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Furniture Standards

What are Workplace Standards?

Furniture standards are guidelines, which serve as tools for developing the physical components of a work environment. While keeping in mind that not every employee has the same job requirement or work style and different types of educational settings demand different types of classrooms, standards provide guidelines for furniture selected to support work and classroom issues. Standards can facilitate the change from one type of environment to another type of environment; i.e. from a closed environment to an open one. They also enable organizations to link their strategic goals with effective workplace design.

Ultimately, standards serve as guidelines to maintain a consistent approach to cost, quality, design, and health and safety issue. They allow for variations based on functions performed in the space and its geographic location. Guidelines can help facility staff, designers, architects, and employees understand the Institute's space planning strategy and provide methods for achieving those strategic goals on a site by site basis.

Standards with Design Options to Support Individual Needs

Standards programs also recognize the one size doesn't fit all. Design considers the activity not entitlement when planning a space. Issues like personal job functions are considerations when standards are developed along with Institute goals. Consideration is also given to the need to accommodate people with a wide variety of job functions, their need for privacy, interaction, and team spaces. There can also be opportunities to customize the workstation's interior components for a particular job function or need. They can be flexible to allow users to select components that work best for them. Options for maximizing worksurface layout, filing, storage, meeting space, and teaming opportunities can be provided.

Standards aren't meant to be static; they can be flexible for changes over time, and they should be reviewed and updated periodically. Standards facilitate a consistent quality and character of design and should reduce both the initial cost and the ongoing operating costs for the Institute.

The need for workplace standards becomes more apparent as RIT grows and changes. Tremendous amounts of energy and resources are likely spent needlessly across departments and colleges acquiring workplace furniture. In addition, the long-term confusion of managing thousands of non-interchangeable furniture components is costly and non-productive.

Three key elements of a Workplace Standard are:

  • Selection of product line (s)
  • Development of standard configurations based on workspace usage
  • Methodology of ongoing management of the program

Workplace standards will reduce RIT's current costs of planning, providing, and managing furniture assets. Here's a quick summary of the ways Workplace Standards will measurably reduce RIT's cost to implement and manage their facilities:

  1. Workplace Standards Enable Reutilization of Existing Assets
    Campus wide furniture assets are more easily identified, inventoried, and valued and that results in opportunities to reutilize assets campus-wide. Net effect-cost avoidance in new furniture purchases.

  2. Acquisition Costs Reduced with Workplace Standards
    Standardizing with one dealer will result in better contract pricing, terms and delivery.

  3. Real Estate Costs Reduced with Workplace Standards
    New or renovated space can be designed around defined modules promoting better building utilization.

    RIT planners are able to identify amount of gross space needed in relocation situations, department shifts, etc. and are able to help plan and evaluate user requests more effectively.

  4. Planning Costs Reduced with Workplace Standards
    Lower external and internal planning and design costs typically result from standardization-repetitive evaluation of multiple plans is eliminated.

    Lower space planning and design costs typically result from establishing workplace standards since responses to certain job functions are already generally in place.

    Less employee time is spent coordinating and managing furniture.

  5. Workplace Standards Improve Service Delivery
    Allows for a stocking program and potential to inventory service parts to improve response to end user. Standards designed around express delivery programs for quick turn around when needed.

  6. Workplace Standards Reduce RIT's Workman's Compensation Risk Factor
    Well designed standards programs can increase productivity and ergonomic comfort by establishing minimum standards for everyone and address different levels of ergonomic support for different RIT job functions.

Other Benefits of a Workplace Standards Program

  • Standards extend systems furniture product life.
  • Simplifies administrative procedures for reassigning assets across departments
  • Aesthetics are managed - standard color schemes can be selected that will blend campus wide reducing the task of managing a variety of finishes and fabrics with limited applications.
  • Cost of ownership is reduced due to furniture flexibility and interchangeability
  • Better projection of time and cost before installation
  • Workstations are developed objectively not subjectively to support worker function and needs.

Please note that RIT's basic philosophy on furniture and office moves is that RIT "moves people, not furniture". We will strive to move people into areas where existing furniture will meet or exceed the RIT furniture standards.