Whiteboards: Choosing the Right Dry Erase Board

whiteboards for conference roomsIn recent years, the trend away from chalk boards and toward whiteboards has been gaining momentum. Whiteboards can be used to supplement meetings and lesson plans in the same way as chalkboards, but they don’t come with the same mess and health hazards associated with chalk dust. So what type of whiteboard should you purchase? The answer is different based on the purpose the board will be serving and what your company’s needs are. Take the following factors into consideration when selecting your new dry erase board. matte finish whiteboard Surface Construction: The three most common types of whiteboard surface are melamine, porcelain and glass. Melamine or plastic whiteboards can come with a non-magnetic surface or with a steel backing that allows it to accept magnets. The primary benefit to melamine is its inexpensive cost, so if you are searching for a dry erase board that is budget-friendly then melamine is the way to go. Melamine is also lightweight, making it easy to mount and a good choice for home office use. Porcelain or ceramic whiteboards are a more expensive option, but offer greater durability and resistance to scratches and stains. Like melamine, porcelain boards are easy to write on and often magnetic, but because porcelain is less porous than melamine plastic, the surface of your board won’t succumb to what is commonly known as ‘ghosting’. Ghosting occurs when markers leave stains on your board that cannot be easily wiped off by an eraser. Although porcelain is more durable and easier to clean than melamine, it is also much heavier, so mounting may require multiple people. Glass whiteboards are the next step up, as they are not porous at all, preventing unwanted ghosting and staining even more effectively than porcelain. Markers erase easily without smudging, so you can count on smooth, long-lasting use. On top of that, glass marker boards are often frameless, creating a truly eye-catching, modern look. Glass whiteboards can also be magnetic, but they can reflect a double image in poor lighting which may make them difficult to read in some instances. interactive board Room of Use: What type of room will this board be used in? What will the board’s intended purpose be? If you’re planning on using the whiteboard in a conference room where it will be used as not only a writing surface, but a projection screen as well, be sure to purchase a board with a matte finish. Boards that have a high-gloss finish will be difficult for meeting members to read, so invest in a board that will not produce too much glare. If you’re looking for something to enhance sessions in your training or classroom, then an interactive board may be just the thing. Interactive boards integrate your computer and projector into your whiteboard, creating a learning experience that is better suited to grab and retain attention. If you’re looking for a whiteboard to keep in your executive office, then an enclosed whiteboard may be more appropriate. Enclosed whiteboards come in cabinet form so that the whiteboard can be closed and concealed when not in use, maintaining a clean, professional look. The sides of an enclosed board are often equipped with additional whiteboard space or corkboard material for posting notes and relevant memos, which can also come in handy for the busy executive. mobile whiteboard Mounting and Mobility Capabilities: Are you looking for a wall-mounted board that will remain stationary in one room at all times, or are you in need of a mobile option that can be easily transported from one boardroom to the next? Wall-mounted whiteboards are available in both framed and frameless versions, and framed versions can come with a metal frame or a wood frame that can be matched up to your existing furniture. Wall-mounted whiteboards ensure that your dry erase board is always right where you need it to be; however, if you have a more modern office, then you may be in favor of a mobile option. Mobile whiteboards can be easily taken from one room to the next, so you won’t need to equip every conference room and executive office with its own writing surface. When it comes to mobile whiteboards, you won’t need to worry about proper mounting which can include making sure that the board fits your wall and is level. Mobile boards can also be used as partitions and room dividers in offices with more of an open floor plan. Best of all, many mobile boards also have the ability to adjust in height to accommodate the needs of different users. When it comes to selecting the right whiteboard for your space, not every office is created equal. Different boards work better for offices, conference rooms and training rooms just as different types of chairs work better for reception areas, cubicles and lounges. Take your budget, purpose and room of use into consideration before making the decision to go with one marker board or the other.

Eco-friendly Terms and What They Mean

At NBF, taking part in sustainable business practices and offering eco-friendly products are two priorities. In an effort to not only do our part to help the environment, but to also provide our customers with the products they demand, we offer thousands of eco-friendly products. However, the meanings of the terms used can often be a bit unclear when it comes to eco-friendly furnishings. In honor of Earth Day, here is a guide to some of the different eco-friendly furniture options available.

Greenguard Certified

Greenguard certified: A product that is Greenguard certified has been tested to ensure that it contributes to and supports better indoor air quality by meeting acceptable pollutant standards. Indoor air pollution has been shown to have an adverse effect on health. Therefore, selecting furniture that betters the indoor air quality and limits various pollutants is important for healthcare settings, schools, homes and office environments. NBF features many Greenguard certified products in an effort to best serve our customers with environmentally friendly options.

Intertek Certification VOC

Intertek Green Leaf VOC Certified: Products with the Green Leaf VOC certification have met the furniture emission standards set by Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, (BIFMA) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This means that the furniture has been tested for volatile organic compound, or VOC, emissions. These emissions have high vapor pressure at room temperature and can be both man-made and natural. As indoor VOC emissions can pose long term health threats to humans and the environment, they are closely regulated by BIFMA and LEED standards to keep them at a safe level. Certifications such as Interek Green Leaf VOC Certified assure customers that the VOC levels are at a safe and environmentally acceptable level. [http://www.intertek.com/furniture/indoorairquality/]

Level Certification Logo

Level: Level is a distinction difficult for products to earn. However, it stands as an easily recognizable symbol of a company’s commitment to sustainability. It is a standard that was specifically created for the furniture industry. In order to achieve Level certification, an independent third party body must be contacted. These third party certification bodies then evaluate the products using the ANSI/BIFMA Furniture Sustainability Standards to determine compliance and an appropriate level certification. Level certification includes level 1 (silver), level 2 (gold) and level 3 (platinum). ANSI/BIFMA Furniture Sustainability Standards evaluate three categories; product, facility, and organization. Four major impact areas are considered within each category; materials, energy and atmosphere, human & ecosystem health, and social responsibility. NBF carries Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 products.

NBF - NSF Sustainable Service Provider

NSF Protocol P391: General Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Services and Service Providers Certification: NBF is the first furniture service provider to earn this distinguished certification. This certification is similar to LEED in that it is based on a point-based system. Three key areas are evaluated; these include the environmental impact of the service provider, the labor impact/the health, safety and employment practices of the service provider, and the community assessment/social responsibility impact of the service provider. NSF certification shows a dedication to sustainability and shows consumers that the service provider meets substantial and rigorous sustainability requirements.

Sustainable practices: Many furniture manufacturers have begun to make sustainability a top priority. These manufacturers have made great efforts to ensure that their furniture is crafted from raw materials from carefully managed farms or plantations. With managed farms and plantations, the raw materials are taken in an environmentally friendly way without any fear of deforestation. Managed farms and plantations also avoid using slow growing woods like teak, mahogany and redwood. Their slow growing nature makes them much less renewable than other types of trees. Martin, one of NBF’s most popular brands, implements these sustainable business practices.

SCS Indoor Advantage

SCS Indoor Advantage: This certification is an ANSI accredited program and showcases which products support a healthy indoor environment. Products must meet stringent indoor air quality standards to quality for certification. SCS Indoor Advantage certification is not specific to furniture products and even applies to flooring.

Going green doesn’t have to be difficult when it comes to your office furniture. At NBF, we aim to make it easy by dealing with manufacturers and offering brands that are as committed to sustainability as we are.

Collection Highlight: The Statesman Collection

The NBF Signature Series Statesman Collection

As part of our Signature Series line, the Statesman Collection is exclusively designed by NBF so you won’t find this collection anywhere else. This means that you can create a distinct, one-of-a-kind look with this office collection in your workspace. The Statesman Collection is made up of multiple L-desks, two executive desks, two standing desks, a computer credenza, two bookcases, a storage hutch, a lateral file and two writing desks. You can pick and choose, selecting the pieces that best suit your working needs, or you can buy full office sets consisting of selected pieces of the Statesman collection.

The collection offers you expertly crafted quality in a fine contemporary design. Built with choice hardwoods and finished in rich chestnut cherry veneers, the collection lends a sense of elegance and professionalism. The chestnut cherry veneer also helps to create a warm, welcoming environment that will not only be pleasing to work in, but can also help to make any visitors or clients feel welcome. This matching collection also features unique accent touches like picture frame detailing, crown molding and brushed nickel hardware. Every piece of the Statesman Collection has also been Greenguard Certified to support better indoor air quality.

The NBF Statesman Executive Desk:
A cherry veneer executive desk for any office.

The NBF Statesman L-Shaped Desk and Standing Desk Set:
The NBF Statesman L-shaped desk and standing desk.

The Statesman Collection, as one of our most popular office collections, can also be viewed on our Virtual Visit platform. With Virtual Visit, you will be connected to our furniture consultants through a live, one-way video stream. You can ask any questions you may have and view live product demonstrations to discover if the Statesman Collection is right for your office.

Tips to Keep You Organized for the 2015 Tax Season

How to stay organized for the 2015 Tax Season.Was this year a little overwhelming when it came to preparing your taxes? Even if you hire a qualified tax accountant, trying to find all of the proper materials and documentations can be stressful for anyone. In fact, if you were overwhelmed, you are not alone. April 16th, the day right after tax day, was made Stress Awareness Day for a reason.

Even if this year may have been stressful, there are a few systems that you can implement to minimize said stress for the 2015 tax season.

Know what records you’ll need:

The best way to keep efficient records is to know what you need to be saving. There are various documents and receipts that you may need to have on hand, depending on what your occupation may be, whether or not you donate to charities and whether or not you have a mortgage for your home. Saving receipts for any business expense, such as office supplies and your business’s utility bills is important if you own your own business. Keeping a travel log and keeping records of child care arrangements might be appropriate for your situation as well. You may want to use a large accordion folder to keep everything in place. Having a file system in place is a tried and trusted way to keep all of your tax documents in order. There are also a few technological organizational solutions, including the program Neat. Still, having physical, paper records still may prove to be the best course of action.

Make sure your organization system is easy to use:

Whatever organizational method you select, make sure that it is simple. Staying organized is difficult enough without further complications. An easy to use system is essential because it will make it that much easier for you to stay on top of your efforts. If you have a clunky organizational system, it is doubtful that you will have the motivation to actually use it at all. Keep things labeled and orderly. Remember that while this organizational system is for you only, it should be simple and clear enough that anyone could hypothetically use it. Having an easy to use system is sure to make it possible to keep a more complete compilation of your records. This is great simply due to the fact that the IRS can audit individuals for up to six years. That is, in 2014 an individual could still be audited for 2008. Therefore, it may be advisable to have the documents for the past six years stored away in an organized fashion.

Keep it in sight and in mind:

You will want to set up some type of schedule for keeping your documents organized. Maybe you will file away the proper items after every work day or maybe waiting until the end of the work week will work better. Create a habit. Use alarms, reminders and scheduling to help with building this habit. It will also help to keep your organization method in sight. By keeping it in full view or something that you have to see/walk by every day, there is a better chance of you remembering to use it. If you make it a habit, it becomes almost second nature, making it an easy process.

With the proper tax preparation, there won’t have to be a mad dash to find everything you need in a cluttered and chaotic office. Instead, it can be a quick and painless process, meaning that you can get the proper documents easily and get your tax return back that much faster.

Brand Spotlight: OFM

The creation of OFM is a great story of what entrepreneurial spirit and hard work can accomplish. In 1995, after noticing a great need for faster furniture shipping, Abel Zalcberg started OFM with his wife Barbara in their home. The company soon began to build a reputation as a reliable and dependable business with fast delivery times. Today, the brand has expanded its reach and is known not only for its trustworthy and speedy delivery times, but also for its commitment to quality, innovation and economical prices.

OFM is now a thriving furniture distributor headquartered in Holly Springs, NC. They carry extensive product lines that cater to commercial offices, government buildings, healthcare facilities and academic settings. Even with substantial growth, the company is still family owned as Blake Zalcberg, Abel and Barbara Zalcberg’s son, currently serves as OFM’s Chief Executive Officer.

At NBF, we are happy to carry many furniture products from the committed team at OFM. Here are some of our favorite OFM furniture collections:

The Net Series Collection 4-11_OFMoffice_chairs_tandem_seating

OFM constantly challenges the unfortunate idea that office furniture is boring. As you can see above, the Net Series Collection offers bright tandem seating options that are ideal for a hotel lobby or an office reception area. The bright colors can make a room come to life. The mesh material of the seat is durable and can withstand heavy use while providing comfortable seating for any guests or visitors.

Outdoor OFM colorful seating

 

One of the coolest features of the Net Series Collection? You can take them outside! This collection, which includes both the chairs and tables pictured above, was designed to be used in both indoor and outdoor settings, meaning that you can take your work outside to enjoy the great outdoors.

The Marque Collection

The Marque Collection from OFM

The Marque Collection is one of the most popular reception collections on NBF.com. OFM’s dedication to quality and economical prices truly shines through in this collection. We especially love the modern curved reception desk which can comfortably accommodate two receptionists and adds a pleasing, professional aesthetic to a waiting room or reception area.

The InterPlay Collection

The OFM InterPlay Collection

The best thing about this collection, which features a sofa with tablet arms and a chair with tablet arms, is the versatility it offers. This collection is appropriate for just about any setting, whether it is used as reception seating in a healthcare facility, as lounge seating for a university library, or as guest seating in an office, as pictured above. With tablet arms that can be used for working, reading, using a tablet, or simply left unused and folded down to the side, this collection offers a high level of flexibility depending on your needs. Work, play or lounge with the Interplay Collection.

How Companies Can Celebrate Earth Day

How companies can make Earth Day stand out for employees.

Earth Day was first introduced by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to encourage and strengthen environmental activism. Today, Earth Day is recognized nationwide as a day to take time out of our busy schedules to appreciate the power of nature and maybe even do some activism on our own.

Many will argue that Earth Day should be every day; that we should always be aware of our footprint on the earth and make efforts to continuously conserve what the planet offers.

At NBF, we agree that sustainable, earth-friendly business practices should be part of everyday life and everyday business practices. We think that, when done right, Earth Day stands as a reminder for how we should be continuously striving towards eco-friendly practices and goals. Here are a few ways your company can inspire and encourage all employees to do just that:

Teach a lesson: Host an environmentally-conscious speaker and participate in an educational forum. These forums are great for supplying a line of open communication, reliable advice and applicable information.

Start a green initiative: Just what initiative you start will depend on what type of services you are providing or products you are selling. The more related your initiative is to your actual day-to-day work, the better. It can even be a small initiative like pledging as a whole company to use less paper and conserve more energy. Whatever it may be, include everyone and encourage a high level of teamwork for all of your company’s sustainability goals.

Show recognition: Maybe your company already has a green initiative in place. If this is the case, Earth Day is a great time to show appreciation and to reward those who have worked hard and gone above and beyond when it comes to sustainability.

Volunteer cleanup events: Partner with another business or group and give your employees the option of volunteering for a few hours or for the whole work day. This is a great way to show your commitment while also rewarding employees with paid time to volunteer for a worthy cause.

Recycle and reuse drives: From books to clothes, encourage employees to bring in unused items for donation. Pick a cause for donations to go to. In exchange for donation, give a reward. This reward could fit with a program already in place at your office or fun rewards like a pizza lunch

Random acts of green: Encourage your employees to act on their own by sharing some information through a quick email about various green programs they can individually participate in. One million acts of green or random acts of green are two movements that are great to share and offer low pressure, quick ways to get involved.

Give out seeds: It is a classic gesture associated with Earth Day and one that most will still appreciate. It’s a great activity, whether for a family or for an individual, and still offers a way for us to celebrate Earth Day in an eco-friendly way.

Sickness in Collaborative, Open-Plan Offices

Being sick or ill may be more frequent in open-plan offices.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, open-plan workplaces are playing a pivotal role in the spread of illness at work.

Open-plan work environments are often touted as advantageous for all workplaces and the push for companies to redesign their workspaces with an open-plan layout in mind has been substantial. The theory is that open layouts encourage accountability and collaboration all across the board from each and every single team member. The disappearance of the privileged executive office with closed doors is replaced by common working areas, a symbol of team unity and equality.

While the level of collaboration actually inspired by open-plan offices may be questionable, as pointed out by an article in The New Yorker, other and more alarming research points out that open-plan offices may in fact be detrimental to the health of employees.

Individuals who work in open-plan offices are reportedly at high risk of becoming ill more frequently and with worse symptoms when compared to those in a more traditional work environment, like those that include private offices. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Those most likely to take a few days off from work were workers in open offices with 4 to 9 people per room and those in open offices with more than 24 people per room.”

There are a few ideas as to why this trend is occurring. Higher collaboration means more shared working spaces. Having such close quarters allows for the easy spread of germs, as there are more shared surfaces, including computer keyboards, phones, and desk surfaces.

Additionally, environmental stressors may share at least part of the blame. Open-plan offices are associated with unfiltered noise and unlimited distractions that are cited to cause stress for many workers. This stress is linked to lowering productivity and to having a negative impact on workers’ health.

Do you work in an open-plan office? Do you find yourself or your coworkers ill often?

If so, there may be a few ways to help relieve parts of the problem. While the spread of germs may be inevitable on some level, encouraging employees to sanitize shared working areas on a daily basis may prove to be helpful. Limiting stressors may be more easily done and can help to keep employees healthier and more productive. In many university libraries, there is often a separated area designated to quiet, private study. In this area, talking and other forms of noise are discouraged and privacy is offered in the form of screens or panels, allowing independent workers to thrive and concentrate fully on the task at hand. Open-plan offices can apply this strategy as well by setting up a similarly designated area. Although it may be difficult to totally block out noises or interruptions without soundproof, solid walls, having a designated area that is mostly quiet and mostly private can create a refuge for employees who find themselves irritated by the stress of constantly being surrounded by activity and distractions.

By offering both private areas and collaborative areas, employees can choose the atmosphere that best suits their working style or their current mood, which is sure to help them work with better results and output.