Monthly Archives: June 2016

Office Kitchens

“An army marches on its stomach”

And your army is your workforce…

The importance of nutrition isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when designing or fitting out your offices – but food and drink play an integral role in achieving positive interactions between your employees.

The office kitchen has traditionally been placed towards the bottom of the wish list with lighting, furniture, sound, colour and all other essential aspects of office design reigning supreme above it. Strange really, as one of the things that will make or break a house sale is the kitchen. And considering how many hours we now all spend at the office, surely the lowly kitchen deserves to be revisited and placed on a higher rung of importance?

Getting your staff chatting and exchanging ideas and experiences with each other in a relaxed atmosphere, not just through scheduled meetings, provides a more natural environment for all. And where better to have a relaxed chat that over a cup of coffee, or in the queue for the canteen?

Google have nailed if – of course they have, they’re Google. But we’re not talking slides here, we’re talking an implicit understanding of the importance of food and drink within the office culture.

To get their staff networking and talking to each other, Google added design features to their offices with the intention of causing ‘casual collisions’. No part of Google’s New York campus is more than 150 meters away from a cafe, kitchen or snack bar ensuring that their employees will be more likely to cross paths on their way to collect coffee or a bite to eat.

More needs to be done to discourage workers from eating lunch at their desks and to use communal dining areas instead. Slumped over a soggy sandwich and checking in on Facebook is not going to get work colleagues enthused. Most of us look forward to going out to a great restaurant, so why not bring this concept into the workplace?

It's time to bring our love of food into the workplace, and reignite our passion for the office kitchen.

Office Design: Five Frequent Faux Pas

"A...faux pas is what happens when you're not confident with yourself."

~Loulou de la Falaise

Whether upgrading your office, refurbishing or going for a full fit out change, you need to get things right from the onset. Lets face it, whilst it's great to get the finished product there is a huge upheaval in changing your office - not something you want to be doing too often.

In an attempt to help you get it right first time, here are 20sixltd's five most frequent office design faux pas.

Office Design | Five Frequent Faux Pas

No Meeting Space: There is a quiet (no pun intended...) backlash in some quarters against the big, gregarious, open plan office space due in part to the need for areas to work quietly in (see below). That being said, you don't want to end up in a situation where everybody has to try and crowd around a single desk in a tiny office cubicle if you need to have a group meeting. If open plan isn't for you don't forget that you will still need a working area for meetings with both staff and clients.

No Realism: You may fancy a roaring Harley-Davidson but you need to see if that's what your finances can stretch too. You can expect a lot from a great office design firm but you cannot expect miracles. If your budget is going to limit you to a 50cc two stroke scooter then you need to be honest with yourself about what you can expect from the design, the fit out and the furniture.

No Quiet Space: Offices can be noisy environments, but some of us need a quiet space to work in (see more in our Office Noise Solutions post). Collaboration and group meetings can bring out the best in productivity, but not for everyone. There are times when we get out best ideas when we are alone and in a peaceful place. If you only have a huge boardroom unoccupied for that quiet space it becomes a wasted space. And a little cupboard off the beaten track with a flickering light and camping table doesn't count as a decent quiet working space....

No Function: Have you seen Google's office slides? Or LinkedIn's lovely long inter-office desk in Sydney? How about including a cycle track? Or an office chair made from a Vintage Vespa Scooter? As great as all of the above would be, we still to create a space in which people can carry out their work obligations. Knowing what you need your office space to be goes a long way to making your office space do.

No Collaboration: Who is going to be using your office? Will it be the design company? Is it just for yourself? Will you have both regular staff and those who will be on the road a lot or working from home? Will you be entertaining clients? Meeting potential partners? Your office revamp has to take into account the needs of those who will be using it most and/or those who will be bringing in the most revenue. By asking everybody involved what they need from their working environment you are more likely to achieve a happy, and productive, workforce.

Of course this does not cover all of the elements that you need to take into consideration when looking at a new office design, a refresh fit out or just updating your office furniture - but it's a good starting platform to get things right from the onset.

If you would like help with your office fit out, furniture or design please get in touch with us here at 20six


Office Noise Solutions

Five Options To Reduce Your Office Noise

Whilst open plan offices allow light and air to flow freely, and are conducive to employee collaboration, they can also be very noisy working environments.

Counterproductive to workers being close enough to collaborate, noise distractions have been cited as being one of the biggest drains on productivity in modern, open offices. So are there are ways of reducing office noise within the given environment that you have, whilst operating within a budget?

Development of acoustic architecture in the modern day office

Office Furniture: Particularly useful in an open plan environment, modular, acoustic sofas with integrated technology create areas that are social and community orientated, whilst also being conducive to the working environment. By using a high backed sofa, workers can find themselves an oasis in the noise, a secluded place, unable to be heard or seen from the outside. The acoustic qualities of these office sofas work to create a peaceful work environment for employees and, by pushing two high-backed sofas together, a ‘room-within-a-room’ effect can be achieved.

Office Walls: Wall panelling, or partitions, can provide comprehensive acoustic systems for reducing the breakout of sound within open plan offices. Sound-absorbing wall panels. are designed specifically to reduce echo and reverberation. Acoustic wall panels can also be used as decorative wall features in offices, can be custom printed to match your company branding and are available in a range of colours and designs.

Office Flooring: Hard surfaces do not absorb sound, they carry and amplify it. Concrete, natural wood, porcelain and ceramic floors will all amplify the noise so utilising some form of floor covering will help to dampen down the noise. Carpet is an ideal flooring solution for noise reduction, but vinyl flooring also offers a versatile alternative thanks to its ease of maintenance and variety of design options.

Office Ceilings: Acoustic partitioning is not always the right solution for your office as it can undermine your modern open-plan office interior and can be expensive. Your solution here could be adding sound absorption to your ceiling. Suspended acoustic ceilings are an effective way to increase absorption and can be strategically placed to hide exposed soffits and other highly reverberant surfaces.

Office Accessories: Far from just being an afterthought to make the place look "loved", plants help to reduce office noise. In addition to improving air quality and adding natural elements to sterile environments, indoor plants can also reduce office noise. Stems, leaves and branches all absorb sound. They are also flexible and can deflect and refract sound.

These are just some of the solutions to reducing the noise within your office environment. Your work space is an individual as your company is so if you would like a more personalised solution to reducing your office noise please get in touch with us here at 20six.