In difficult economic times, companies may be tempted to opt for cheap office refits, furniture and storage solutions. However, this can prove to be false economy when budget furniture fails to stand the test of time, looks old and tired or simply breaks and demands replacement.
Here we talk to two senior figures from leading office-furnishing specialists InteriorsTeam and law firm Freeths – who have enlisted InteriorTeam’s services – about how, if businesses invest in built-to-last quality, they can save money in the long run.
Many companies’ post-recession financial plans involve spending as little as possible on office furniture as an immediate way to reduce overheads.
According to Richard Peutherer, Director at InteriorsTeam, on closer analysis, these companies’ spending habits often reveal that the majority of new furniture purchases they’ve made over the years are the result of a need to replace broken items that have exceeded their warranty period rather than providing for new staff members. He says:
“Rather than making short-term savings on cheaper furniture with shorter warranties of, say, 6 to 12 months, InteriorsTeam recommends that companies elect instead to make long-term savings with our range of high-quality furniture that offers warranties of 10 years.
If replacing furniture every two years due to smaller warranty periods, companies could find themselves having to pay up to five times the cost of their original furniture order. On top of this are the other costs associated with replacement such as the human resources needed for administration.”
One company who has opted to invest in quality office furnishings is Freeths. Freeths are the 69th largest law firm in the UK, with a team of 685 operating from offices nationwide. Freeths have had a relationship with OfficeTeam for over 25 years for services including stationery and storage solutions.
Although the InteriorsTeam division of OfficeTeam has also helped Freeths in the past with small furniture orders, the firm haven’t yet used their services for a total office refit. This is set to change when InteriorsTeam refurbish the Freeths Milton Keynes and Nottingham offices. Freeths Chief Executive Peter Smith says:
“We were actually looking into using a different firm when Tim, our Account Manager at InteriorsTeam, suggested we discuss our refurbishment needs with them and put together some proposals. They presented three different pilot schemes for us to review, we were very impressed with these and decided to move forward with InteriorsTeam rather than the rival firm.
The standard of service InteriorsTeam has provided us with has been excellent. We really appreciate having an Account Manager who is familiar with the company, what we do and our brand values and has bent over backward to assist us. The proposals and pilot schemes were not only put together at very short notice but also matched our brief very closely and, after a few tweaks, we were confident that we were making the right choice when deciding to go with InteriorsTeam to carry out our upcoming refurbs.”
By choosing InteriorsTeam to manage their refit, Freeths can be sure that their furnishings are ergonomically up to specifications and fulfil all their legal responsibilities as an employer. Not only this but Freeths’ refurbished offices are covered by a 10-year warranty so they will not be hit by further repair, replacement or legal costs. Richard says:
“What we find is that unfortunately cheap furniture really does have a habit of breaking easily and this can lead to staff absence and, in the worst case, legal cases.
We met a client recently who was encouraged to invest in quality InteriorsTeam furniture after having to pay £70,000 legal fees resulting from their previous poor quality furnishings. Not only does this obviously have a huge financial impact on a company but it can also really damage its reputation as an ethical employer.”
For Freeths, re-enforcing the message of trust was fundamental to their decision to opt for quality office furnishing solutions. Peter says:
“In our post-recession climate, it is often tempting to opt for budget solutions. However, at Freeths we believe that investing in quality across the entire business model is crucial to success and good office furniture is part of this.
Careful office planning also has the potential to increase staff productivity and heighten the general sense of professionalism within a firm, all of which improves the standard of service a company can offer its clients.”
Indeed, investing in quality has the potential to convey powerful messages to your workforce. Particularly in office environments, where workers will typically spend 1,800 hours a year sitting in the chair you provide for them – the quality of this chair really can make a difference to how they feel about your company.
Quality furniture is also to promote your brand message to potential customers. According to Richard, InteriorsTeam often work with clients who look to furniture as one of the ways to communicate that they’re the best on the market. InteriorsTeam believe that choosing quality represents the ultimate value for money in message your company conveys. Likewise, Peter of Freeths says:
“Our brand values are all about professionalism and trust. We want our offices to reflect this and communicate a strong sense of quality and longevity. We are confident that the furniture we’ve selected from the InteriorsTeam range, along with the exceptional installation service they promise, will be able to deliver this.”
InteriorsTeam have helped many different companies with incorporating quality office furnishings into their financial plans, allowing them to convey their brand message both internally and externally while also saving money in the long run. For examples, you can read our case studies. You can also register here and our expert team will be in touch about the perfect furniture solution for you.