When you’re looking at that cavernous warehouse space or empty office floor, use your imagination. You can picture it populated with your bustling, thriving business.

And you know it’s about balance. When arranging that open office space, you need both privacy and collegiality, team brainstorming and individual concentration. This balance can be struck and perfected with the proper open area office furniture.

The best layout and design of your office will depend on your corporate culture. Does your company practice democratic decision-making, for example? Then a space featuring more collaborative work spaces – larger tables with chairs, easily-accessed presentation tech, lounge spaces for brainstorming – will be high on your list.

A more traditional, top-down corporate structure, however, might require a greater number of individual workspaces, cubicles, or benching, and a few walled-in private offices.

In a huge space, you can even carve out an office area using the right office furniture in pavilions: sets of modular walls, doors and even ceilings that can designate an office area in part of a storage warehouse or manufacturing facility.

These pavilions, along with the right combination of desks, benching, and tables, can also contain a cable and wire management system, making the space as clutter-free as possible. You’ll also have to consider the storage you’ll need for files and office supplies.

There are so many questions to answer: how much space is actually a comfortable working space, anyway? How might your employees might want to personalize their space to feel comfortable in it day after day? Which people on your staff need visual and acoustic privacy for confidential conversations? Do you have a group talking on the phone all day? How will you keep their voices from constantly distracting each other?

So the office furniture you choose will affect how your people communicate with one another, how efficiently your teams move about the space and even determine ease of access for cleaning and maintenance. All these factors will affect your workers’ long-term health and safety. In fact, keeping your people healthy and safe is one of the best criteria for helping choose furniture for your open area office.

Different work styles need different office furniture. Does your staff do more sitting or  standing? More long stretches of individual work or more team consultation? Either way, work surfaces that can be adjusted to different heights and can be used in either a sitting or standing position can help preserve employees’ backs and legs.

People who stare at a screen all day need their monitors placed at the correct viewing distance to prevent eye strain. They should be placed about an arm’s length from a worker’s body. A monitor’s correct height and angle, neither too high nor too low, will prevent glare and stave off workplace musculoskeletal injuries. Place monitors at a worker’s eye level or slightly below, or make sure their height is adjustable. This will also help workers maintain correct posture.

For those who sit all day, you’ll want to invest in the best office chairs you can afford, that adjust to the largest range of human shapes and sizes. Consider even unconventional seating, like sit/stand seats, kneeling chairs, or forward sloping chairs. While on first consideration these might seem like odd or overly luxurious items, the long-term health of your workers will pay off in improved productivity, a higher office morale, and reduced time off.

Chairs or work surfaces that are too high or too low can encourage neck and shoulder pain, poor blood flow in the legs, and general physical tiredness. Take into account the sequences and the repetitive aspects of your workers’ tasks as well, to plan your workspaces so that moving from one task to another is as efficient as possible and workers have room to tackle their various duties comfortably without getting in each others’ way.

And of course you want office furniture that’s attractive – you have to look at it all day! Beauty and harmony of design can bring serenity to even a busy space, and will add value to your brand when important clients come to visit.

So many details! It sounds pretty overwhelming, doesn’t it? This is why you need Kyle and his team at Total Visions. They can help you craft the perfect office space to keep your employees well, help your project teams do their best work and make it all beautiful to boot. Contact them today.

For more information on health and safety while planning an office, check out the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the source of much of this article’s information. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/