Important Considerations When Buying Office Furniture

By Karen Porter


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Health, Safety, Security, and Well-beingIn a discussion I participated in, someone asked about, “What’s the most important consideration when you buy office furniture?”

As a former administrative professional and office professional in other positions, I know the right response (in my opinion) — despite the fact that, unfortunately, all administrative assistants and executive assistants don’t necessarily have the final word on office furniture at their places of business. Here’s my answer to what’s my most important consideration when buying office furniture:

“Ergonomics (which includes adjustability options). I can tell you firsthand that there is nothing worse than having to work in an office using furnishings that an employer picked based on aesthetics (i.e. looks, style, decor) without consideration of ergonomics. I have worked in more than one office like this. This cost me and the employer time with visits to my chiropractor (and can result in physical pain such as back aches, wrist problems, circulation, headaches, etc.).

For others, it results in other physical consequences. Some of us spend a lot of time using office furnishings. The furnishings have to fit us, not the other way around.

For me personally in my home office, ergonomics is still number one.

I also consider quality and durability.

Of course, I buy within my price range and usually if you look thoroughly enough you can find those qualities within every price range, low to high.

Function is also important because you need to know what you need the furniture for and how it’ll be used before you buy it. Only then can you look for furniture that meets your functional needs too.

So really you have to look to see that the furniture meets several ‘most important considerations’ at once. I wouldn’t sacrifice ergonomic criteria for functional criteria and vice versa. If you look long and hard enough, you can always find the ‘perfect’ office furniture.”

When thinking about ergonomics in the office in relation to furnishings and tools, you need to think about lots of things: chairs, desks, work tables, lighting, computer monitors, keyboards, mouses, and more.

If you would like to know more about office ergonomics, check out my publication from The Effective Admin Tips Series called, Office Ergonomics — Learn How to Prevent Pain and Protect Your Health at Work. It’s #16 in the series. Your body will thank you; if not now, then later in life.

And if you are an office manager, executive assistant or administrative assistant who has some input in choosing your workplace furniture and tools, you definitely want to learn about office ergonomics for office professionals. You fit the workplace furnishings and tools to you, the administrative professional or other office worker; you don’t try to make the administrative worker fit to the tools and furnishings. Knowing this one tidbit can create a more comfortable administrative assistant or executive assistant who can then focus on his or her work performance.

Knowing about ergonomics will keep you a happy, productive administrative assistant, executive assistant or other office professional. Not knowing about it may give you aches and pains, literally.


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The Effective Admin™ brand is owned and produced by Karen Porter, job performance and career success coach and advisor to administrative assistants and executive assistants globally: My specialty is serving administrative professionals like you with job performance and career management advice. I have more than 25 years of experience interacting with the "real" workplace and working administrative professionals. I have been serving administrative assistants and executive assistants with strategies, tips and advice through The Effective Admin resources since 2004. I’m pleased to be bringing you actionable, practical and relevant advice you can use in your administrative professional role, job, and career. Are you an assistant (or the manager of an assistant) who wants the best educational and informational resources I have for assistants? YES. Tell me more.