It seems a month rarely passes without news of bizarre government spending, and this one is no exception. The Department for Work and Pensions has given new meaning to the term ‘hot seat’, as over the past three years they have bought around 23 thousand new chairs for its employees at a vast cost. Although officially they claim the total was pushed up due to essential office furniture, insiders have indicated that status within the department was symbolised by the price of your chair, suggesting that the more expensive the chair, the more important the occupant may be.
The department countered this by saying they had to shell out a majority of the office furniture budget on special chairs for their disabled staff, including an Invacare Pronto wheelchair at £4,156 and a motorised office chair at £6,299. Also included in the special chair spend were a £1,322 Noufel chair which rocked and a ‘BodyBilt’ chair that can support up to 500lbs in weight.
Kitting out an office can be expensive, and obviously the larger the workforce the more expensive the task can become, but the Department’s spending would put your average accountancy firm to shame. Office layout and decor is very important to how your business is perceived, but it can be just as easy to overspend and give the wrong impression, as it can be to underspend.
A bare and cheap looking office can give the impression of an amateur firm, something the Department may not need to worry about. Whereas, if an office is lavish and over-the-top it can run the risk of alienating many of the clients who walk through its doors. Striking the right balance and giving the right impression can be a delicate operation; an office needs to look professional and welcoming, allowing the work to speak for itself.
Derek Flood, director of office furniture supplier, BT Office Furniture says, “Businesses often overspend on furnishing their office. They either think a lavish office gives the impression of wealth or don’t shop around for competitive prices, when really a sensibly furnished office with just the right touches of personality can give the best impression and be welcoming to clients and staff alike.”