Home Office Direct Joins Furniture Wholesalers

After 15 years as a standalone subsidiary of Furniture Wholesalers, the two company units (Home Office Direct and Furniture Wholesalers) will become one super-site. As a result of the merger, there will be more efficiencies, a new look, more product information, new categories, and more. What remains are the same low prices, great customer service, wider selection of quality products, and free shipping to all 48 states across the United States.

What’s New At Furniture Wholesalers?

Look forward to even more product categories with exciting new items in 2017. Furniture Wholesalers has more than home products. There are items for the office, institutions, government agencies, hospitals, schools, and more. Shop Furniture Wholesalers throughout the year to see what’s new!

8 Tips for Making a Cubicle Awesome and Comfortable

tips for making a cubicle awesome and comfortable

Making a cubicle awesome and comfortable is desirable if you work in a corporate setting. In fact, it’s important to make your cubicle feel like home. After all, most of us spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in a cubicle, so you want to make the area as comfortable as possible.

Unfortunately, most cubicles are boring gray or dull, drab colors. Any splash of color helps bring some extra comfort to an otherwise “blah” place. In order to get started with ideas for “spicing up” your cubicle, sit in your cubicle and take a sensory inventory of what it like to be there. It is easy to spruce up the space by just being creative and adding some welcoming items. Bringing in photos, knickknacks and other decorations make a plain cubicle feel like home. Making your work space more comfortable, will enhance work performance.

8 Tips for Making a Cubicle Awesome and Comfortable

Many websites offer tips for making a cube more pleasant place from adding artwork to having comfortable furniture. Turn your cubicle into a more inspiring place by just adding a few of these easy-to-do decorating tips:

1. Cubicle Decor

There are many options for brightening up the drab gray or neutral walls in the office. Cubicle walls are usually made of bulletin-board like panels. A simple decorating tip is to tack fabric over the walls. If the walls cannot accommodate tacks, use fabric and starch to make a removable wall covering or decoration or tape on printed paper or even gift wrap. Hanging inspirational posters, quotes, or photos to cover the walls of the cubicle also add a touch of home and inspiration to a cubicle. Research shows that images of nature help to restore cognitive performance.

2. Cubicle Lighting

Office lighting and temperature in your office greatly affects a person’s mood. Nothing can be done about overhead fluorescent lighting, but adding some spot lighting, such as with a small accent lamp on the desk, can help brighten the mood. Christmas string lights can also add some splash of color to a cubicle.

3. Office Temperature

Not every office has the ideal temperature year-round. Office temperatures can vary from very cold to very hot with no happy in-between. The best way to make yourself comfortable is to bring in a space heater or a fan for your cubicle. Some offices have air conditioning so high during the summer months that people use space heaters all year round. Verify with your office management if it is okay to bring in equipment for your cubicle.

4. Comfortable Office Furniture

Since you spend so much time sitting in the chair at the desk in your cubicle, it is very important to have furniture that will allow you to be comfortable. Having the right desk chair will allow people to feel more relaxed during their work day, especially a chair with adjustable lumbar support and seat depth adjustment. Uncomfortable chairs and work spaces leads to less productivity.  A good example of comfortable furniture is having furniture that is designed specifically for a person’s body and capabilities. Ergonomic furniture is any furniture item that’s designed to allow someone to use the furniture without suffering from repetitive stress injuries. Having ergonomic furniture and desk accessories, such as monitor arms or monitor holders, in the workplace will help to release the stress of the workday. Read more about why Ergonomics in the Workplace is important.

5. Cubicle Organization

Being surrounded by desk clutter, including papers, pens and coffee cups can add clutter to your day and lead to less productivity. Setting up and organizing your desk is a very important detail to make you feel comfortable. Having your most needed accessories and files close by is also important to getting your work done. Organizing file cabinets so that the items you need the most are towards the front of the drawer is key to finding the files you need quickly. Another aspect of organizing is labeling files for how you will use them. Everyone should set up their own filing system based on how they work and the files they will need the most. Need more organization tips? Read a blog we wrote specifically about file cabinet organization.

6. Standing Desk

For the health conscious, having a standing desk could help prevent the health problems that are associated with sitting all day. Several benefits of a standing desk include less obesity risk, better posture, helps reduce back pain and more. Make sure that the desk is adjusted to the height that is the most comfortable for you.

7. Plants and Fish for a Cubicle

Check with your office manager, but adding cubicle-friendly plants and fish can brighten-up and give a different energy to a cubicle. There are low-maintenance plants for those without green thumbs or add fake plants that look real. Some of the best plants that are cubicle friendly are ferns, aloe vera plants, bamboo, snake plants and English ivy. Fish are also a great option for low maintenance companionship. Several varieties of fish are perfect for cubicles including Betta fish, Goldfish, Multies, and Guppies.

8. Cubicle Desk Direction

If possible, sit so you’re facing people walking by. Research shows that people are more comfortable when they sit so their backs are not exposed to passersby. If there is room, pivot your desk chair and use a different work surface in order face forwards to people that pass by.

Find the Right Office Furniture and Accessories for Your Cubicle

Since your work cubicle is your “home away from home”, making it as comfortable as possible is easy to do by adding some color, accessories and personal photos or messages. Finding the right office furniture for your cubicle is also key to making the cubicle welcoming allowing workers to feel more relaxed and productive.

If you found these tips helpful, please share on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

Working from Home: Pros and Cons

Working from home is a unique and appealing opportunity, but is it all it’s cracked up to be? We’ll dive into the myths, truths, pros, and cons of work from home jobs to answer all of your questions. Whether you’re an employer considering a work from home benefit for your team members or you’re an employee hoping to take advantage of a new opportunity, this post will help you figure out if working from home is right for you.

woman working from home at dining room table

Photo from Pixabay

Benefits of Working From Home

Working from home has obvious (and not-so-obvious) benefits in the “pro” column. For example, a work from home policy can actually tie into a company’s environmentally friendly or “green” policy due to the reduced emissions from commuting. If workers aren’t driving (and getting stuck in traffic) and can instead do their work from home, there’s a tangible benefit to the environment. Reduced traffic and commute time also plays into a better work-life balance for workers since they don’t have to leave home as early in the morning or get home late after rush hour.

Top 10 Reasons to Work From Home

A survey by Forbes highlighted the top ten reasons workers like to take advantage of a work from home policy, including:

  • It’s environmentally friendly (23% of respondents)
  • Offers them more time with family (29% of respondents)
  • Eliminates a long commute (44% of respondents)
  • Lets them avoid traffic (47% of respondents)
  • Saves gas (55% of respondents)
  • Contributes to better work/life balance (60%)

Six of the top ten reasons discovered in the Forbes survey relate to less commuting and more time at home. The other four reasons relate to employee productivity and motivation.

  • It’s a less stressful work environment (38% of respondents)
  • It’s a quieter atmosphere (43% of respondents)
  • There are fewer distractions (44% of respondents)
  • Employees are more productive at home (45% of respondents)

Such results are backed up by other surveys and research. In a survey of 1,500 job seekers, FlexJobs explored the reasons why job seekers are looking for flexible work-from-home options. The results found that 74% of respondents have done a telecommuting or work from home job before (either full or part time), that 79% have a college degree, and that 81% are mid- or manager-level positions. Working from home is a growing trend in the modern business world and employers need to prepare for an evolution of norms when it comes to employee schedules.

Results from the FlexJobs survey echo those seen from Forbes and also add new aspects to the list:

  • Work-life balance (74%)
  • Family reasons (52%)
  • Health and exercise (52%)
  • Time savings and reduced commute stress (47%)
  • Cost savings (43%)
  • Gas prices (36%)
  • Travel (26%)
  • Local job market (22%)
  • Care-taking for a family member (21%)

Time With Family

Full- or part-time work-at-home opportunities can allow families to have at least one parent at home with young children, or might allow an employee to care for a sick or elderly family member. Not having a commute means that workers have an easier time fitting exercise and homemade meals into their schedule, which improves employee health and wellness (and healthier employees correlates to better insurance rates).

Monetary Savings

Additionally, not having to commute saves the employee gas money, vehicle wear-and-tear costs, and other cost savings. A work-from-home policy might be an excellent bargaining chip in lieu of monetary raises, if the company’s budget is tight and you want to reward your employees in other ways. FlexJobs found that 20% of respondents would take a 10% decrease in pay in exchange for flexible schedule options.

Working from home boosts employee productivity

Many employers worry that productivity will decrease when team members work from home, because they cannot physically oversee and supervise work being done. However, the survey results indicate that workers are likely to put in additional hours and perform even better when able to work from home. Whether this is a product of gratitude for the flexible options, lack of stress, or a few more minutes of shut-eye on mornings without a commute, it’s a clear benefit to employers and employees. An overwhelming majority (82%) of respondents to the FlexJobs survey also said they’d show more loyalty to employers that offer a flexible schedule or work from home benefit, reducing employee turnover.

Drawbacks of Working From Home

There’s always a balance between positives and negatives when exploring options like working from home. While research indicates a strong position in favor of working from home, there are also pitfalls to consider. For each negative possibility, we’ve included some working from home tips to mitigate the potential problem.

Communication

Communication breakdowns and degradation of culture and camaraderie are two main setbacks when it comes to working from home. If team members only communicate remotely, via email or group chats, a lot can get lost in translation and collaborative work can suffer. To negate this possibility, departments with telecommuting members should aim to get together in person at regular intervals to maintain face-to-face contact and maintain their feeling of being a team. Of course, if your employees work from home only occasionally and not on a full-time basis, this issue solves itself since they’ll be back in the office soon!

Distractions at Home

There can also be distractions when working from home. While remote employees do report higher levels of productivity, it’s important that employees minimize distractions at home by working in a specific home office or other work area. Pets, children, and household chores can all distract from work projects. However, employees also report being willing to work longer hours from home, which helps reduce the impact of these potential distractions. If a work-at-home-mom loses a couple hours of “nine to five” work time due to caring for a child, she’s willing to make them up during naps or bedtime later. As long as projects are finished on schedule, a flexible work-from-home arrangement won’t be a big productivity drain.

Cyber Security

Cyber security is something to keep in mind when working with remote employees. If they are working on sensitive information online, you’ll need to watch out for data theft and security breaches. To reduce this risk, use a VPN to keep your data and information secure when accessed remotely. You can also use a password manager tool that allows employees to access all necessary apps and accounts online with only one password, so they don’t have a notepad or document full of codes that can be lost or stolen.

Productivity and Discipline

One huge drawback of working from home, especially full-time, is that other people don’t tend to take it seriously. Friends might call workers during the day because they’re at home, completely ignoring the fact that they’re working. Similarly, other departments at work may have a negative opinion of team members who are able to work from home. Work-at-home employees should set careful boundaries with friends and family members. It’s important to reduce outward distractions by setting limits around social communication and interaction. Part-time telecommuters should consistently perform their duties to show others in the workplace that they’re working just as hard as those in the office full-time.

Isolation Working From Home

Another consideration for the full-time employee working from home is a lack of social interaction. If you work full-time away from other people, it can get lonely, and that’s a legitimate drawback! To reduce feeling isolated, pack up and work from a local coffee shop or restaurant to get the social interaction you need.

Companies That Let You Work From Home

You can always start by asking your current employer about creating a work from home policy, whether it’s a consistent one or two days per week or a flex time arrangement that allows you to work from home on days when you have a doctor’s appointment or need to take care of a child with the sniffles. If you are seeking out a new opportunity and want to make sure you have the ability to work remotely, consider these job seeking tips for work at home jobs.

On job search websites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, etc., you can usually search for keyword “Work at home” along with your city or zipcode to search for local telecommuting jobs. FlexJobs also compiles an annual list of companies with remote opportunities for you to search. It includes banks, insurance companies, staffing agencies, software companies, and more. Work from home jobs are available in most industries, so keep looking!

Finally, if you can’t find a company that gives you what you need, consider the entrepreneurial route and go into business for yourself. What skills and talents do you have to offer? Start small, such as freelance marketing or copywriting if you have a communications background. If you’re creative, you can make and sell clothing or accessories on a platform like Etsy. There are endless opportunities to build up your income working from home, with little to no startup costs. If you have a tight budget, avoid high-investment opportunities or multilevel marketing companies. They can bring in extra income but it takes a while to build momentum and see the return on your investment.

What Is Your Experience Working From Home?

Have you worked from home? What are your personal pros and cons about telecommuting? Have any tips for employees or businesses? Tell us in the comments below or via Facebook!

7 Ways to Reduce Business Taxes

Finding ways to reduce business taxes is important as every penny you save matters. With the year comes to a close, it’s important to start planning for a smooth tax season in the first quarter of next year. The IRS tax filing deadline for 2016 taxes is April 17, 2017, and business taxes can get a little complicated! Work with a trusted tax professional who can explain everything to you. A good tax professional should help you understand exactly what your deduction options are and what you’re paying.

seven ways to reduce business taxes

Year-Round Tax Planning

It is crucial to your business that you keep good records throughout the year. Tracking income/profit and business expenses/deductions require proper record keeping and accountability so that you can easily prove what your numbers are when tax time comes around again. Use a simple accounting software if your business is small, or the finances can be tracked by accountants, controllers, and/or a CFO on staff for larger businesses. Be sure to keep good records of business expenses and receipts. Receipts can include a log of vehicle mileage if you travel for business using your car, meals, and more.

The tax laws are always being updated and changed, so a CPA you fully trust is an excellent asset. You might also use a small business tax software if your return is pretty straightforward and you want to file without an accountant’s help. These tax return programs will contain information to help answer your tax-related questions as you complete your return.

Why Should You Reduce Your Taxable Income?

As a small business, you might get hit with a tall tax bill, which is complicated further if you have employees. Inadequate planning can leave you reeling if you don’t know your tax information and don’t properly record your expenses. Reducing your taxable income helps to alleviate some of the burden of your business taxes. Since you’re heading into the last months of the year, now is an excellent time to work on projections of your tax responsibility for 2016. Decide if you would benefit from reducing your taxable income.

How to Reduce Taxable Income

Reducing taxable income and taking advantage of deductions is a smart move for small businesses. An accountant can help your business decide the best way to take advantage of deductions. In the meantime, here are a few major ways to reduce your taxable income:

  1. Employee benefits: Contributing to fringe benefits instead of bonuses or salary increases can reduce your taxable income AND the taxable income of your employees. These benefits include retirement contributions, medical insurance, and group life insurance. Check out this article from BizFilings on tax deductible employee benefits for a comprehensive review.
  2. Expense reimbursements: By using an “accountable plan,” you will reimburse employees’ work expenses. If you don’t use the proper protocol and plan, you will have to include those reimbursements on the employee W-2 and you’ll both pay taxes on the amount. The above article from BizFilings discusses accountable plan details for more information.
  3. Philanthropic and charitable donations may be tax deductible, depending on the organization. Whether you make monetary or item donations, keep records and receipts of your contributions.
  4. Educational costs for seminars or conferences used to advance your business are deductible expenses. Personal development books and materials are included as reductions, too.
  5. Travel expenses: If you can wrap personal travel into a business trip, or work remotely on a vacation, you may be able to deduct your travel costs as a business expense. For example, if you fly for a trade show or conference but happen to go sightseeing, it doesn’t negate the business expense of your travel. Keep your receipts and claim a deduction for appropriate expenses (generally meals, conference admission charges, and travel costs). You can also deduct mileage if you drive your personal vehicle for work purposes.
  6. Home Office Deduction: If you have a home office used for work purposes, you can take advantage of the home office tax deduction and write off a portion of your rent or mortgage payment and utility bills.
  7. Company expenses: New equipment and office furniture are able to be fully deducted or depreciated over several years on your taxes. Check with your tax professional to determine what would be best for your particular needs.

How Furniture Can Reduce Business Taxes

As your company grows and your equipment and furniture succumbs to wear and tear of use, you may be in the market for new furniture, equipment, and supplies for your business. Consider the following furniture and equipment needs that your business may have.

Does anything need added, updated, or replaced in your business?

Around the end of the year, we hear from businesses that would like to reduce their taxable income by investing in quality office furniture and supplies. We’re proud to offer high quality furniture and accessories at discount prices so you can make the most of your expense budget.

5 Office Furniture Tips for Disabled People

Creating your own work space either in an office or at home is crucial to being successful at your job. Once you have made a cubicle or office your own, then you can organize it according to your needs by adding filing cabinets and desk accessories. This is great for able bodied workers, but what about those that have physical disabilities and limitations? It is very important that there are workspaces created for disabled workers in order for them to be comfortable, efficient and productive.

office furniture and accessories for the disabled: desk, chair, space, storage, computer

Workplace Challenges for Disabled Workers

The workplace brings many challenges to disabled workers for many reasons including:

  • Work spaces are designed by and for people without disabilities
  • Desks, chairs and computer workstations have been modeled to accommodate disability-free workers and can be unsuitable for disabled individuals
  • A person with a disability could have a difficult time adjusting their desk, chair or cabinet to a position that works the best for them
  • Reaching for and using a mouse or phone headset can be exhausting
  • A laptop screen might be too small and it might be difficult to type on a regular keyboard

Businesses who are involved in their employees’ health and well-being regardless of their ability will have a more productive workforce. Having an employer who designs workstations to suit their entire staff will show a disabled person that they an important member of the staff.

Creating Accessible Office Spaces for the Disabled

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA)  was written into law in 1990. The law “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.”  Businesses must be compliant with “paths of travel” including streets, parking lots, sidewalks and facility entrances. ADA defines employee work areas as “all or any portion of a space used only by employees and used only for work.”  Certain specifications must be made in buildings, offices, restaurants and retail shops to allow access for individuals with disabilities.

Office Furniture and Accessories for the Disabled

Since we spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week at work, it is highly important to make your work space and desk as comfortable as possible. Workstations should be placed in a position that has adequate lighting and is close to an exit for easier access to the restrooms. Below are just a few tips for adjusting office furniture and accessories to make them fit a disabled person’s needs:

  • Desk: There are a variety of styles for workstations for the disabled. Finding the one to suite your needs is most important. Under the ADA, a disabled person has the right to have their desk adjusted to fit your needs. If you are in a wheelchair, a desk can be adjusted higher or if the desk is too high, you can ask for it to be moved lower.
  • Chair: Make sure that the chair that you choose works with your desk and is comfortable. There are many disability friendly ergonomic chairs available including lumbar support chairs for those with back issues, adjustable arms that can go up or down depending on your height, tilted seats and easy roll or no roll for transferring in and out of a wheelchair.
  • Space: Leave plenty of space between workstations or in cubicles for wheelchairs or mobility equipment to get in from all angles. Make sure there is enough room for turning a wheelchair in cubicles, in aisle ways, breakrooms and in hallways.
  • Storage: Storage areas should be accessible for any user. You can organize your desk top with desk accessories that can be easily within reach. Cubicles could have built-in shelves that could be too high (or too low) for a disabled person. Ask to have the shelves adjusted to the level that fits your best. Have filing cabinets with soft close drawers to avoid catching fingers and add shelf extenders so items can be accessed easier in the drawers.
  • Computer: There are many ergonomic computer and accessory options to choose from to make working easier for a disabled person. A lightweight laptop is easier to move around. Desktop monitors come in a variety of styles and can be adjusted accordingly. Even having a dual monitor set-up can help to eliminate craning your neck. Computer accessories such as keyboards and mice are also being make in any shape and style to accommodate user’s needs. There are optical trackball mice, joystick mice, vertical mice, large print keyboards, touchpads and even braille keyboards. There are also speech recognition programs, such as Dragon which allows people to control their computers with their voices and eliminates the need of a keyboard or mouse.

When purchasing furniture for a home or office of a person with a disability, it is critical to purchase the right furniture for the person’s needs. Ask a representative at Furniture Wholesalers about office chairs and handicapped office furniture options for the disabled.