Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Desk Is Dead

Has The Office Desk Had Its Day?

The 2018 Orgatec furniture fair in Cologne had as its theme "visionary concepts for a new work culture". Focusing on new design ideas for office furniture, here at 20six we were keen to see where designers were heading. And the takeaway sentiments that we noted the most were about office desks.

The desk has had its day” cried designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.

"The desk is dead," declared designers Thomas Bernstrand and Stefan Borselius.

These are bold statements, ones in which we read whilst sat at our desks – so what are they alluding to here?

The theory behind the demise of the traditional desk is based upon modern ways of working, most notably mobile working and hot seats. We are no longer tied down to a desk top computer but can take laptops and tablets to any area of the working space. Echoing the idea of Activity Based Working, these designers see us moving between the different zones within the office and working in temporary, comfortable, communal places.

Barber & Osgerby are promoting their concept called Soft Work: out with swivel chairs, in with swivel tables that are situated between soft seating enabling you an option of working positions. This type of office furniture has been designed specifically for laptop users, and the addition of partition screens can be used to segregate areas for more privacy.

Borselius & Bernstrand have also embraced the idea of soft sofa seating that has a multitude of options for set up. Mobile tables can transform the sofa system into a desk, and wall partitions are again an option to allow for private conversations and face-to-face meetings.

The Desk Is Dead - Long Live The Desk?

Consensus at 20six HQ is that there were some fantastic, and exciting, new office furniture concepts showcased at Orgatec 2018; but we don’t agree that the demise of the desk is imminent. Yes, technology now allows us far more mobility and flexibility; yes, we are embracing Activity Based Working more; yes, more interaction and collaboration amongst employees fuels creativity and productivity. But for most of us there are still times where we just need to get our heads down and work on a project, and this is still done best with a dedicated ergonomic desk and chair.

Office Defurbishment?

Have you heard about the new trend in office design that is particularly popular with technology companies and co-working spaces that is using the term "office defurbishment"? No, this is not a miss-spelling of refurbishment - the trend for defurbishment is gathering momentum.

A defurbished office space is where traditional office interiors are replaced with open-plan spaces that feature exposed brickwork, pipework and services - stripping back the classic soft furnishings and replacing with a more raw, industrial feeling.

By defurbishing a working space, you can create a greater floor-to-ceiling height that provides an enhanced feeling of light and space. This works particularly well at ground-floor level where you don't always get as much direct daylight as the upper floors of a building, especially in more built up areas of cities and towns. By removing any suspended ceilings and revealing the concrete soffit you can create an interesting, urban finish.

Whilst a lot of tech companies are embracing this design and look, it might not be so well suited to more traditional types of companies. However, the defurbished look can still be used in certain areas of your commercial space, such as your canteens, kitchen areas or other social gathering spaces.

Already popular in some of the larger cities, we can envisage the defurbished look being embraced by more companies across the UK, especially those who are after a modern, urban and industrial feel for their working spaces.

Standing Desks For Office Workers

As a company who supply top-end office furniture we practice what we preach. We have been using height adjustable desks for several years now and have found them to be both practical and efficient at improving our working days.

The experience that we have had in our offices has been backed up by scientific research at the University of Leicester. Publishing their findings recently in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the researchers found that office workers spend up to 85% of their workday sitting in a chair. So the research team decided to see what difference it would make to provide some sedentary office workers with a sit stand desk and compare them to workers who continued to have their usual desks.

Of the 146 NHS staff studied, 69 continued to sit at their desks and 77 were given height adjustable sit-stand desks with the research being carried out over the space of a year. The average sitting time at the beginning of the study was 9.7 hours each day,  and the amount of time spent sitting was measured at the start of the study and again at three, six and 12 months.

The results? When the workers swapped out traditional office desks for sit-stand versions, the time spent sat at their desks was reduced by more than 82 minutes per day.

As further proof that adjustable desks are good for workers, the researchers also found that the workers who spent less time sitting also experienced lower levels of anxiety and job fatigue, less back pain and more engagement in work.

Sit stand desks are not a miracle cure for office wellbeing but this research demonstrates that as part of an overall approach to putting employee’s health and happiness at the centre of office design, getting the right office furniture can improve productivity for traditionally sedentary workers.

Autumn Office Design 2018

Ideas For Autumn Office Design Trends

Autumn is fully upon us now, even if we’re still getting some days that feel a little more like summer. The nights are colder and the days are significantly shorter. As we put into storage the ideas that helped us to keep cool at work through the summer, we now need to focus on how we can adapt our work places for the changing seasons.

3 Ideas For Autumn Office Design 2018

Warmth: It’s a tricky time of year in that it can be really chilly one moment and blazing hot the next. Some less well insulated commercial environments may have felt the need to pop the heating on to welcome employees in the morning, but by lunch time everybody is sweltering as the sun blazes in through the windows. This can be a fine balancing act for the best of us with fluctuating temperatures and workers requiring different levels of heating. An office with plenty of work station options that incorporates the ideas of Activity Based Working may help you succeed in getting more ambient temperature levels; an open plan area will have better ventilation and individual work pods can be enclosed and cosier.

Light: It can be deceptive when the autumn heralds a mini heat wave – at least during your lunch hour – as we can be caught out by how quickly it gets dark. We are staunch advocates of natural light where ever possible knowing how it can affect well being in the workplace, but the darker mornings and evenings mean that some forms of artificial lighting will be required. We wrote a post entitled “How To Get Your Office Lighting Right” which highlights the benefits of updating older office lighting systems.

Colours: Most of us would associate oranges and reds with autumn, and these are colours that can help give a sense of warmth and cosiness to your working environment. We are not, please note, suggesting that we all repaint our offices each season – but changing over pictures you have on the walls, or plants and other office accessories may help your workers adjust to autumn. One of the UK’s leading specialists in the psychology of working environments informed us that: “If you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better; and a very good way of doing this is by using art.” So swapping your art on a regular basis could help improve productivity.

Autumn brings with it the richness of the colour on the falling leaves, a chance to witness some spectacular sunrises and sunsets and the opportunity to revamp our office environments to enhance the well being of our employees,