What is Commercial Home Office Furniture (and Does My Team Actually Need It)?
Here’s a quick home office furniture quiz: What’s the weight capacity of the chair your sales analyst is sitting in? Does the finish on your customer service rep’s desktop protect against scratches, stains and abrasions? How many times will the drawers on your project manager’s filing cabinet open and close before they begin to wear out?
Most people never consider the answers to these questions when purchasing a workspace for their own home, and that’s fine when its main use will be online shopping, watching videos and scrolling through social media. But when employees are being sent to work from home long-term or permanently, it’s important to invest in products that meet the same requirements as the workspace they inhabit in the office.
Commercial quality home office furniture does just that. Whether it’s a desk, chair, file cabinet or bookshelf, you can rest assured that your standards for productivity and safety are being met when team members are working remotely.
And remember, a high-quality workspace doesn’t have to look like it came straight from corporate headquarters. The growth of remote work has led to the emergence of “resimercial” furniture collections that offer the best of both worlds with commercial-grade designs in styles and finishes that look great in the home.
Here are just a few of the reasons your business will want to focus on commercial office furniture for its work from home program:
Commercial home office furniture is built for long-term use
A desk that’s primary purpose is browsing the web likely won’t run into the same durability issues it would in a professional environment. However, home office furniture that’s expected to endure a full 40+ hour work week should be tested to meet performance standards that have been developed by experts in the industry. These can include measuring the total weight capacity of shelves and work surfaces or testing the life cycle of frequently used hardware like locks, hinges and drawer slides to make sure your workstation holds up to more strenuous use.
Testing is voluntary, so if you see home office furniture that claims to meet one or more set of guidelines you can be sure the manufacturer put forth extra effort to deliver a higher level of quality. When maximizing productivity is the goal, it’s important to have a workspace that can withstand a large volume of work day after day.
ANSI/BIFMA standards go above and beyond when it comes to safety testing
The industry testing mentioned above covers more than just durability and function. To comply with ANSI/BIFMA performance standards, furnishings must also be meticulously designed and tested with safety at the forefront. This is especially important (but often overlooked) when working from home, as employers not only have their workers’ safety to consider, but also the safety of family members, pets and anyone else who shares the same living space.
Tip stability, leg/base strength and proper weight distribution are just some of the safety measures that factor into home office furniture meeting or exceeding ANSI/BIFMA guidelines. According to a recent report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, someone is injured by falling furniture or appliances every 17 minutes in the United States alone — mostly children under the age of six. These accidents can often be prevented by making sure products have been rigorously tested for use in the home and by anchoring taller items like bookcases and storage shelves to the wall.
Your investment in remote work pays for itself in the long run
You get what you pay for. Budget desk and storage solutions certainly have their place in the market — they provide a productive space for the occasional project or when the kids need a dedicated area to do their homework — but most aren’t designed for daily professional use. If you’re investing in a work from home program for your employees, the last thing you want to do is pay to replace furniture after only a year or two. It’s not uncommon to see commercial home office furniture come with a manufacturer’s warranty of 10 years or more, giving a major boost to the cost effectiveness of your transition to remote work.
That’s not to say every commercial-grade workspace comes with a hefty price tag. There are plenty of basic desk models that meet the same requirements for safety and durability without the premium features. Bundling furniture and checking for closeout items that fit your needs are also great ways to cut costs.
Home office ergonomics matter
No one does their best work spending eight hours a day sitting on the couch or a rigid dining chair. Beyond the efficiency factor, hunching over a laptop for hours on end is a surefire way to develop poor posture, which can lead to discomfort in the back, shoulders and neck. Home office furniture that’s ergonomically designed will go a long way toward your team’s remote work success.
A quality desk chair should be the foundation of any workspace. Multifunction chairs are ideal for professional use, as they offer a variety of adjustable features to accommodate different body types. You may also consider height adjustable desks that allow users to comfortably sit or stand throughout the day. A major benefit of adjustable desks is that they can be used with your traditional office chair as well as specialized accessories like lean stools and comfort mats.
Does my team need commercial home office furniture?
The answer is a resounding yes if you plan on having employees work from home full time. Even if your company intends to return to a normal office routine in the future, the uncertainty of the past few months has shown us the importance of being flexible when it comes to where and how we work. Embracing remote work as a contingency plan helps minimize lost production and revenue when getting to the office isn’t possible.
We believe commercial home office furniture is a worthy investment to keep business moving forward in less than ideal circumstances. Maintaining an efficient workflow while also ensuring the health and safety of employees is a win-win scenario for any organization.