One of the most confusing aspects of the custom workplace furniture industry is explaining, clarifying and differentiating between technical/systems furniture and run-of-the-mill office furniture. In truth, they only have one thing in common: providing a place to hold the tools necessary to perform one’s work duties and get the job done. Other than that, they couldn’t be more different. Read on for three traits that distinguish technical furniture from your everyday office furniture.
Durability Under Pressure
Technical furniture is built for durability and is typically found in intensive, operational environments, such as emergency dispatch centers, control rooms and radiology offices, which utilize the workstations 24/7, 365 days a year. Needless to say, this type of furniture must be up to the task: the quality of its materials, surfaces, hardware components, and even accessories must perform at a level that exceeds the expectations of a typical work environment.
When regular office furniture is exposed to atypical use, such as in 24/7 operations, you can expect premature wear and tear, resulting in additional costs — not only in new furniture, but also in personnel health (more on this to follow).
Technical furniture is best suited for use in intensive 24/7 environments, as well as for housing and managing large quantities of computer, audiovisual, communications or medical equipment and the associated peripherals. Office furniture, on the other hand, is designed to hold a computer, a monitor (or maybe two), a communication device and files. Recently, office furniture companies have been paying more attention to comfort, but these items are simply not intended to perform under heavy-use conditions.
Personal Health and Comfort
One major discriminating factor between technical furniture and office furniture is ergonomics. While many of us consider our work environments to be “adequate”, once you dig deeper into ergonomic standards and human-factor engineering, you’ll quickly discover what’s missing in terms of ergonomics comfort and personal health — and frankly, you may also discover the reasons behind a number of common health issues associated with overuse of office furniture. Technical furniture is designed and manufactured (or should be, i.e., caveat de emptor) with strict adherence to human factors and ergonomics, especially given the nature of critical operational environments. Did I mention: This is a major discriminator.
Organization and Tidiness
Technical furniture can ease maintenance issues by providing “logical” cable management, equipment and accessories accessibility and a reduction in the amount of clutter typically found in an office environment. Therefore, it’s less challenging to access equipment, move cables, etc. (Your I.T. department will be forever grateful). Furthermore, technical furniture offers a module approach, which results in greater flexibility and consideration for parametric growth.
And not to be forgotten: cost. The bottom line is that office furniture is designed for affordability and is customarily less expensive than technical furniture. However, your decision on which type of furniture to choose can and should be based on the nature of the work and differences between your options highlighted herein.
Now that you know (and can explain) the differences between technical furniture and your typical office furniture, you can make a knowledgeable decision about what you and your employees would prefer in your work environment.