Guidelines (Principles) in selecting office furniture


After deciding the office environment, the office manager has to decide about the types of furniture required and their numbers. The type of furniture is decided only on the basis of nature of work performed by the employee and his/her designation. Mostly office work is indoor desk work. Therefore, adequate and suitable furniture should be provided in order to ensure efficient performance of work at the maximum speed.

Purchase of office stationery - Guidelines or principles in purchasing office furniture
Image: Purchase of office stationery – Guidelines or principles in purchasing office furniture

According to J.C. Denyer,

It has been increasingly realized that the furniture is bought not only for its utility, but also for its appearance and that its artistic design is worth paying for; for it makes the office look more attractive and appeals to the office workers who must use it.

Modern and quality furniture improves the efficiency of employees. It increases the prestige of the office as well among the visitors. The cost of furniture should be treated as investments made in fixed assets because it is very difficult to make a quick replacement. The term furniture includes desks, chairs, tables, rakes, cabinets, cupboards, safety trays, almirahs and the like. The manager should consider the fact of the extent of office space available for accommodating the furniture before buying any furniture.

Guidelines or Factors to consider while selecting office furniture

The following points should be kept in mind while selecting the office furniture.

1. Cost: The important factor in purchasing office furniture is the cost. You should always keep the budget in mind while purchasing office furniture. The cost should be reasonable and affordable and altogether withing the limits of available funds.

2. Suitability: The furniture is selected on the basis of nature of job performed on them or the purpose for which they are required. It would be better if the furniture is adaptable to multipurpose usage.

3. Design: The design of the furniture should be functional as well as artistic. Design is related to the size of top, height, number of drawers etc.

4. Durability: Ordinary wooden furniture has longer life than steel furniture. “Sun-mica” surfaced furniture is also durable.

5. Saves Space: Furniture should be selected in such a way that it doesn’t occupy much floor space.

6. Comfortable: The efficiency and morale of employees are increased by providing comfortable furniture.

7. Appearance: The physical appearance of office furniture should be attractive and modern so that it adds to the look of the office.

8. Hygiene: It should be easy to clean the furniture and the floor under earth it.

9. Weight: The placement of office furniture may be changed on need basis. Therefore, the furniture should be light weight to be moved around easily.

10. Finish: Glossy surfaces should be avoided because they create glares and tensions.

11. Fire Risk: The Wooden furniture has more fire risk than metal furniture.

12. Saving Human Resources: Some furniture has built in file units which offers the opportunity to save movement and walking of the employees. Such furniture provides economy in working.

13. Safety: The furniture should be safe to use. There is no safety in using plate glass topped furniture.

There are several other factors to be borne in mind while buying furniture, as follows.

1. The views of the staff should be ascertained and implemented whenever possible.

2. Choice between wood and steel is not important as these days the two are used interchangeably in construction.

3. Some furniture systems offer a wide range of colours.

4. Plastic is not repairable but is strong on inner part of the drawers.

5. The furniture should have no sharp or rugged edges or corners.

6. Locks should be either countersunk or flush.

7. Screens should be flexible it makes assembling or dismantling than easier.

8. Desks or tables should be of such design that adjustment of height can be easily done.

9. Visual display of units should be adjustable.

10. Desk tops should be of such design that some parts can be titled from 1 to 20 if needed.