Monthly Archives: September 2017

From Open to Flexible

Office Design Trends 2017 | Making your space work for you.

Part of the reason behind the rise to prominence of the open plan office was to do with cost. Open office plans resulted in leasing an overall smaller footprint, with employees’ room per square foot reduced to as little as 185 square feet from the average of 250 to 300 square feet. With business space often at a premium, reducing your square footage whilst maintaining your staff made for sound business investment – on paper.

In reality, workers didn’t find the open plan designs conducive to maximum productivity, with issues around noise, concentration levels, lack of personalisation and privacy being cited as the biggest bug-bears.

Moving Away From Uniform Cubicles

Employers and designers have begun to recognise these issues and the concept has evolved into something more intricate and informed than a simple, open plan office. Office design has moved from open to flexible.

There is still a case to be had for open plan office design – it can be beneficial for companies continuing to embrace the collaborative model – it’s just that it needs to be more thought through in the planning stages.

Through several businesses trailing various versions of the flexible open floor space, what has become clear is that to make it work for your staff it is essential to have a variety of spaces, from individual silent pods, to two-person quiet meetings, to cosy sofas, to large training, meeting rooms, to outside spaces.

Recognising Different Work Requirements

It is vital that you understand the different ways that groups and individuals work, both within their own departments and among others within the company. Creating a collaborative office requires a lot of planning, not just in where we place the office furniture or a simple case of “who gets to sit where.”

To ensure that the dynamics of the work force are at their best, you will need to locate complimentary departments next to each other and delve even deeper to ascertain individuals’ work personas and/or roles to ensure that you provide the right type of workstations suited for each worker’s needs.

The ‘flexible’ office space applies to the way that work-spaces are used and how they are physically designed. So, it makes economic sense to use office furniture, desks, and other installations that can be easily reorganised or reconfigured.

In summary, the best modern offices are flexible, adaptable, and are designed around the working requirements of those who regularly use them.

Workplace Productivity

The Biggest Distraction?

We all have different levels of tolerance and needs – any professional footballer will tell you that the louder their fans are, the more likely they will be to win a match. On the other hand, an author will probably say the opposite – that to write they need total peace and quiet.

Work space acoustics are often either overlooked or not deemed as important as other aspects of design when a fit out is required for a commercial interior – and yet science has proved that the biggest stumbling block to productivity within a working environment is noise.

A recent study on how sound influences creativity revealed just how important workplace acoustics are to performance and satisfaction of employees, and that good acoustic design equals good business.

With the exception of footballers, 99% of employees cited excessive noise levels as adversely affecting their concentration levels, with another study reporting that 68% of employees become frustrated when sound levels creep just above normal conversation, along with feelings of increased fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

The Solution?

As there is not a ‘one-sound-fits-all’ quick-fix we need to consider more advanced acoustic solutions that meet the requirements of any given workforce. As each business will have its own unique acoustic problems, to resolve your sound issues you should consult a commercial interior design company who can advise on your exact needs. Sound levels don’t have to be a hindrance to your staff’s productivity.

 

The Best Office Chair?

How To Choose The Best Office Chair

Business budgets are tight for most companies, and allocating funds to yield the maximum return is a priority for any successful enterprise. If your priority as a business is to bring in more sales, perhaps you’re not looking at splurging on office chairs – but then again, perhaps you should.

Given that the average office worker will spend as much, if not more, time sat on their office chair as they will in their bed, you owe it to your staff to provide them with a piece of office furniture that will have the least adverse effect on their health.

What, then, should you be taking into consideration when choosing the right office chairs for your employees?

Top 3 Tips For Choosing The Best Office Chair

Adjustable: The best chairs have the option to adapt to your personal shape. Just take a look around your office, we’re all different. Different heights, weights, shapes and sizes, so trying to buy a one-chair-fits-all is unlikely to suit the majority of your work force. The most comfortable chairs have adjustable arm rests, seat height, backrests and upright/reclining positions.

Movable: If you’ve ever sat in a chair that seems to stick to the carpet, you’ll know how difficult it can be to move once you are seated. This doesn’t have to be the case, there are chairs on the market that glide effortlessly across hard floors or carpeted flooring, and chairs that offer enough rotation to allow you to twist almost all of the way round and still have great back support.

Temperature: As we move away from summer, heat may not be your first consideration – but if you’ve ever got stuck to a covered chair you’ll know how uncomfortable it can be. We have to make reference to perhaps one of the most iconic desk chairs, the Herman Miller Aeron here, that has done away with foam, padding and leather. Instead it is made predominantly from woven mesh that allows air to circulate and provides initiative support. Look for chairs that won't "glue" your staff to their seats.

Referencing back to the start of this article, of course budget is going to be a big factor in choosing the right chairs for your office – but investing in your staff will help your business move forward, and with so many health implications associated with our now sedentary working life, it’s worth choosing the best office furniture that your budget will stretch to.

Branded Office Design

Companies can spend huge amounts on getting their logo design spot on – and so they should, as logos are the easiest way of recognising what the brand is. Along with the colour and design of your logo, you’ll also get your business cards to match, your website and your social media. If you’re in a physical business, you’ll probably have branded workwear, liveried, sign written vehicles – anything that potential and current clients can see, you’ll be sure they know it’s your company.

All well and good, all well known, all well done.

Now sit back and take a look at your workspace, your offices, the environment where your business operates from. Does it too match your branding, your business culture? Does it give off the same messages that you have invested so heavily in for all other aspects of your company profile?

You could argue that this is only relevant to the “big boys” – of course Google has offices that match their brand, they’ve got the money to invest. But there are ways that every business can incorporate their company branding, and colours, into their office design.

At the most basic level get at least some of your walls the same colour as your logo. If you’re not in a position to redecorate, then have a look at your furniture and fittings. Can you change your office chairs to a branded colour? How about office partitions? These can come in a huge variety of colours including partitions that can have customised images printed on them.

Designing your offices to match your branding should be as important to you as getting your logo right – having a consistent message across the board makes your message clearer to both customers and to staff.

If you would like any help in ensuring that you get this message right, please get in touch with here at 20six.