There comes a time in the life of every business owner when she must ask the question, "When should I buy new office furniture?"
Maybe the business is moving to a new building, or maybe you'd like to encourage more collaboration with an open office plan, or maybe your old furniture is on its last legs (literally) and it's time to move on.
Luckily, there are options. Old furniture can be refurbished and re-purposed and new and used furniture can be added to the mix. To help out with your decision making, we weighed in on the benefits of buying new furniture vs. the benefits of repurposing your old furniture:
Benefits of Buying New Office Furniture
- It's a great chance to freshen up a dated office: If your business opened its doors in the 1970s when avocado green and burnt sienna were all the rage and your employees are complaining their desks are giving them splinters, it's definitely time for an update. New office furniture is easier to install and reconfigure as your office changes or grows, and it's more technology friendly, with built-in cabling and charging stations. New and contemporary furniture shows customers and clients that you are forward thinking.
- It shows customers that you're sticking around: To be sure, buying new furniture is a big investment. But nothing reassures a new client more about your plans for future growth and your confidence in your business quite like a big investment.
- It's more ergonomically friendly: The lowly office chair has come a long way over the years -- from a squeaky-wheeled, back breaker to a lumbar-supporting, perfect-arm-resting seat of productivity. Show your employees you care about their long-term health by investing in seating that won't leave them with a sore neck come 5 o'clock.
- It has a warranty: Chances are if a leg falls off of a table or an armrest breaks on a chair, you're the one who has to fix it. Purchasing new office furniture means you can take advantage of a warranty that allows you to call on the manufacturer to repair any broken parts and pieces, leaving you more time for other problems -- like all those complaints about how the office is colder than the Arctic tundra.
- It's tax deductible: For small businesses, the cost of your office supplies (including furniture) is tax deductible. These expenses can either be deducted in the first year (up to a certain amount) or depreciated.
The Benefits of Repurposing Old Office Furniture
- It saves money: The most obvious reason to stick with your old furniture is the cost savings. New workstations without a lot of frills can cost between $1,000-$5,000 per station -- and can run more than $10,000 per station the more space and storage you need. A company with just 100 employees can easily spend more than $100,000 on new furniture alone.
- It's good for the environment: These days, the word "sustainable" is like the nectar of the gods for businesses (not to mention the Earth). The EPA estimates that 3 million tons of office furniture ends up in landfills each year. Repurposing your office furniture shows that your company is committed to reducing waste and decreasing its carbon footprint because you won't need the raw materials or energy required to produce new furniture.
- It's better for your health: Most furniture is manufactured using Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are released in the air in the form of gas throughout the lifetime of the furniture -- the newer the furniture, the higher the VOC levels. According to the EPA, exposure to VOCs can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation; loss of coordination; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system.
- It can get you LEED points: If you're working toward LEED certification, repurposing furniture will give you points in the categories of waste management, materials and resource reuse, and recycled content. In addition, you can get credit toward improved environmental quality for using pieces that have lowered VOC emissions.
- It can be freshened up: If your old office furniture is, how shall we say, tired, there's no reason to give up on it completely. Chairs and couches can be reupholstered, wooden pieces can be sanded and refinished and everything from squeaky chairs to tilting tables can be repaired. Office furniture was built to last -- so make sure you get all the miles you can out of it and more.