Week 4 Space Management: Inspiration – Defining Your Office Style (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)

Clare Kumar - October 5, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Given the amount of time spent in our offices, once designed for function, it makes sense to create spaces we truly enjoy being in. Since offices hold large variety items, selecting a style can help unify the space and reduce visual chaos. In this article, we’ll consider furniture, soft furnishings, and lighting. In the next, we’ll explore colour, art, and accessories.

1. Furniture

Natural wood is an age-old favourite for office furniture. Available in a wide range of finishes, it adds warmth to any space from traditional to contemporary. Most factories finished surfaces are durable and ready to stand up to daily use.

Laminated surfaces are scratch resistant, easy to clean and come in a variety of colours.

Metal and glass combinations offer clean lines and provide a more industrial look. Carefully consider the placement of glass pieces as they reflect light which could be distracting. Glass is susceptible to showing fingerprints and streaks which could be aggravating and it also offers no place for electrical cords to hide. Cordless computer peripherals and cable management systems will help avoid a cluttered desk area especially if you select a transparent top.

A hot trend right now is the combination of light coloured wood and metal shelving, tables, and desks. When kitting out your office, try and purchase all the pieces you think you will need for space at one time to avoid being disappointed later if items are discontinued or colours change.

2. Soft Furnishings

In addition to softening the appearance of the office, soft furnishings such as carpet and draperies or blinds also dampen sound. In a noisy office environment, it will help people avoid distractions and maintain focus on their work. Consider durable, easy to clean natural fabrics.

If you will be rolling chairs or filing carts, keep carpet pile low so wheels roll freely. Make sure rug edges won’t get caught in the wheels.

3. Lighting

In every office space, you will want to consider natural, ambient and task lighting.

Fluorescent lights provide light with no shadows, however, can cause fatigue because they don’t display the full spectrum provided by sunlight. Light from the full spectrum helps set our circadian rhythm. Without this, we feel like we’ve spent the whole day in the dark. Change old bulbs as soon as they flicker to avoid additional fatigue.

Incandescent lamps or ceiling fixtures provide warmer ambient light. Halogen up-lights also do a good job.

For task lights, consider a full-spectrum light on an adjustable neck so you can focus it where you’re working. Place the lamp on the same side as your non-dominant hand to avoid casting shadows on your writing.

Coming up next in the series: Space Management: Inspiration – Personalizing your space

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.


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