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This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management. Today's tip is that while furniture selection is increasingly being driven by sustainability, it still needs to be functional.
Many organizations are taking sustainability into account when purchasing furniture. Of course, the most sustainable product is the one you have. The longer its useful life, the less its impact on the environment.
In general, office furniture tends to be fairly durable. As a result, office furniture is more likely to look dated long before it's truly unusable. For instance, the trend recently has been to greater use of white, along with brighter colors, and perhaps a few pieces in a stronger color.
Choosing furniture that can be easily updated with a new covering can extend the length of time the furniture is used. That saves money and reduces the product's impact on the environment.
This is key because the trends influencing furniture today are likely to change. For instance, while many companies are moving to a heavier emphasis on collaborative work environments, most employees need some amount of privacy in order to concentrate on "heads down" work. This could prompt to a shift in office and furniture design down the road.
Still, even as workplace and design trends change, the objective of the furniture doesn't. Aesthetics and sustainability are nice, but they don't do any good if the furniture doesn't support how the employees work.