What industry is booming after being massacred during the recession? It’s the office furniture business.
During the recession, companies couldn’t afford their staff, let alone afford to redecorate! But experts predict 2013 will be the strongest year of growth in a decade. And today’s office furniture has gotten a makeover.
That’s because furniture manufacturers went into offices and attached electronic sensors to chairs to see how often they were occupied. What they found was that many cubicles are only used for about a third of the workday, and individual offices can sit empty 80-percent of the time.
That’s because today’s workers don’t want to feel chained to a desk. They want open workstations that make it easy to collaborate, like a coffee shop set-up. So, clunky desks are out. And adaptable workstations are in. They’re free-standing tables that can be used as personal desks or pushed together for group workspaces.
Another new furniture trend? Massive conference room tables have been replaced by adjustable tables, that can be extended or retracted depending on how big the group is.
Just like your dining table at Thanksgiving, when you break out the extra leaf. That’s because research found that old-school conference rooms are usually only used by a couple of people at a time.
That’s also why, when office space is being designed, they’re not even building conference rooms anymore. Instead, there are “focus rooms,” where groups of 3 or 4 workers can brainstorm together, because these days, work is getting done in smaller teams.
So look for those changes coming to an office near you.