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How To Avoid Mistakes When Moving Your Office

Posted by Applied Ergonomics on

This is kind of a different blog post. I’m going to tell you a story. I was out to dinner last night with my wife and our best friends. My wife has had her own business, as I have, for over 20 years. But about 4 years ago she had an idea for a new internet based business and has spent the last years developing it. She has raised quite a bit of money, assembled a great team and is starting to create revenue. What we talked about though, and our friends have heard about this the whole way, is just how many mistakes she has made, and how hard it is to know how to do things the right way when you’ve never done them before. And in trying to find the right advice, it’s hard to know who to trust in terms of both their having your best interest at heart as well as their having good judgment and knowledge. Can you relate to this?

Why am I telling you this story? Because it may well relate to your current situation. If you are in charge of expanding your facility, remodeling or moving, the odds are that you are a very educated and intelligent and competent person. It’s also likely that you haven’t done it before. But unlike my wife, who has been able to get up and dust herself off a number of times (and whose mistakes have been learning experiences with the chance to try again), with these tasks it's hard, expensive and likely to blow a schedule for a do-over, so you just won't do it over. You and your organization will end up living with the mistakes you’ll wish you had known to avoid, most small and just inconveniences, others perhaps more consequential.

Most people make a mistake early on in the process, and it’s understandable why. They engage a real estate broker and perhaps an interior design firm to locate and evaluate new spaces. A furniture dealer is down the road, after the lease is signed and the plans developed by the interior design firm. First, though, the various landlords or your interior design firm will provide you with possible floor plans. You will be expected to negotiate and sign a lease based on these plans. Should you? I submit that no, you should not right away. You should choose an ergonomic office furniture dealer early on and have them be involved in the floor plan development and drawings. Furniture dealers have a very different perspective and set of skills than do design firms. Interior design firms excel at interior architecture, and while many claim to know furniture, perhaps so that they can include it in their fee structure, they generally don’t and their drawings reflect that. To begin, double checking drawing dimensions. In 20 plus years, I’ve been given accurate drawings only a handful of times. Then we draw with smart symbols that are accurately scaled. Since we are responsible for making sure it stands up, we won’t run panels through columns as I frequently see, or other nonsense that won’t work in the real world. Again, since furniture in-feeds dictate power and data locations in walls, it makes sense for us to mark the drawings ahead of a lease, rather than creating expensive change orders later. Similarly, at Applied Ergonomics we ask probing questions about headcount, common versus individual filing, locations of shared printers, how departments work together and are best organized, what tasks people are doing and thus what will work ergonomically for them and whether individuals need any accommodations for ailments regardless of whether they fall under ADA or not.

Help yourself and your company avoid costly mistakes by partnering with an ergonomic office furniture dealer upfront to make sure your project runs smoothly from the start.