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Organizational Culture: Asset or Liability?


How do your employees feel about your corporation? Are they satisfied in their duties and their workspace? Or do you experience a high turnover rate?

We often hear that companies must take measure to establish an organizational culture. The term “organizational culture” refers to system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations. And the type of organizational culture your institution creates can either serve as a major asset to your company, or as a serious liability.

Of course, how employees work is a big part of the way they perceive where they work. Taking measures to make your work environment ergonomic, supportive, professional and welcoming will help your organization build a positive culture, netting your institution greater employee performance and productivity.

The Essence of Organizational Culture

In broad terms, organizational culture is concerned with how employees perceive seven particular characteristics. These perceptions directly influence whether or not employees feel a deep sense of satisfaction. The deeper this sense of satisfaction, the more it impacts the level of personal productivity and loyalty that each employee experiences.

The seven characteristics that compose an organization’s culture:

  • Innovation and Risk Taking
  • Attention to Detail
  • Outcome Orientation
  • People Orientation
  • Team Orientation
  • Aggressiveness
  • Stability

Henry Mintzberg, university professor and an expert in the field of organizational management, has described the importance of organizational culture:

“Culture is the soul of the organization—the beliefs and values, and how they are manifested. I think of the structure as the skeleton, and as the flesh and blood. And culture is the soul that holds the thing together and gives it life force.”

Organizational Culture’s Tie To Success

Indeed, many studies show that firms with stronger, cohesive cultures tend to achieve higher performance.

Consider the results of a study performed by John E. Sheridan of the University of Alabama at Birmingham published in The Academy of Management Journal:

“This study investigated the retention rates of 904 college graduates hired in six public accounting firms over a six-year period. Organizational culture values varied significantly among the firms. The variation in cultural values had a significant effect on the rates at which the newly hired employees voluntarily terminated employment. The relationship between the employees’ job performance and their retention also varied significantly with organizational culture values. The cultural effects were stronger than the combined exogenous influences of the labor market and the new employees’ demographic characteristics. The cultural effect are estimated to have resulted in over six million dollars’ difference in human resource costs between firms with different cultural values.”

OrganizationalCultureEmployeeValueDoes Your Organizational Culture Value Employees?

Strongly valuing workers is one of leading organizational cultural characteristics that can increase employee productivity and retention. In order to motivate employees to carry out good work it is vital they are provided with the best workspaces, something that is only possible with a comfortable range of office furniture pieces that promote high quality performance.

If an employee has to sit in an uncomfortable chair at a too-low desk every day, not only will they become more likely to suffer back strain or other stress-induced injuries, they will also struggle to maintain a strong sense of workplace morale.

Everybody deserves a good workspace, and the measures management takes to provide this kind of work environment will not go unnoticed by employees, the public or your productivity and profit margins.

Ergonomically Designed Office Furniture Can Lower Your Liability Risk

Most employers are required by law to insure against liability for injury or disease to their employees. While your employees are at work you are responsible for their health and safety. Should your employees suffer an injury while on the job; your employers’ liability insurance will enable you to meet the cost of compensation for such injuries.

Of course, the more injury claims filed against your organization, the higher your liability insurance costs are likely to be.

Employee illnesses and repetitive stress injuries cost your company in other ways too. Consider the following from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • 37% of all work related injuries are caused by poor ergonomic conditions.
  • The average work related injury caused by poor ergonomics easily totals $100,000 in lost time, disability ratings, compensation and potential litigation.
  • Workers who suffer a musculoskeletal disorder lose up to 19 days of work on average.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders are a major national problem—costing the US economy more than $50 billion dollars a year.

Whether you are operating in a healthy or lean economy, you need your employees to stay healthy and productive. An effective ergonomics campaign is a proactive approach to preventing workplace injury. Fewer injuries in your office equal fewer claims. And fewer claims equal lower insurance premiums.

Let Your Organizational Culture Work For You

By investing in quality office equipment and furniture for your employees, and by taking the time to train them about useful ergonomic principles, you can create an organizational culture with a high focus on safety, efficiency, productivity and comfort. Such a culture is certain to pay back big dividends in return.

Everybody Deserves a Good Workspace


No business can afford to waste time and effort in today’s competitive market. We are all striving to reduce stress in our lives, become more efficient, and simplify our tasks. An organized workplace is an excellent solution. A properly structured office will pay dividends on a daily basis, making things easy to locate, preventing important documents from getting lost, and creating an environment conducive to productivity. Every employee deserves a proper, well-planned and organized workspace in order to be effective and reach their maximum potential.

The Benefits of a Professional Workspace 

Office workers spend a significant portion of their waking hours in an indoor environment. This significantly affects their mental outlook, abilities, and performance. A proper workplace environment helps employees maintain satisfaction and success in their career. Factors such as decreased morale and a cluttered work area lead to diminished productivity.

Imagine walking into an office that has papers strewn across desks, files and folders stacked so high they look as if they’re going to topple at any second, and desks placed haphazardly around the room. Furniture is mismatched, employees are frantically digging around their desks, and you’re not sure who is in charge.

How does this office make you feel?  Motivated? Calm?  Efficient? Most likely it does just the opposite.  An organized and professional workspace is crucial for any employee to be successful. It is not only a reflection of who your company is and what it stands for, but a facilitator for efficiency. It affects employee morale as well, as untidiness and disorganization increase stress.

A tidy office can also help prevent work hazards, as clutter can often lead to accidents. Furthermore, properly cleaned surfaces greatly diminish the risk of allergies, flu, and other diseases. Every employee has a right to come work knowing their workspace is safe and sanitary. When an environment is properly designed and organized, both time and resources are maximized. Employees will be happier and more effective, and, as a result, clients will be more satisfied with the service.

Professional Office Furniture Promotes Efficiency and Safety

In order to motivate employees to carry out good work it is vital they are provided with the best workspaces, something that is only possible with a comfortable range of office computer furniture pieces that promote high quality performance.

If an employee has to sit in an uncomfortable chair at a too-low desk every day, not only will they become more likely to suffer back strain or other stress-induced injuries, they will also struggle to maintain a strong sense of workplace morale. Either of these maladies can result in serious costs for your institution. Consider the following from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • 37% of all work related injuries are caused by poor ergonomic conditions.
  • The average work related injury caused by poor ergonomics easily totals $100,000 in lost time, disability ratings, compensation and potential litigation.
  • Workers who suffer a musculoskeletal disorder lose up to 19 days of work on average.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders are a major national problem—costing the US economy more than $50 billion dollars a year.

By proactively creating a workspace that promotes health and well-being, you honor your employees’ right to a professional and safe workspace. Further, you also decrease the number of liability claims made against your organization and increase the amount of loyalty and productivity your employees invest in your institution.

Ergonomic Office Furniture that Promotes Health, Comfort and Efficiency

By providing your employees with the best workspace possible, and building in an emphasis on ergonomic principles and efficient workflow into your organization’s culture, you can expect to see the best efforts put forth by your workers help your company advance and grow. The following examples come from VersaTables’ online office furniture catalog, and have consistently shown themselves to be excellent products that promote employee retention, satisfaction and safety across all types of institutions:

SSDVersaTables Signature Series Desk

The VersaTables Signature Series Desk represents the pinnacle of computer furniture. Constructed using only the highest-quality 14 gauge steel and grade five materials, the enclosed Signature Desk combines multi-functional versatility with an aesthetically pleasing design. Three “filing” drawers and two “accessory” drawers provide plenty of easily accessible storage space, while grommet holes in the laminated wood surface and an included cable management tray easily hide and protect wires from damage. A keyboard tray enables optimal neutral positioning for typing use, and ample under-space provides plenty of room to rest your feet on the floor or on a footrest.

Rev Conf1Revolution Rectangular Conference Table

Adaptable workspaces are of the utmost importance for an office that wants to promote professionalism and productivity. The Revolution Conference Table solves the problem of conference/meeting room tables by providing a complete solution for multipurpose rooms. A standard conference table, while highly desirable, often doesn’t compliment furniture in corporate spaces. Moreover, rising real estate costs have increased the need to optimize boardroom spaces for a variety of other functions. The revolution conference table combines unique design with versatility to transform corporate spaces like board rooms into flexible meeting places.

VCVersa Center Desk Series

Designed to be the most versatile, functional work station on the market, the Versa Center provides maximum space efficiency without sacrificing work and storage area. The Versa Center supports a monitor, printer, CPU, keyboard tray, and 2 speakers. The upper 24″ x 12″ work surface is ideal for storage. The durable steel frame and smooth, locking casters allow for easy mobility and frequent movement, making this office piece perfect to promote sit-stand workflow. Each component adjusts independently, providing maximum comfort and ergonomic support for multiple users.

DDFCDeluxe Fusion Computer Cart

One of the most versatile fusion carts manufactured today, The Deluxe Diagnostic Fusion Computer Cart is perfect for use in offices, schools, medical facilities and even the private sector. With steel casters and a push handle, it moves easily and smoothly, and is compact enough to maneuver through tight spaces or be stored in a closet. Additionally, the adjustable base makes this piece conducive to sit and stand workflow, one of the major reasons it is so advantageous in the medical industry to a transitioning RN workforce. Each component adjusts independently and the solid, stable steel base ensures that even heavy CPUs and printers are secure.

Of course, these are only a few of the many products offered by VersaTables that help to create the kind of workspace that good employees deserve. To further help employees personalize and best utilize their working conditions, we also encourage use of our Workspace Planner Tool. This unique, interactive feature helps individuals fit their office furniture to them, providing the optimal height and tilt settings prescribed for their office equipment based on their height and personal factors.

Additional Tips For Creating A Quality Workspace

These tips for a great workspace will assist you in reach your maximum potential.

Clean up 

Tidy people are more productive. They are able to find the things they’re looking right away, and their organization helps them complete tasks much more quickly. In addition to adding speed to a task, tidiness relieves some of the stresses that come along with it. Seeing a mess in the corner of your eye while trying to work can subconsciously be distracting you. Block out a day on your calendar and spend it organizing, sorting, filing, and recycling. Once it is in order, it will only take a simple five minutes per day to maintain.

Rearrange the furniture 

The arrangement of your furniture can make a notable difference in productivity. The ancient art of Feng Shui  utilizes placement and design to enhance the energy flow within an environment. Pay attention to how your office is working for you throughout the day. Is the sun creating a glare on your computer screen? Is your chair set at the right height? Are you in the middle of a high traffic area? Do you notice any distractions? Perhaps you have an excessive amount of pictures or clutter on your desk. Maybe you face the window to the parking lot and watch all your colleagues coming and going. Although many of these things may have never have sparked a particular interest in you, they have the potential to affect your work.  Take care of any issues you notice that may be blocking your productivity. 

Check your lighting 

Proper lighting is an integral component an optimum workspace. Effective work will decrease without windows or proper light.  Aside from affecting the office’s appearance, it can cause chronic eye strain over time. Halogen lamps provide superior brightness if sufficient natural lighting is not provided.

Utilize effective color choices 

If this generation of business offices is marked by anything, it is color. Long gone are the days of drab whites and beiges. However, when selecting the color scheme for your office, it is important to be aware of the ways that different colors impact us psychologically.

  • Yellow encourages clarity of thought and creativity while also promoting discipline.
  • Red is an aggressive hue, ideal for those who are in sales or entertain clients in the office frequently.
  • Blues and greens stimulate creativity yet are soothing, perfect for writers.
  • Oranges and other warm colors promote socialization and collaboration.

Toss the clock 

It can be distracting for employees to sit facing the wall-clock. Try moving it out of the line of vision. Additionally, encourage all working in your office to consider replacing the clocks on mobile phones with screensavers and hide the clocks on their desktops. Doing so will prevent anyone from dwelling on how many hours, minutes, and seconds left in your day.

Instead of planning your day around the hours, try setting goals by other deadlines. For example, tell yourself “I will take my break when I have finished sorting files A – G.”  Mostly likely you will be more efficient knowing you get a reward when you are done.

Office workers generally spend forty plus hours in their workspace, and deserve to have a calm and harmonious home away from home. It will reduce stress in day to day tasks, and allow more to be accomplished more in shorter periods of time.  Create an inviting atmosphere for yourself and others by making the space comfortable and relaxed. Accomplishing this will lead to an increase in productivity, boosting your happiness, success, and prosperity.

Balancing Work and Life


Do you ever feel overworked? Do you find it difficult to juggle the demands of your family and your job? Do you ever feel that you are sacrificing your life for the office?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you can take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Dr. Robert Brooks, author and psychologist writes in his recent book, The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life:

“A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They’re afraid it may happen to them, so they’re putting in more hours…But even if you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself: ‘In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?’ Focus your time and attention on things you can control.”

We all benefit from an increased sensation of balance and harmony. Understanding how to make the most of your time while at work and outside of your work, can help you achieve such balance.

Married to Our Work?

Maintaining a work/life balance is not easy. Our early ancestors were nearly always on the move, and even as recently as 150 years ago our agrarian society incorporated full body movement as part of the regular workday. We aren’t made simply to sit, and yet, many of us work in professions that require just that … sitting for long hours at a desk.

It can be tempting to increase our work hours, especially if we’re hoping for a promotion, or if we’re managing a large workload. And in a time when cutbacks are forcing many out of the job market, it’s easy to become stressed and feel that the only way to keep the job is to work overtime.

More time working, especially working without attention to your body’s ergonomic needs, means more muscle fatigue, more health risk and a decreased sense of job satisfaction.  Medical research backs this idea up, as well. A sedentary lifestyle can bring us to an early grave. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are consequences both on the job and at home that result from a poor work/life balance:

  • Fatigue. When you’re tired, your ability to work productively and think clearly may suffer — which could take a toll on your professional reputation or lead to dangerous or costly mistakes.
  • Lost time with friends and loved ones. If you’re working too much, you may miss important family events or milestones. This can leave you feeling left out and may harm relationships with your loved ones. It’s also difficult to nurture friendships if you’re always working.
  • Increased expectations. If you regularly work extra hours, you may be given more responsibility. This may lead to only more concerns and challenges.

Solutions for Achieving Balance

In light of such facts, what can we do to create a good work/life balance? Changing jobs is one option, but when that’s not possible, another solution is to become more productive  and maximize your at work. By making your workflow more effective and efficient, you will accomplish more in less time and be able to leave the office just a bit earlier. These types of changes will allow you to have more time at home.

At the Office

Implement movement in your workflow. Change physical positions frequently. Taking small breaks from sitting is an important ergonomic principle that actually enhances overall job satisfaction and productivity. Increased productivity means you’re less tied to the job and can afford to take time off to enjoy life.

Develop good work habits  that include doing short, simple exercises at the desk. You could even walk to the water cooler a few times a day. You know the old saying, “A change is as good as a rest.”

Along with resting, you should also carefully evaluate your workstation and workflow, looking for ways to trim back on excess time it might take to complete certain projects. To most effectively accomplish this, you can use the ergonomic principles of Task Analysis and Rule of Three.

Additionally, using appropriate office furniture and equipment can go a long way in boosting your productivity, making the most of your time that is dedicated to work.  Sitting in a chair that offers your back appropriate support helps you to work longer and more comfortably. Using a desk that is designed ergonomically enables better organization and workflow as well.

It’s easy, out of fear, to take on more and more. Instead of trying to do it all, delegate what you can and share the workload with others.

Consider adding an extra monitor to your work station. In some studies multiple monitors increase worker productivity by as much as 200%! Why not find out how multiple monitors might help your workflow by using our Multiple Monitors ROI Calculator?

Use your leave, don’t lose it. Many workers have annual leave that they lose every year, because they think they’re too busy to take time off. Arrange for someone else to fill in on the essentials at the office, and use your time off to rest, rejuvenate and improve relationships.

Ask for flexible work hours. Just because everyone in your office works from nine-to-five, that doesn’t mean management might not consider flex time. Wouldn’t you rather be out sipping hot chocolate at the ski lodge while others are working, than packed in with the ski crowd on the weekend?

At Home

Leave your work at work. When thoughts of the office enter your mind, push them back out. Done often enough, this will become a healthy habit and you’ll find yourself thinking about family and friends more, and about work less.

Don’t spend your at-home-time doing at-home-work. Do chores in the evenings, during the workweek, so that your time off truly is time off.  Convert your sedentary lifestyle to activities that allow you to interact with family and friends – ones that cause you to breathe deeply, and to think profoundly. Take time to find your center of balance and truly feel happy.

Laptops in the Office

LaptopsInTheOfficeThe use of laptop computers has grown dramatically in the last decade. Laptops were originally created for the purpose of the highly mobile workforce. Because of their compact size and weight, they were initially meant to be portable items, used on for short periods of time. In recent times, however, workers have noted some advantages to using a laptop in their workplace, and the portable computers have become regulars around the office.

This new trend presents both advantages and disadvantages to the modern worker. Understanding the risks to avoid when using a laptop, while knowing how to maximize laptop configuration can help you to be sure you are operating your laptop safely and efficiently.

Why Laptops Are Appealing For office Workflow

Laptops take up much less space on a desk when compared to a desktop computer. They also provide the owner with more freedom, allowing them to use their computers in business meetings or during travel.

Additionally, laptops, net books and I-pad devices can greatly enhance the efficiency and productivity of collaborative conferences and meetings. They allow for better note and minute taking, and when enhanced with the correct software, they can allow multiple users to simultaneously interact on a corresponding main screen, where they can review, edit and manipulate documents.

The Drawbacks of Using Office Laptops

However, a potential drawback to using a laptop in an office is the physical structure. With smaller keyboards than standard desktop computers, they can be difficult for a user to type on. Also the keyboard and monitor are connected, preventing workers from being able to adjust them independently. As a result, the user may compensate for the height difference by adopting an uncomfortable posture. If the position is held for an extended period of time, musculoskeletal discomfort, and even injury, may occur.

Little research has been conducted on the ergonomics of laptop computers. Studies of a group who used laptops, showed that individuals inclined their heads more than was recommended by Australian standards while computing on portable devices. Comfort surveys have also been conducted among laptop users, and the most common complaint people cite is neck pain. It has been concluded that desktop computers are more conducive to a healthy posture. Therefore, some have recommended laptops to only be used short-term.

Laptops also present a musculoskeletal threat to users if carried extensively or improperly.

Additional concerns about professional laptop use include security risks of sensitive or proprietary information belonging to an organization. Because by their portable nature, laptops can easily be carried to all manner of locations, they become an informational security risk in public places.

Exploring Solutions

The question becomes, how can laptop use be best utilized in the office setting so that workers may reap the benefits of portable computing without suffering the consequences of neck pain and potential musculoskeletal injury?

In seeking answers to this question, a recent study evaluated various laptop configurations and how they related to posture and discomfort in the user. Participants were observed using a laptop alone, a laptop with an external mouse, a laptop that utilized optimum keyboard placement, and a laptop that utilized optimum monitor placement.  Notable conclusions include:

  • When users did not have an external monitor or keyboard, they displayed a more distinct downward gaze and tended to reach their arms more often.
  •  When the laptop was raised so the monitor would be at optimum eye level, many users felt the keyboard was abnormally high and reported a noticeable discomfort.
  • When participants used the internal pointing device instead of an external mouse, complaints about discomfort in the right wrist rose

VersaTables Solutions

In seeking ways to optimize laptop use while minimizing laptop drawbacks, VersaTables has created a unique array of user-friendly laptop furniture, designed to promote comfort and safety in the office setting.

Solutions for Comfortable Computing

Other observations concerning laptop use have noted that using proper laptop furniture in an office setting can enable users to more comfortably and safely interface with their portable devices. When using a docking station, like the products comprising the VersaTables Enclosed Laptop Security Desks Series or Adjustable Laptop Table Series, users are able to optimally place their portable devices at an appropriate height for comfortable portable computing.

Additionally, some of our Adjustable Computer Tables are complimented with keyboard trays. This allows workers to use an external keyboard when working on their laptops for an extensive period of time.

For the more fluid work environment, or to facilitate healthy sit-stand computing, VersaTables also offers superior computer carts and wall mount stations designed as laptop docks. Many of these items also facilitate and promote use of an external keyboard and mouse.

PrivacyInTheOfficePrivacy Solutions

In addition to training employees extensively about confidential and secure laptop use, VersaTables also recommends investing in laptop security desks. These unique products not only facilitate comfortable and safe laptop use, they also provide for secure storage between uses. This is accomplished with an attractive and patented security locker that is located on top of the desk. This locker organically matches the look and workflow of the desk, but also provides for maximum storage security considerations.

Training Employees

Business Link, an online resource for better business optimization, suggests that training employees about safe and comfortable laptop computing is a wise investment for any organization. When employees are appropriately trained and consistently reminded about best practices for portable computing and ergonomic work principles, they suffer less musculoskeletal threat and discomfort.

Business Link provides extensive training materials accessible to all business organizations, the main points of which are summarized below:

Training on Selecting a Laptop

When you’re thinking about buying portable computers, they should ideally:

  • be as light as possible – 3 kilograms or under
  • be fitted with as large and clear a screen as possible – preferably detachable or height-adjustable
  • come with a lightweight carrying case with handle and shoulder straps
  • have as long a battery life as possible and have extra transformer/cable sets so that the user has a set in each main location where the equipment is used
  • have a tilt-adjustable keyboard
  • be able to be used with a docking station
  • have friction pads underneath to prevent the laptop from sliding across work surfaces
  • have enough memory and speed for the software used

Training on Using a Laptop

Training for laptop users should include information on:

  • comfortable postures for using a laptop
  • using the keyboard at the right height
  • adjusting the screen to reduce reflection and glare
  • the need for regular rest breaks
  • how to report any problems that develop
  • how to reduce the manual handling risk by reducing the amount of extra equipment and paperwork to be carried
  • how to reduce the risk from theft or mugging

Training On Using a Laptop Securely

Whether working from home or out of an office environment – remote working – effective security measures must be taken to protect both equipment and information. Such measures include:

  • regularly back up files and keeping backups safe and secure
  • keeping equipment and software up to date, including anti-virus protection
  • maintaining information security to minimize the risk of theft

Additional simple measures you can follow to minimize security risks:

  • never leave equipment unattended in a public place
  • avoid leaving equipment in a vehicle – if you must, make sure it is out of sight
  • use fire proof safes to store valuable equipment and information either at home or at a hotel
  • avoid displaying sensitive information in a public place
  • do not use public internet access when handling sensitive information
  • use a shredder to destroy sensitive information – cross shredders are ideal
  • destroy unwanted computer discs, such as CDs or DVDs that contain sensitive information
  • do not carry sensitive data on portable storage devices such as USB sticks, which are easily mislaid
  • keep valuable equipment locked away when not in use

Laptops have been compared to traditional desktop computers in the past, but adding a range of laptop configurations (mouse, external keyboard, external monitor) has shown that laptop users can have an equally adequate experience. It is important for any business to provide this ability to laptop workers by provided optimal and comfortable laptop furniture and useful employee training. Posture and comfort levels can be improved with the addition of these items, allowing laptop computers to be effectively used for long periods of time.

Who Moved My Mouse? A Look at the Ergonomics of Mouse Positioning

Health issues rank high among the concerns of employees and employers alike, with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and tendonitis included on the list. Dr. Stephanie Y. Kao states:

“Occupational hand uses that are considered ergonomic risk factors for developing CTS include those involving highly repetitive awkward wrist movement, high handgrip and pinch force, and those associated with high vibration.”

In many cases, ergonomic positioning of the mouse would alleviate or significantly decrease incidences of such occupational injuries, thus benefiting all concerned. Applying correct ergonomic principles in relation to mouse positioning at the computer workstation consists of three basic concepts to help prevent wrist injury and facilitate the best human-machine interface movement and workflow— height, hand placement, and wrist movement.


An ergonomic workstation is one that keeps the worker’s arms in a comfortable position, without torquing the employee’s wrist, shoulder, or back as he uses the mouse.

The mouse should sit within reach, which can be accomplished by adjusting the keyboard, desk, or chair height/distance. The worker’s forearms should be parallel to the floor, elbows tucked at the sides and the wrists not bent or twisted at an angle.

Quality office furniture makes all the difference on this issue. Chairs that adjust easily and move smoothly are essential to ergonomic principles. Chairs that are difficult to adjust in height, or that require effort to move, create a situation in which an efficient, highly productive worker will use an incorrect, and possibly physically damaging, repetitive reach for the mouse. VersaTables Harmony Task Chair is a premier example of a high quality ergonomic seating solution. Its easy-to-use, one-touch tilt adjustment allows the chair to easily and quickly be manipulated to fit each individual user, enabling them to best orient themselves to use the computer mouse.

Focused workers often do not want to waste time by stopping and adjusting the chair. Likewise, desks that are too high, too low, or an awkward shape can interfere with the ergonomics of mouse usage.

HandPlacementHand Placement

The anatomy of the hand constitutes a point of importance. Correct circulation, as well as positioning of the wrist, becomes an essential ergonomic consideration. Notice that when a person’s forearm is placed on a flat surface, the wrist’s shape includes a curve that affords protection to the veins lying near the surface, this is the body’s neutral wrist positioning. Incorrect hand placement may not only irritate nerves, but also cause pressure upon those veins, thereby decreasing circulation. The best mouse-positioning indicator is a straight line between the hand and forearm, with neither the upper arm nor the wrist elevated or angled.

Wrist Movement

Ergonomic positioning of the mouse comes into play in all aspects, but even more so in relation to wrist movement. One common mistake is that of a mouse positioned too far away, which causes repetitive reaching with the wrist, as well as the shoulder and back. Another ergonomic error involves restricting arm movement by having the forearms on a soft armrest (whether chair or wrist rest), and unconsciously maintaining a stiff arm position. This causes the worker to use a flicking motion in order to work the mouse, which may increase intracarpal pressure.

The Ideal Wrist Position For Mouse Use

The Cornell Ergonomics Web gives an in-depth discussion of the best ergonomic position and lists the following:

“Optimal Mouse position- sit back in your chair, relax your arms then lift your mousing hand up, pivoting at the elbow, until your hand is just above elbow level. Your mouse should be positioned somewhere around this point. Don’t use a mouse by stretching to the desk or out to the side of a keyboard. With a flat mouse platform, position this 1-2″ above the keyboard and over the numeric keypad if you are right handed – you can easily move it out of the way if you need to access these keys. With a downward sloping mouse platform, position this close to the side of the keyboard so that you can use the mouse in a neutral wrist position. Position adjustable mouse platforms are commercially available….” [sic]

For ways to prevent wrist injury, you can also read our Quick Tips article. Of course, working to correct poor mouse use and wrist posture is simply a matter of replacing bad computing habits with good computing habits.  Understanding the possibility of developing a repetitive stress injury and the amount of lost productivity associated with improper mouse positioning will help encourage you to begin changing your habits right away

Proper mouse positioning is essentially ergonomics in action, giving an increase in productivity, with a corresponding decrease in CTS-type wrist injuries. Quality office furniture at the workstation, as well as correct body movements, contributes to a pleasant, conducive atmosphere for workers. And a welcome increase in production for management.

Feng Shui in the Personal and Professional Office

FengShuiHave you ever walked into a home or office and immediately felt at ease? A possible explanation for your positive reaction to the environment may be found in the principles of Feng Shui. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art utilizing placement and design to enhance the energy flow within an environment.

Feng Shui 101

Experts in Feng Shui believe that you will attract prosperity and good fortune in all areas of your life when you create balance and harmony in your physical environment. In today’s hard economic times, it is prudent to take every advantage to further the success of your business. Several notable business organization and tycoons are known to have consulted the principles of Feng Shui. Donald Trump consults with Feng Shui experts regularly. The Disney Empire, as reported by The New York Times, followed the advice of a Feng Shui expert so closely in opening their Hong Kong theme park that they even shifted the angle of the front gate by twelve degrees during building.

Feng shui centers around the flow of chi, a fundamental energy that connects people with their surroundings. It focuses on how the chi circulates within a space. Basic Feng Shui principles define chi as a tangible force that allows physical manifestations when it flows freely or hinders physical manifestations when it is blocked.

While some might shrug off what seems like ancient superstition, much of Feng Shui principles are simply related to the natural world and the way our bodies naturally work and respond to environmental stimuli. Author and expert, Angel Thompson, offers an explanation to this in her text Feng Shui: How To Achieve The Most Harmonious Arrangement of Your Home and Office:

“Feng Shui is a quasi-scientific technique that analyzes the environment and interprets natural earth forms through a mix of geomancy and architectural fortune-telling. Although it is mystical and creative, it is also consummately practical. The goal is to have our personal environments imitate the harmony and balance of the natural environment. The texts are ancient, the classroom is the world of the nature and the space you’re in, here and now, the knowledge is based on universal truth and can be experienced by everyone. It is open, reliable, available and applicable. Aesthetics, energy flow and common sense are the basis for the advice offered by Feng Shui practitioners.”

Feng Shui In The Office

So how does this principle relate to your office? By adhering to a few principles of Feng Shui, you can potentially enhance your creativity and success, while also improving your productivity. Using Feng Shui to determine the location of an office within a building, placement of your desk and other furniture, and a central color scheme, may cure a flow of blocked energy.

These basic Feng Shui tips will assist you in creating an environment conducive to happiness, productivity, and success:

Create a command position

Your desk should be placed in the “command position,” giving you a good view of the room and entry, without being directly in front of a door or main walkway (which places you in the center of rushing chi).

Similarly, you don’t want to sit with your back facing the door. If a desk must face a wall, hang a mirror on the wall or computer monitor, allowing you to see behind you.  Doing so, places yourself in command and allows you to see what is coming in your career. Leave areas to walk on both sides of the desk, encouraging the chi to flow freely. Pushing a desk up against a wall can stifle relationships with co-workers and clients.

The versatile and adjustable nature of VersaTables Desk series allows for multiple arrangements and positioning within an office setting.

Open the door to the opportunity

Be mindful of how much you place behind the door, so nothing will hinder a person walking into the space. It should be able to open to a full 90 degrees. Open doorways enable you to be prepared for new opportunities. They also welcome wealth energies into a work place.

Incorporate life energy into the space

Life energy can easily be added to an environment by including living plants. Bamboo and money tree plants are great options, as they have the ability to improve relationships and attract good luck.

Utilize effective color choices


Whether in your home office or in a business plaza, aesthetics are important. Office color schemes should be carefully chosen to be pleasing and soothing to both workers and clients.
The following Feng Shui color principles can help guide your decorating decision.

  • Yellow encourages clarity of thought and creativity while also promoting discipline.
  • Red is an aggressive hue, ideal for those who are in sales or entertain clients in the office frequently.
  • Blues and greens stimulate creativity yet are soothing, perfect for writers.
  • Oranges and other warm colors promote socialization and collaboration.

Get yourself and your career unstuck

Look under your desk and make sure nothing is blocking your leg room. This includes shoes, a trashcan, computer tower, etc. There should be plenty of room for your feet. Inhibiting your leg room could cause you to feel stuck in your career. Similarly, clutter, overstuffed shelves, or excessive items hung on the wall can lead to anxiety and potential work hazards.

Trust your instincts

When all above changes have been made, glance around the office and consider your mood. Does it encourage relaxation? Does it seem to flow? Are there any objects that give you a stressed or anxious feeling? Is it a calm yet energizing environment?

Although Feng Shui is an ancient art, a large number of its principles are based on common sense and intuition. Think creatively while incorporating these principles into your office, but make simplicity the ultimate goal. Create an inviting atmosphere for yourself and others by making the space comfortable and relaxed. VersaTables offers numerous products to help you accomplish this. From the clean, elegant lines of our furniture to cable accessories designed to minimize clutter in your workstation, you are sure to create an office space that feels open and inviting when using our products. And, according to the principles of Feng Shui, doing so will lead to an increase in productivity, and therefore boost your happiness, success and prosperity.

Understanding and Accommodating Privacy in the Office

PrivacyInTheOffice1The right to privacy in the office is more extensive than most employees realize. The Human Rights Act guarantees protection for workers’ privacy, and includes an allowance for personal phone calls and correspondence while in the workplace.

Protecting the privacy of your colleagues and employees can sometimes be challenging. However, by taking a proactive approach and working to facilitate professional and personal workspaces, and by also educating employees about their rights and expectations, you can avoid many problems long before they start.

Planning For Privacy

One of the challenges in accommodating employee privacy in an open area office is balancing the importance of collaborative and creative workflow with the need for personal space and confidentiality as well.

The way your organization chooses to establish and furnish a workspace can either mitigate or exacerbate this concern. For example, open area cubicles that provide for no personal storage or space often create a sense of chaotic, impersonal organization.

It is natural for employees to want to carve out some space that is their own. If this space is not adequately provided for, workers might turn to stacking books and folders around their workspace in order to shield themselves from the presence of others. This looks cluttered, presents a workplace hazard and can actually impeded productivity.

Rather, adaptable work spaces should invest in high quality office furniture that allows for professional and appropriate employee personalization and privacy. Consider, for example, The VersaTables Signature Series Desk. This item represents the pinnacle of manufacturing in computer furniture. Not only is there a wide desktop work area, but there are also three filing drawers and two accessory drawers that can be locked by users. This enables employees to have a personal space to keep confidential files and belongings.

Monitoring Office Correspondence

Employers have many reasons in today’s society to monitor the correspondence of their staff. They need to maintain the professional reputation that the company holds, and ensure that employee productivity remains constant. They also have to be diligent to stave off sexual or illegal workplace harassment, possible defamation liability and make sure that no trade secrets or confidential information is disclosed. In addition, they have to protect themselves from copyright infringement by monitoring what employees are downloading on company computers.

Although these reasons are compelling, the reasons for protecting an individual’s privacy are extremely important as well. Workplaces must find a happy medium in which they are able to be successful in their business objectives, while protecting the rights of their employee’s privacy.

Legally, an employer is advised not to monitor e-mails or listen in on conversations that are of an obvious personal nature. Although workers are offered protection by this premise, it is also widely accepted that if an employee’s personal correspondence exceeds what is considered “reasonable,” action can be taken against him or her.

Therefore, it is wise for workers to limit their personal communications while on the clock. To make a clear distinction between personal and business communication, all personal calls should be made with the employee’s own mobile phone. It has also been recommended by employment groups to draft a “personal e-mail” template, in order to distinguish to an employer which emails should be monitored, and which should be avoided.

The four most common law torts that have been charged against employers using e-mail monitoring are:

  • Unreasonable intrusion into the seclusion of another
  • Appropriation of the other’s name or likeness
  • Unreasonable publicity given to the other’s private life
  • Publicity that unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public.

Protect Your Organization And Your Workers

This subject is a bit of a grey area in law, with no official stance having been settled on. Subsequently, it is sensible for both the employer as well as employees to take certain steps to protect themselves. Before e-mail monitoring begins, employers should create a very clear and detailed electronic communications policy. It should be distributed to all staff on a regular basis. Based on extensive law review, the policy should include:

  • A statement clarifying that the e-mail/phone system is employer property, and use of them overrides the employee’s private rights. It should also state whether the business allows personal correspondence, and if so, what limitations are placed on it.
  • A statement disclosing that all communications sent over the company’s system is subject to be monitored, recorded and reviewed.
  • An explanation of the need for monitoring in the workplace.

Distributing such a document will protect employers from the most cited tort, intrusion of seclusion. The tort holds that one who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be offensive to a reasonable person. By providing advance notice of correspondence surveillance, it will be difficult for an employee to argue that the action was offensive. Similarly, it would be hard to argue an expectation of privacy when a written document had been distributed specifically overriding it.

Employees must understand that while they are protected by the Human Rights Act, current laws do not absolve them from excessive use of correspondence in the office. It is safer to use a personal e-mail account or mobile phone rather than employer provided ones. A decrease in performance and productivity will likely bring employees under scrutiny, as employers will wonder if excessive use of communication is negatively affecting their work. However, if the employer monitors excessively, they will most likely be subject to tort liability.

Meeting Office Industry Standards

OfficeIndustryStandardsImagine walking into an office and taking in your surroundings. Papers are strewn across desks, files and folders are stacked so high, they look as if they’re going to topple at any second, and desks are placed haphazardly around the room. Furniture is mismatched, employees are frantically digging around their desks, and you’re not sure who you should approach for help.

How does this office make you feel? Calm? Confident in their service? Most likely it does just the opposite.  An organized and professional workspace is crucial for any business to be successful. It is not only a reflection of who your company is and what it stands for, but a facilitator for efficiency. It even affects employee morale, as untidiness and disorganization increase stress.

Different types of businesses will require specific key elements in their design in order to promote maximum productivity. However, by following some general office industry standards, your organization will more likely experience long-term business success.

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association’s mission is to “lead, advocate, inform and develop standards for the North American office and institutional furniture industry.” This is a mission that VersaTables believes in and supports.

To this end, each of our office furniture pieces honors the BIFMA’s standards. These standards are reviewed and reevaluated every five years and are intended to provide manufacturers and users with a common basis for evaluating safety, durability and the structural adequacy of the specified furniture.

The full version of these standards is extensive, and can be reviewed here. By honoring these standards VersaTables continues to produce high quality, sustainable products that promote professionalism and productivity across many industries and institutions.

Special Office Equipment For Consideration

While other companies might offer products of lower quality and expense that do not meet industry standards, a much better long-term investment into your company can be made by choosing only quality pieces. To understand the benefits of high-caliber furniture, consider the following examples:

Desk and Accessories

  • A high quality desk is paramount to keeping professionalism in the workplace. It should be able to accommodate all the tools and files you will need to use on a regular basis.  Practicality should come before design to make sure it will best suit your needs.
  • Comfortable, quality chairs will be inviting to spend countless hours in.  Features such as poly-foam seats, wheels, height adjustment, and recline may be beneficial depending on the need.
  • Pens, pencils, and notepads should have a designated area in order to be available for telephone calls and note taking.
  • Compartmentalized drawers, like those in our VersaTables Signature Series Desk, utilized keep clutter to a minimum, and allow workers to access what they need quickly.
  • Stackable letter trays keep papers separated, ensuring a tidy desk.

Storage and Shelving

  • Large bookcases and easily accessible shelving create a professional backdrop while providing storage for binders, books, manuals and files.
  • A well designed filing system is crucial for storing all the hard copy documents that need to be accessed frequently. Organizations can also benefit from paperless processing.


  • Proper lighting is integral to an optimul workspace. Effective work will decrease without windows or proper light.  Aside from affecting the office’s appearance, inadequate lighting can cause chronic eye strain over time. Halogen lamps provide superior brightness if sufficient natural lighting is not provided.

Waiting Areas

  • Clients will appreciate ample seating in an organized, waiting area. It will provide them a peaceful place to rest, and allow them to be more tolerant of the wait.
  • Appropriate and applicable magazines and newspapers spread on a table or kept in racks make a client’s wait more enjoyable.

A tidy office  that utilizes industry-standard furniture can help prevent work hazards, as clutter and insufficient equipment can often lead to accidents. Furthermore, properly cleaned surfaces greatly diminish the risk of allergies, flu, and other diseases.

When a workspace is properly designed and organized, both time and resources are maximized. Employees will be happier and more effective, and as a result clients will be more satisfied with the service.

Benefits of a Professional Workspace

ProfessionalWorkspaceBenefitsWe have all seen workplaces that seem slightly more unprofessional than they should be. Being in this type of an environment doesn’t make you feel comfortable, whether you are the employee, employer, or the client.

When things are professional, activities run a more smoothly and people tend to be happier and more productive. For this reason, it is important that all members of an organization, management and workers, are dedicated to creating and maintaining a professional workspace through furniture use, office arrangement, office policy and personal conduct.

Professional Application of Furniture

The ideal, professional work environment should foster an aesthetic appearance while maintaining functionality. This can be a difficult balance to achieve. After all, if the office furniture and tools are visually appealing and comfortable, but don’t support a productive culture then they are not practical for business purposes.

What you want is to create motivating workspaces that utilize good ergonomic, business and communication principles. Environments with this focus are inspirational, flexible and manage to promote productivity while cutting costs at the same time.

At VersaTables, we create furniture with the highest level of craftsmanship. Having done extensive research about the way that workers interface with their office equipment has enabled us to create visually appealing, innovative and comfortable products that extend a worker’s capability and capacity to productively function in the workplace. From our Fusion Computer Carts to our Versa Desk Signature Series, our office pieces have a particular emphasis on adjustability and user interface.

Additional Tips For Promoting Professionalism

In order to create a professional workspace, consider these tips:

  • Products that are integrated into walls save space and facilitate workspace changes.
  • Create a common goal for people in the workspace to work towards. This will heighten productivity and efficiency.
  • Power and cable distribution systems that connect core data with desktop applications make future workspace changes less costly.
  • Professional employees in the workplace need to have respect for one another’s ideas and work. Part of this respect is allowing them to focus on their work instead of distracting them.
  • Appropriate lighting and lighting products provide the kind of workspace where people can excel while protecting them from eye strain.
  • Keeping a clean and organized space helps create a professional work environment. It also allows you to more efficiently find important documents or other things vital to your work. In a cluttered space, you risk losing or misplacing important items.

Though these are only a few ways to keep a professional workspace, there are many others that can help you maintain this professional atmosphere. By working closely with your workers, listening to their needs and conceptualizing ways to make your workspace even more user-friendly and productive, your organization stands to recoup remarkable business results.

A Professional Atmosphere Nets Remarkable Business Results

While the benefits of such a workplace are numerous, they mostly come down to a few main reasons:

  • Professionalism requires organization. This practice will create a more efficient workplace. Without having to scramble to find important documents, employees will have more time to focus on their work and prepare and complete important presentations, projects and other aspects of their work
  • Potential clients are always looking to find the best option for their needs. Having a professional workspace will show those clients that your company takes your work seriously and is willing to work hard and efficiently for clients.
  • A professional workspace will also provide employees with a relaxed, stress-free environment. If things are working smoothly and there is a professional chain of command, the work will be equally distributed and employees will be able to complete tasks in a comfortable amount of time.
  • With a stress-free environment, job satisfaction with employees will be more abundant and employee retention will increase. Not only does this save money for a company or firm, but it also builds a close, professionally connected group, which adds to productivity and happiness in the workplace.
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