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Office Furniture-Cost Verses Benefits

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Cost v Benefits mainI once had a friend that owned a tax service company. His office design was an open floor plan whereby clients would walk in and sit at the desk of an advisor to discuss their taxes. Despite repeated recommendations to create a more private environment for visiting clients, he continually refused on the grounds of cost. As time went on, he discovered workers in the office were also commenting about the open floor design even though they were not asked. Clients were being put off by it and then he paid closer attention to their body language. Some were uncomfortable talking openly about private matters and as a result, some of them never came back. What took my friend a Joel a while to learn was the cost-benefit in his design.

Cost-benefit is a principle often used in design that states an activity will be pursued only if its benefits are equal to or greater than the costs. From a design perspective, the cost-benefit principle is typically used to assess the financial return associated with features and elements. In office design, the design principle can be used to determine the design quality from the user’s perspective. If the cost associated with the office design overshadows its benefits, then it’s a poor design. For example, if mistakes are made in an office due to poor lighting then the level of benefit to cost is a poor ratio.

Cost v Benefits 3Every Office design can be measured using the cost-benefit principle. How many steps are too many to allow access to a file? How much time is too much to spend looking for a shared file that is on someone’s desk? How much rehiring and training is too much because of an uninspired workplace? How much money is too much to spend replacing office furniture because it has a low life expectancy? These all depend on cost verses benefit. For example, if an acceptable distance to go food shopping is three miles and a store you might consider is five miles, that store would be out of the question. That is, unless store number two offers incredible savings or outstanding products not attainable anywhere else. Then the high benefits may outweigh the added cost of commute time. Conversely, a low benefit store cannot compensate the cost of any commute time. Reducing interaction costs does improve quality of design, but to simply design within cost limits without consideration of the interaction benefits misses the point of design completely.

Cost v Benefits4On one hand, allowing the excitement of adding a new feature with total disregard of cost-benefit principle is a common mistake. On the other hand, allowing price to dictate the quality of design can be just as costly. A feature of design may excite one person but may go unused by others or one might choose to ignore a much needed redesign just because of price.

When choosing office furniture, consider the cost-benefit in all aspects of design. Do not make the choice based solely on cost dynamics without consideration of interaction benefits. Some of the overall dynamics in office furniture design involve choosing the right aesthetics that will create a pleasing environment to work in and generate favorable impressions with customer and brand association. On the function side of things, choose furniture that best suits the work needed to be done. Other things come into play like proper size, shape, material and positioning. From a price perspective, it is important to choose furniture that encompasses all needed aspects including but not limited to budget. Be sure not to forget the psychological aspects of design selections. Office furniture represents you and your brand and should effectively deliver your message. Then there is the question of longevity. How long do you need the furniture to last? The construction quality can dictate the correct answer to this question – the materials used in its construction and how well it’s made.

At 90 Degree Office Concepts, we can answer these questions and many more. We have set our attention to finding solutions for our clients. Should you require help with finding solutions for you particular design questions, call us at 855.699-0334 or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Great service furniture installed quickly and ahead of time. Bernie our Sales Rep was great. Very happy!

Paul Sewell
Jul 24, 2014