece of furniture that supports reading and writing. The oldest mention about the desk comes from medieval times. At that time, the desks were made of thick wooden boards. The significant change came in the renaissance, when woodworking became more precise, which made it possible to create refined and slimmer desk designs. During this period, cabinet-making began to be recognized as a distinctive trade. Moving to the 18th century, we see the rise of commercial buildings with the first open offices. Desks in rows and special rooms for management became the norm. Industrial Revolution in the 19th century also started a revolution in furniture manufacturing. Steam-driven machinery allowed to make cheaper wood-pulp paper. And desks, as well as other office furniture, began to be mass-produced.
The word ”desk” comes from the Modern Latin word “desca”, which means “table to write on”.
While the original purpose of the desk, to support creators and readers has not changed, the tools we use did. Also, the way we work has shifted drastically in the last forty years, when personal computers made their way into our lives. Designers and manufacturers suddenly had to think about how to accommodate computers with all of their cables and accessories. New materials and manufacturing technologies have made it all easier.
At the beginning of the 21st century, distances were shortened as transportation became broadly available, including air travel. Also thanks to that, people started to think more about flexible work and work/life balance. These trends were only recently accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made us rethink how we work and live. Today, people demand office furniture that suits their modern lifestyle whether if it’s at home or in the office. Modern office furniture is flexible, sustainable and enables us to work healthy and be productive using the latest technology.
Yokeback armchair and editing desk, Ming dynasty, 12th century
The lounge is usually where the customer gets to experience the company culture for the first time. Ideally, the reception visually enhances the interior and represents the brand’s visual language, making it easier for the visitor to connect with the brand. The reception should start a customer’s positive and long-lasting relationship with the company.
A barrier that separates the visitor and the staff ensures the employee’s privacy, but it shouldn’t be too significant to enable effective interaction. A spacious counter allows smooth document handovers and provides an ideal platform for placing leaflets, hand sanitizer, or flowers to brighten up the atmosphere. The visitors will also appreciate that they can let their bag sit on the shelf, integrated to the front of the reception while interacting with the front staff.
Removable shield can add a layer of protection without compromising on the function thanks to the cutouts. For the front staff to effectively help the visitor, they need to be equipped with a spacious tabletop without any distractions, like cables that should be routed from the tabletop via cable management. Also, the front staff need an easy access to the necessary documents to successfully help the visitor or collaborate with a colleague. For this purpose, the modern reception should feature a smartly placed storage solution with locks, just in case the staff need to leave the desk.
The waiting area hides the opportunity to leave a great impression on the visitor before the actual meeting. It is crucial to make his/her stay as pleasant and efficient as possible. A comfortable, easy to clean lounge chair is a good start. Offer a cup of coffee that your visitor can put on the stylish table, which is, of course, spill and scratch-resistant. While waiting for the drink to cool down a bit, your clients will find the conveniently integrated outlet in the chair. And so, without any effort, all of their devices will soon be fully charged. Now, they are ready to meet you knowing that they are being well taken care of.
Lockers not only prevent the workstation from being cluttered with personal stuff, but they also make employee’s day much easier. Let’s look at it this way: An employee comes in the morning to the well-maintained locker room, where he/she stores the coat, hat and a bag for that evening tennis match with a friend. Then he/she heads to the workplace worry-free, knowing that all the belongings are safe and secure. Depending on the nature of work, office geographical location and employee’s lifestyle, the right size and features of the lockers might vary. Therefore, it is necessary to find a supplier that can deliver the right furniture solution that will also fit the interior visual style.
What back in the day used to be a massive tabletop with reinforced legs and crossbeams, is now a light, ergonomic and easy-to-transport workstation. Modern-day desks are designed so that it takes minimum effort to receive and install them. They adjust to the environment and allow us the do the most with the advanced work tools we have. The office workers can easily connect all their devices to the existing grid thanks to the cable management integrated into the desk. The levelers allow having the tabletop completely levelled, in case of an uneven floor. And shall the nature of work require an extended tabletop, the CNC technology allows to manufacture laminated MDF in ergonomic shapes so that the worker can reach an optimal workflow on multiple surfaces. When it comes to moving, desks with Snap-In technology can be flat-packed easily without any special tools and reassembled at the new location.
There is no discussion about the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. We wrote more about this topic in this article. As this study shows, people that are less physically active (eg. 8 hours sitting at work plus a couple more hours at home without regular physical activity) have a 30% more chance of developing and dying from one of the health conditions caused by a lack of movement. In combination with regular active breaks, standing desks have a significant positive effect on people’s health and productivity. Not only that workers burn more calories while standing, but according to this study, they are about 45% more productive than using a classic desk. Do you still think that standing desks are only a distraction? You literally spend zero time controlling them. All you need is to just choose one of your preset positions and the desk will instantly adjust for you.
Panel systems offer personalized privacy while not completely isolating the employees, keeping them engaged in the team activity if necessary. Great acoustic properties and productive accessories are making panel systems a go-to power solution for open offices. On top of that, modern panel systems are made of exchangeable elements, allowing to modify and reuse the solution based on the business needs. Every panel systems station is unique, the desk and the storage solution are selected to perfectly serve the need of an employee or a group of employees. The panels can be made of laminate, glass or tackable fabrics and feature cable management, making it easier to keep the tabletops clean and organized.
Benching systems is a newer, lightweight solution that offers all the necessary tools for effective and healthy work within the team. But it can also provide a great amount of privacy when equipped with dividers. Benching systems share the same base, which saves the material. In comparison with panel systems, the lack of tall partition walls allows the light to brighten up the workplace and better air circulation. Natural light is proven to have a significant positive effect on people’s health and productivity. This study showed that optimal daylight exposure reduces worker’s headaches and eye strain by 84%. If necessary, Blade and Side Shields might be added to provide a layer of protection from airborne particles travelling on a trajectory.
Decluttered and neat workplace is the key to keep things organized and stay productive. There is no doubt that objects around us influence us in the way we feel and perform. This research has shown that the physical environment influences our cognition, emotions and behavior. Therefore, the way how our environment is designed and how we operate in it can send our stress levels high, or make us feel comfortable and stimulate us in better performance. Even when you achieved to be paperless, there are still many things and tools you use daily. And so, it is important to pay attention to each role in the office and make sure they have easy access to the right storage solution.
“The human body was never designed for a sedentary lifestyle” is also the title of our blog post. And while our bodies are designed to move, it cannot be always achieved, especially with an office job. A modern office chair supports an active upright sitting posture and can be adjusted to every body type. But don’t be mistaken, even in an office chair, you can move. Lean back from time to time and take a break, so you can refocus again. The synchronous mechanism allows you to do that comfortably when the seat and armrests follow the movement of the backrest. Adjust the pressure of the backrest so it encourages you to keep the upright position without heavily leaning back. And don’t lock it. There has to be a balance that keeps the muscles in your body engaged, allowing free movement. Chairs that are lacking these options are not ideal for 8-hour focused work, as it is hard to avoid staying in a stiff position or slouch. These postures are classified as unhealthy and, as this study points out, can lead to serious adverse health issues including, back pain and headaches in the short run.
The King Arthur with his round table that he used when meeting with knights was onto something. The round design keeps everyone at the same distance and makes all the participants feel equal. This encourages everyone to be part of the discussion and exchange their ideas. Also, the Square table might be suitable. However, not all meeting room layouts allow such table designs. Many times, the meetings take place in longer rectangular rooms that can only accommodate tables of a similar shape. The participants then sit alongside two long sides with the leading person in the front of the table. This layout is ideal for presentation or decisive meetings. Tables with integrated power and data plugs make it easy for participants to use their devices. Some modern meeting tables also have a storage space integrated into the central pedestal, where presentation equipment can be stored. This allows to keep the rest of the meeting room clean and allows everyone to focus on what’s important.
Office in an office. Booths are a welcoming escape from the busy office, where an employee can have a quiet moment, make a confidential call or gather team members for a quick meeting. The interior of booths is optimized for the best acoustics and usually features a table and a comfortable chair with convenient power/data plugs. That’s all an employee needs to work while having the best conditions to focus. Open or closed booths with a door come in all sizes. So the employee can choose an ideal environment for the particular task. That way, the employer benefits from the employee’s uninterrupted schedule using a solution that acts as a separate room.
Health and safety
Returning to the office while still not quite out of the pandemic has many people question its safety aspect. It is important that companies put in place appropriate safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and thus make employees feel comfortable coming back. Shields (also called “sneeze guards”) are an effective layer of protection when installed on client-focused workstations or collaborative workstations where social distancing is not possible. This study proves the shields to be very effective in reducing aerosols transmitted from person to person by about 92%. It is not necessary to install the shields permanently and potentially devaluate the furniture. Choose shields that are easy to install, remove and reuse wherever needed. With the right choice, you won’t compromise on productivity either. Shields can come with a cutout for smooth transactions and handovers.