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THE FUTURE OF OFFICE DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY

04 March, 2016

Everywhere I turn I hear about this company ceasing operation, that company reducing personnel, or that company having their people work outside the office from home to eliminate the need for expending money on a place for them to work.  I have been in the office furniture for 37 years and the changes in the field continue to make it more difficult to do this for a living and support a family. 

 

The number of people working outside the traditional office setting is rapidly increasing. Today there are more than 96.2 million mobile workers, and by 2020 this population is estimated to grow to an all-time high of 105.4 million.  That is a lot of cubicles, chairs, tables, files, etc. that will not be purchased.  I did a lot of work from home when I first got started in the business and I never purchased one piece of office furniture, instead sitting on my couch, watching television and working on my laptop.  I of course was single, and had only my mouth to feed, so things were easy then.  Cubicles were the new thing and actually were needed, and valuable, so a small liquidation then would feed me for months. Not so today, and I believe that the cubicle is very much like the dinosaur.

 

Today’s Furniture Promotes Collaboration and Conversation

 

This trend has really been picking up steam in the last year. We are slowly but surely moving away from cubical segregation into a more open working environment. What is new is the introduction of privacy pods and nooks. This is a natural occurring trend to promote distraction free spaces for workers that just need to be in the zone for a while. It is really an organic mix collaboration and personal space.

 

The Boss office has also changed as the result of this trend.  Executives’ offices are smaller in size and some also double as a conference room. It is believed that with today’s technology, an executive does not need to be tied to his or her office to get the job done. These office furniture design trends allow for more flexibility and movement.

 

Convertible Workstations

 

Some companies have taken the common sit to stand desk and turned it into an entire sit to stand workstation on wheels. It has the ability not only to be stable, but mobile for easy redesign of the office.  This is great for startups who need office furniture that can expand and grow with them.

 

Also, many companies are opting for standing meetings instead of seated. Businesses want their workers on their feet for a portion of their work day and standing during a meeting also reduces the chance of employees zoning out. A plus in standing meetings is that they are significantly shorter and more productive. Having a cup of coffee or a cold drink is also pleasing to most employees.  Standing conference meetings will be big in 2016 and beyond.

 

 The Workplace Gets a Homier Look

 

One interesting trend that is huge is the introduction of residential style furnishings in the office. This includes solid wood desks that look more like dining room tables or lighting that would look more at home. It is believed that a more inspirational or comfortable workplace will help employees feel more creative and motivated.

 

Integration of Technology

 

Today many new desks come ready to become one with technology. In addition to power outlets, USB ports, and USB charging ports can now be found on task lights. This makes for ease of connection so workers can quickly plug in and get to work. Future office furniture design trends seem to be technology focused and that is not a bad thing. Real Estate is moving toward communication and power being in the floor for easier hook up.

 

What is really driving this downturn?

 

Sure, it’s easy to point the finger at “economic conditions.” We haven’t seen the growth of jobs in the commercial sector that historically meant 'butts in seats,' the lifeblood of our industry.

 

But would you believe that a larger impact has actually been the shrinking workstation? In the 1970s, the average workspace was 12 feet by 12 feet. By 1995, it had shrunk to 10 feet by 10 feet. Today? A worker’s space averages a mere 6 feet by 8 feet… And it is shrinking rapidly.  Continual change is to be expected, so if you are in the liquidation business as I am, you better change your direction and anticipate less income as the new stuff is definitely as expensive as the cubicle era.

A Checklist for Managing Your Office Move

04 March, 2016

Moving is listed among the top 5 most stressful events in life. It’s hard enough moving from one home to another, but when you’re managing an office move involving hundreds of employees and thousands of equipment items, furnishings, and documents, it can be worse than herding cats.

British business management blogger Morris Barris recommends this checklist to help you organize your move into manageable steps:

 1. Set up a moving timeline: Know what is happening and when, and start your planning months ahead of time. The longer you wait, the higher the costs and the higher the stress.

 2.  Get well-acquainted with the new space: Learn everything about the space, including how many power outlets there are and the quickest way to the fire exit. Plan your new office layout to avoid any problems you had in the old space.

 3.  Communicate with your colleagues: Hold meetings and send frequent memos to keep everyone up to date and encourage two-way communication. Let supervisors know they are accountable for their staff’s office packing, equipment, and files.

4.  Bring your moving vendor and or Liquidator on board: Being realistic is very important when working with your move and liquidation vendors.  Start early to find a vendor who has the capability of working as a consultant, not just a furniture-pusher. Most often in moves there will be furniture that will not go to the new site, therefore it is imperative that you select a viable, experienced vendor to accomplish the liquidation of the furniture items that will not be moving with you.  With the changes to the office design, chances are you have a lot of cubicles, and most of them will be left.  Your goal is to accomplish this move with minimal problems and minimal costs.

  1. Hold Meetings: Keep your employees and vendors informed of changes during the process of planning.
  2. Assign Tasks: Make sure each staffer or team knows what they are responsible for. Publish a master plan so everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

 7.  Alert your clients:  A move is a great opportunity to stay in touch with clients. Let them know about the wonderful new space and how it will help you serve them better.

Good Luck and enjoy your new office.  

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

04 March, 2016

Mar 1, 2016

A number of review features in prominent publications have given considerable focus to workplace prospects for 2016: office furnishings and increasingly innovative designs. For example, The Huffington Post has recently launched its ten workplace trends as seen in 2015 -drawing attention to furniture which fostered a residential relaxed feel and also options which combined style with support. Looking back on office items over the last year has emphasized that office furniture is an area at the forefront of the design, with increasingly ergonomic and adventurous options on the horizon.

The furniture used in offices is an increasing feature of modern workplaces – as many people now occupy an office or desk space for at least some proportion of their working lives. Hence, as society grows and changes, it seems online fitting that its furniture should do also. A number of industry experts have been keen to comment on this, including 2nd Avenue Interiors.

"Up-to-date workplaces require furniture which reflects this – hence why not only looking back on 2015 trends is important, but appreciating how they are going to take shape the following year. Many expect a particular focus on adventure; options which provide a thrill of design and a little bit of something different. That is why at 2nd Avenue Interiors we offer a wide range of options, including some of the latest designs. It's important not to limit by form either – rather just seats, a consideration of stools, bistro chairs and sofas is also very contemporary."

Small and medium company have the ability to save a ton of money on furniture for growth or beginnings since the product on the used market is considered old style by the big boys, the small companies have the ability to save a lot of money and still have some very good furniture.

Contact me, Bj Hicks anytime, because if I cannot get it for you, it is because they do not make it. 

New Eight-Year Relocation Study Shows Companies Still Leaving California

04 March, 2016

California's difficult business environment was highlighted in a study released today that shows thousands of companies have departed for business-friendly states and foreign nations over the last eight years.

Dollars diverted to out-of-state locations totaled $70.5 billion in the 2008-2015 period, only a fraction of the actual experience because few information sources specified capital costs.

The report by Spectrum Location Solutions provides by company name whether the relocation was partial or complete, their new location, and hundreds of quotes from company leaders saying what they found appealing about their new place of business.

"I prepared the report because California’s public officials fail to take seriously the issue of business exits,” said Joseph Vranich, an Irvine-based site selection consultant. "Using an accepted statistical model, it’s estimated that ten thousand companies have disinvested in California in the last eight years."

"Departures can have a long-lasting effect when a company establishes a foothold elsewhere and grows there big time,” he said. "One high-tech company opted for a new location, has expanded there eight times, and has hinted at a ninth iteration.

“Anyone can verify each event on the Internet, which is a strength of the study,” Vranich said. “The study’s description of concerns by business leaders argues against plans in Sacramento for new spending and an astonishing array of new taxes and harsh regulations.”

“Companies often find operating cost savings of 20 to 35 percent in other states, which permits them to reinvent themselves if need be,” said Vranich. "The appeal isn’t necessarily to the lowest-cost states, but to lower-cost locations with the proper workforce.”

“There also is an increasing inclination to consider lifestyle factors such as housing costs, traffic congestion, crime, and secondary school performance – and many communities around the United States win out over Los Angeles and San Francisco in particular,” said Vranich. “There is considerable disenchantment with the treatment businesses receive from politicians and public agencies in those cities.”

The report ranks the Top 15 California Counties in the order starting with the worst losses, which are: (1) Los Angeles, (2) Orange, (3) Santa Clara, (4) San Francisco, (5) San Diego, (6) Alameda, (7) San Mateo, (8) Ventura, (9) Sacramento tied with San Bernardino, (10) Riverside, (11) Contra Costa tied with Santa Barbara, (12) San Joaquin, (13) Stanislaus, (14) Sonoma and (15) Santa Cruz.

The Top 10 States in the order starting with those that gained the most are: (1) Texas, (2) Nevada, (3) Arizona, (4) Colorado, (5) Washington, (6) Oregon, (7) North Carolina, (8) Georgia, (9) Florida and (10) Utah tied with Virginia. Texas was the top destination each year during the eight-year study period.

The Top 10 Nations in the order starting with those that gained the most are (1) Mexico, (2) India, (3) China, (4) Canada, (5) Costa Rica, (6) Malaysia, (7) Philippines, (8) Singapore, (9) Japan and (10) Great Britain.

The study concludes that as California’s business climate worsens, more companies will seek a new location that is friendlier to their interests.

CHANGE OF DIRECTION

17 November, 2014

THE CHANGING WORLD OF OFFICE FURNITURE

GRAND RAPIDS--According to industry analysts, the office furniture industry has been shrinking over the last 10 years, resulting in it being about 25% smaller. One of the hardest hit areas is Michigan, where many of the industry leaders have been reducing manufacturing jobs and facilities.  

What is really driving this downturn?

Sure, it’s easy to point the finger at “economic conditions.” We haven’t seen the growth of jobs in the commercial sector that historically meant 'butts in seats,' the lifeblood of our industry.

But would you believe that a larger impact has actually been the shrinking workstation? In the 1970s, the average workspace was 12 feet by 12 feet. By 1995, it had shrunk to 10 feet by 10 feet. Today? A worker’s space averages a mere 6 feet by 8 feet… And it is shrinking rapidly.

As square footage of stations is reduced, traditional office cubicle panels are also getting lower. In many cases today, panels are even being eliminated completely and replaced by more open “benching” type solutions. Case in point, all major manufacturers are introducing a new workstation product line this year that contains no panels, but instead uses storage components to create a low visual separation between each station.

Why are workstations shrinking? What has changed?

Technology. Thanks to a wide array of work alternatives like e-mail, wireless Internet, and flex time, employees are working fewer and fewer hours at their desks. In turn, companies are investing less space and money into stations that just don’t get used. For example, whereas 10 years ago 90% of major company headquarter space was designated for workstations, today only about 60% of the space in new headquarters is assigned to these individualized spaces. Now more area is used for collaborative areas like coffee bars, lounges and touchdown spaces.

Collaboration. E-mail, web conferencing and other technological advancements provide easy, inexpensive means to communicate without face-to-face collaboration. However, companies recognize the importance and value of bringing people together. Social interaction is enhanced when people can see each other, hence tighter quarters and lower or no dividers.

For the first time ever, we have four generations in the workplace at once. Kids Today. You might not catch a Baby Boomer at Starbucks studying for exams with ear buds in their ears, but the Millennial Generation prefers an open, less formal work environment. As the Millennial become the majority of workers over the next few years, this preference for more open flexible work styles and environments will continue to increase and offices will change to meet their needs.

So what's the office furniture industry doing to grow and keep up with the ever-changing workspace?

At Tigetek Associates Incorporated or better known as 2nd Avenue Interiors, we are no longer focusing solely on commercial environments. As more of the workforce transitions to healthcare, education, and hospitality, with a large number of companies allowing employees to work from home, we have diversified our product offerings and expertise to serve these relatively new or changed markets.

With change happening faster than ever, we have also focused on finding ways to help companies navigate their way through this new landscape. We are no longer in a world where you build a new facility and then dump furniture into it. The best facilities today are designed around the people that will occupy the space. 2nd Avenue Interiors and AIS offer organizations a deep knowledge of how people work and combine that with great design for value far beyond just selling furniture. We bring more science and facility knowledge to the equation than ever before.

The office furniture industry must focus on addressing the organizational, human, and facility needs of a broad, diversified client base, and we must not forget the "Used" market as these changes will greatly the effect of Used in the future. More than ever, customers seek partners that support the triple-bottom-line goals of people, planet, and profitability. For those who deliver this value, the future is bright!

Robert (Bj) Hicks is President and CEO of Tigetek Associates Incorporated, the exclusive Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) for the Western Half of the U.S.  In the furniture business for 35+ years, Hicks was one of the first office furniture dealers with Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation. Further information can be found at www.tigetek.com  or by calling (916) 721-3220.

New Quality Manufacturers and Opportunities

17 November, 2014

Tigetek Associates Incorporated doing business as 2nd Avenue Interiors is continuing its new direction, that of selling new as well as previously owned office furniture.  Because we are a VA (CVE) certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, the opportunities to work with the Federal and State Government Agencies as well as public utilities and Universities, has grown exponentially, and we are beginning to take advantage of our position.  We therefore are now representing major manufacturers of furniture under their GSA programs, giving us access to some of the finest furnishings made.  Please continue to visit our website as you will see upcoming changes and opportunities to get the very best at a savings not before realized.  Welcome to the world of the Veterans.

2nd Avenue is Expanding!

17 November, 2014

We have two new Sales & Service Associates, Spark Duraski who is in the Kansas City Kansas and Tony Adkins who will be in the Southern CA area.  We are teamed with Joe Rogers of Valley Relocation and Storage to handle all our installation, delivery or moving projects.  We are seeking new personnel in the Sacramento or Northern California area, therefore if interested in an exciting career, contact us.

Welcome to our new Website!!

23 January, 2014

We are so excited about our new site.  We hope you like it, look around and enjoy!

A little bit of our history....

04 December, 2013

We are a family owned business and our company is very important to us. We have been operational for 30+ years nationally and strive to make every client our number one priority. Our reputation and integrity are based solely on our many referrals.

While we have been in the Office Furniture business for over three decades, the founder and CEO (Bj) began his first career serving the United States Military for 23+ years. We are very proud to say that we are a Veteran Administration Certified Service Disable Veteran owned small business and a Disabled Veteran Business Entity with the State of California.

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