Tag Archives: Josh Smargiassi

Open Office Etiquette

Open Office PoliciesThe open office presents some etiquette concerns. Let’s examine Policies, Protocol and Politeness as it relates to the open office environment. Cost considerations and space utilization can direct an organization’s decision to move from private to mostly open space. However, achieving strategic goals and supporting a firm’s mission, brand message and culture often play a more significant role. By improving collaboration and communication, flattening hierarchies and eliminating siloes, open environments can catalyze the innovation businesses seek.

Removing barriers and creating a more efficient footprint brings additional benefits. Open office environments can enhance workplace flexibility and provide the agility to meet evolving business needs. Infusing a workplace with natural daylight helps achieve sustainability and wellness initiatives.

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Transforming a workplace to a more open setting creates an opportunity to drive other organizational changes.
A successful approach to the shift is pragmatic, holistic and begins well in advance of occupancy. It continues through the actual transition and includes regular updates and checkins. Developing and introducing appropriate guidelines, expectations and etiquette to the workforce will help streamline your firm’s adjustment to its new environment, minimizing downtime and lowering stress levels. This paper provides advice on the process for developing workplace protocols and presents an example of guidelines for a hypothetical company that addresses some typical hot button issues.


Before the move

Gain leadership support and sponsorship. An effective shift begins at the top. Active and visible leaders play a critical role in times of change. It is important to involve them early in the process as they provide the authority and influence necessary for a successful workplace change. An employee’s direct manager also plays a significant role in providing specific information and reinforcing change principles.

Introduce the open office concept. Using multiple forms of media and approaches, educate employees on the changes taking place and the business reasons for the change. Maintain a positive, informative tone while highlighting ways it will benefit them as well as the organization.

Initiate a transition from the old environment to the new. Provide the support and tools necessary to assist employees in the change. For example, shredding and scanning materials ease the move to digital records. Consider offering incentives or sponsoring a company-wide contest for purging physical files.

Involve employees in creating guidelines. Including employees in the process will further engage them, solidify “buy-in” and sidestep a perception that change is “being done to them.” An appropriate level of engagement can give employees a voice, without setting unrealistic expectations of influence.

Assemble a small group of employees who represent different areas of the business that will be moving to the
new space.

Using the sample guidelines we have provided, brainstorm a list of no more than 5 to 8 issues relative to adopting an open workplace that the group feels should be addressed. Within that list, include these three areas of concern: audible distractions, privacy and uninvited interruptions.

Employee representatives can then solicit input from co-workers on the specific issues, such as common sources of noise in the office, and the collective team can create a short “rule” or guideline that addresses each issue. Some issues may require more than one guideline.

• Consult with Human Resources to assure compliance. Your Human Resources representative should be
involved to ensure that any guidelines you create align with existing policies. • Confirm that the appropriate infrastructure is in place. Security and shared spaces reservation systems should be functional; individual and team workspaces should be fully equipped and accessible. Storage and supplies should be available. All elements of technology, including hardware, power and connectivity, must be available, serviceable and reliable. Be sure to provide proper training to employees and managers on how to use new spaces and technologies.


• Deliver guidelines. Use the release of guidelines as an opportunity to reiterate your message and celebrate the mission. Depending on the number of employees involved in the change, you can incorporate the guidelines with other training meetings related to the move. If that is not practical, the guidelines can be posted on the corporate intranet and/or presented via “lunch & learn,” webinar, town hall or other method appropriate to your organization’s size and culture. Guidelines should also be a component of onboarding materials for new hires.

• Make the change a positive experience. Celebrating the move process with events and consistent visuals and messaging acts to reinforce a positive experience. Consider providing a welcome letter from leadership and a small office-related gift to each employee on move day.

• Distribute all essential materials and guides. In addition to the sample guidelines presented, develop a printed series of handouts such as office plans, technology instructions and codes, and any other needed guides that employees can refer to.

• On move day, have staff on-hand to resolve problems and answer questions.

• Lead by example. Managing a successful change starts in the C-suite. Encourage all levels of the organization to follow the suggested guidelines on a daily basis. Users will be more inclined to accept their new workstyle upon seeing senior leaders adopting the new workplace norms.


• Monitor and adjust. Assess the successes and shortcomings of the change process. There is no substitute for regular face-to face conversations and walking around to see if policies are working and being adhered to.
Build in means for users to submit feedback on how they feel the guidelines are working after about 90 days. Based on insights learned, policies can be tweaked as needed.

A well-executed plan will aid in acceptance of a new environment. Moreover, knowing their input was considered and future feedback welcomed will engage and encourage employees to embrace their new space.


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How to Increase Productivity

How to Increase ProductivityLet’s look at how to increase productivity at work. So many tasks, so little time. Do you ever complete your  workday feeling like you couldn’t achieve everything you wanted to? It begins with preparation. I get it. Being 100% efficient at work can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming. Setting proper timelines will allow you to increase your own profitability and ease workday stress.

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Take a stab at these tips to increase your productivity at work:

How to Increase Productivity #1. PUT A VALUE ON YOUR TIME

I often ask our sales reps, what is your time worth? If you are able to give yourself an hourly rate, it will help you use your time more efficiently. Giving yourself value allows you evaluate whether what you are doing is actually making you money or costing you money. It will also help you notice when customers or colleagues may be taking advantage of your time. Create a total value of yourself, including your salary, free time, benefits, your TOTAL value. (Hint; this should be more than you earn), then back that number into an hourly rate. While working throughout the day ask yourself if you are earning that rate.

How to Increase Productivity #2. TAKE BREAKS

We may think working longer hours implies we’re accomplishing more, yet we never function well when we’re worn out. Studies indicate taking standard breaks helps focus and lifts your inclination. Take a five-minute stroll around the workplace or go through a 15-minute mid-day espresso or stretch.

How to Increase Productivity #3. SET SMALL TASKS

Some of the time, looking at our objectives can be overpowering. Seeing a bunch of enormous undertakings on our schedule can be distressing… however if you split it up into littler tasks, you’ll feel more in charge and will be considerably more helpful. Instead when you complete a project, write down the words COMPLETE or cross off your task within your check list. That feeling of completion will allow you to further feel that euphoria of completing your projects.

This will keep you on track in your everyday and influence the greater tasks to appear to be less overwhelming.

How to Increase Productivity #4. DO WHAT MATTERS MOST IN YOUR DAY

We at times push aside enormous tasks since we’re not sure we are able to achieve them. When we get these tasks, we’re excessively worn out and may push these tasks day after day after day. You need to understand yourself and how you operate best. Understanding when and how you function best is critical to completing those enormous ventures on time. There’s no set timetable that works for everybody… If you’re a morning person, handle the enormous assignments first thing in your day.

How to Increase Productivity #5. TIME YOURSELF

Optimize your time as much as possible at work by timing yourself on all tasks. Similar tasks should take similar time to complete, be mindful of whether you are quicker or slower for each task. This doesn’t mean you’ll have the capacity to finish each assignment within the same time. However, by setting a standard and holding yourself accountable, you are one step closer to achieving them.

Is Open Floor Office Design Good for Business?

Open Floor Office DesignIt’s tempting to consider open floor office design for your new headquarters, but is open floor office design good for business? Open floor offices advertise their collaborative environment and cheap rent, but is this true? Most likely not. You’ll come to find that the privacy of cubicles will be sought after, once the thrill of an open floor office wears off. Productivity will suffer, and so will your company work ethic.

Cubicles may not be as visually appealing, but they serve their purpose in keeping your business running smoothly. Open floor offices may have negative effects on your business that you’ve never thought of but should consider. If you’re currently renting open floor offices, a few of these points may feel a bit familiar. If
you haven’t hit “PAY” yet, read this before you are making your final decision.

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It is no surprise that open floor spaces are loud. When there is chatter all around you, it’s hard to focus on your work at hand. There could be someone on a call, or a group of coworkers discussing their next business strategy, and maybe even a disagreement that’s within earshot. To you, this is just noise. You must reset your brain multiple times to zone back into your project in front of you.

Open Floor Office Design Problem #2 – JOB SATISFACTION OR NOT SO MUCH?

A study investigated the correlation between office type and employee job satisfaction. It revealed that those who worked alone in cellular offices and those who worked in a room shared with one other colleague experienced a positive work experience. However, as the number of co-workers increase in a room, job satisfaction decreased. Sure, you’ll save money on an open floor office, but you’ll pay for it in the long run with the costs associated with job satisfaction going down. It’s more cost effective to consider the impact an office type will have on employees rather than solely focusing on the short-term financial benefits.

Open Floor Office Design Problem #3 – LACK OF INTERACTION

Unfortunately, face-to-face interaction decreases in open floor offices, the opposite effect of what an open layout is going for. Communication through emailing and instant messaging increased and productivity declined. Because everyone is constantly surrounded by people, there was no longer the privacy that cubicles
provided. Online interactions increased as a result. Some may even go as far as to avoid more interaction with team members. Having so many people around you
can be overstimulating. You’ll see earbuds in and coworkers making the effort to avoid as much contact with others as possible.

Open Floor Office Design Problem #4 – VISUALLY DISTRACTING

When you’re in such close proximity to so many other team members, it’s visually distracting. In open floor offices, you’re surrounded by people that may not necessarily be in your department or even your company. Not only is their presence distracting, but their projects can also disrupt your work ethic. You could be bombarded with questions about what you do and how you do it, something you wouldn’t have to worry about if you were in a cubicle.


How to Encourage Office Creativity

Encourage Office CreativityLet’s look at ways to encourage office creativity. Most people think that working hard is the most effective way of working. However, that is not always the case. A great way to accomplish everything on your to-do list is to do smart work instead of hard work. To encourage office creativity and welcome various thoughts from different channels at the work place, there needs to be a collaborative working environment. Here is a list of activities that will help you achieve maximum levels of creativity within your office.

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1. Arrange for some games that encourage a team-building attitude to encourage office creativity

You should plan a small game for your employees and schedule it once every few weeks. Introduce such games that are to be played between teams. This will help you to educate your staff about the importance and benefits of team work.

2. Entertain employee suggestions to encourage office creativity

You should dedicate an area where employees can come and share their creative thoughts or suggestions. You can hang a notice board in a corner so that the employees may write their thoughts on paper and pin it on the notice board or you can place a suggestion box where employees can raise their concerns without revealing their identity. Make sure that you value their suggestions and reward them for creative ideas.

A notice board is preferable, as the content on the board can be seen by other employees as well and it provides a platform to interact. Employees can pin up suggestions as well as any challenges they are facing while accomplishing any given task. This way they will get input from others to get problems solved. This improves collaboration and teamwork.

If you have a huge office with thousands of employees, you can replace notice boards with digital
collaborative platforms.

3. Encourage brainstorming to encourage office creativity

Brainstorming sessions are the best way to get the creative ideas flowing. Try to make every employee a part of the brainstorming sessions where everyone should be given freedom to express their thoughts.

4. Treat all your employees equally to encourage office creativity

A workplace is full of people with different backgrounds and thoughts. Everyone must be treated equally, and there should not be any bias to any particular group of employees. Plan a few informal get-togethers’ where all the employees gather and spend few hours together irrespective of their designation in the workplace. It is an awesome sight to see the director talking to a trainee and getting to know about him/her; an accounts person talking to a technical person and sharing thoughts; and many more such interactions. This is the sign of a great work culture within an organization.

Creativity is directly linked to the flow of ideas. The better the flow of ideas, the more creative your team will be. Creative resources are the assets of an organization and the creative atmosphere results in the best quality output. Give it a try today and let us know how successful your working environment


Josh Smargiassi: Principal
Boomerang, Inc.
6950 Sherman Lane
Pennsauken, NJ 08110
P 856.582.0100
F 856.582.0104

Why You Need a Collaborative Work Environment

collaborative work environmentIn recent times, more and more companies are focusing on a collaborative work environment. Workspaces that allow the employees to work together will improve the overall performance of the company, including morale. When the morale of a company is high, employees naturally are motivated to work as a team. Instead of working in an isolated cubicle or desk, people are more keen to join in a community setting or potential work table. With the proper community work table, setting, or conference table, your employees will get an opportunity to interact with each other, share stories, and exchange more productive ideas.

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Improve the work experience
Researchers found that people working in a collaborative work environment are more content with their work life. In a community workspace, employees will naturally come together from different projects or even from different offices. Take what we did here at Boomerang. In one of our conference rooms is a large circular table.
This allows all of us to sit at the table, no different from one another. The stress is low, but motivation is high. When people from different levels get an opportunity to share the workspace, they can help each other. Whether that is personally or professionally.

Controlled Environment
Shared tables have a more stress-free environment as there is more interaction. Co-workers in the shared work table can create a sense of discipline and a working structure to make them feel more motivated. Making the office, human – Each collaborative work environment has its own vibe. The idea of sharing a table at work helps greatly in team building. The managers and the employees can understand each other’s needs. The stiffness goes away and allows the team to become more productive.

Companies should encourage these type of work settings as they promote the sense of community beyond the meeting rooms. This kind of collaborative work environment also helps in organizing training programs, networking events, and corporate meetings. As people sit together for the better half of their day,
they come to know about each other’s problems, and can find out a way to solve them.

If you’re looking to grow the community within your office, we want to speak to you directly. Reach out to your favorite South Jersey Pre-Owned Office Furniture company to get a quote. www.boomerangofficefurniture.com

Why a Reception Area is Important For Your Office

reception areaThe reception area or waiting lobby plays an integral part of your office. It’s the first impression that an individual makes and can either help or deter business from you. If you didn’t know already, you spend a considerable amount of your day in your office. Being that your office is practically your home, your clients and potential clients will visit your home (office) frequently to conduct business and discuss other matters. Therefore, you must plan the architecture and interior of your office in such a way that promotes conversation and motivates you and your employees to achieve success.

The reception area or waiting lobby plays an integral part of your office. It’s the first impression that an individual makes and can either help or deter business from you. We wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a few reasons as to why your reception area is important for your business:

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This is the first place where a visitor or client is received as he enters your office. By having a look at the reception area, a visitor can develop the first impression about how well managed is the organization. Since visitors are requested to wait in the reception area, there must be proper arrangements for their sitting and refreshments. Visitors sitting in the lobby are mostly alone, so they have ample amount of time to focus on their surroundings. Therefore, it is vital to keep everything in the lobby well arranged and in a proper shape. You should hire some dynamic individuals to manage your reception area efficiently.


Visitors come to your office from distant places. They may be a bit irritated due to traffic jams or a variety of other reasons. Therefore, your lobby should be designed and decorated in such a way that it provides comfort and relaxation to the visitor. Same is the case with your employees. They come to work daily with some or the other tension in their mind. So, the reception area should induce calmness and positivity in your employees.


It is the first place where clients meet before proceeding to conference rooms. So, you should pay adequate attention to the level of comfort provided by the furniture placed in the reception area. You should make proper arrangements for air conditioning in this area and try to make the atmosphere vibrant. The talks held in this part of the office are really important and therefore its ambience can have a positive or negative effect on business relationships. The more comfortable the visitors are; the more fruitful is the communication.


You should appoint a competent receptionist to welcome the guests. He/she is the first person with whom the client has face to face interaction after entering your office. Hence, the receptionist should be soft spoken and well mannered. He/she should be an excellent communicator and be able to handle all the tasks carried on at the reception area. These tasks include maintaining visitors’ list, scheduling appointments, receiving calls/emails and responding to them, prioritizing the tasks, etc.

Without question, the reception desk needs to be properly designed to help the receptionist perform all the activities comfortably. The reception desk should have ample space for storage to work. Designing a space with a reception area can be tricky, if you would like advice or input, be sure to think of the perfect balance between new and preowned office furniture.


Josh Smargiassi: Principal
Boomerang, Inc.
P 856.582.0100
F 856.582.0104


Office Design Trends for 2017

office design trends

Lets explore office design trends for 2017. With the developing workforce becoming more mobile, it’s important to make your working place inspiring and fun to be inside of. With large organizations like Google, Linkedin, Facebook, and Snapchat, the modern workplace is always a topic of conversation that we see when initially designing our client’s space. Even with the popular modern style that our clients want, it’s important to make sure that your team can work more effectively and efficiently.

As a result of this, 2017 could be the year that will begin a revolution in workplace design. Here’s why:

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Office Design Trends in Interchangable Layouts

In today’s world, technology is rapidly changing to keep pace with the dynamic work environment. It is of utmost importance that the workplace is customizable and changes according to the task being done. Work Stations should be easily able to adapt to the changing work conditions and it the most important aspect which will be considered for designing office space in 2017. To design a workplace which works efficiently in future, you need to take some radical and unique decisions while choosing your office furniture.

Office Design Trends for Supporting Future Growth

For developing flexible layouts, you need to have furniture which will serve the demands of the new and changing workforce. You need to make smart choices which will help you to support an employee friendly, well-designed, and at the same time flexible workplace.

Office Design Trends for Integrated Technoology

You need to design your workplace so that can integrate with technology seamlessly. There is also the need to transform the workplace according to the modern trends such as cloud computing and wireless charging.

Office Design Trends for Development

In the recent times, modern architects and designers alike have promoted induced well-being as an integral part of the workplace design. As the health and increased productivity of the employees is of utmost importance, this sort of design will aid in the holistic development of the workforce at your office. Such innovations in workplace design make sure that the productivity of your staff is very high. 

Office Design Trends to Bring In the Outdoors

You need to create a workplace which brings in all the benefits of the outdoor environment into your place of work. Every office worker spends more than eight hours a day inside the four walls of your office. Hence, you need to bring the benefits of the natural environment into the workplace so that the employees do not feel cut off from the outside world. One such innovation is be living walls which add a part of nature to your workplace as a result of which there is increased air purity, freshness, and cleanliness in the office space.

Work-Based Office Design Trends

This technique combines two vital factors – The need for more privacy sometimes and improved collaboration during other times together in the same space. Some work places have open offices which promote teamwork among workers and at the same time maintains their privacy. For this reason, pods which are small, brightly colored cubicles have been introduced which help in removing background noise and prevent others from disturbing you.

For more information about Boomerang Office Furniture:

Josh Smargiassi: Principal
Boomerang, Inc.
6950 Sherman Lane
Pennsauken, NJ 08110
P. 856.582.0100
F. 856.582.0104


Supporting “Generation Y” at Work: Implications for Business (PDF)

By Knoll, Inc – October 23, 2015
This report presents insights from studies on Gen Y conducted by Knoll as well as our ongoing learning from customers. We have found that this generation (born between 1979 and 1997) has different attitudes, work styles and expectations of the physical work environment than do other generations. In this paper we discuss: the values and characteristics of this generation, implications for business, and aspects of the workspace that are important to Gen Y.

This generation holds clear values about their work experience that emphasize:

Meritocracy. Only the talented survive and anyone with talent should be able to succeed.

Camaraderie. Working with others, in teams or just collaboratively; group accomplishment is even
sweeter than solo success. A sense of mentoring, or mentors, in the workplace.

Non-traditionalism. Doing things differently than in the past while making the point, “this is different.”

Integration of work and personal life in a number of ways: co-workers are “family,” work and social life are blended together, and personal and social activities are blended into the work day (or night).

Fierce independence: in choice of company to work for, when to leave, how you get your work done,
how your work should be done are all individual decisions, (with input from social/professional networks) resulting in little loyalty to employers.

Our research and experience shows that Gen Y workers characterize themselves as:

Unique. They see themselves as a breed apart, talented, skilled and in demand. They strongly believe in the value of their work and expect “the rest of the world” to appreciate it as well.

Proud. They are confident in their skills and they enjoy being looked to for advice and guidance and
admired for their special talents.

Confident. They show little fear of the future, believing that their skills will always be in demand and they have a strong support net in place through family and friends.

Realistic. They are, however, realistic about financial compensation due to ups and downs in the

Taken together, these trends suggest a number of implications for business:

Financial compensation. Young knowledge workers may be realistic about variations in compensation because of economic fluctuations, but the underlying expectation of high compensation remains.

Caring. The sense of being nurtured and indulged by the organization is central.

Career opportunities. Gen Y workers have the expectation that their organization will offer learning and growth opportunities: the chance to do creative, challenging work, and the prospect to grow.

Collaboration. Young workers seek a work culture that is organized around teamwork and collaboration.

Social Responsibility. The business should espouse a social cause that goes beyond traditional profit and loss.

Gen Y knowledge workers are acutely aware of their physical work surroundings, from their neighborhood to immediate building to work space. They value the look, feel, design and functionality of their work space. They want a relaxed space that is attractive to be in – one that supports casual collaboration, mentoring and learning. Among desired attributes:

“Quality of life” location. Neighborhoods nearby that offer lots of amenities and things to do during breaks and after work such as restaurants, bars, shops and other places where other young, talented people are likely to be.

Easy access to work. Like the rest of us, young workers hate difficult commutes, especially by car. They would prefer to live very near work, ideally walking or biking to the office or with easy access to mass transit. Those who drive may desire a ride share program and easy parking for either a car or bike.

Facilities that provide personality. The physical work space should be visually attractive. Quality furniture is desirable; young workers judge companies by the “look” of their workspace and by the respect shown to employees via the physical elements and the equipment provided.

Amenities. The availability of food, dry cleaning, workout areas, bike storage and other amenities within the facility are important to this generation.

Safety. Gen Y workers are sensitive to security issues at work, from theft of equipment to personal harm; the actively value such security devices as video cameras at entrances and key cards.


• Personal workspace that is ergonomic and comfortable, with good storage.

• Access to windows and natural light.

• State of the art personal work technology (iPhone, Blackberry, etc) and video conferencing.

• Sophisticated, stylish design of workspace and furnishings.

• The ability to personalize their space by being able to display personal items (photographs, souvenirs, etc) and to adjust work tools (seating, monitor arm, keyboard support, etc).

• Individual and group work. They value a balance between privacy to conduct individual work and the desire to have spaces that encourage and facilitate learning, mentoring and knowledge sharing with coworkers.

Knoll researches links between workspace design and human behavior, health and performance, and the quality of the users’ experience. We share and apply what we learn to inform product development and help our customers shape their work environments.

To learn more about this topic or other research resources Knoll can provide, visit www.knoll.com/research/index.jsp

Boomerang is a sister company of CFI, the areas sole Knoll dealership. Boomerang is a nationwide leader of refurbished Knoll products saving clients’ money while maintaining aesthetic and quality standards.


josh-smargiassiJosh Smargiassi, Principal
Boomerang, Inc.
9155 River Road
Pennsauken, NJ 08110 USA
D 609.304.2760
P 856.369.7753
F 856.582.0104