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Office Equipment

  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 physically sore.
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 thinner laminate.

  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 per chair.
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.