Monthly Archives: September 2016

Office Desks

"It's Just A Desk"

Office desks – a pretty tedium medium to be talking about right? After all, a desk is just a desk isn’t it?

More than just a surface to rest upon, desks are the central spot to create, organise and get work done. And far more than a stand-alone, singular piece of office furniture, there are several types of office desk.

Five Types Of Office Desk

The Reception Desk: This is the first point of contact most of us have when entering a work place and therefore requires special attention. Not only does it have to be suitable for the expectations of the receptionists' duties, it also has to be welcoming to any visitors. You will need to ensure all comms are easily at hand whilst leaving enough space for a welcoming face to beam out.

The Hot Desk: With the rise of the mobile workforce and of freelance workers, hot desks are becoming more prominent in both a static business office environment and in co-working office spaces. It needs to be kept clear, is the minimalists dream desk, as you won't know who will be needing to use it from one moment to the next. This type of desk is all about BYO - bring your own paper, pens, and more often than not laptop or another device. It is a multifunctional desk in the sense that you won't know what the user will be working on whilst sat here - it could be anything from accounts to web design.

The Moveable Desk: Who hasn't heard that sitting still all day is bad for your health? Yes, we know we should set a timer and regularly walk away from our desk and do something involving the body rather than the mind. That being said, we also work in a very time-demanding age; we are no longer expected to get things done within the traditional 9 - 5 working day. If you are one of those who is (figuratively) tied to their desk, it's worth investing in one that moves and allows you to either work sitting or standing.

The Executive Desk: Do we still aspire to this? To the largest office in the building with commanding vistas? The executive desk, and corresponding office space, was once deemed as a status symbol and is designed to impress. Perhaps you're after a desk that has taken over 5 months to build, uses 6 different types of exotic wood, and a custom-cut piece of Italian glass? (You have to admit; these look pretty good.) If you're looking for a status symbol and a leg up during negotiations, an expensive, lavish executive desk is for you. If you're looking for a big, expansive desk that creates a physical and metaphorical distance from the lower echelons, this is the desk that you're looking for.

The Boardroom Desk: Designed specifically for groups of people, if the executive desk just isn't large enough for you, you could, of course, claim both the boardroom and its desk as your own. However, this is usually the space for meetings, both internally with colleagues and staff and externally with clients and business partners. Your size of desk will be constrained by your physical boundaries but the style and quality needs to reflect your company branding, culture and ethos.

No doubt you could come up with other examples of office desks, but we thought five was a good number to look at. Whatever type of desk you use, first and foremost, it has to suit your working requirements.

If you want to know more about getting the right desk for you, or for your offices as a whole then please do get in touch with us.


7 Office Design Stumbling Blocks

Much as we would love to have an office with a London W1 postcode, or a view from our corner office over Central Park, most of us are restricted by what we can have for our office design. Without wanting to dwell on the negatives, there are areas that you need to pay special attention to if you are to ensure that you have the best offices for your business - even if they aren't in Mayfair or Madison Avenue.

7 Office Design Stumbling Blocks

Location | OK, so we've already touched on this above; the location of your offices can have a direct impact on attracting and retaining employees as well as upon customer satisfaction. Being based in Brighton we know that this is a great city to live and work in - but there are limitations on office space. Traffic controls mean that if you are a business whose customers need to drive right up to your door, you will struggle finding a suitable BN1 address. The old residential cliché of location, location, location still holds true for a great many market sectors and needs to be taken into account.

Physical Space | Again with reference to our introduction, having a desk in a huge corner office with amazing views is up there on most people's workspace wish list. Most businesses though will have to work within the physical boundaries of their given office. The size of your desk may have to be decided by the room in which you already have to place it rather than your desire to have something that wouldn't go amiss in a small boardroom. Planning is essential, and your office design/fit out team will always take into account the physical parameters of your space.

Furniture | Office furniture is often an area businesses make mistakes on. When you're spending money on location, fit-out, equipment, IT and all the other myriad of things a business has to fork out for, it can be tempting to cut corners on the office furniture. Why spend extra on ergonomic, sustainable, designer office chairs when you can pop down to the local office supplies store and get something for a fraction of the cost? For starters lets introduce another cliché - buy cheap, but twice. It goes beyond this though. There are health and safety factors; almost every day we see news stories about how our sedentary work life is bad for our health. There's the aesthetics - do you want all of your office furniture to look shabby, threadbare, discoloured? How does this reflect upon you as a company? Getting your office furniture right is just as important as all other aspects of your office design.

Development | All businesses should be looking forward; how are you going to grow? Not just in terms of finance and clients, but in terms of physical growth. How long will your current office space sustain your work force for? Are you looking at expanding not only your sales but also your staff? How will your current office accommodate your predicted growth? Looking at the longevity of your business overall will help you to make the right decisions about your office design solutions.

Branding | At its most basic, imagine your company sold lighting solutions; now imagine your offices were located in a dingy, damp basement with flickering, yellowing fluorescent strip lighting. Not a good reflection upon what you are advocating. Your marketing department will understand the importance of having a cohesive brand, and this goes beyond your headed stationary and website. How you design, furnish and fit out your offices needs to reflect the overall branding message that is helping your company to gain more sales.

Culture | All organisations have an internal "culture" unique to themselves. There is a reason why Google and Lego design their offices the way in which they do - it is to attract and keep employees who fit into their business ethos. Understanding what makes your business work, not just your Unique Selling Point, but why your client's chose you over a competitor will help you to identify your own office culture. Your design team can then get your office to work better for your, and your employee's needs.

Project Management |We've only touched on seven different areas here - hone it down further and no doubt you could easily come up with "Top 10 Office Pitfalls", and may be able to string it out even more. Even if we stick to the categories here, you can break office furniture down into desks, chairs, partitions, cabinets, storage etc; There's lighting, acoustics, and flooring which we haven't even touched upon here. There is so much to think of, plan, budget for, execute, do you really have the time? Project management may be the key here, to ensure that your offices are more than just fit for purpose whilst you manage to keep doing what your best at - running your own company.

If you would like any further help with any aspect of office design, furniture, fit outs, project management or maintenance, please get in touch - after all, this is what we are best at.

Employees choice key to successful workspaces

"Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice."  ~ William Jennings Bryan

Creating, redesigning, or adapting an office space is going to be a process that involves multiple choices. There's budget, planning, project management, office furniture and physical fit out; there's colour schemes and fabrics, work surfaces and lighting. You need to get it spot on because this is a direct reflection of your company. A scrappy, ill designed, budget working environment is going to leave an unwanted feeling amongst both your customers and your employees.

An ongoing debate in office design is that of open versus closed work spaces and the necessity of balancing places of collaboration and individuality within the office environment.

We've seen the unrelenting march of the open plan office environment morph into the prevalence of co-working spaces which have emerged as the millennial workforce began to dominate office culture. And there is talk of a backlash, a desire to return to private, more intimate and individual office spaces.

So what is the best option? Do we ditch the open plan environment? Do we scurry back to our own little enclosures? Or do we think of something else?

The Gensler (U.S.) Workplace Survey 2016 has given us an insight into not what designers feel is the best way of planning workplaces, but what the people who have to work in those offices actually want.

And what do they want? They want options. They want alternatives. They want choice.

Choice for employees will be key to the success of the workspace according to the report, which surveyed 4,000 professionals from 11 different industries and across different levels at U.S. companies.

The options most valued were the ability to access both sitting and standing desks, a choice in when/where to work, to be able to use conference rooms to socialise, to have café facilities on site and to have use of outdoor spaces.

Not all businesses are going to be able to provide all of the facilities that their employees would like to have - but in any company listening to the needs and wants of your staff, and accommodating those desires as best you can, will have a positive effect across the board.