Monthly Archives: July 2018

Activity Based Working

Trends and “fads” come and go in the world of office design, but the well-being of employees is fundamental to any organisation’s success and therefore so much more than a passing whim. One area that is seeing a rise in commercial design is that of Activity Based Working – but what is it and how do we incorporate it into office fit outs?

What Is Activity Based Working?

Traditional work places gave an employee a specific location from which to work – your desk was your work place and each day this is where you would come and spend the working day. Activity Based Working (ABW) recognises that this style of working doesn’t suit all employees over their lifetime of work.

ABW encourages workers to physically locate themselves where they feel it most suitable for them to work from. The work place is designed and set up to enable opportunities for a variety of workplace activities providing the environment suitable to the task at hand. Setting up your office like this will give you the chance to work in a small, quiet space when you require maximum concentration, or a private meeting, and wide, open spaces where you can come together with other employees and bounce ideas off of one another.

This style of commercial interior design recognises that we have different requirements throughout our working day and that the creation of choice for spaces in which to work will enable employers to gain the maximum from their staff.

Of course, ABW is not for everyone, it must be relevant to your workforce, to who they are and what they do at work. If you would like to know whether Activity Based Working is right for your office, or any other aspect of commercial property set up, please get in touch with us here at 20sixltd.

5 Workplace Design Trends

We’ve seen a lot of different design trends over the years that we have been involved in office fit outs and refurbishments, and perhaps the most prevalent change has been to ditch the standard open plan office layout.

We’re not fortune tellers but being so closely involved in commercial interiors we can hazard a guess as to what the new office design trends will incorporate.

5 Office Design Trends To Look Out For

Colours: Workplace design has moved away from a sterile, industrial look and subsequently we’re ditching the harsher colours such as blacks, whites, silvers and greys. Instead there are a lot more muted browns and greens, reflecting the rise of biophilic design elements.

Materials: In line with the colour changes, out go the metal and steel-like materials and in come more natural looking materials. Even when we can’t escape using artificial materials, such as laminates and metals, the finishes have a natural look.

Furniture: There is a distinct move towards tapered legs, and tailored cushions, almost a retro 1950’s style trend. Quilted fabrics are en vogue, and we are seeing them in both traditional and modern patterns.

Spaces: Flexibility and choice are the key to a lot of workplace productivity solutions, and pods are a great way of providing mobile quiet and private spaces. As these can be incorporated into most office spaces, they are becoming more popular across the board.

Plants: From tall, architectural structured trees to small desktop plant boxes, bringing living plants into the work place helps to create a more natural environment – some companies have taken this even further and instead of bringing plants into the workplace have moved their work places into the plants… (read more here).

Overall, we are seeing the blurring of the lines between home and office, with the emphasis on more natural feeling and looking working spaces.

Tree House Offices

For once we are experiencing a “proper” summer here in England; for weeks on end now, certainly for us based here in the South East, we have woken up to sunshine and warmth. With this glorious weather though come a few challenges, particularly for those of you stuck inside stuffy, stifling offices (if this is you, check out our tips on staying cool in the office).

How lovely would it be to be able to take your laptop outside and sit under the shade of a tree to work? Sound good? How about taking this one step further and working in the tree?

There has been a consistent rise in the interest and popularity of tree houses, significantly since the mid-1990s. Once the preserve of children and their imaginary games, more and more adults are commissioning specialist companies to build them fully functioning tree houses.

On the back of the popularity of biophilic design and the recognition that as human beings we are more productive in the work place when we feel connected to nature, Microsoft has also decided to hang out in the canopy.

Designed by Peter Nelson, Nelson’s Tree Houses, the trees at Microsoft's corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington, were used to create three tree house work spaces for their employees. “With two covered meeting rooms, a wide deck space, and a lofty crow's nest, these tree houses bring employees into nature for improved focus and creativity.”

Now we are really proud of our 20sixltd HQ here in Sussex, but we have to confess to a teeny tiny bit of office envy for this tree house office. Check out the video below to see why we’d like to be hanging about in the trees, particularly in this weather.

Commercial Property News

Within the commercial property sector there has been a lot of discussion about the effects that Brexit will/is having upon the market. It is well known that a number of high profile companies plan to leave London once the Brexit process has been finalised, and that has had a negative effect upon the demand for commercial premises.

Whilst London in particular has seen a marked decline in interest, this isn’t the same across the entire UK.

Online commercial estate agent, Virtual Commercial, recently conducted research into the availability of commercial properties across 20 of the UK’s major cities to determine what proportion of the total property stock listed is selling.

Their results indicated that there are only four cities that are currently less appealing to buyers on the commercial market than London: Cardiff, Portsmouth, Swindon and Oxford.

While London continues to struggle with sales of commercial real estate, there are a number of other areas of the UK seeing strong gains in the commercial market. The top five of these are: Southampton, Aberdeen, Cambridge, Brighton and Bristol.

If we focus on the capitol the picture looks gloomy, but with Southampton managing to shift 43.8% of all properties listed online as sold subject to contract or under offer, the overall picture for the UK’s commercial market appears more rosy.