Monthly Archives: February 2019

An Office Fit For Spring?

Spring is almost upon us officially, and from the flowers blooming by the roadside and the buds bursting to life on the trees, it feels like it has already arrived. One advantage of this change of season is more hours of daylight, but the sun streaming in through your office windows can also show how neglected your workspace has become.

An Office Fit For Spring?

Whilst the ideal solution may be a total office refit, that's not possible for everybody. So what steps can you take to ensure that your office is fit for spring?

Three Ways To Spruce Up Your Office For Spring

I Need It: There are some items we all need to complete our daily work routines, and those that you need to use regularly should be close by.  As we outlined in our post The Three Zones Of Ergonomic Desk Design, keeping the objects that are classed as your primary necessities close to hand enables you to work more efficiently. On the other hand, items you aren't using on a regular basis may be better placed further away to free up some space.

I Want It: The long held belief that a cluttered desk or office leads to a cluttered mind doesn't hold true for all people. A survey carried out a couple of years ago by Yell Business found that the majority of the UK’s most successful profit making business owners, that's 94% of them, admit to having an ‘extremely cluttered desk’. With profit being the biggest sign of a productive business and work ethic, we can dismiss clutter having a negative impact upon success and profit. That being said, there is always room to keep on top of what’s in front of you so that it’s at least an organised chaos, thus contributing to efficiency and an overall reduction in stress levels.

I'll Change It: In our article last week, Green Office Fit Out, we advocated recycling and re-inventing aspects of your office fit out rather than binning the lot and replacing with new. This isn't always possible, but there are solutions for refurbishing your work space and leaving a minimal carbon footprint. Rather than look at throwing out all the items of office furniture and fittings that look as if they are past their sell-by date, why not check out an experienced commercial property specialist who can advise on getting your offices looking ship shape within a sustainable parameter?

Spring is the ideal time to spruce up your work space and ensure you have the most productive environment that you and your fellow workers are proud to call your offices.

Green Office Fit Out

There is something special about the look of a brand new office - new carpet, new furniture, freshly painted, all looking fantastic and a space you are proud to work in.

Whilst refurbishing a tired looking office has innumerable benefits, each time you fit out your offices you are adding to your carbon footprint.

So can we have the up to date, smart offices we would all like to work in and do so in an environmentally friendly way?

Several companies are setting trends in sustainable office fit outs and they are doing so by using one the simplest green solutions, recycling. For a company such as the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), when you are looking at opening a new office you really should be practicing what you preach. And so they did; when they fitted out their new offices in London’s Shoreditch, they retained and reused blinds, carpets, kitchen cabinets and network cables, amongst other things.

Another London based company who specialises in recycling also managed to ensure their refurbishment was as green as possible, by reusing or repurposing 86% of their current furniture and existing flooring.

We would expect “those in the trade” to be recycling whatever they can, but does this apply to other commercial designs? Could we all be doing a little bit more than a recycling box in the office kitchen?

Creating a greener workspace is not only down to fit out and design - we need to be able to source eco-friendly fixtures and furnishings when recycling is not an option. This has moved on considerably in the past few years and we are no longer having to compromise on quality when sourcing greener options. Manufacturers have realised their part in this journey and there are some wonderful options out there for office furniture that is more sustainable as well as all the other fixtures and fittings.

The old adage that you can’t have your cake and eat it is being thrown out of the window when it comes to green office fit outs - refurbishing your work space and leaving a minimal carbon footprint is becoming as financially viable as it is ethically responsible.

 

 

 

Office Design Options

"The open plan office is dead – long live the open plan office!"

In all aspects of design, trends come and go. The introduction of office cubicles has largely fallen out of favour, but whereas the decriers were saying this symbolised the death of the open plan office, this has not been the case. The design leaders, often the larger tech companies, have used experts outside of the industry to ask what work space set-up best suits our needs as humans?

There has been an emphasis on collaboration and communication in recent years, and this has been reflected in corporate design trends. Movable partitions, options for working environments, open, relaxing and welcoming spaces for employees from all departments to linger and mingle have all been seen in the swanky offices we can be proud to show to our clients.

With all ying there must be a yang – and for office design trends this has been to throw the whole concept of openness out of the window and opt instead for the closed office. It may cost more in terms of set-up and floor space, and having a set room for each employee, with their own desk and a door to close on the rest of your colleagues flies in the face of work space trends in 2019. So why would you choose it? Why risk office shame at corridors of closed doors, unwelcoming to visitors, so off-trend that it looks as though you are not a progressive company? Why spend a greater part of your design budget on static walls and doors/ separate work spaces and individual desks?

It doesn’t suit all businesses, but it is the best solution for certain industries. Tying into our blog post from last week, The Silent Office, it has been proven that giving people the opportunity to access silent, or very quiet environments, can result in an increase in both their memory and their productivity. If the nature of your work requires your employees to really concentrate then having their own space is likely to ensure they are better able to carry out their work than within a noisy, distracting, open space.

Any work space design needs to look first at the purpose for which it is required – and the company using it. There is no right or wrong design in terms of trends, but there most certainly is in terms of workers. What suits one company won’t necessarily suit another, and to get the right working environment for you and your employees you need a design company that starts by gaining an understanding of your company culture and the nature or your employees work.

The Silent Office

If you’re reading this in your office, how much noise are you hearing? Even if you’re not currently at work, can you imagine being there, and what sounds you would be hearing?

Modern workplaces can be noisy, and noise can be distracting. We’ve written before about Office Noise and ways in which to reduce it but were intrigued by a report that advocates silence for better concentration and productivity.

Two separate studies in 2013 found that the brain is always active, even when resting, and that the part of the brain that helps memories form can be prompted to increase cell development when allowed two hours of silence a day.

Noise has been shown to cause elevated levels of stress, whereas silence has the opposite effect. In our work spaces we are often bombarded with noise – people talking, printers printing, phones ringing – and finding a quiet space let alone a place of silence can seem impossible.

If the studies and the reports are correct though, ensuring that your office design incorporates spaces for employees to find a refuge from noise could help your businesses’ profitability and increase the productivity of your workforce. There are some stunning designs for individual and group work pods that could provide this space and as many are mobile, they can be incorporated into most current set ups.

A study published in Heart journal found that a mere 2 minutes of silence proved to be even more calming than listening to “relaxing” music, so let’s all find a place to turn off the noise and take time out to refocus on our work at hand. As the saying goes, silence really is golden.