Take the phone. In this era of multi-tasking,
wedging a phone between your ear and shoulder for long stretches of time
while you type, search for a document, or reach across your desk for a file
can be-quite literally-a pain in the neck.
If you or your employees find yourselves frequently on the
phone and in pain as a result, a telephone headset can spare you from a
stiff neck and sore muscles. A relatively simple device, the headset does
away with the need for any part of the body to support the clunky telephone
receiver. Headsets allow you to talk on the phone hands-free, giving you the
freedom to surf the Internet, take a sip of coffee, or shuffle through files
easily and painlessly.
A headset consists of an earpiece, microphone, and a cord
that plugs into an accompanying amplifier, which is plugged into the phone.
While purchasing one may not seem like much of an ordeal, making sure it is
actually worn is important. That is why the most important criteria in
choosing a headset is comfort.
Most headsets are designed to be worn
headband-style. These headsets typically cover one ear and extend over the
head like a headband. If keeping your hair particularly neat is any sort of
an issue, this type of headset probably isn't for you.
buying a quality desk can mean the difference
between a smooth workday and one that leaves you both mentally and
First consider the surface. Even though wood looks great, it tends to scar
and must be treated to maintain its appearance. As a result, most desks are
made of laminate, which consists of a less expensive plastic finish that is
applied to a wood core. When considering laminate desks, a thick,
high-pressure laminate withstands day-to-day office abuse much better than a
For even greater durability, some businesses prefer metal desks that are
finished with a laminate work surface. You can judge the quality of metal
desks by the gauge of steel used in their manufacture. A heavier gauge steel
will help ensure a minimum of dings.
The best computer desk design is a corner workstation, which utilizes the
"dead" corner created by L-shaped desks. Existing L-shaped workstations can
be inexpensively turned into a corner unit simply with a "sleeve" that
slides over the desk and mimics the shape of a corner desk.
Though office superstores may offer lower prices, you often sacrifice
quality materials and construction for a desk that will fall apart after a
couple of years. Unless you are looking for a temporary solution, stick with
a reputable commercial office furniture dealer.
To check construction quality, examine the drawers. Look for interlocking
dovetail construction rather than staples or glue. The drawers should open
and close smoothly when bearing weight, and they should slide out to their
full length, allowing you to fully utilize the space.
When purchasing chairs, small business owners often make the mistake of
going for the cheapest or best-looking option. It may not seem like much,
but a chair is one of the most important pieces of office equipment you can
buy. With the eight to 10 hours you can spend in it every day, a chair
affects not just your physical comfort but your productivity and long-term
health as well.
Unless you intend to give every employee a chance to pick his or her
favorite model - hardly a practical solution if you have more than a handful
of workers - you need to find a task chair that will adjust to fit all
girths and heights. Some dealers will bring in chair samples, however, for
employees to try and vote on in-house. Keep in mind you may still need to
get special chairs to support very tall or short or heavy workers.
Look for adjustable height, backrest, and armrests. Generally, the more
adjustable a chair, the more it costs. Expect prices between $300 and $500
When you bring in new office furniture, have a consultant walk around to
make sure workers have optimized their chairs and furniture for their
respective dimensions. Some dealers will even send a representative on an
initial visit for this purpose.
When you're starting or growing a business, cash is often in short
supply. One way to spend less is to lease essential office equipment instead
of buying it. Unlike renting, which is much too expensive to consider as a
long-term alternative, leasing computers, fax machines or furniture offers a
number of critical advantages:
If you do decide to lease equipment, keep the term short -- two years is
ideal. Try to negotiate a "modern equipment substitution clause" that lets
you update or exchange your equipment so you don't end up paying for
obsolete technology. And insist upon a cancellation clause that lets you pay
a fee to cancel the lease. Note the cost of any cancellation penalty.
Leasing improves your cash flow. The main advantage of
leasing is that it frees up cash. Equipment leases rarely require down
payments, though you may have to set aside some cash for a refundable
security deposit. By contrast, loans to finance the purchase of equipment
typically require down payments of up to 25 percent or more.