Office furniture in the secretary’s office: You should definitely pay attention to this
Office furniture in the office – How secretaries find adequate solutions for extensive requirements.
Desk, mobile container, filing cabinet Office chairs and tables, filing cabinets and modern technology – a perfectly equipped office includes many things. Efficient work through well-designed office furniture is a given. Read in this article what is important, how office furniture can be bought or leased and how much decision-making power you have as a secretary. Furthermore, you will learn what the lawmakers have stipulated regarding ergonomic office furniture.
On average, a secretary spends more than 8,500 hours a year at her desk. In her mostly sedentary job, she works primarily while sitting at her desk. Her occupation is characterized by diverse administration as well as work with modern office communication tools. Among other things, she creates professional presentations and focuses on formulating benefit-oriented correspondence.
Her primary goal is to ensure effective relief for the boss. In order for the assistant to perform her job successfully and competently, she needs an optimal workplace. In addition to cleanliness and compliance with occupational health and safety measures, an ideally equipped workplace consists primarily of functional office furniture.
What basic requirements do secretaries place on their workplace?
Every employee has different requirements for his or her workplace. While some people want to have the latest technology at their disposal, other employees pay more attention to ergonomics and design. In any case, one of the basic requirements in any office is a workstation:
- With an ergonomic desk,
- a height-adjustable swivel chair and
- sufficient storage space.
Can I have a say in the selection of office furniture?
Secretaries do not have a say in what office furniture is purchased in every company. Office furnishings say a lot about the company and its attitude towards customers and employees. To further improve the ambience, assistants can proactively register their needs or suggest changes to the workplace in a personal meeting.
In most cases, solutions can be found between the boss and the secretary that make an office more ergonomic, functional or overall more attractive.
Have you discovered potential for improvement?
For secretaries who see potential for change in their workplace or who are allowed to help plan the refurnishing of the office, different questions arise:
What should secretaries look for when buying office furniture?
How can adequate solutions be found to meet the requirements of the business?
What role do quality, ergonomics, design, and functionality play?
How does a company find the right consultant, and what solutions are available for companies that want to spend little money?
What are the advantages of well-designed office furniture?
If a secretary deals in depth with effective office furnishings and explores the market for suitable offers and solutions, this has a positive influence on her work in the office. Functional office furniture can save time in terms of doing office filing.
The design of the office can prevent disturbances and in this way influence the work performance and the quality of work. In any case, it is worthwhile for the assistant and the company to examine the office furniture for potential improvements. The goal should be to transform the office space into practical and attractive workplaces.
What should secretaries look for when buying office furniture?
Especially when starting a business, in most cases the available capital is not sufficient to purchase office furniture that is of high quality and meets the requirements of the employees. Once a company is established, there are better investment opportunities.
In general, office furnishings are a cost in many businesses, where expenditures must be scrutinized with a high degree of accuracy. Since employees work many hours every day in a sedentary position in the office, it is purposeful for companies to conscientiously review the furnishings with office furniture.
Don’t save at the wrong end
Companies that fail to invest in office furnishings may be saving on the wrong end. In any case, secretaries can positively influence an addition or new purchase of office furniture and suggest prioritizing.
Prioritize desks and office chairs
If a company wants to professionalize office furnishings, it should prioritize desks and office chairs in particular when making investments. Office furniture should be functional and ensure healthy working. A study by the Techniker Krankenkasse health insurance company shows that almost one in ten cases of sick leave is caused by back problems. A large proportion of these cases of illness, which cost companies in Germany billions every year, can be traced back to an incorrect sitting position at the workplace and inadequate movement.
It is obvious that it makes sense for companies not to save on furniture in the office. Such behavior could put the health of their own employees at risk. This implies furnishing office spaces with ergonomic office furniture across the board.
Legal requirements for office furniture
In addition to the fact that high-quality office furniture can curb health risks and prevent illnesses, companies have an obligation to observe the legal requirements for workplaces. These result from the Workplace Ordinance (ArbStättV), which on the one hand clarifies in § 3 that the employer must adapt a workplace to the following requirements:
- the state of the art
- occupational medicine and hygiene
- ergonomic requirements
At the same time, the annex to the Workplace Ordinance clearly outlines how VDU workstations, which undoubtedly include a workstation in the secretary’s office, are to be set up. In the appendix in subitem 6 it is stated:
Work tables or work surfaces must have a low-reflection surface.
Work surfaces must be dimensioned in accordance with the work task so that all input devices can be arranged variably on the work surface and a flexible arrangement of the screen, written material and other work equipment is possible. The work surface in front of the keyboard must allow the heels of the hands to rest on it.
What are the legal requirements for office chairs and desks?
In summary, office chairs and desks should support a safe, functional and effective way of working. For this reason, a desk as well as other office tables must not create any distracting glare. These would be distracting or could cause headaches and visual disturbances in the long term.
The office chair should meet the latest ergonomic requirements and provide the best possible relief for the back muscles and intervertebral discs. To ensure this, it should have lumbar support and good upholstery. If different employees work on the same office chair, it must be effectively and easily adjustable.
Important for the selection of the office chair
Companies should opt for office chairs that have a synchronous mechanism. This feature is characterized in particular by the fact that the tilt of the seat and the tilt of the backrest are automatically coupled.
If the secretary leans back on her office chair, the inclination of the seat surface changes schematically. As the angle between the lower and upper body is changed, the synchronous mechanism supports the movement of the body during a sedentary office activity.
What else is relevant in office furnishings? Cabinets, conference room equipment and tables in focus
In addition to a professional office chair and a desk that meets legal requirements, other office furniture is part of the office equipment of a workplace in the secretariat:
- filing cabinets,
- office cabinets,
- shelves and sideboards.
Lockable filing cabinets or hanging file cabinets are part of every office equipment despite the digitalization. Even if a lot of data is stored and archived digitally in the modern, paperless office, paper documents reach the assistant’s workplace every day. These must be checked and filed according to traceable criteria.
Sensitive data must also be stored in lockable filing cabinets at all times. Efficient office cabinets must have sufficient storage space and must be placed in such a way that they can be easily opened. A private rolling file cabinet with a lock is crucial to protect the privacy of the office and secure personal work equipment.
Flexibility is in demand for office furniture
Flexible partitions in filing cabinets and quick rearrangement options also ensure that filing cabinets can be used for a long period of time in the office. Tall cabinets or heavily loaded sideboards should be secured to the wall to prevent them from tipping over. The same goes for hanging file cabinets. To prevent them from tipping over when the center of gravity changes, it is recommended to purchase models with pull-out stops in the office.
Closed filing cabinets in the office are indispensable in any study. Not every cabinet in the office must necessarily be closed. Since office filing is one of the most essential tasks of a secretary, the office planning should pay attention to the fact that open furniture is equally part of the inventory.
In this case, forms, work materials and documents to be archived can be stored in a flexibly accessible way. This simplifies all office filing activities. It also ensures that employees can independently remove office supplies without unnecessarily disrupting the secretary’s workflow.
Office furniture closet?
Furnishing a study and office furniture also includes a closet. Especially in the case of a large number of employees or public traffic, this should be lockable. In this case, the coats, jackets or bags of the staff can be stored safely.
Office equipment in the executive office and conference room.
A secretary spends a lot of time in the executive office as part of her job. For this reason, it is equally crucial for the executive office to focus on functionality, design and ergonomics. In many cases, superiors have a high interest in the unique design of their personal office.
In addition to functionality, office furniture, the executive chair or a conference table make a statement for an executive and convey the corporate image. For this reason, bosses pay attention to brands, quality and noble products when planning. The executive office can impress visitors and business partners, as well as convey security and confidence in the work. Used correctly, it conveys to customers and prospects the feeling that quality and design are generally focused in the company.
Who has the decision-making power when buying office furniture?
It is the decision-making power of the supervisor to furnish his office according to personal preferences. If the secretary works temporarily in the executive’s office, there should be a place for her at the conference table or an ergonomic workstation with an attachment plate at the executive’s desk in any case. If this is the case, she can devote herself to the boss’s dictation or take minutes during a meeting without being disturbed.
Moreover, in discussions with the superior, she sits within reach, so that the arrangement of the furniture creates a professional working atmosphere. In this way, a personal basis of trust is quickly established between the boss and the secretary.
A conference table at eye level
The conference table, like the secretary’s desk, should follow ergonomic principles. Besides an assistant and the boss, the conference table is mainly used for discussions with customers or business partners. An ideal conference table impresses with a high-quality, functional design and identically arranged seating. Instead of buying different chairs for the boss and the rest of the interlocutors, it is advisable to meet everyone at eye level in meetings and conversations.
It shows professionalism if a conference table is tidy and clean at all times. Distracting documents, a notebook or the telephone look deficient and create invisible barriers in the dialog. The same applies to the shelves in the executive office, which should be equally clean and structured.
Extra space for printers, scanners and CO.
In the office and in the executive office, printers, scanners and other technical communication devices are essential. Placed directly in the room, they often look disturbing and out of place. At the same time, they continuously generate heat in the office. Laser printers can also enrich the air we breathe with fine dust and cause long-term health problems.
For this reason, modern offices use separate printer rooms or small printing islands in the open-plan office. This type of room planning has the advantage that only a few high-quality devices need to be purchased. These are available to all employees in the network.
Despite the useful networking, an executive secretary needs her own printer for special documents at all times. Confidential letters, contracts or official significant communication can be created separately in this way.
Why are quality, ergonomics, design and functionality important in the office?
In terms of office furniture, quality, ergonomics, design and functionality play a crucial role. While functionality and ergonomics are among the basic requirements in the office, an appealing design and high quality offer real added value for employees and the company.
The interlocking interaction of all four terms creates a workplace where employees can work with joy, commitment and effectiveness. Quality in terms of office furnishings also has another added value. It saves costs in the long term, because office furniture does not have to be continually replaced or repaired. In offices with high-quality furnishings and an appealing design, the feel-good factor of employees increases in the same way. This can lead to improved employer branding.
Attractive company through employer branding
A high level of employer branding makes a company appear attractive. This is crucial, especially in times of a shortage of skilled workers, in order to establish employees in the company in the long term. They speak positively about the company and the working atmosphere. Appropriate office furnishings play a significant role in this. In the last instance, applicants feel attracted by the general conditions of a company and take steps to become a part of the team.
Ergonomic and functional office furnishings, on the other hand, are one of the essential prerequisites for an adequate office workplace.