Tag Archives: All Makes Office Equipment Co

Where Do You Work? Everywhere!

May 18, 2017 by

People share documents, manage projects, offer advice, and develop relationships without sitting across from each other in the office.

The mobile workforce in the U.S. has grown from 96.2 million in 2015 to a projected 105 million by 2020, accounting for nearly 75 percent of the U.S. labor force, according to a new report from IDC, a global market intelligence firm. It’s not just millennials delivering these increases, it’s the growing number of independent contractors working alone or with other free agents. No longer just in offices, we work at home, client offices, and a variety of other places.

Employees are experiencing a much greater choice of location and work-life balance. These factors have reshaped our job as it’s always been. Work now happens at the office, home, almost anywhere!

We are choosing places with engaging, welcoming environments—accessible, convenient spots where people come together. For those really on the move, airports, train stations, planes, and trains offer the means to connect.

Many of us compensate for physical isolation by connecting with others via social media, chat rooms, and forums, while connecting to our work colleagues via the internet. Feeling connected to others is why offices, or places like coffee shops and libraries, draw us in. The past decade has seen this café environment evolve from a place to meet a friend into a vital workplace fueled by caffeine and having its own social life. Technology enabled this phenomenon for laptops and cell phones. Now it’s even better supported by cloud computing, smart phones, and applications encouraging social networking and productivity.

These locales support individual work activities, but have the added benefit of not obligating us to interact with others as in an office. Society has adjusted. Lighting and ergonomics have improved. Still not the best for private meetings because they lack security and privacy, there’s hardly a coffee shop where you won’t find someone working every hour it is open. Even basic work needs like electrical plugs and open tables remain in demand.

The next step, co-working space, is designed to be used either on a lease or drop-in basis. Individual contractors, either would-be entrepreneurs or commute-avoiding employees, embrace these facilities as a structured workspace to deliver more emotional, social, and physical support than is found at home or in cafés.

Co-working centers today are more recognized as places where work happens.

Doug Schuring is the director of sales administration at All Makes Office Equipment Co.

This column was printed in the Summer 2017 edition of B2B.

Designing for Women in the Workplace

January 3, 2017 by

It’s a fact—more women are in the workplace than ever before, and this trend seems sure to continue for some time.

These days, many office furniture designers and manufacturers are developing their new products with much greater sensitivity to this evermore prominent audience.

What’s Important to Women as they Work? 

  • Furniture that is light and easy to handle. The majority of training programs are led by women. Female trainers are not only in charge of the training curriculum, they often end up setting up the room by moving heavy tables and awkward chairs into a variety of configurations.
  • A place for belongings. Women place personal bags and briefcases on the floor or hang them from their chairback for lack of a better option. Again, the same holds true at their desks, where purses may get stuffed into a file drawer or behind the CPU under their desk.
  • A chair that really fits. Many women complain of chairs with poor back support, are too big, and/or simply aren’t comfortable to sit in seven-plus hours a day. And women have a right to want a better solution—a recent study reported most women averaged 49 hours per week working, with 10 percent reporting they spent 61 hours per week in the workplace.

What Would Make Their Environment “Work” Better?

Recent new product introductions include:

  • Lightweight, easily reconfigurable training tables and chairs—making it easy and convenient for women to change a training environment on their own. They are simple to fold, move, or rearrange. The controls on the flexible tables must be easy to reach and trigger, making quick work to fold and nest for storage.
  • Storage hooks under training tables—in the “why didn’t they think of this before?” category. Provide a single hook under tables for users to hang purses and other personal items.
  • Height adjustable work surfaces—while “sitting may be the new smoking,” the need to adjust the height of one’s work surface is more important than ever.
  • Properly sized and adjustable office chairs—we all want a chair that fits “just right.” Many chairs today feature technology distributing back pressure and automatically adjusting support to match its occupant’s relative size, weight, and sitting style.

Other Factors in Satisfaction 

Based on my conversations and observations, other non-furniture-related preferences for women’s work environments include:

  • Women are more interested in the overall visual appeal of their office—including softer lighting and color.
  • Women prefer to work in collaboration with other associates. They are less interested in maintaining workplace hierarchy and are more interested in an environment which promotes creativity and collaboration.
  • One of the greatest satisfaction drivers for women—after “meaningful work” and “proper recognition”—is flexibility in the work environment.

While many of these items described are important to women, all workers can benefit from the changes described. Fortunately for us, the manufacturers in the industry today are listening.

Doug Schuring is the director of sales administration at All Makes Office Equipment Co.

This article was printed in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B.