Items used to provide functionality in an office are often divided into three categories: office furniture, technology, and office supplies. Although office supplies are the smallest, often least expensive items used in, around and on office furniture, the furniture itself is the primary component that makes up office furnishings.
It goes without saying that office needs vary. Nevertheless, there are some common pieces of furniture that are usually found. One is the desktop. For many people, their office provides their primary workspace, a place where they can write, type, calculate, read, answer the phone, and where they can conduct interviews and meetings.
Desks can be made of wood, metal, plastic or glass, but in most cases, unless specifically called “computer desks”, they include a flat work surface (which can also hold a computer and/or monitor) and storage space. Desks designed specifically for computers cannot offer storage. On desks that have storage, there may be one drawer with built-in compartments, designed to hold office supplies, while the other drawers may have room for stationery and files.
A hutch may be available with a desk. Hutches also offer storage space, but are likely to have space for books and CDs, perhaps with letter-size shelves on which projects can be stored. Some also have a cabinet. Desks have a few characteristic shapes. They are often rectangular, but can also be L-shaped or U-shaped.
Four alternatives to the office are now common. Computer carts and stands – compact pieces of furniture that hold a computer and monitor – can replace a desk when space is tight. This office furniture is designed for efficient use of space and is often on wheels so that it can be moved, if necessary. Although cabinets often include at least a little extra storage space, stands often do not.
The cabinet has also been adapted from its use as a storage cabinet or as a pantry in a computer centre. It combines the benefits of the computer cabinet with more space, and many cabinets have the ability to hide whatever they are holding behind their doors. It can be a boon for a home office. Finally, some people find that a table serves as their desk, as well as a meeting and gathering area. It can also be an attractive choice for a home office, as the table can be used for other purposes.
A natural office furniture, matching the desk, is a chair. There are several types of chairs that can be found in an office. Executive chairs are expensive office chairs that are often upholstered in leather and usually have higher backs and more adjustability than other seats. The executive chairs are set back a bit from the executive chair and the focus here is on ergonomic features. Specialized chairs with extra height for a drafting table are available for drafting, with or without arms, but with a footrest.
Office furniture intended for storage may take the form of bookcases, cupboards, in particular filing cabinets, and shelving. Meeting tables and coat racks are two other pieces of office furniture that can help complete the furnishing of an office. Guest chairs – comfortable armchairs without wheels for outside visitors to the office or colleagues who have come in for a meeting are another frequently found item.