Interior Concepts Reflects on a Year of Furniture Design Innovations
By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor
2012 was a year full of innovative call center furniture and design trends that paved the way for 2013, especially for Interior Concepts, a furniture manufacturer for schools, call centers and offices.
Over the year, larger 4 x 5 and 4 x 6 workstations grew in popularity. In fact, OLC Global, market research and inbound/outbound teleservices specialists, worked with Interior Concepts to furnish its Wichita, Kansas contact center location. With the design expertise of Interior Concept, OLC was able to create a hardworking work environment its call center of 160 agent workstations.
OLC’s CEO, Tom O’Connor, worked with Interior Concepts on the layout to create an environment that would improve visibility and communication between supervisors and agents. So he chose a classroom style layout for its agent workstations instead of a traditional back-to-back rectilinear layout. In the old furniture layout with high panels, supervisors had difficulty communicating with agents, but now agents and supervisors can easily interact.
Interior Concepts’ classroom style layout provides three key benefits to contact centers including visibility and communication, traffic flow, and aesthetics.
“The furniture has transformed the look of our facility and creates a better working environment for our associates,” O’Connor told Interior Concepts.
Additionally in 2012, Interior Concepts, provided four options for Height Adjustable Workstations that can take your office desk chair discomfort away. According to a blog by the company, the most effective option for you will depend on your budget, the comfort of the solution, and the ease of adjustment that you require.
Electronic Height Adjustable Worksurface: This is the most popular option for Interior Concepts’ customers who want to provide employees with a sit-to-stand workstation option. The solution consists of an electronic height adjustable mechanism under a workstation that lets the user adjust the workstation height with just a press of a button.
Manual Height Adjustable Worksurface: This solution consists of a workstation that can be manually adjusted by moving the worksurface up and down with tools. Although it is not the easiest solution, it’s a cost effective way to provide the option for height adjustability.
Adjustable Monitor Key & Keyboard: The third option is to use a keyboard mechanism and monitor arm with enough range to transition from standing to sitting, which works well for those that use a traditional monitor and keyboard versus a laptop.
Adjustable Height Table: The fourth option is to incorporate adjustable height tables throughout the workspace. This is a budget-friendly solution and works well for laptop users.
In 2012, Interior Concepts also interviewed its own sales team to learn about the process that they go through when designing tables with customers. Planning a room with tables in it can be done effectively with insight from professionals to create a functional space that increases productivity. Since tables are an essential aspect of any learning or office environment, learning about design tips from professionals will make a difference in your space.
Define the Problem – The Interior Concepts sales professionals begin by finding the problems in the furniture space that need to be solved. They believe that defining the issues that need to be addressed like the room size, how many people need to fit and the function of the room work together to create the best space.
Determine if Power is Needed – It is important to find out if the tables need power. If they do, find out whether the power comes from the wall, floor or ceiling. According to Interior Concepts, knowing the power source will determine the best way to incorporate power and connectivity into tables.
Consider Mobility – You should have an idea of whether the room will be multi-functional. If the room needs to be reconfigured frequently, decide what be done to the design to give the room flexibility. Interior Concepts suggests that options which can increase flexibility include flip-top capability and casters for mobility.
Review Table Sizes, Shapes, & Options – Depending on how the tables will be used will help to determine table size, shape, and options. Interior Concepts suggests that regarding sizing, table width per student ranges anywhere from 30"-36” with 32” being just about right.
Lastly, Robert Cathey, procurement manager at Tulsa Tech, an independent school district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, came to the conclusion that managers are under pressure to accept the lowest bid for equipment purchases like furniture. So, he decided to accept what he calls the “lowest and best bid” from office furniture specialist Interior Concepts.
Tulsa Tech's needs mandated a vendor that could offer them precisely what they required. “The customizations [Interior Concepts] offered us; the products they offered us, we felt by far that they were the best bid,” said Cathey.
Tulsa Tech learned with previous installations that many office furniture solutions aren't built to the kind of standardization that leads to true flexibility and customization. As a technical school, it also learned that its specialized IT needs weren't being met by previous vendors in terms of accommodating extensive computer and peripheral cords.
Tulsa Tech was pleased by the virtual collaboration with Interior Concepts to design an office furniture configuration that met the school's needs. The design was accomplished during sessions that included staff input, and the school was able to see the designs taking shape before via Web-based design and simulation software.
The end result was an office furniture solution that was just right for Tulsa Tech – both the best design and the best cost.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey