When G.L. Smith Planning & Design started thinking about a new office space, they knew it also meant new office furniture. To that end, they had two specific goals in mind: boost productivity and encourage more collaboration. Yet, as a company specializing in retail store design, they also wanted to create fhe same pleasing and functional aesthetic they produce for their clients.

“Many people wonder if office furniture can improve employee performance,” says Mitchell Cohen, Dealer Principal of Workspace Group (WSG), a Toronto-based contract office furniture dealer. “The simple answer is “yes.” The better your staff think the work environment is, the more likely they will be productive, healthy and happy.

“Treat your employees like they make a difference and they will.”

Research Tells The Story

According to a report by the Canadian Association for Business Economics (CABE), all it takes is a two-five percent increase in staff performance to cover the total cost of a re-design and office furniture.

“We were moving from three floors to one open space,” says Melissa Tenpow, Vice President, G.L. Smith Planning & Design. “We started taking over more floors in our building as we grew over the years. A staircase was basically linking us together. We needed to get rid of that barrier and upgrade our furniture at the same time.

Private office furniture with Geiger couch by Workspace Group (WSG)

Private office feature iconic pieces, like this Geiger Couch

“We wanted our staff to embrace the new space in a way that showed in their work output and integration with colleagues.”

The company turned to Workspace Group (WSG), an authorized Herman Miller dealer of office furniture. Workspace Group (WSG) procured and installed 60 workstations, private offices, small meeting rooms, a main boardroom and a lunch area. Each area had to deliver on the original mandate of boosting productivity and collaboration.

Lunch room with Herman Miller Caper Chairs and Everywhere Tables

An inviting lunch room encourages staff to take time away from their desks.

“The client wanted to use this space to clearly communicate the philosophy and vision of their company,” says Mitchell Cohen. “Furthermore, their furniture choice would encourage certain behaviours, while discouraging others.That meant low screen separators between the desks to encourage conversation among teams working on a similar project and the inclusion of ergonomic seating.”

Increase Productivity With Ergonomic Office Furniture

Ergonomics is no longer just an industry buzzword, but also a standard when re-designing or replacing old furniture. According to recent studies, productivity can increase by up to 10% with a simple intervention like an ergonomic chair. In fact, there is also a strong relationship between perceived comfort and self reported productivity, with differences in productivity as high as 25% reported between comfortable and uncomfortable staff.

“Treat your employees like they make a difference and they will.”

Mitchell Cohen, Workspace Group (WSG)

“We chose everything with a specific purpose in mind,” says Tenpow. “The larger desk space let staff personalize their work area and roll out large scrolls of plans. After all, these are creative people; we want them to be creative in their space.”

Herman Miller Canvas Office Landscape office furniture by Workspace Group (WSG)

Open plan offices encourage creativity and collaboration. Featuring Herman Miller Canvas Office Landscape workstations.

“Design teams work better in open plan concept offices. There is no blockage for your creativity and as the design develops, it allows people to participate as much or as little in the whole process.”

Choosing The Right Furniture Is Key

To complement the open plan space, G.L. Smith chose to install Herman Miller’s Canvas Office Landscape furniture. This office furniture is specifically designed to support collaboration and ‘head down’ work. They picked the Herman Miller Sayl Chair for its design aesthetic and ergonomics. The Sayl Chair helps employees maintain a healthful posture while sitting for long periods of time.

Herman Miller Sayl Chairs in meeting room by Workspace Group (WSG)

Small meeting room with Herman Miller Sayl Chairs

The main boardroom and private offices include the iconic Eames Aluminum Group Chairs and Geiger sofas  – ensuring clients are comfortable and impressed all at once.

Boardroom with Herman Miller Eames Soft Pad Aluminum Chairs by Workspace Group (WSG)

Large, airy – and impressive – board room with Eames Soft Pad Aluminum Group Chairs

It’s now almost one year since the company moved to its new headquarters and Tenpow has noticed a definite uptick in productivity and spontaneous, casual collaborations.

“We feel and look like a modern company moving with the pace of technology and design. Our office is now suited to the function of our staff and they are also happier for it.”

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