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Glossary of office furniture terms

Office furniture terminology can be somewhat confusing to those who don’t work in the office furniture installation industry. To help our customers better understand some of the terms used by office furniture installers, we’ve created this helpful glossary of office furniture terms.

Acoustical Panel: Acoustic panels are sound-absorbing panels made in a variety of materials and colours that are used to reduce noise pollution in different work environments.

Adjustable Glides: Also known as leveling glides, tubular glides, and tack glides, these are small adjustable pieces located at the base of furniture to help even it out and keep it stable on uneven flooring.

Back Pitch: The back pitch is the angle of the back of an office chair in relation to the seat position to establish optimal comfort for workers.

Block Diagram: A block diagram is a blueprint of the office space created during the planning stages of an installation or move. It delegates where each department and employee will be located.

Casters: Casters are wheeled devices like pulleys that are used to transport large pieces of furniture and other objects. Some furniture like office chairs come with built-in casters (wheels) at the base.

Contract Furniture: Contract furniture is any furniture that’s designed and manufactured to meet certain industry standards and is used in commercial environments. Hence, all office furniture is contract furniture.

Credenza: Credenzas are large pieces of furniture that are usually located off to the side in a private office or meeting space. They offer additional storage or a surface to offer refreshments during meetings.

Double Pedestal Desk: Also known as a tanker desk, a double pedestal desk is an office desk configuration that features two file cabinets (one on each side) and leg room in the middle.

Duplex Outlet: A duplex or split outlet is a standard electrical outlet with two receptacles.

End Panel: An end panel is a support panel that runs across the depth of a free-standing workstation, providing additional storage without leg room for the user.

Ergonomics: Also known as Human Factors and Ergonomics, this is the study and implementation of measures that promote physical comfort and productivity in the workplace.

Flat-Pack Furniture: Also known as ready-to-assemble or knockdown furniture, this is furniture that comes in pieces and needs to be assembled onsite by professional office furniture installers.

Flipper Door: Flipper doors are located on overhead compartments (like on an aircraft) and use a ball-bearing or track system to open or flip upwards.

Furniture Plan: A furniture plan is a blueprint created during the planning stages of furniture installation. It shows where each piece of furniture will be installed based on ergonomics, power sources, and company departments.

Glides: Glides are small, adjustable and removable feet that are placed at the base of metal furniture legs to stabilize large pieces, secure them in place, and protect wood flooring from damages while moving.

Grommet: A grommet is a professionally drilled hole in a workstation, panel, or wall that allows for wires to run through it.

HAT: A HAT (height adjustable table) is an electronic or manually adjustable table (sit/stand).

High Pressure Laminate: High pressure laminate is a decorative laminate made of multiple layers of building materials that are bonded together with resin and covered with a layer of melamine plastic. As a highly durable material, high pressure laminate is durable and helps sustain office furniture longer.

Hutch: A hutch is a set of shelving units that typically sits on top of a credenza for additional storage in an office space.

Interlock: Interlock is an internal mechanism that connects multiple drawers to one another, allowing them to open separately without tipping the entire piece of furniture over.

Internal Move: An internal move involves relocating an entire office or single workstation to another location within the same office suite or building.

Keyboard Tray: A keyboard tray is a detachable panel that sits beneath the work surface of the desk and gives the user more control over the positioning of the keyboard for comfort.

Knockouts: Located in the base of the systems furniture panel, a knockout is the hole that’s drilled for electrical outlets.

Lead Time: Lead time is the estimated amount of time required for office furniture delivery and installation.

L-Post: Located in the corner of the room, an L-post connects two panels at a 90-degree angle. Hence, it’s also referred to as a two-way connector.

Millwork: In systems office furniture, millwork refers to cabinetry, shelving, counters, molding, and wall or ceiling paneling. These items are usually manufactured offsite in a mill or factory and then delivered.

Modular Office Furniture: These are modern office furniture units that can be rearranged in a variety of different configurations to comply with the ergonomic needs of each employee.

Office Furniture Systems: Office furniture systems is a broad term that incorporates all of the modular parts of office furniture and workstations that fit together. This includes desks, partitions, storage units, etc.

Open Plan/Concept: Open plan or concept office spaces consist of multiple workstations located in the same space with partitions separating them.

Panel Mount: A panel mount is a device that’s fastened to a stable surface to which storage units, work surfaces, and accessories can be secured in place.

Plan View: A plan view is an aerial view of a space or systems furniture used to help create a block diagram.

Quadruplex Outlet: A quadruplex outlet is a standard electrical outlet that contains four receptacles.

Radius Styling: Radius styling refers to the extended rounded edges on office space furniture.

Skins: Skins refers to the external upholstered portion of a piece of furniture (i.e. leather or fabric) that’s easy to remove and reupholster.

Tack board: A tack board is a tackable bulletin board that’s typically adhered to the panel or wall above a workstation where documents can be attached using thumbtacks.

U-Shaped Workstation: A u-shaped workstation is a single pedestal desk and credenza that are connected by a flat top modesty panel. These are usually corner desks or used in cubicles.

Vertical File: This is a tall filing cabinet that’s deeper than it is wide and only allows for front to back filing of documents.

Wall Mount: A wall mount is a type of systems furniture that’s attached directly to a drywall partition.

Wall Systems: Wall systems are demountable furniture walls to build inner offices.


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