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Updated: May 24, 2019

You've decided. It's done–you're done. You are due for a replacement to the old, not-so-reliable-anymore scrap of wood panels you used to call a desk.

A desk similar to that which I used to work. Estimated manufacture date–Right after trees were made.

I've been there and know the deal–parts of particle board are randomly found on the floor where screws used to hold fast. There's a remarkable 'wobble' whenever you move your hands across the surface.

In fact, you wouldn't mind if an extremely isolated tornado came (while no one was there, of course) and swept up the crate that your co-workers often wept over in your honor.

The decision is simple, and hopefully you have your sinking fund in place so your budget doesn't even break a sweat.

But the decision obviously invokes the next–what will I do about a new desk?

Ahhh...Here's where big thinking needs to come in to play to get the most bang for your buck.

Costs Incurred to the Furniture Dealer

Who else has a hankering to watch Over The Top right this very moment?

As you begin to check your local furniture showroom know that the final cost of that desk is determined by a couple things. The furniture dealer you purchase it from will influence the cost a little (obviously they have to make something from the sale), but there are many other moving parts that affect the cost before it gets to your office.

The main factors which influence the cost to the dealer:

• Where the furniture is manufactured (domestic versus foreign)

• Shipping charges to the dealer

• Quantities of that desk ordered per shipment (usually a cost advantage to dealers ordering several versus one of something)

• Whether the desk comes pre-assembled or flat-boxed

All of those charges are ones incurred by the dealer themselves (not you), so that's nothing much to consider when searching for the best priced desk–simply some helpful knowledge about the costs involved.

Costs Incurred to the Consumer

Before you think, "Well this one's easy–whatever the dealer wants to charge as their profit."–it's not completely accurate. While that's not necessarily wrong–even more factors come into play.

Here are the major costs incurred to you–the consumer:

Sales Tax

Assembly; national office supply stores will likely charge $80 to $200 depending on the cost of the desk. More complex desks or ones which are in many, many pieces can take up to 6 hours to assemble if you're not used to the process. Remember to factor the time into the cost.

Delivery; depending on the furniture dealer, you may very well be passed a delivery charge. Alternatively, you could haul it yourself, but to some this is even more costly in effort (desks are heavy, people), transportation arrangements, and time.

Installation; differing from 'assembly', installation refers to getting the desk set up in the building and room it will be used. This is also where any final assembling will take place, such as attaching a desk return to a desk. [Side note: the desk return is the part that makes an L-shaped desk setup an 'L' shape.] Installation will usually not cost any more than the assembly charges, but what it WILL cost is more time. National office supply stores have to schedule out installations which may be two weeks from when you purchase it (maybe even longer), plus this also may be contracted through another agency which may add more of a hassle factor.

I know this picture is a little fuzzy, but hey–it was a long day of installations (phew!)

So hopefully some good questions to ask your furniture supplier can be mined out of this information when searching for a desk and figuring the cost going into it!

Stay informed when shopping for your office to keep your budget lean and keep more green.

And if you shop for furniture in Huntsville or anywhere near it, check out our local showroom and online store for good prices on many great collections.

And often the turnaround time from purchase to installation is only one day.

With no assembly, delivery, or installation charges we work to keep the hassle low to make you happy with your desk decisions.

After all, we personally know how amazing it is to get to ditch the old pile of wood masquerading as a desk and get a new one to work on, and we want our customers to have the same experience.

When it comes to our workspace needs, how much is enough? A laptop on a couch? Desk and computer? An entire office? A smartphone?

First off, let's define "workspace".

The term is used across many platforms of industry with similar but different meanings.

In our context, "workspace" refers to the area you perform your work–i.e. your desk, your office, your co-working area.

With this definition, workspace can refer to the actual surface area of our desk, as well as the entire room or rooms wherein we do particular tasks.

Before we begin, we'll need to assess our personal needs.

When taking into consideration things like, "How big of a desk do I need?" or "How much space do I need to do a particular job?" it is fundamental to discover your best personal working environment, and then work to achieve the most possible version of that since our workspace heavily factors into it.

So, how can we determine the amount of workspace we need?

We'll break it down into two categories.

The Workspace We Share

Once you've determined your ideal and most productive work environment, find the amount of workspace you need by paying attention to your brain's response to external stimuli.

Are you easily distracted by audial or visual environments outside of your workspace?

Then, you will want to consider a more isolated workspace for yourself, which could mean a few different options depending on the availability of office space you have.

If it's severely limited–a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds, headphones or earplugs go a long way.

Perhaps you're flush with space!

Well that's an easy one–move into an empty or easily-freed space perfectly fit for you.

Open workspaces create options for collaboration.

On the other hand, maybe you thrive more in an open atmosphere with the hustle going on full swing. In this case, make sure neighboring co-workers will be okay with some company, assuring them you'll respect any and all privacy needs they have. Co-working areas are great for collaborative work, so make sure you have the perfect setup for a thriving collaborative work environment.

Do you fall somewhere between these two scenarios? Talk to your office manager about purchasing some partition walls to create cubicles–this layout works well in an open work environment with a segmented option and can be a great way to capitalize on open space.

Our Personal Workspace

Assess how much space you require to work the best.

You're relating to where you work best in the office.

Now it's time to relate to how you work best in your own seat to determine the size of your personal workspace.

You may be already thinking that bigger is better when it comes to desk space, but a smaller desk surface could actually help keep you focused on your projects.. There we said it ;)

Think about it, how easily does a small counter, side table, or shelf get cluttered at your home just because it's there? (Happens to us all the time!) Eliminating some of the temptation to clutter a space can be a great way to keep organized by sorting the paperwork in the drawers under your desk or filing cabinets.

Go larger in terms of desk size when organization isn't a problem for you or if you need the extra space for effective work purposes–(perhaps you keep a computer, desk trays, desktop printer, and phone all on your desk–this would necessitate a larger surface area)–otherwise you may have too much desk to fill with sticky notes, paperwork, and the lack of motivation to work through any of it.

Increasing your desk space doesn't have to mean a bigger desk either–it can also mean an extension to the left, right or back. Incorporating a desk return (the piece which would run to the left, right or both) or credenza (traditionally which sits parallel behind your desk) increases the arm-reachable surface area of your workspace without the need to create a deeper desk surface. The deeper your desk (meaning the length from where you are sitting to the opposite side where a guest might sit), the more of a likelihood that you may not be able to utilize the space efficiently. Your arms can only reach so far, right? Of course, you can always add tinker toys, knick-knacks, and an array of picture frames to take up extra space you might have.

Staying organized and neat can actually increase your work productivity.

If you're at a desk the majority of your day, consider a sit/stand desk option to really benefit your health. Seriously, sitting there for hours on end for days on end for weeks on end isn't good for anyone's health. Sit/stand options come in several sizes, so there's plenty of room for the computer and all of that paperwork you "need" on your desk ;) You can even incorporate a sit-stand option into your desk/credenza setup to bridge the units as well as give you the best of both sitting and standing worlds.

Your Workspace Depends On Your Personal Work Needs

In the end, the amount of workspace you need should be decided by you, and your workspace should be laid out in the best way for you to work your best. Some need isolated small spaces, while others thrive in a larger, open area. Still, there are those of us who fall somewhere in-between. So, make sure you determine your personal needs, thereby benefiting your workplace goals the best!

Updated: Jun 6, 2019

When it's time to replace an expensive item in the office or at home, how do you pay for it? Some may have the extra margin in their budgets, but the rest of us aren't greatly unaffected by a major expense. A perfect way to counteract an expected financial blow is to start a Sinking Fund.

Not nearly as sad as the name may suggest at first glance (it's actually quite the opposite!)–A Sinking Fund is merely an amount set aside on a routine basis to fund an inevitable expense.

What Are Examples of Sinking Funds?

Some examples of where you might incorporate a sinking fund would be:

• Christmas Gifts

• New Car

• Summer Vacation

• Remodeled Bathrooms

• New Employee Lounge

• Roof Replacement

• Lobby Chairs

• Replace Carpeting or Flooring

All of these examples, which are only a few of many you could have, are ones which you take a hefty expense that you know will eventually need to be paid out... and then break it down into bite-sized pieces in order to distribute the financial load.

Sinking Funds will save you the stress of having to fork out $5000 when you realize your roof is in complete disrepair or $7000 when your car finally goes ka-put!

We all know what it's like to be in the position of shelling out a risky credit card or dipping into the savings account for something we saw as an unexpected emergency. But guess what? If we can learn that it's an expense that will eventually need paid, then it's not unexpected and it won't be an emergency when it comes time to pay out.

Sinking Funds Are Preparation Funds

Sometimes we like to blindfold ourselves to deceive the reality of the oncoming bus. We'd rather get hit now and deal with the consequences rather than look out into the distance, see a bus one mile away coming towards us, and prepare for the arrival of that bus. At that point, we'll be so prepared for the bus that we can just board it rather than get hit.

A runner prepares for her race.

Another way to phrase "Sinking Fund" is a Preparation Fund. By thinking of a Sinking Fund as a way to prepare for something you know will happen, you will feel much more in control of your budget–home or office. Incremental wins help achieve your big goals!

When the business needs a new multi-functional printer–$4000 won't seem like such a burden, because it's had a dedicated Sinking Fund rolling for 4 years now (the number of years the last printer lasted.)

Let's take a look at the effects of a Sinking Fund with a few common example scenarios:

Christmas Gifts–Let's say you normally spend about $700 on all your gifts for charities, family and friends. Divide it by 12 to figure $58.33 to set aside each month. January will feel less stressful knowing the credit card ghosts of Christmas past aren't going to haunt you.

New Car–You may need to eventually replace the car you received from your Great Grandfather in high school. So, instead of racking up mounds of debt, you could calculate how much you'll need for a modern upgrade–we'll say $12,000–then divide it by the number of months it will reasonably take to pay for it.

Tip: Don't forget to factor in any additional lump sums you have to throw at the fund, including the price your old car would sell for.

Office Furniture–You don't really factor in the cost of desks and lobby chairs until you begin to realize the old ones won't last forever, whether in durability or fashionability. And–while an organization's main goal probably isn't to look fashionable–it will begin to feel less pleasant and appealing (and therefore less conducive to productive work) after it has felt it's age. Throw $60 a month into a Sinking Fund for 5 years ($3600 can completely transform your lobby, btw) to stay relevant to the aesthetics of your customers.

Divide the item's cost by the monthly amount you can afford to save.

So, the next time your car needs replaced or fixed, there's no need to borrow money from a payday lender. When the time comes to replace your AC unit, you don't have to deplete your emergency fund. And at which point your office chairs fall to pieces, employees won't have to bring their own from home as temporary replacements.

There are tons of ways you can incorporate Sinking Funds within your business or home budget–the important thing is to get started now!

Because we all know the saying about not planning, right? Let's make a positive one.

When we leave a plan for emergencies, emergencies plan to leave.