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Setting A Precedent For Office Furniture

Jun 6, 2008
When It comes to office furniture, it would seem Google is the place to be. Their offices have made news headlines with their unconventional approach to office furniture, but it seems to work and I don't know many people that wouldn't give their right arm to work in an office where you get to arrive in the canteen on a giant slide or hold your meetings in a 'pod' that resembles either a Swiss chalet or an igloo.

When you've had enough of work you could head off to the games room for a while or chill out in the aquarium, laying in a pool of red foam. If this doesn't grab your fancy, visit the library kitted out to look like an old English country house. Gaze at the lava lamps when you're looking for work inspiration or indulge yourself in some of the free food that is abundant at the Google office. If you're in a rush to get from one office to another, simply take the fireman's pole for speed.

This all sounds like great fun but what affect does it have on business? Well, the staff are happy, the work gets done and most IT people have the Google office up on a pedestal as their dream office to work in. Does it make you wonder how the work gets done when people are surrounded by so many fun things to do and office furniture that doubles up as a playground?

There is no need. The staff are so content at the lack of pressure that they are more than happy to get their work completed. It actually seems to give them more incentive and this is understandable if you look at a general office where people are pressured by forceful bosses into meeting targets and penned into little cubicles to do so. It seems the conventional office is more guilty of treating adults like children in their method of restraining them so they don't become distracted rather than giving them free choice.

Google bosses find that work and play can co-exist. They even allow their staff to use twenty per cent of their allotted work time to participate or create new projects. This has led to many new developments in the world of Google because all projects are open for anybody to have access to. The staff feel trusted and are much more willing to come forward with ideas and put in that extra effort to get a new idea off the ground. With this in mind, the walls of Google have many whiteboards dotted around for people to scribble down their ideas before they are forgotten.

Happy staff are productive staff and this should be true in any office, regardless of whether or not it has a status that matches Google. Of course, not all businesses can afford to equip their offices with such funky office furniture but there are many things they can do, not just to boost staff moral but to create the right impression for visitors.

Who wants to do business in a dull, dreary office surrounding with drab coloured walls? This does not aid inspiration or cheerfulness or productivity. If you cannot splash out on new office furniture, you could always simply give the place a lick of paint. There is a lot to be said for the colour of an office and colour therapy has been used by many people to create different atmospheres.

If you're looking for a calm, serene place try painting the walls blue or green and to keep the mood upbeat go for a yellow or orange. Even in an open plan office, colour can be used to give clarity to different areas, providing the colours are not clashing. Bright, ergonomic furniture will make the staff more comfortable and will be more welcoming for visitors.
About the Author
Recruitment expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of modern office furniture to keep employees happy.
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