Surplus in the Time of COVID

The ongoing pandemic has disrupted supply chains and markets, causing dire shortages of some products and surpluses of others.  If you are involved in furniture management, you may be facing the increasingly common dilemma of planning deployment and decommission when the future of your workspaces is uncertain.

With 33% of employees working from home while the threat of COVID-19 is still strong, it is expected that a significant percentage of these employees will continue to work from home after the pandemic passes.  Facilities managers must reimagine the workspace such that safety, efficiency, and flexibility are all in balance.  Workspace reconfiguration can be a formidable challenge when there is so much uncertainty about timing and capacity requirements.

One thing is for certain.  Many workplaces will require less furniture in the “new normal” office settings.  This means that your organization may be generating surplus furnishings.  Should you store it for future deployment?  Try to liquidate it?  Donate it?  Or recycle or dispose of it?

cartoon of furniture dilemma


Liquidators are swamped with used furniture in a shrinking market. They are seeing their focus shifting from volume B2B sales to channels selling to individuals setting up home offices.  If you are considering storing your surplus, the viability of this option depends on your circumstances.  If you cannot predict an item’s redeployment timeframe, the storage cost could exceed the item’s replacement cost if kept for a prolonged period.

The “reuse” market, where surplus furniture is placed with charities and non-profits, is thriving.   Domestic charities, who finance their missions by reselling, are seeing an uptick in demand for home office furniture.  The international demand for furniture is high as well.  International charities see cash donations decreasing during these tough economic times, but when their missions are to support education and development, furniture is a welcome gift.  

If your workspace reconfiguration produces surplus furniture, FRS can help you determine the best course of action for decommissioned furniture.  We work with a network of liquidators, charities, and non-profit organizations to ensure that redundant furniture can be reused and that the solution is environmentally friendly and less expensive than recycling or disposal.

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