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Featured Furnishing 101

Moving Checklist: 6 Ways to Handle a Cross-Country Move

You’re about to move across the country! And with our help, you’re gonna handle this like a boss. You got this.

Here are our Furnishr’s top six tips for an easy, breezy, beautiful moving process.

1. Ignore unhelpful backseat drivers.

This is your time, your move! Your mom and your best friend may have their own opinions, but it’s time for you to step into the driver’s seat. You need to decide which apartment to rent, which movers to hire, and which items to keep and which to toss. These are important decisions that can make or break your transition into your new home! Ease the transition into your new home and have some faith in yourself. After all, it’s you that has to live with the decisions.

2. Get multiple quotes.

a person sits with a planner and pencil in their lap planning a move

You know what bosses do? They ask for the best deal. Bosses shop around. And they stay organized. But if you’re going to handle this move like a boss, you should anticipate some tough decisions. Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t the best option. Do a cost-benefit analysis and ask future-you what she wants. It might take you some time but it’ll be worth the hassle in the long run!

3. See if your company will cover some costs.

Many companies offer some kind of relocation package. Even if you weren’t offered this, it can’t hurt to ask. It shows the company that you value your time, and that you’re not afraid to speak up for yourself. Who knows, maybe they have a couple of hundred bucks to help cover a few boxes? Why not get a head-start on your new life and be the boss that you are!

4. Sort your stuff before you pack.

a blonde woman holds a cardboard moving box in front of a yellow wall

Now is the time to Marie Kondo your possessions. Don’t waste energy schlepping stuff that doesn’t make you happy. If you’re making an epic move, it’s probably for a really cool reason. You’re chasing your dreams, and that’s awesome! So take the time to sort your things out before you go. Everybody loves a “take my stuff” party. Oh, and don’t forget to bring sharpies.

5. Plan your future space.

Knowing where you’ll be living is a huge stress-reliever. No one wants to land in a new country with no sense of where to go. Take the time and imagine the best you that you can be, and design your new space accordingly. Pinterest can also be a great way to find the best design inspiration that suits your needs. This is not something you have to plan all by yourself. Feel free to ask a friend to help you plan your new pad.

If you really want to start fresh, use a company like Furnishr that takes your floorplans and completely furnishes your new space in a single day. But if you’re struggling with long-distance apartment hunting, here’s a pro tip. Look for a short-term sublet just to get your feet in the ground. In saturated real estate markets, this option gives you time to meet with landlords in person, even though moving twice sucks.

6. Take care of yourself when you get there.

a woman in shorts stands in a park

When you arrive, walk around as much as you can for the first few weeks. If you drive everywhere, you may struggle to get your orientation. Try to figure out where you’ll most likely be hanging out the most, like the local grocery or dive bar down the street. Don’t be discouraged if you’re feeling homesick! Remember that the discomfort you’re feeling is a totally normal part of reinventing yourself. If you’re really feeling down, don’t be hesitant to call up old friends or treat yourself to dinner if you need a boost. And remember that your friends miss you too. But once you get to know your new neighborhood, we promise you’ll feel right at home.

And that’s it!

If you manage to complete six of these steps while planning a cross-country move, then you are definitely a boss.

You’re headed for great things, and the future is looking up. You’re a boss, remember? If you need some help planning your new space, remember to call on your friends (Furnishr can help, too).

Categories
Design Tips Office Furnishing

Improve Your Productivity with Office Interior Design

You’ve probably heard about the offices at Google and Facebook. They’re magical places full of good food, nooks for collaboration, and games to play when the coding gets tough. We can’t all work in startup offices. That’s why the interior design style is important, so let’s learn from the best office furnishing trends.

But first, a question that needs to be answered once and for all: Why are open space offices so popular?

Open Office Design

If you ask Mark Zuckerberg or Frank Gehry, you’ll hear that open offices are the way of the future. They increase opportunities for chance encounters and cross-collaboration. But if you ask the employees who have to sit in them, open offices are the scourge of the earth. They prevent focus and privacy, which is especially bad for programmers. Open offices are infamously terrible for women, too, and other people who tend to be vulnerable to interruption.

The biggest challenge in office furnishing is balancing the needs of different teams.

Think of it this way. In a startup environment, people are constantly discovering new ways to do business. This requires the ability to check in with other teams. Startups typically have a bit of money to burn, too. Startups need to attract and retain top talent, hence the presence of ping pong tables and kombucha on tap. On the other hand, if your job requires more individual focus and less conversational decision-making, then an open office would clearly be detrimental to doing your best work.

Here are some contenders for the worst office interior design style trends ever, and some suggestions for doing it better.  (For bonus points, share this with a co-worker or with your office administrator. Or just send them this article on the health & wellness benefits of good interior design. Who knows, maybe they feel the same way you do?)

Worst Office Environments

1. Distracting Work Space

Hey, we’re just the messengers on this one. Unless you’re Google or a scrappy early-stage startup, open offices tend to be bad for focus. A study by Gensler in 2013 found that workers spend 54% of their time on activities requiring individual focus.

Open offices also spread disease more quickly. Plus, they’re not actually that good for equity and inclusion. People who are already vulnerable to interruption (like women) tend to be interrupted even more when they’re out in the open.

two people sit opposite each other with a laptop between them in a semi-private meeting area

How To Do It Better: Hybrid spaces. Offer a mix of spaces, including soundproofed private workspaces and open, collaborative picnic-table style spaces.

2. No Access to Nutrition

It’s a recipe for disaster to ask people to sit still and focus for eight hours without providing a nearby spot for eating and drinking. If the kitchen is dirty or too far way, people just won’t use it. This leads to dehydrated and hangry employees, stuck with stiff limbs after not getting up all day. And when employees get stressed and sick, they do bad work or miss work altogether.

an orange sits on top of a laptop keyboard beside a mug

How To Do It Better: Google solved this very efficiently with its micro-kitchens strategy. They provide clean, minimalist eating and drinking spots scattered throughout the office. Be sure to take nutrition into account when designing office furnishing. A simple placement of a fruit bowl and water cooler can encourage people to get up more frequently and take a sip of water or an apple when they pass by.

3. No Natural Light & No Air Flow

The emotional and physical effects of being stuck inside are exacerbated by the absence of natural light. In fact, one study showed that office workers in a space with windows slept for an additional 46 minutes per night, compared to workers without access to natural light. Light regulates our circadian rhythms, which helps our bodies feel balanced and productive. Fresh air keeps the brain fresh, after all. A lack of windows can make it difficult to imagine the outside world — which is where your customers are.

a single window is open visible from the outside of a buildingHow To Do It Better: Short of remodeling to add more windows, this is a tricky one. If you don’t have access to natural light in your office, look for ways to enjoy it throughout the day. Take a short walk at lunch, or sit in the atrium. Even 10 minutes of fresh air can make a big difference.

4. No Office Plants

Bare walls, drab paint — and no greenery to be found! There’s really no excuse for this office furnishing trend.

a person sits smiling next to a windowsill with a plant
Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection

How To Do It Better: Look for some really affordable low-maintenance office plants. And if no one in your office has a green thumb, just get some fake plants! The appearance of greenery can be enough to make a difference. Looking at plants produces mental and physical benefits. The presence of plants in the office can help reduce stress, reduce sickness, reduce noise levels, and increase creativity.

5. No Flexible Seating Options

If your back aches and your wrists hurt, you may be suffering from not enough flexible seating options. This isn’t just for fidgeters anymore. Yoga balls, adjustable desks and chairs, sofas and coffee tables: the more options you have for changing posture, the better your health and productivity will be. There is a danger here of making a space feel too comfortable. If your office furniture includes couches, candles, and rugs, you may feel like you’re home and be struck by a sudden desire to curl up on the couch and nap.

a person sitting in an office stretching their hands overhead

How To Do It Better: Hop on Craigslist to find some additional seating options. Look for different sizes of tables and chairs, and maybe one sofa.  If there is no room for more furniture, try switching up your meeting location to get people out of their seats. Try a stand-up meeting.

6. Generic Office Art

The cardinal sin of office furnishing is generic art. Seriously, when was the last time you were inspired by a generic skyline print?

a gray office with cubicles and fluroescentl lights

How To Do It Better: Luckily, this is easy to fix. Think about what art fits nicely within the interior design style you’re going for within the office. Find a local artist who wants to display their work. Host an office party to create an abstract piece together. The wellness and productivity benefits of looking at original art are immense.

7. Distracting Perks & Furniture

Controversial, we know. But as fun as it is to play pool in the middle of the day, games can be a major distraction. Ping pong tables, slides, and other classic startup furnishings are visually distracting, and they create noise which can inhibit focus. It’s a case of design over function. Your foosball table and hammock may entice a new hire, but does it help your team produce the best work?

Two non-binary friends play video games

How To Do It Better: Locate distracting games away from the main workspaces. Board games are a great substitute for ping ping tables, as they take up less space and don’t make as much noise. Check in with colleagues about the office furnishing. Maybe they’re ready to swap out the foosball table for an Xbox.

8. No Obvious Recycling & Compost Containers

It’s 2019, people, get with the program! Out of the way containers, or badly labeled containers, are often culprits of bad waste disposal practices. Some offices do have a compost bin, especially if it’s required by law, but it isn’t easily accessible. Poor waste management practices create additional cost for the company, and they burden the planet.

a hand holds a plastic bottle over a green recycling bag

How To Do It Better: If your office isn’t willing to take on this task, well, that sucks and you should keep pestering them until they agree. All you need are clearly marked green and blue bins. Find some pretty ones! Recycling bins don’t have to be ugly. Lots of companies have had success turning sustainability into a friendly interoffice competition. Otherwise, you could maybe do it yourself if you’re part of a small office? For those of you who weren’t Earth Warriors in elementary school, look for small ways to reduce your impact. Pack your lunch in tupperware. Bring your scraps home to start a compost pile, and then donate it to your community garden.

9. Too Much Smart Technology

Some companies swing too far into high-tech land, relying on smart technology to manage shared office space. This can prevent people from actually providing their input about the space. A recent article in The New York Times pointed out that most thermostat systems are controlled by men. It may not be intentional, but smart office tech can actually be bad for equity. People can’t be productive when they’re uncomfortable.

a surveillance camera hangs from the ceiling

How To Do It Better: Studies show that when people have some degree of control over their environment, they’re happier and more productive. So have a conversation at the office, and make the lighting and temperature controls available to everyone. Even better, have localized systems so that different areas can be specifically adapted to match the sensory preferences of their occupants.

If your workspace is committing one of these interior design style faux-pas, don’t panic! Many of these office furnishing mistakes can be quite easy to fix.

When it comes down to it, office furnishing is a simple equation: how do you balance design with function? And the good news is that no matter which space you’re in, interior designers are equipped to help you out.

So drop the Furnishr team a note if you’re furnishing an office space and need a sidekick 💪