Modern Executive Office Furniture
The executive office furniture at the Acme law firm looked like something out of an old TV series about an erudite criminal attorney of worldwide fame who always won his case in the allotted sixty minutes. The three partners in the firm had given one another blank checks to decorate their offices, and each one did try to outdo the other in splendiferous fashion. Each office had thick pile green carpeting, and the similarities did not stop after the carpet. To a person viewing all three offices, it appeared that the attorney's wives had summoned the same decorator, and Feng Shui was not part of her Master's degree study. A heavy, top-down atmosphere in each office telegraphed the message that there would never be modern executive office furniture in any of the partner's offices for the next forty years. They were the Classic soda among all the newfangled diet drinks known as start up law partnerships. The firm's instruction manual for putting together a well respected law firm came out of the pages of an eastern university's law journal of the nineteen twenties.
There was no ambulance chasing, no television commercials and no advertising of any kind emanating from the quiet hallways of this prestigious law firm. It was the firm's reputation that drove the business to their library-like workplaces. The furniture featured large inlays of cherry and mahogany throughout the massive desks of all three attorneys. Each desk a little different in design and motif, one purchased from a Tuscany wood maker, one from a furniture maker at Stratford on Avon , and the third which featured carved lions as part of the leg structure came from Black Forest craftsmen. Hunter green walls made the cherry legal file cabinets jump to life, while Tiffany style lamps dotted the desks and end tables in each office and small chandeliers hung from the center of each room. The executive office furniture also included Windsor back chairs and rich brown leather club seating that gave off a very non subtle message of power and prestige as well as the coat for arms over the conference table in each of the three private workspaces.
The three Ivy League barristers had helped broker big deals, influence politicians and make millions of dollars for their clients and for themselves. Consequently, their homes, their cars and their lavish surroundings at the building that had housed the partnership for those twenty five years had to always exude the aroma of worldly success, including, of course their executive office furniture. The years took a toll as they always do, and when one of the partners became ill and passed away, the remaining two knew it was time to bring in a new partner who was younger and prepared to take the firm into the next century with fresh ideas and ways of practicing the law. Little did they know what awaited them one afternoon when the young woman they hired as a new partner blew into town in her three cylinder hybrid car and complained there weren't any organic chips in the firm's vending machine. This would not be business as usual.
The two partners had assured the woman that there would be ample money to decorate the workspace assigned to her, but there was no hint as to the changes that would take place. Modern executive office furniture would dominate her office. Chrome, curved maple wood and lots of glass would begin to describe the desk of choice. Blue leathered accent chairs that had the shape of a lunar landing module surrounded the front of the desk. The woman's modern executive office furniture choices also included a solid glass conference table with four plain spindled chrome legs, wall to wall Maplewood bookcases with glass doors and chrome floor lamps that featured five foot extensions that ended with 1960's style miniature hair dryer as the lampshades. Add to those changes cream colored carpeting, accent rugs from Scandinavia and white walls filled with abstract art and the move for this law firm into the 21st century had begun. And perhaps one of the most shocking requests the new partner had was the removal of all curtains from the windows to actually let in sunlight and the other two partners began openly questioning each other's wisdom.
The move from the more traditional executive office furniture to modern executive office furniture can actually be, in many cases, a shift in organizational paradigm thinking. If a business executive is really into exuding power and authority, it can be at least be partially accomplished by continuing the heavy presence in the choice of furniture for the workplace. Cherry, walnut and mahogany woods speak of the traditional "top down" leadership model. The typical heavier, massive executive type desk can usher in a library type office aura where speaking in hushed tones befits the mantel of the high end executive. "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psalm 127:1)
Progressive collaborative and horizontal leadership paradigms encourage more open door policies and less emphasis upon titles. Executives wishing to pursue this kind of company atmosphere must begin to think about the entire approach to leadership, including the choice to have the more traditional executive office furniture or move to a more modern executive office furniture design that emphasizes openness throughout the company. While the top down leadership model works well in many instances, the wise executive wishing to instill a more collaborative approach knows that giving up the limo for pickup might also be a good move.
Ergonomic Office FurnitureUsing ergonomic office furniture can help relieve stress and strain on a person's joints and muscles. Ergonomics is a scientific discipline that is concerned with designing an appropriate environment for individuals so that work can be performed without causing injury. Most people are familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome, possibly the best-known repetitive motion injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the name given to wrist injuries that are usually attributed to computer use. The repetitive motions used in typing on the keyboard and operating the computer mouse can cause stress and injury to the wrists. For this reason, some keyboards are ergonomically designed to reduce the risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these keyboards have a slightly curved shape so that the typist hits the keys at different angles than she would on a standard keyboard. Some keyboards come with a cushioned pad that is used as a resting place for the wrists. Improvements are also being made to the computer mouse so that the rolling action is minimized. All these improvements are beneficial to a computer user's wrists, hands, and fingers. It's not just the keyboard and computer mouse that have been improved, however; ergonomic office furniture also provides needed comfort to the desk jockey.
Administrative assistants and secretaries have always spent a large part of their work day in a chair and at a desk. They used to have rolodexes for addresses and phone numbers. They wrote the boss's appointments in a large calendar. But now contact information and schedules are kept on a program that can be accessed by the boss, her administrative assistant, and perhaps others in the department. The boss may be spending as much time performing tasks with a computer as the support staff. These hardworking individuals need ergonomic office furniture so that they can do their jobs in the most efficient and healthy manner. Desk chairs are designed to provide proper support for the back to minimize slumping and maximize good posture. Chairs that are ergonomically designed can be adjusted so that the person's feet rest comfortably on the floor. Ergonomics is also concerned with desk height and reach how far the person has to stretch his arms to reach the keyboard or mouse. For maximum benefit, the keyboard and mouse should be on the same level, but this level needs to be lower than the surface of the desk that is used for writing or other non-computer tasks.
With the increasing global dependence on computers to perform even the simplest tasks, more and more people are spending long hours using computers even if that's not part of their job description. They can benefit from ergonomic office furniture, too. For example, students conduct research and write papers on laptops. Online communities and social networks provide a way of staying in touch with friends and the opportunity to make new acquaintances. Growing numbers of people play games, watch movies, shop, and do their banking online. Family photographs are now uploaded instead of stored in shoeboxes in the closet. All this online activity means that even non-office employees are spending time with a computer. The science of chair heights and desk heights apply to all this non-employment computer usage, too. It may be fun and relaxing to slouch on the couch with a laptop, but this poor posture can increase neck strain and shoulder aches. Even in the home, ergonomic office furniture has a legitimate place.
The psalmist wrote: "But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me. My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD" (Psalm 26:11). Integrity and the "even place" symbolize spiritual blessing and health. Similarly, the musculoskeletal system requires the physical integrity that comes from proper posture for optimal health. Standing tall, even when sitting, keeps the spine properly aligned with the rest of the bones. This decreases joint pressure and muscle strain. The design of ergonomic office furniture provides a comfortable and appropriate environment for prolonged computer usage. Another key element of ergonomic design is the distance from the individual's eyes to the center of the monitor. The proper distance lessens eyestrain. Computer users are often encouraged to take several breaks and are reminded to purposely blink. A room's lighting should be ergonomically designed to provide the best light without reflective glare.
Another major concern, too often ignored by users, is the heat generated by some laptops. People have actually been burned through their clothing while holding notebook computers on their laps. Here again, ergonomic office furniture is the solution. Experts recommend that people have some type of portable desk for their notebooks. A variety of desk trays and stands are now in the market to meet this need. For example, desktop replacement stands are designed so that the laptop is inclined at a 45 degree angle for optimum viewing. Off-the-lap stands are an extremely versatile option because of they have adjustable, multi-hinged legs. This allows the stand to be placed at various heights and incline degrees. The person is protected from the heat and the viewing is better. Posture may be improved, too, since it's hard to slouch with a tray or stand. Anyone who uses a computer several hours a day should consider ergonomic office furniture as a precaution against stress and strain. Many styles of desks and chairs are available the important thing is to find the desk and chair that is right for the individual. Lighting also needs to be considered. Laptop users should seriously consider using a tray or stand to encourage good posture and avoid burns.