HL chats to M and F Business Furniture MD, Steve Fish, to get the latest information on how to spruce up your office space. What office furniture design trends will be big in 2013? The buzz word both locally and internationally is collaboration. This idea will gain momentum through and beyond 2013, as clients are made aware of, and encouraged to adopt and implement this working method. As part of our offering, we are fortunate to have partnered with some leading design minds to bring to market furniture solutions that support and promote collaborative problem solving. Are you for cubicles, or an open-plan office area? The norm now and for the past 10 odd years has been a move from cellular (cubicle) type working to a more open-plan office environment. This provides better and more economic space utilisation and also encourages communication, participation and team work. However, this doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. At M and F Business Furniture we are not prescriptive when working with clients to develop suitable furniture solutions for their unique requirements. We approach each project with a fresh open mind offering a consultative service with attentive ongoing support. What do you look out for in office furniture? Businesses change over time, and as the investment going into furniture items is substantial, I feel that furniture must be able to adapt, embrace, support and nurture these changes accordingly. How can we ‘green’ an office space? We have just implemented a greening awareness process for our offices with the help of an independent consultant (this really is an ongoing lifestyle change which we have encouraged our staff to put into practice in their own homes too). It was very surprising to find how simple, affordable and manageable many of the steps really are. Some include, printing double-sided, changing our printing paper, being more conscious of what actually needs to be printed (which in turn forced us to improve our electronic filing and archiving), changing the cleaning and ablution chemicals we used, utilising the most suitable plants and their most effective positioning within the office for maximum benefit, recycling processes, limited use of plastics, best practice use of electronic equipment and a general consciousness of our actions and the implications thereof. Getting all the staff involved was really great, as it created ownership, enthusiasm and the sentiment that we are doing our little bit to help. Do you have any tips for someone looking to create a functional home office? Discipline. Working from home brings many distractions. The space and furniture you choose to set up a home office must have qualities that allow you to focus and concentrate on a given task. These need to be ergonomically correct and comfortable, aesthetically pleasing (as the work space often forms part of another existing area, creating a multi-functional space), allowing for privacy and acoustics and accommodating storage requirements. Furniture items chosen for these spaces do not have to cost a fortune, but they must meet these basic requirements. For more information or to view their furniture collection, visit the M and F Business Furniture website at fishgroup.co.za.