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NFER Jan 20

5 questions schools should ask when buying office furniture

January 29, 2020, 12:23 GMT+1
Read in about 4 minutes
  • It's a mix of the inspiring and the practical, says Anna Ellis...
5 questions schools should ask when buying office furniture

With so many pressures facing schools, for most, creating Instagram worthy spaces outside of the classroom is pretty far down the priority list.

But there is more to buying office furniture than at first it would appear. Putting some time in to balancing the practicalities in order to create an inspiring environment is time well spent.

Getting workspaces right can make a difference to performance while improving staff motivation and health. Consideration should be given to ensuring the best use of space, the ergonomic suitability, the functionality, the aesthetics, the removal of redundant furniture and aftersales care.

So, however big your requirement, whether it’s a tiny reception, a large open plan office, or a completely new building, the below questions must be considered:

1 | What is your budget?

How important are brand and aesthetics? Often areas such as reception areas and similar public spaces will be where aesthetics are more significant. Budget spent on the aesthetics in these areas can help to create the right impression and may be worth investing more in. There will always be trade-offs and so, this may mean looking for lesser known brands and brand alternatives such as ESPO’s smartbuy range for areas out of the public eye.

2 | Making the most of your space?

Office space is always at a premium, but are you making the best use of your floors and walls? Many office furniture suppliers offer free space planning and design solutions to ensure effective and efficient workspaces. Taking the additional time to work with a supplier so that spaces are planned can bring about verytangible benefits.

3 | Ergonomic requirements?

We spend a large chunk of our time at work and therefore it is essential that the furniture we use is not having a negative impact on our health. Consideration needs to be given to how long people will be sitting in chairs, height and weight variations and positioning. The cheapest chair may not always provide the best long-term solution. However, a top-of-the-range chair may not be required if the user is only in the chair for a short amount of time.

4 | Fit for the future?

The work place is evolving quickly! Updated technology, new generations entering the workplace with fresh attitudes and beliefs, an increasing emphasis on a balanced home/work life, and lack of office space are all contributing to a flexible approach to office life. Office furniture projects should acknowledge this reality and build in as much flexibility as possible.

5 | What service will be on offer?

The service received when buying office furniture is of significant importance and cannot be underestimated. This includes, space planning, advice, delivery, installation, removal/recycling of redundant furniture and continued aftersales support from snagging to repeat/replacement orders.

The ESPO Office Furniture (282) framework has a wide choice of suppliers covering ranges from over 40 manufacturers; showcasing an unparalleled choice, all covered with OJEU compliance and pre-agreed terms and conditions.

All of the suppliers offer exceptional service benefits from start to finish and can ensure your office is inspiring yet practical, providing full project management, space planning and bespoke solutions at excellent quality and value.

Anna Ellis is a category manager for ESPO, a public sector owned professional buying organisation (PBO).

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